By CECILIA MCGUINESS
Senior Layout Editor
Upon walking into the Cohen Cafeteria, valued County College of Morris students are greeted with the smells and sights of cheesy chicken quesadillas, deli meat subs made fresh to order from Quizno’s, and of course, their famous fried chicken fingers.
As a vegan, this is a nightmare.
Fear not, fellow vegans! We mustn’t go hungry while commuting to CCM and enduring a possible three-hour break in between classes. Whether you feel like fast food, healthier fare, or a relaxing sit-down meal, there are several options surrounding our campus with fulfilling, delicious, cruelty-free foods!
On Rt. 10 across from the Ledgewood mall, stands tall the local Taco Bell, whose tall tables and stools have catered to many a broke teenager stocking up on the Fire Sauce to throw in their glove boxes. Who would have thought that Taco Bell would actually be quite the oasis for vegans? Not I, but when I found these tips and tricks, things became a little bit easier when it came to the accessibility of fast food:
- When ordering a Crunchwrap Supreme, simply ask for it to be fresco style (which replaces the cheese and sour cream with pico de gallo– delicious!) and ask for beans instead of beef. Luckily, the refried beans at Taco Bell are vegan! This is great for when you’re really hungry on a shoestring budget!
- Alternatively, the 7 Layer Burrito has all the staples of a classic burrito while still being completely vegan! This is already meatless, so all you have to do is ask for it fresco style.
- If you’re just feeling a small, salty snack, opt for the chips and salsa or guacamole. All vegan, no problem.
- Sweet tooth gnawing away at your tastebuds? Surprisingly enough, the Cinnatwists are vegan! Anyone on a cruelty-free diet knows how hard it is to find something sweet without dairy or eggs, so this is truly a gift from the Vegan Gods.
Alternatively, if you’re prepared to spend a little extra money on some quality vegan fare, Chipotle at the Rockaway Mall is the place to go. The beans, rice, salsas, and guacamole are all, of course, vegan, so ask for the veggies or sofritas and you’ve got a meal! (Pro-tip: if you get veggies, guacamole comes free!)
If spice and flare aren’t your thing but you still need something on the go, try Subway! I know, I know, a vegetable sandwich sounds pretty lame, but many of the sauces offered are surprisingly vegan!
- Order a vegetable sandwich on either Hearty Italian, Italian, or Sourdough bread, then go crazy with veggies! If your local Subway claims any of the veggies are not vegan, turn around and run as fast as you can.
- As far as the sauces go, you can chose from yellow and deli brown mustard, oil, vinegar (not vinaigrette!), sweet onion sauce (which is my personal favorite) or the fat-free Italian dressing.
One of the hardest things to give up after going vegan was pizza, but when I found out that Domino’s has options free of animal products, you’d better believe I put Pizza Maker Pete to work and had him fire up his virtual oven.
- The thin crust pizza is 100% vegan, as well as the regular sauce, so request extra sauce and you’ve got a good starting point for your veggie pizza.
- Go crazy with any of the vegetables! My personal favorite is to do extra onions, mushrooms, and pineapple, but other veggies include banana peppers, green peppers, spinach, black olives, jalapeno peppers, roasted red peppers, and diced tomatoes.
- Surprisingly, a lot of the dipping cups are vegan, so add flare to your thin crust veggie pizza with garlic and BBQ dipping sauces.
The best part is, you can order straight to campus!
However, if you don’t mind spending a little extra money and feel like sitting down to a nice dinner off campus after a long day of classes, my number one suggestion for vegan fare within the vicinity is the Loving Hut. Don’t get it confused with Pizza Hut– this vegan chain restaurant carries several options including classic veggie and tofu burgers, sandwiches, sushi, “fish” dishes, pizza, desserts, you name it! Because Loving Hut is strictly a vegan restaurant, there are no tips or tricks when it comes to ordering, but I will list a couple of my favorite appetizers and dishes.
- To start, the steamed dumplings are totally satisfying with a variety of flavors, and are perfect if you’re craving something really hearty. The California roll is also a great substitute if you’re missing that Americanized Japanese treat.
- As far as entrees go, I highly recommend the Sweet and Sour Joy, Sweet Potato Sandwich, and the BBQ Hot Pot. The best part about Loving Hut is its variety, so don’t be afraid to try something new. I guarantee you’ll be surprised.
- There are desserts aplenty, including decadent milkshakes (chocolate is my go-to!), cheesecakes, and varieties of other cakes and pies. Don’t expect your typical chocolate flavor, though– Loving Hut uses raw chocolate for many of its recipes, so it’s very rich, and very delicious.
Vegans on campus are not restricted to curly fries and cut up fruit anymore. With sites like PETA giving helpful tips on vegan-friendly restaurants and the newfound accessibility to cruelty-free options, we no longer have to accept defeat! So eat on my fellow vegans, and omnivores, go outside of the box and enjoy food animal-free!