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Here are the 5 best places to eat on campus as a vegan

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Oh, to vegan or not to vegan.

As someone who’s trying to reduce their meat and animal product consumption, I’ve quickly realized that the vegan options on campus are limited and seldom at times, even on a health-forward campus like Stanford. (The dining halls should know that I can’t have firm tofu and salad for every meal.) But after spending the week testing different restaurants and dining halls on campus (and consulting several vegan friends), here are the best places to grab a fulfilling animal-free meal.

1. Forbes Family Cafe

Shout out: Vegan Pho

I only recently discovered this gem on the second floor of Huang Engineering Building quad. Here you have various options, but I recommend the Vegan Pho, which has featured a decent balance of flavorful broth and a hefty serving of noodles each time I ordered it. A nice pick would also be the crispy vegan paninis. While the salad bar is no longer in service due to COVID, they offer fresh vegetables and salad items in carry-out boxes.  

The best part is that you can leave your credit or debit card in your pocket — this restaurant accepts meal plan dollars.

Weekday Hours: 

8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. 

2. Wilbur Dining Hall

Shout out: Vegan Pho. Again. 

Whenever I’ve scrolled through dining hall menus across campus, and there don’t seem to be appetizing vegan options in sight, I knew I could always count on Wilbur. There’s always Vegan Pho during lunch hours, and it always tastes the same — lightly seasoned. But I’d argue that’s to your advantage. The bar offers a variety of sauces — sriracha, hoisin, soy sauce and other staples — and toppings so you can control how flavorful and spicy the soup is. But if Pho isn’t your thing, Wilbur usually has another tasty vegan entree to choose from.

Like most dining halls, you can only get in using meal swipes. 

Weekday Hours: 

Breakfast: 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Lunch: 11:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Dinner: 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

3. Stern Dining Hall

Shout out: Burrito Bowls

Before you leave East campus, it’d be a shame to forgo the burrito bowls at Stern, which is a lunchtime staple on campus. If you can withstand the long lines (the three times I went this week the line averaged a 10-minute wait), you can assemble yourself a vegan-friendly bowl. They offer a decent amount of ingredients to work with — beans, rice, fajita vegetables, guacamole and a variety of salsas that you can add to your plate. 

It is well worth the meal swipe to get in.

Weekday Hours: 

Breakfast: 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Lunch: 11:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Dinner: 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

4. Coffee House

Shout out: Vegan Chili 

CoHo delivers a variety of vegan dishes including creamy yogurt made out of cashews, chia pudding and vegan chili. The vegan chili, in particular, keeps your mouth busy with different beans and quinoa that is consistently well-seasoned and cooked. If you’re into the coffee shop vibes or are looking for a place to hang out with friends, you should check it out. Though, the coffee shop only accepts cash or credit cards.

Weekday Hours:

8 a.m. – 8 p.m.

5. The Axe and Palm 

Shout out: Vegan Chicken Tenders

If you have a late-night craving during the week, the vegan chicken tenders or the fries here are a decent meal to grab (the Impossible Burger, the former star of the show, was scratched from the limited COVID menu). If you really want to spice things up, try asking for a different dipping sauce every time you go. This joint runs on meal plan dollars and recently updated their hours to be open until 1 a.m.! 

Weekday Hours: 

11 a.m. – 1 a.m.

Honorable Mention: Lakeside Dining

While I haven’t tasted the vegan meals at Lakeside Dining, this dining hall features the only Vegan Chef on campus. Just scrolling through the menu throughout the week, it’s clear the cooking staff put a lot of effort into creating innovative and fresh meals in the kitchen to satisfy vegan students.

Weekday Hours: 

Breakfast: 7:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Lunch: 11:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Dinner: 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

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Christine Delianne is a desk editor for The Grind section. She is a sophomore from New York and is studying communications and African American studies. She’s an avid runner and the most cut-throat Family Feud Zoom host you’ll ever meet. Contact her at cdelianne ‘at’ stanforddaily.com.