Friday, August 17, 2012

Welcome back to a new school year!

If you're a vegetarian or vegan, it is a normal experience to feel a little nervous about eating in a new town.  You don't know what places have food items that you can eat or which restaurants cook their fries in the same oil as the fish and chicken nuggets. Even worse is when the employees are new, so they can't answer your questions about what is and isn't vegetarian on their menu.

Sometimes being a vegetarian can be an isolating experience. You may have problems going out to eat with your friends, because they're tired of having to avoid certain restaurants because there are no options for you, or maybe you're tired of ordering salads every time you go out together.

That's where VegIU comes in! We have compiled a list of vegetarian and vegan options at the Indiana University Bloomington dining facilities as well as some food items to avoid that you would assume were vegetarian. We also have a list of restaurants in Bloomington that have vegan and vegetarian options. There are more than 50 restaurants that have at least one vegan menu item and 80+ restaurants that have vegetarian menu items. Check out our Bloomington Restaurant Guide or Vegetarian Guide to Eating on IU Campus.

We also have several events per month where we get together to share vegan food at a potluck, learn how to make new veg recipes, and also visit restaurants where we can try and share a few vegetarian entrees. Our events are a great way to try new food and experiment with new recipes without having to commit to a full serving size if you don't enjoy it. One of my favorite events last year was a Vegan Superbowl Party. Several of us had noticed that there usually isn't anything for vegetarians to eat at a Superbowl Party besides chips, so it was nice to have a full menu of appetizers, BBQ, dips, and entrees to try. Most of us weren't really interested in the game, but we had one of the most impressive menus of any Superbowl Party.

If you are into it, the group has also had a "vegetarian book club" sub-group. More than a dozen members read and discussed The Omnivore's Dilemma at our February VegIU Book Club event.

Make sure to join our VegIU Facebook group, so you can hear about upcoming events, share vegetarian resources, and get recommendations on vegetarian recipes and restaurants. If you have a question about whether a food item is or isn't vegetarian or looking for a meat-free substitute for a recipe, the Facebook group is the place to ask.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Taste of Bloomington had many vegetarian options

Every June, the City of Bloomington comes together for the Taste of Bloomington event. Dozens of Bloomington restaurants come out to provide small servings of some of their delicious cuisines for about $1-4 per taste. It is a great opportunity to taste test a variety of dishes from many different restaurants and give you a great idea towards which new restaurants you might be interested in visiting in the future. The event is held at Showers Commons, which is where the Farmers Market is every Saturday.

Bloomington's restaurants are quite good at having many different vegetarian options, but I was worried as to whether there would be enough vegetarian options at The Taste. More than half of the restaurants had vegetarian options, but I only sampled a few. I'm a lacto-ovo vegetarian (I eat egg and dairy products), so I was fine. I'm not sure how many of the vegetarian options were also vegan, so you might want to check on that before you try them.

Here's what I had a chance to sample:
  • Carmelized Corn & Black Beans from DATs. I think that they said this was vegan. I've only had Cajun cuisine once before, so I wasn't sure if I'd like this. The dish packed some heat, but was really flavorful. The staff told me that they also have several other vegan and vegetarian food options for us to enjoy.
  • Veggie Momo's from Cafe Django. These were really delicious. I will definitely visit them again. 
  • Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream from Chocolate Moose. This was my first time trying vegan ice cream and it was surprisingly delicious. Instead of using dairy milk, they use coconut milk. It only had a slight flavor of coconut, but I guess if you can't stand the taste of coconut, you probably wouldn't enjoy this.
  • Savory Phyllo Tarts from Food Works for Middle Way House - Bloomingfoods. The proceeds from eating at Food Works pay the wages for the battered women residents of Middleway House, so I always feel great knowing that my money is going to help people in need. They also had Fresh Fruit Wraps.
  • Mango Lassi from Taste of India. This was my first time trying this type of drink. If you've never had one before, it is a beverage made from yogurt and mango. It was a little too sour and bitter for my taste, but I was glad that I tried it! They also had some Vegetable Pakoras: Fried Vegetable Fritter, but I was too full to eat anymore.

Here's some other veg-friendly options I noticed:
  • Vegan Raspberry Lemonade Cookies from Baked!
  • Naan from Bombay Cafe (It's an Indian bread)
  • Granny Smith & Pecan Salad from Brothers Bar & Grill
  • Greek Salad - Spinach, Black Olives, Red Onion & Feta Cheese or Piavolo - Tomato, Cream, White Wine Sava served over Linguini from Bucceto's 
  • Veggie Burger from Buffalouie's
  • Pesto Gnocchi - Potato Gnocchi w/Spinach, Roma Tomatoes and Parmesan in light Pesto Sauce, Penna a la Vodka - Penne Pasta in a Creamy Pink Vodka Sauce, and Veggie Kabobs from Butch’s Grillacatessen & Eatzeria 
  • Cheesecake Factory Cupcakes & Cheesecake and Frozen Yogurt from Campus Candy
  • Smoked Veggie Kabobs from Chapman’s Restaurant & Bar
  • Fried Macaroni & Cheese and Spinach Artichoke Dip & Chips from Crazy Horse
  • Tropical Fruit Smoothies from IMU Catering
  • Chips & Dip, Cheese Quesadillas, and Corn on the Cob from La Torre
  • Nutella Crepe from Nadia's Bistro
  • Penne Rosa from Noodles & Company
  • Avocado Shakes and Tofu Sandwiches from Rush Hour Station Diner
  • Potato Okra and Eggplant from Samira
  • Sweet Corn on the Cob and Mac n' Cheese from Smokin' Jacks Rib Shack
  • Gazpacho - Tomato Base & Fresh Vegetables and Caprese Panini - Focaccia, Mozeralla, Basil, Tomato, Olive Oil, Lemon Juice and Black Pepper from Soup's On
  • Sweet Rolls - sweet yeast bread filled with cinnamon sugar, walnuts, almond cream, nutella and topped w/cheese frosting from Sweet Claire Gourmet Bakery (I'm really sad I didn't get over here to try these!)
  • Tortilla Chips with Mango Salsa from Talons Restaurant at Eagle Pointe
  • Goat Cheese, Romano Cheese, Sliced Tomato, Baby Spinach on Wheat or Sourdough and Mac & Cheese with American Cheddar on White or Sourdough from The Big Cheeze Food Truck
  • Oven Roasted Goat Cheese & Toasted Chibata from Truffles/Alchemy/Mikado
  • Watermelon Gazpacho w/Local Chilis, Heartland Family Farms Cucumber and Cilantro from Upland Brewing Company
As you can see, there were lots of vegetarian options at the Taste of Bloomington and even more options if you visit Bloomington's many restaurants. Check out VegIU's Bloomington Restaurant Guide for vegetarians and vegans to learn about more veg-friendly food options in Bloomington.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

VegIU's Easter Weekend BBQ

As a vegetarian, I never know what to bring to BBQ parties. So I was excited to learn how to grill some vegetarian options.

Haley, Mia, Emily and I went hiking and geocaching on the morning of the grill-out. We shared a lovely vegetarian picnic near the damn at Lake Monroe after hiking at Cedar Bluffs Nature Preserve. When we came back into town, we stopped by Kroger to pick up some food to bring to the party and found out that it was Pineapple Party Day. Pineapples were on sale and there was an employee giving demonstrations on how to cut a pineapple. We enjoyed the free samples and decided that we needed to purchase a pineapple so VegIU could celebrate Pineapple Party Day during our event.

VegIU's vegan grill-out was amazing! We grilled asparagus, pineapple, bananas, spicy marinated tofu, portabella mushrooms, fake dogs, Tofurkey's "sausage," portobella mushrooms, & corn. Plus mango black bean salsa, grapes, cookies, & great friends made this a perfect evening!  It was my first time eating a Tofurkey sausage. I haven't eaten meat in 12 years, but the Tofurkey sausage surprised me as it had the texture and taste of real sausage. Even though I knew it was vegetarian, I couldn't eat more than two bites because it felt like I was eating meat! If you're a vegetarian or vegan looking for a substitute for the flavor & texture of sausage, the Tofurkey sausage should be a great option for you.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Karina's Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas

This weekend, I made these delicious sweet potato & black bean enchiladas from the Gluten Free Goddess blog and they were amazing! The recipe is vegan and gluten free, plus really easy to make. This is probably the healthiest Mexican food I've ever eaten. I added some cheese to the top while it was baking, but I'm guessing you could add some vegan cheese to yours if you wanted. I was pleasantly surprised that the texture of the enchiladas was so perfect without having a bit of cheese inside it. If you love enchiladas, you should give this a try. (And there's quite a few enchilada sauces at Kroger for super cheap that can save you some prep time!)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Upland added new vegan and vegetarian menu items

Upland Brewery added new vegetarian and vegan menu items. These include:

New vegan options:
Lunch- Southwest Tofu Salad & Portobello Sandwich & Vegetarian Chili
Dinner- Spicy Tofu Tacos & Southwest Tofu Salad & Vegetarian Chili

New vegetarian options:
Lunch – Meatlessloaf sandwich
Dinner – Meatlessloaf and Gravy Entree

They already have several other vegetarian options including a seitan Philly cheese sandwich, black bean burger, seitan schnitzel, Wit Macaroni & Cheese, Mushroom Pasta, Stuffed Shells, and Veggie Gyros.
Their vegan options include portobello mushroom pizza or seitan tenderloin, and Coconut Tofu salad. They have a segregated vegetarian fryer to prevent contamination with meat products for items like thier brewery fries.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Website's up!

We launched our new club website at on Sunday. We're really love your feedback on the content and what we can add to provide more value to vegetarians and vegans at Indiana University.

Also check out our new Twitter account @vegiu. We'll be sharing event information and  vegetarian/vegan resources on Twitter.