A Quick Guide to Cooking as a Vegetarian in College

A Quick Guide to Cooking as a Vegetarian in College

As a lifelong vegetarian, I’ve learned a few tips about making delicious, yet meatless, dishes. My mom raised my sister and me as vegetarians, and she adopted the lifestyle at the age of 11. Transitioning to college, I was unsure how I would acclimate to providing food for myself. This year, I share a kitchen with three roommates and successfully create tasty, meatless meals. Keep reading to learn a few tips about vegetarian college cooking!

meal prep

Have a plan before entering the grocery store! Trust me, this is life-changing. Working grocery shopping into your busy schedule can be difficult, but it is essential for efficient vegetarian college cooking. Making a meal plan for your week, prior to heading out the door, can cut down on time and on spontaneous food purchases! While curating a shopping list, think of what meals you will eat each day of the week. For me, breakfasts usually consist of avocado toast, oatmeal with fruit, or yogurt, and a bagel. A few dinners I prepare weekly include rice bowls with tofu, taco Tuesday (of course) with potatoes, and pasta with veggies. Leftovers are always an easy option for lunch the next day, too! For more inspiration, I like to check Pinterest or social media for ideas from other vegetarians.

PHOTO: Anna Coke

start with a base

Centering dinners around meat seems quite common in traditional dishes, so as a vegetarian, the base I choose is usually a carb, starch, or protein. My favorites to incorporate are tofu, rice, potatoes, or pasta. What is great about all of these options is that they offer a blank (and meatless) canvas. To make your base as healthy as can be, try going for organic tofu (a great source of protein!), whole wheat pasta, or a rice blend. Preparing rice, potatoes, and pasta is relatively easy, but tofu can be tricky. A helpful hint is to purchase extra-firm tofu and to soak up as much of the moisture from the block as you can before cooking it. That way, the actual cooking process will go much more quickly!

a feast for the eyes

Vegetables are not only vital to your health, but they create a gorgeous plate! A fun way to know if your dish is balanced is to simply see how colorful it is. The more vibrant your food is, the better. Some fruits and vegetables that I enjoy using for my vegetarian college cooking are strawberries, apples, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, and spinach. Next time you’re cooking, try starting with any of the bases mentioned above and add a couple of your favorite vegetables to complete a healthy dinner! All of these add-ons also act as wonderful snack options for throughout the day.

Whether you’ve been a committed vegetarian for awhile, or you are just transitioning into the lifestyle, I hope this advice has been insightful! Please leave a comment below or post your vegetarian meal creations on social media and tag @cfashionista!

Featured photo by Rachel Zuckerberg.