Dining halls feature several vegan and vegetarian dishes this year
The aroma of pumpkin muffins, minted green risotto and minestrone au potiron greeted students in dining halls last Wednesday as chefs cooked these dishes for the “Recipes from Home” event.
Wellesley Fresh received about 30 recipes from both students and parents for the event this year. According to Cherie Tyger, food service director at AVI Foodsystems, Wellesley Fresh tries to make every suggestion they receive from students. They received recipes for all types of dishes from entrees to salads to soups. The number of recipe submissions fluctuate from year to year, so the dining halls may offer the same menu if there are a limited number of submissions.
Dishes that appeared in multiple dining halls last Wednesday included Sheridan’s Salad submitted by Sheridan McKisick ’15 and three entrees from Ilana Meeker ’17: curried kale and chickpeas, polenta with asparagus and chickpeas and spaghetti squash.
Sheridan’s Salad consisted of a rich mix of green beans, sweet and black-eyed peas, corn, pimento peppers, celery, green peppers and celery, drizzled with a simple dressing of white vinegar, sugar, salt and vegetable oil.
All five dining halls on campus served her salad for the night. McKisick thought the Bae Pao Lu Chow dining hall, where she ate that night recreated the recipe well. Stone-Davis also recreated the recipe. Her mother makes the salad every few months, and they’ve had the recipe in their family since she was born.
All three of Meeker’s recipes consisted of large amounts of garlic and chickpeas, her two favorite ingredients. Meeker was impressed with the kale and chickpea dish served at the Stone-Davis and Bae Pao Lu Chow dining halls and noticed how much other students enjoyed it.
Unfortunately, because she maintains a vegan diet, Meeker wasn’t able to eat her own suggested dish because the chef at Bae Pao Lu Chow diverted from the recipe by adding heavy cream. She thought that the other two dishes, polenta with asparagus and chickpeas and spaghetti squash, were too watery. The spaghetti squash turned into a soup rather than spaghetti. Pomeroy served the polenta dish, while the spaghetti squash appeared in Pomeroy and Tower.
Nevertheless, Meeker used to cook these dishes at home every week or so and really appreciated that the dining halls offered them.
“I come from a long line of home chefs, and it seems that the gene has gotten passed down to me. I love cooking gluten-free, vegan and clean meals — meaning none of them have any processed ingredients,” Meeker said.
Lia’s walnut burgers also appeared in Pomeroy with Meeker’s vegan dishes. Emily Neel’s family found a recipe for the perfect homemade veggie burger online for Neel’s vegetarian sister. The other recipes they tried lacked in flavor and consistency. Neel thought the flavor and texture of the walnut burger was probably a struggle for the dining halls to replicate.
“I think they did the best they could for providing it to a large mass of people, but at home I really enjoy thinner patties with lots of garlic and larger cheese and walnut chunks,” Neel said,
Zoe Peeler ’17 had a pleasant surprise when she learned that her mother had submitted a recipe for one of her favorite soups: fire-roasted tomato bisque. She thought the dining hall achieved the same taste of the delicious bisque her mother cooks back home. The bisque appeared in every dining hall except for Bae Pao Lu Chow.
“My mom has been using the recipe for a few years now — it was an instant success when she first made it, and she’s made it at least once or twice for me every time I travel back home,” Peeler said.
Some of these students may see their recipes appear in the dining halls again very soon. Wellesley Fresh integrates recipes that receive particularly positive feedback from the student body into future menus.
“I always like to say that we have an interactive dining program and I am really proud to be a part of it. The feedback we receive is invaluable and it is how we create and shape our dining program,” Tyger said. “The ‘Recipes from Home’ event is no different.”
Wellesley Fresh is currently still planning its winter menu, so Tyger cannot say which recipes they will feature again.
“I can, however, guarantee that you will definitely see some of these recipes on the winter menus,” Tyger said.
They plan on bringing the event back in the spring semester due to its popularity and are advertising for more recipe submissions. Students and parents who would like to see a favorite home-cooked dish on campus should submit their recipes to www.wellesleyfresh.com/recipes-from-home.html.
Photo by Soojin Jeong ’17, Photography Editor