Your Guide to Meat-Free Meals -- Temple Style!

As an avid vegetarian of eight years, I’ve learned from practice to navigate through menus and spot plant-based options from a mile away -- and I’m not the only one. 14% of college students are vegetarian or vegan and face the challenges of finding convenient food options each day that make them feel good about their values and their health. ( If you’re one of these people, or if you just want to branch out and try some new animal-friendly grub, here are some places on Temple’s campus that you need to check out. 

  1. 1. Pita & Co (formerly “Zaya”)

    This spot was my go-to for lunch in my freshman and sophomore years. Pita & Co is a Mediterranean grill located in the Student Center. They serve stuffed pitas, fresh salads, bowls and platters. Although they do serve a few different halal meats, they also have options like grilled vegetables and falafel -- some of the best falafel on campus, if I do say so myself. I usually get it crumbled on top of a salad with hummus and tzatziki sauce (and if you haven’t tried this incredible yogurt and cucumber-based sauce yet, drop everything and go treat your tastebuds to a party. They recently added buffalo tzatziki to their menu for an extra kick of flavor!)

  2. 2. Saladworks

    Salad is probably the most cliche vegetarian meal out there, but this place takes a bowl of lettuce to the entire next level. Also located in the Student Center, Saladworks offers a ton of different salads and a make-your-own option so you can customize the toppings however you like with over 60 ingredient options. They offer meat alternatives like egg, nuts, avocado, grilled vegetables (I’m in love with their brussel sprouts) and beans that you can add into a salad or wrap. They recently added grain bowls to their menu and have one that is meat-free and includes falafel. As a side, their Spring Vegetable soup is to die for (and vegan), and they perfect the meal by giving you a warm white or wheat roll. Seriously, what’s better than hot, fresh bread? 

  3. 3. Chipotle 

    Ah, yes, the place we all know and love. Located on the corner of 12th and Montgomery Avenue, this incredibly popular Mexican food joint is renowned for its fresh lime tortilla chips and hand-crafted guacamole. I’m here to share a secret with you: The greatest item on their menu is often overlooked, and it’s also vegetarian. They call it Sofritas -- shredded soy tofu that is tossed and marinated in Mexican spices, chilies, poblano peppers and a dash of heaven. My meat-eating boyfriend orders it in place of the meat options and describes the taste as strikingly similar and full of flavor and zest, similar to traditional taco meat. 

  4. 4. Honeygrow or Crisp Kitchen

    Another one of my favorite places, located near the corner of Cecil B. Moore Avenue and Broad Street, is Honeygrow. Here, you can customize your own salad or stir-fry however your hungry heart desires with dozens of fresh and seasonally-rotating ingredients. They offer vegetarian options such as spicy tofu and cage-free eggs, as well as creative plant-based ingredients such as spiralized zucchini, buckwheat soba noodles, sesame seeds and even pineapples. They even have a “honeybar” where you can order customized bowls filled with fruit, yogurt, dark chocolate chips (vegan), granola, whipped cream, coconut shavings and more! Crisp Kitchen is near Chipotle on Montgomery Avenue and offers a similar menu including create-your-own stir-fry’s and salads, as well as frozen yogurt with several delicious options for toppings.

  5. 5. Cosi

    Cosi is a long-time fan-favorite and one of those places where it’s impossible not to find something up your alley on the menu. When I lived on campus, I used to love stopping there on my way to class for a fresh jalapeno-cheddar bagel with veggie cream cheese. It’s located in McGonigle/Pearson Hall on Broad Street and they serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They have several mouth-watering vegetarian breakfast options such as the TBM Breakfast (egg, tomatoes, basil, fresh mozzarella and sun-dried tomato spread on a bagel or wrap), egg white cups, oatmeal, and my personal favorite, the Spinach Florentine wrap. For lunch and dinner, they serve several different salads, sandwiches, paninis, soups, flatbread pizzas and bowls. They have an amazing vegetarian bowl called Thai Curry Tofu which includes tofu, jasmine rice, cauliflower and cilantro. Hands down, ten out of ten on the scale of awesomeness. Honestly, it’s so easy to find options on their menu that are veggie-friendly, and if they’re not, this is a place where it’s so easy to swap ingredients to fit your lifestyle choices. 

I hope you get a chance to get out and try some of these delicious options, even if you’re not part of the veggie fam. Not only will your taste buds thank you, but so will your health!