The Best Plant-based Food on Campus

Fried Tofu from Tapioca Express
Anthony Tseng / The Triton

Vegetarianism may not sound enticing to meat lovers, but there are still so many advantages that come with skipping out on bacon.

There has been a significant amount of research conducted on the health benefits of a plant-based diet. Researchers have found that plant-based diets can lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes, lower your blood pressure, and help with weight loss.

Animal agriculture is also very resource intensive as well as toxic to the environment. It takes approximately 1,800 gallons of water to grow just one pound of beef.

Furthermore, 29% of California’s methane emissions came from cattle such as cows burping. This type of methane traps heat at a rate nearly 100 times greater than carbon dioxide. Methane and carbon dioxide are two of some of the worst greenhouse gases.

Feeling limited by your vegetarian options on campus? Well, you’ve come to the right place.

Goody’s Breakfast

Goodies Soyrizo Bowl
Tajairi Neuson / The Triton

I swear to god—TO GOD—I’m not even religious, but the Goody’s Soyrizo Bowl has me believing in a higher power. You get your scrambled eggs mixed with soyrizo (a faux-meat that imitates chorizo) and wow, the flavor. But wait, there’s more: Not only do you get scrambled eggs and some good-ass fake meat that you can’t even tell is soy, but you can also add tater tots, black beans, cotija cheese, salsa, and veggies on top of the base. I’m getting hungry just typing this out.

What makes Goody’s breakfast even more phenomenal is that they serve it from 7:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., which is longer than any of the other dining halls’ breakfast hours.

64 Degrees

(I like to get mine wrapped in lettuce with onions rings on the side!) Black Bean Burger
Tajairi Neuson / The Triton

This is one of my favorite burgers of all time. What I love so much about 64 Degrees’ black bean burger is that it’s a veggie burger that doesn’t try to imitate meat. It also doesn’t taste too leafy; it’s just so appetizing. Sometimes, I walk all the way from Sixth College just to get a black bean burger from 64 Degrees. It’s just that good.

OceanView

Pizza From OV
Arraya Archuleta / The Triton

The last time I had pizza from OceanView (OV), I was chewing so loudly, my friend asked me, “Damn is it that good?” I honestly didn’t even realize I was smacking. I was just so focused on savoring every bite that I went into my own world.

OV is great because they have a lot of veggie toppings. You can go with the only cheese route, or you can get broccoli, olives, mushrooms, tofu, sun-dried tomatoes, onions, green onions, and pineapple. I usually get sun-dried tomatoes, olives, mushrooms, and broccoli on my pizza. Broccoli and pizza is such an underrated combo.

Stir Fry from Pines

What I like the most from Pines is its stir fry: Not only is it appealing but it also fills you up. 64 Degrees’ Wok station is Pines’ closest competitor: The prices of their bowls are the same. Even though 64 Degrees’ tofu and veggies are appealing, the portion of food they give you is … laughable. Like are y’all trying to feed college students or toddlers?

Revelle Rotisserie Sides

64 Degrees’ Rotisserie sides truly be hitting. Located directly across from 64 Degrees’ burger station is the rotisserie. They offer meat and various sides like vegan ratatouille (it’s delicious), poblano mac and cheese, seared kale, mashed cauliflower (these are just as good as mashed potatoes, minus the carbs), roasted potatoes (I love these so much), and so much more. Why waste space on your plate with meat when you could have all of these mouthwatering side dishes?

Roots

The Root Berger
Arraya Archuleta / The Triton

As the saying goes, you gotta save the best for last, so I had to leave Roots last. Roots is the best dining hall for plant-based foods. They have a wide variety of food ranging from soups, to tacos, to burgers, to salads, and better yet, everything on their menu is vegan. My favorite dishes from Roots are their hot and sour soup and their black beans and rice plate, which comes with some kind of faux meat that is just so delicious. Roots was a staple for me during my first year at UC San Diego. The only thing that sucks about Roots is they are not open on the weekends. What also sucks is that they close at 8:00 p.m. on weekdays, which is earlier than most of the other dining halls.

Honorable Mentions

Avocado Toast and Scrambled Eggs
Tajairi Neuson / The Triton

If you have no clue what avocado toast is, think more guacamole spread generously on bread rather than sliced avocado sitting on a piece of toast. At 64 Degrees, they even add feta cheese and tomatoes to enhance the taste.

The flavor is not even the best part—it only costs $3. In comparison, avocado toast from Snooze, a local brunch spot is $13.25.

No Dining Dollars? No Problem

The Food Co-op

Pot Pie
Photo Courtesy of The Food Co-op

The Food Co-op is perfect for anyone who wants to go to Roots but doesn’t have dining dollars. They are student-owned and affordable, so even if you have dining dollars, you should go to support this student-run business!

Blue Pepper

Not only does Blue Pepper offer tofu with nearly all of their dishes but they also have mock duck and mock chicken as meat substitutes.

Subway

Subway has this bomb-ass veggie patty that tastes somewhere in between turkey and beef. I can’t quite put my tongue on exactly what it is, but all I know is that it tastes bomb. It still does not match up to 64 Degrees’ black bean burger though.

Tapioca Express

Fried Tofu from Tapioca Express
Anthony Tseng / The Triton

Tapioca Express has a lot of vegetarian options, but the reason they made this list is because of their fried tofu. I like to get mine extra-spicy, and then go to the market to grab a noodle bowl to have with it.

Now that you know all of the places on campus where you can get the most mouth-watering, plant-based food, go out and try some.

By eating less meat, you’re improving your health while saving the environment!

Tajairi Neuson is a Staff Writer for The Triton. Senior Staff Writer Mo Al Elew contributed to the reporting of this article.