Dining centers veggie friendly

UND Dining Services receives praise for having for vegetarian meal choices.

A Dining Services employee chops cauliflower. Photo by Chester Beltowski.

UND Dining Services recently received the highest rating among colleges in the state by College Prowler, an online database, for its vegetarian dining options.

Dining Services Dietitian Dustin Frize said it has come along way in the past few years by providing vegetarian meals.

“Of the entrees offered, one of three will always be a vegetarian choice, and then you also have vegetarian sides as well as the salad bar,” according to Frize.

Beyond the normal five-week cycle plans the dining service centers operate on, Frize said the dining staff likes to focus on the things students like. They take student requests through a committee of residence hall leaders every Thursday.

“A lot of times they will say ‘We really liked the vegetarian cheese broccoli,’” said Frize. “If we have that, then we try to incorporate it into the menu more.”

Some of the student favorites among the vegetarian food choices in the past have been pasta dishes including pumpkin with pasta.

Frize said although they do try to serve meals students enjoy. Dining Services also incorporates exotic dishes to expand students’ choices.

According to Frize, special meals served on campus, such as those from the “Recipes from Home Contest,” are chosen with vegetarians in mind.

“When we go to select products, if there, is a vegetarian choice in there it gets priority over another choices,” he said. “That is something we can continue to try growing our recipe basis on.”

In an effort to make the dining centers friendlier places for special orders, a system was put into place two years ago allowing students to order gluten-free and vegan meals in advance.

“Greg and I sat down with a group of five or six vegan students and asked them what they were looking for,” Frize said. “We brought them in and had them sample, then had them tell us what they liked.”

Students fill out menu order forms to request such meals. Frize said he has three students using the forms, which must be submitted by 9 a.m. for breakfast and 5 p.m. for dinner.

In the future, Dining Services is interested in adding a designated gluten-free station.

“It will have its own prep area,” Frize said. “So students will be able get something they feel more comfortable with that may not be cross-contaminated with the eight allergies.”

Mathew McKay is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected].