Yale Dining: Dying Vegan


(This is (/was) my dining hall. At least I can suffer surrounded by beautiful symbols of an elitist intellectual old boy culture 🙂 )

In honor of being DONE WITH UNIVERSITY (AAAHHHHH) I’m going to focus for maybe a week or so on college-related topics.  So the first one is going to be the best food served at Yale dining halls.

Now anyone who’s read a few posts here may have noticed that I am kind of vegan (nothing “kind of” about it) and really struggle with Yale’s dining system because, while they make promises about having a vegan entree at every meal, that is frequently not the case. And their idea of a vegan entree is frequently something along the lines of ‘rice’.

But sometimes they actually have quite good and edible options (and when that happens I bring discreet tupperware and load the fuck up like a camel at an oasis in the middle of a hot arid desert).

  • Columbian Baked Beans:
    Beans mean protein. Protein means no one gets left behind or forgotten. (I swear I only saw Lilo & Stitch once). They serve these when they have nachos, so chips + beans +guacamole + salsa. Which is quite adequate and balanced. Go Yale.
  • Yellow Split Pea Soup:
    Yellow split pea soup is just delicious. Yummy and warming.
  • Granola:
    Yale’s oat and nut granola is very good and pretty coconutty- I recommend going for the big chunks unless you want to end up with a bowl of coconut shavings.
  • Peanut Butter:
    It’s the little things in life (and at the dining hall) that make it livable (edible?). Best hope they have bread.
  • 24/7 Seltzer:
    So I can drink away my vegan sorrows.
  • Gardein Chicken:
    Some pretty adequate vegan chicken. I particularly like the recipe they use with corn and salsa. And the other one with onions and red sauce. Reheats well.
  • Vegan Pancakes:
    They have vegan pancakes once every two weeks or so but you still have to walk around because sometimes the dining halls will forget and just make two dairy pancake recipes. Apple cinnamon is my favorite, but banana and sweet potato are quite good. If you find some good vegan pancakes in a dining hall, steal twenty-ish and hide them in a brown paper bag so you can have something warm for breakfast during the week (like the people who eat eggs and ham and bacon and stuff).
  • Tofu with Chimmichurri Sauce: I have no idea how to spell Chimmichurri so I just duplicated a lot of the consonants. I’m not in college anymore and I have nothing to lose.
  • Shepherd’s Pie:
    Quality is highly variable, but if they’ve done it well then it can be quite good. Beware of the thickness of the mashed potato layer. In order to get adequate protein you may need to hollow out and tunnel beneath the mashed potatoes for vegetables and whatever meat substitute they’re using (possibly TVP) like a little parasite. Thus becoming the bane of all other vegans.
  • Ratatouille Nicoise:
    Extra points for the Pixar movie.  It’s essentially eggplant with a sprinkling of white beans and zucchini and tomato, but they tried, right?
  • Hummus:
    I think this victory actually goes to me: as in they started including hummus as a staple after I emailed freshman year saying I was malnourished.  This had come about after I asked if they had hummus (which was on the menu website) and was given tuna fish. (Ummm, yes, there’s flesh in here, I can see the fibers).  But make sure the hummus is somewhat fresh- sometimes they leave it out for hours and hours and it will get a hard and crusty shell like a mouldering cheese. Either skip it or unearth parts that seem less crumbly.
  • Chana Masala:
    As Pratik once said, a lot of Chana (chickpeas) with very little Masala. Yes, it has very little actual spice or seasoning but damn chickpeas are good.
  • Cold tofu:
    Sometimes they have cold tofu on the salad bar. In a pinch, put some in a bowl, put some peanut butter on it, and microwave to make a quick peanutty tofu stirfry.
    I never truly appreciated plain tofu until coming to Yale because on its own it doesn’t have such a marvelous taste. But now, take some plain tofu, heat it up, give me a plate of it. You can taste the protein and it is like God’s manna to the collegiate vegan.

If you’re really lucky, they’ll have one of the following at dinner. Keep in mind, a lot of these items are discontinued and I haven’t seen them for years. Yale-please bring them back. For the children.

  • Oven Roasted Hoisin Tofu:
    Haven’t seen this since sophomore year. Delicious slabs of spicy-sour tofu, almost as good as the kind I make myself at home. Seriously, marinated tofu guys. It’s wonderful.
  • Chickpeas and Spinach:
    This is a lunch item that is CURRENTLY IN EXISTENCE. Get it before it is gone! Yale protect it- good vegan item are endangered.  The chickpeas are perfectly spiced and semi-roasted. The spinach tastes rich in iron.
  • Peanutty Tofu:
    This was my favorite ever and I haven’t seen it since last year. I think the tofu was baked or fried in some kind of flour peanut butter mixture. But I don’t actually know because no one responded when I emailed to ask for the recipe this year.
  • Tofu with Spiced Leeks:
    Again a tofu flour combination but this time with delicious spiced leeks coming in. So good. Haven’t seen it since at least before Christmas break.
  • Pear/Apple Cardamom Cake:
    Either is good. They’re ostensibly dessert (don’t even try the Mixed Berry Pie, it’s awful) but I suggest taking six slices and having them for breakfast over the span of two days. Those pancakes won’t last you forever.
  • Squash Curry with Tofu:
    If this is the only dinner tofu recipe that’s left is it bad that  take out four bowls in a tupperware at one go?
  • Succotash:
    White beans and lima beans and corn and red pepper and bits of potato it’s so good why has this not been around in a year I mean I’m pretty sure it was pre-frozen it can’t be so hard to make Yale what are you doing? I’m so upset, punctuation is out of my grasp. Succotash.

I’m just going to not talk about the bad vegan food (Yale what the hell did you do to those ‘falafel’) because it would take too long. But if you’re vegan and you’re going to Yale 1) God bless you and godspeed, 2) I hope you have more money than I did/do and can just eat out at New Haven’s beautiful vegan-friendly restaurants all the time, 3) if no, bring LOTS OF TUPPERWARE.

I’ll potentially be adding to this for a few days as I remember further edibles.

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