Vegan and Vegetarian Options on Campus

By Alyssa Weston

Youngstown State University is evolving to meet the needs of students and food trends by adding plant-based menu items to restaurants on campus.

A vegetarian diet eliminates meat and a vegan diet is fully plant-based, eliminating all animal products such as meat, dairy, eggs, honey and gelatin.

According to Forbes, 2017 sales of plant-based food in the United States went up by 8.1 percent topping $3.1 billion. These numbers were estimated in research carried out by Nielsen for the Plant Based Foods Association and the Good Food Institute

Emma Linnen, a sophomore anthropology major, has been vegan for one year and said she doesn’t have any plans to go back to her previous diet.

Linnen credits the book “Mainstreet Vegan” by Victoria Moran for her decision to adopt the plant-based diet.

She said, in her opinion, there isn’t much variety for vegan options on campus.

“A Chinese or Vietnamese restaurant on campus would be ideal,” she said.

Linnen has advice for people looking to adopt a vegan diet.

“Do your research. There are so many blogs, podcasts, and people around you just waiting to be listened to. There are many reasons to go vegan and a curiosity is all it takes to find the right one,” she said.

Eric Finkelstein, a senior music education major, has been vegetarian since August 2017.

A mixture of things influenced Finkelstein’s decision to become vegetarian.

“Over the years, I’d always thought about it and how screwed up the meat industry is and how there isn’t much I could really do about it other than protest it as of right now,” he said.

Finkelstein said the internet played a role in why he is a vegetarian

“I was definitely made more aware of it via the internet and the media. I think that it’s hard to say whether or not I would be vegetarian had it not been for the internet,” he said.

Finkelstein said he is typically able to find at least one or two options to eat at most eateries on campus.

Susan Payton, an instructor in the human ecology department, has been a vegetarian for over 40 years and runs Cultivate: a co-op café in Youngstown, which offers many vegetarian options.

Payton said the topic of veganism and vegetarianism come up in both groups of students she teaches, Hospitality Management and Food and Nutrition.

“For the Hospitality students, we often discuss the necessity for the inclusion of dietary concerns on menus. There is a growing trend within the industry to increase the amount of vegetarian options on menus,” she said.

Payton said vegetarian restaurants are growing and many local vegetarian restaurants claim their customers are mostly non-vegetarians looking for a healthier option.

“As our society becomes more educated, healthful choices are becoming in greater demand,” she said. “Vegetarians should be able to walk into any restaurant and find options that suit their needs.”

Payton said her Food and Nutrition students often discuss the nutritional needs of vegetarians and debunk common myths associated with the diet, such as not being able to get enough protein.

“Typically, many will just jump on the trend without having any knowledge of how to incorporate the proper foods to maintain health. This group of new vegetarians are those at risk for deficiencies,” she said.

Payton said she would encourage students curious about plant-based diets to find a few cookbooks to help meal plan. She also stressed the importance of understanding fundamentals of good nutrition before trying to become vegetarian or vegan.

“Most people stop eating meat and begin consuming too many simple carbs. There is a lot of uncertainty as to what to eat. Part of the problem is that vegetables have always been thought of as a side-dish to the meat entrée,” she said. “Be adventurous. There are so many vegetarian foods that are fabulous. Experiment with ethnic foods, but put in the research.

For a list of vegan options at Youngstown State University go to

Vegan Options on Youngstown State University’s Campus. All menu items are subject to change. Always double check with the restaurant employees if clarification about a menu item is needed.


  • Marinara pasta
    • Toppings include:
      • Mushrooms, broccoli, banana peppers and zucchini
  • Variety of potato chips


  • Sabra hummus and pretzels
  • Apple
  • Vegetarian quesadilla without cheese
  • Bread pizza without cheese
  • Spinach and feta pita without feta


  • Side salad without cheese
  • Any entrée salad without chicken or cheese
  • Cool wrap without chicken or cheese
  • Fruit cup
  • Waffle potato fries

* check with a Chick Fil A employee to see which dressings and sauces are vegan


  • Salad, wrap, or grain bowl
    • With these toppings:
      • Romaine, iceberg, spring mix, tofu, jasmine rice, brown rice, quinoa, garbanzo beans and black beans
  • Southwest salad or wrap without chicken and ranch dressing
  • Greek salad or wrap without feta cheese
  • Northeastern without chicken and feta

* Check with a Chop’d & Wrap’d employee which dressings and sauces are vegan


  • Banana
  • Apple
  • Lay’s Classic potato chips
  • Swedish Fish
  • Sour Patch Kids
  • Hot Tamales
  • Doritos Sweet and Spicy
  • Clif Bars
  • Belvita Breakfast Biscuits
  • Garden salad
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwich
  • Fruit cups
  • Sabra hummus and pretzels



  • Bagels: cinnamon raisin, cinnamon raisin bagel twist, everything, garlic, onion, plain, poppy seed, salt, and sesame
  • Hash browns
  • English muffin
  • French roll
  • Pretzel twist


  • Coffee (in blueberry, caramel, cinnamon, hazelnut, mocha, peppermint, raspberry, and toasted almond flavors)
  • Espresso
  • Turbo Shot

* All coffee and tea drinks can be made with nondairy milk. Ask your barista for which options they carry and skip the whipped cream


  • Flour tortilla
  • Hard tacos
  • Nacho chips
  • Salsas
  • Pico, corn, verde, wild
  • White rice
  • Brown rice
  • Black beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Banana peppers
  • Jalapeños
  • Onions
  • Fajitas
  • Veggies
  • Lettuce
    • Sauces include:
  • Sweet habanero, Louisiana green, Louisiana red, Tabasco, chipotle, Louisiana horseradish, Cholula, hot sauce, extreme habanero, straight habanero
  • Guacamole (receive free guacamole when you order a veggie bowl or burrito)


  • Hot chips without dipping sauce
  • All salads can be made vegan by eliminating the meat, cheese, and/or egg
    • Check with your server to see which dressings are vegan-friendly
  • Margherita flatbread without cheese
  • Mediterranean flatbread without chicken and cheese
  • Spinach/tomato flatbread without cheese
  • Veggie flatbread without cheese
  • Spinach pizza without cheese
  • Veggie pizza without cheese
  • Cheese sub without cheese
  • Grilled vegetables

Ask your server if the veggies are made with butter


  •  All-fruit smoothies
  • Fruit & veggie smoothies
  • Steel-cut oatmeal

*Ask Jamba Juice employees for help veganizing a smoothie, most of its blends can be made vegan with replacement of soy protein or almond milk


  • Gourmet Vegetarian Unwich without cheese and mayo
  • Vegetarian Unwich without cheese and mayo
  • Sandwich toppings include:
    • alfalfa sprouts, celery, hot peppers, lettuce, lettuce Wrap, onion, sliced cucumber, tomato, condiments, avocado spread, Italian vinaigrette, oil & vinegar


  • Greek salad
  • Garden salad
  • Vegan snack box
  • Apple
  • Banana
  • Fruit cup
  • Sabra hummus and pretzels
  • Peanut butter and jelly
  • Airheads
  • Clif bars
  • Lays salt and vinegar chips
  • Doritos spicy sweet chili


  • MVR hot chips without dipping sauce
  • Side of penne, spaghetti, or angel hair pasta

* Check with your server to see if marinara sauce is cooked in the same pot as the meatballs

  • Fries side
  • Build your own pizza without cheese or meat
    • pizza toppings include:
    • hot peppers, banana peppers, spinach, sauteed onions, mushrooms, green peppers, roasted red peppers, broccoli, portabellas, and potatoes
  • All salads can be made vegan by eliminating the meat, cheese, and/or egg

*Check with your server to see which dressings are vegan-friendly


  • Oatmeal
  • Toast and jelly
  • Avo toast
  • Roasted veggie panini or wrap without feta
  • Hummus veggie wrap no feta
  • The standard salad
  • Greek salad no feta
  • Asian salad
  • Apple pecan and feta salad without  candied pecans or feta
  • Hummus with veggies or pita
  • Chips

* All coffee and tea drinks can be made with non dairy milk. Ask your barista for which options they carry and to leave out the whipped cream


  • House salad without cheese
  • Vegan pizza


  • Cranberry pecan toast and variety of toppings (check with your barista which toppings are vegan)
  • Oatmeal

* All coffee and tea drinks can be made with non dairy milk. Ask your barista for which options they carry and to leave out the whipped cream


Breads include:

  • Hearty Italian, Italian, sourdough

Toppings include:

  • Shredded lettuce, tomatoes, green peppers, red onions, cucumbers, spinach, olives, pickles, jalapeños, add guac or avocado (yes, it costs extra!)

Sauces include:

  • Yellow mustard, deli brown mustard, oil, vinegar and vinaigrette, sweet onion sauce, fat-free Italian dressing, buffalo sauce
  • Apple slices
  • Lay’s Classic potato chips
  • Oven Baked Lay’s
  • SunChips Original


  • Veggie mashup burger or burrito
  • French fries
  • Sweet potato fries
  • Potato rounds


  • Fries
  • Garden salad
  • Baked potato with chives
  • Apple slices
  • Salad dressings(light spicy Asian chili vinaigrette, pomegranate vinaigrette, light balsamic vinaigrette)

*salads can be ordered with no meat or cheese. Ask employees if the nuts are coated in butter


  • Garden salad
  • Sabra hummus and pretzels
  • Ruffles original
  • Lays salt and vinegar
  • Clif bars