With gourmet entrees such as Brazilian vegetable stir-fry with plantains and Moroccan couscous, YSU Dining Services is now offering a new vegan/vegetarian-friendly menu called Green Cuisine at the Christman Dining Commons.
“Variety is what it’s all about,” said Executive Chef Edward Krol. “We’re giving the students options.”
Krol said his staff created the new menu in response to students who asked for healthier food choices. “It’s called Green Cuisine because we didn’t want it to be a station just for vegans or vegetarians; we wanted fresh local produce for the masses here on campus,” he said. “If you say vegan, some people get a picture of tofu in their mind, or they think of formed-type proteins that imitate chicken. It’s more than that. It’s about fresh produce, local produce and some organic products.”
The Green Cuisine station is open for lunch and dinner on weekdays, offering salads, an entrée and a dessert. “It’s all about getting more people to try the new options,” said Krol. “If more people try the station, like it and enjoy the offerings, then we can expand the program.”
Other campuses that offer vegan and vegetarian options found they had to raise prices to serve healthy, fresh options year-round. Not so at YSU because Krol purchases as much local food as possible and balances costs. “Right now, when the harvest is coming in, we have a very high percentage of local products, and as the winter goes on, that drops back a bit,” said Krol. “I can still get chicken, local herbs, mushrooms, apples and potatoes through the winter, but right now it’s an abundant time.”
“We’re getting very good comments; students are enjoying the variety, as well as the individual food items,” he said.
The Christman station is only the start for healthy food at YSU, as Krol hopes to start a Vegan 101 program to popularize healthy food choices and plans to work further with the Youngstown State Environmental and Animal Rights Coalition.
Faculty, staff and visitors are encouraged to skip the brown bag and take advantage of the new Green Cuisine offerings. For more information, including hours of operation, visit YSU Dining Services online.
Story by Harry Evans