As a vegan of about three years, I was nervous about what would be available for me to eat when I came to the University of Oregon. Luckily, the U of O has an array of delicious plant-based food at each of the dining halls. There are currently five dining halls, each may have various cafes and restaurants in each, along with the eateries at the Erb Memorial Union.
Global Scholars Hall
Located on the far east side of campus, Global Scholars Hall has the Fresh Marketcafe located in the middle of the complex. This, in my opinion, has some of the best vegan options on campus. It can be a walk, but it is totally worth it. The ingredients and allergy warnings are listed on each of the displays or packagings.
The only restaurant in the entire dining hall, the Fresh Marketcafe has a coffee bar and pastry display in which you can order from. There are milk alternatives available and multiple syrups to choose from the flavor your drink up. They also serve tea and smoothies. In the glass case, there are some vegan pastries, such as donuts and blueberry lemon muffins. Around the corner from the coffee bar is an entrance to the marketplace, which includes a sushi bar, pasta bar, rice bowl bar, and a deli counter. The sushi bar has spring rolls, edamame, and avocado rolls that are entirely planted based. Next to the sushi bar, there are the daily soups, such as vegan mushroom and curry butternut squash. The pastry case has bagels, and the occasional vegan muffin. The drink walls include bottled smoothies, juices, and even kombucha. In the freezer, you can find dairy-free ice creams and frozen snacks. The metal racks in the middle of the market house your basic necessities, like peanut butter, chips, salsa, and applesauce. So now my favorite, the pasta bar. The pasta bar has a vegan mac and cheese on the menu, topped with crunchy fried onions and breadcrumbs. The menu items come with garlic bread, and I don’t think it is vegan, so be sure to ask for no garlic bread. They also have penne and macaroni, which you can top with marinara and different vegetables of your choice (they also have vegan sausage). The rice bowl bar has tofu, veggies, and multiple sauces for you to choose from. The wide variety is what makes GSH the best dining hall for vegans at the U of O, in my opinion.
Hamilton houses four different restaurants in its dining hall; Fire and Spice, Big Mouth Burrito, Grab n’ Go Marketplace, and Common Grounds Cafe. I would rate this hall second place on best vegan options at the U of O.
Common Grounds Cafe:
This little cafe is located through a set of doors by Fire and Spice. They serve coffee, tea, and smoothies. Just like GSH, they have different flavors and alternative milks to choose from for your drinks. The best thing on the menu are the acai bowls. You can even build your own acai bowls, topped with granola and agave syrup. Unfortunately, there are no vegan pastries available, but on the menu there are have black bean dip, salsa, and bagels.
Big Mouth Burrito:
Think of Big Mouth as a sort of dining hall Chipotle. You can make a bowl, burrito, or tacos. The vegan protein available is tofu, and you can add veggies of choice to your creation. The salsa bar includes a few vegan options, along with chips and guacamole.
Grab n’ Go Marketplace:
When you walk into the Grab n’ Go, you can find everything from chips, soup, nuts, candy, drinks, rice, and snacks galore. Inside the marketplace is a Gastro Burger Bar, where you can order tofu scramble and veggie burgers all day. If you ask, they can put vegan cheese on your dish.
Fire and Spice:
This Mongolian style grill has a limited menu but the possibilities are endless. Fire and Spice has the option of a build your own stir fry bowl with your choice of veggies and tofu. You can choose from rice or noodles for your bowl. They also have a side of steamed rice for one meal point and you can add protein to it if you like. This is pretty nice if you’re wanting a small meal and don’t have many points left for the week.
Inside Living Learning Center North dining hall is the Dux Bistro. This is possibly the closest dining hall to the middle of campus (along with Carson). It hosts kind of a small selection, but there are plenty vegan options.
There is a sandwich bar where you can build your own sandwich using a slip of paper. They have vegan cheese available, so you can order a vegan cheesy griller. The salad bar is a pretty stereotypical vegan option, but you can add whichever veggies you please along with your choice of balsamic or Italian dressing. You can also find a coffee bar, with a pastry case that has the occasional vegan option.
The Carson dining hall is a all-you-can-eat buffet with a rotating daily selection of eats. Some students have the Carson unlimited dining plan, in which Carson is the only hall in which your dining points will work. You can always find a salad bar in the buffet, which is a fail safe if they do not have many vegan options for the day. They also have a sandwich bar. Depending on the day, you can find beans, rice, vegan sausages, tofu, falafel, vegan burgers, potatoes, and pasta. Sometimes, they even have vegan cake and brownies.
Barnhart is the further dining hall from campus, so unless you live in the hall, you might not go there that often. Barnhart has two restaurants; Puddles Cafe and Barnhart Dining. Barnhart Dining also has brunch on weekends.
You can find coffee and other drinks available here with your choice of alternative milk. They have a couple vegan sandwiches to choose from, like the garden party sandwich or tofu wrap. Some of the bagels are vegan, and they sometimes have vegan muffins. There is also a vegan avocado cucumber sushi roll.
Located past Puddles, the dining center has a good amount of options. You can order veggie burgers, rice bowls, pasta, or tofu tacos. They also have a salad bar. One of their dishes is the Firecracker Vegan lettuce wrap.
College can be stressful and going vegan may seem impossible on a dorm meal plan, but the U of O has gone out of their way to provide vegan options for their students.