When you’re a conscious consumer, experience allergies or food sensitivities, or just curious about dairy-free and meat-free options, it can be confusing getting started in a new environment. Here are some tips to navigating the meatless corners of UM this year.
The Food Zoo labels daily dishes “V” for vegetarian and “VGN” for vegan, but a lesser-known vegan and gluten-free corner exists next to the Etcetera line. There’s a cooler filled with vegan cream cheese, sour cream, ranch and assorted plant milks. You can also ask for a black bean veggie patty at the burger grill.
The Corner Store carries vegan frozen burritos, a good choice when you’re in a hurry. The pizza vendor in the Corner Store will also make you a cheese-free pizza — their crust is vegan — and can be topped with marinara and your choice of veggies.For breakfast, look for bagels from Bagels on Broadway at locations like the Corner Store and Biz Buzz at the Business Building. Many are made without eggs or dairy. Incidentally, they are delicious. Get the everything bagel with a packet of peanut butter, or the chocolate chip bagel for your sweet tooth. And if anyone asks, you didn’t toast it in your dorm room.
Invite your friends to walk to the Hip Strip on South Higgins Avenue when you want to spend real, actual dollars at local restaurants. There are four amazing options walkable from campus, including the ever popular Bridge Pizza. Although you can’t get a prepared slice if you’re avoiding dairy, you can order your own 12-inch pie on regular crust with Follow Your Heart vegan mozzarella. Bridge will deliver to your dorm for an extra $2 (plus tip, of course). If you’re craving a late night snack, just make sure you order before 10:15 p.m.
Across from Bridge is the holy trinity of Missoula vegan treats: sorbet at Big Dipper, donuts at Veera, and waffles at Green Source. Big Dipper rotates a selection of sorbets which don’t contain any animal products. You’ve probably heard about this iconic local creamery; you’ll see people lining up for a sweet scoop in any weather.
The all-vegan bakery Veera Donuts is a recent addition to the Missoula restaurant scene, making artisan donuts, breakfast sandwiches, the occasional soup and “pop tarts” — better than the kind you can find on your grocery store shelves. Business hours are from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., but stop by earlier in the day for the best selection. If you’re feeling generous, Veera also sells half-dozens, a great way to break the ice with your awkward roommate who hasn’t spoken to you yet.
Green Source makes organic raw salads, smoothie bowls and pressed juice, but the waffles are the highlight. The basic comes with mixed berries on top, order with the vegan coconut whipped cream for an extra treat.
If you’re not up to spending real dollars but still want to venture from the Corner Store or Food Zoo, remember that Flex Dollars can be spent at the Market and Jus Chill’n in the UC. Jus Chill’n makes wonderful fruit smoothies. The cafe also carries plant milk, like most coffee shops on campus, but usually costs an extra 75 cents. Check back throughout the semester for vegan protein powder; the popular item doesn’t stay for long. The UC Market carries a large assortment of coconut yogurt, protein bars, chips, and yummy frozen meals.