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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Mistry Has Vegetarian Visions





The Dining Hall offers a wealth of delicious dishes. For vegetarians, however, there are naturally fewer pre-made dishes. If the many vegetarian options are not striking your fancy and you aren’t quite ready to become a carnivore, you still have a wealth of options if you think creatively. I’ll walk you through a few simple techniques for cooking and spicing the provided vegetables, and also show you a few simple dishes.

Sometimes raw vegetables will do the trick, but other times you want some freshly cooked vegetables. My two favorite tricks for getting freshly cooked vegetables are having them sautéed by the pasta station or steaming them in the microwave. For sautéed vegetables, load up a bowl of your favorites from either the salad bar or the vegan area and take them over to the pasta station. Simply ask them to cook the vegetables and you’ve got yourself a handpicked vegetable medley. There is no rule that says you need to add pasta or marinara sauce at the pasta station. If you want to add some great flavor to your sautéed vegetables, add some seasoning from the spice rack (by the microwave) to your bowl of veggies before you take them over to the pasta station. My personal favorite combination (for now) is broccoli, edamame, carrots and green peppers with some rosemary, Italian seasonings and seasoned salt. Steaming is a little more labor-intensive on your part, but can be quicker if the pasta station line is long. Grab your vegetables of choice, throw them in a bowl with about a quarter to half an inch of water, place them in the microwave with a plate over the bowl and microwave for about one to two minutes. Be extremely careful while taking out your microwaved goodies, as they will be quite hot and steamed to perfection. With your new cooking skills under control, try making some fresh new dishes.

This week’s dishes include a spinach-centric spread, a few terrific takes on the classic rice and bean bowl and supremely scrumptious fried rice. Spinach spread is an incredibly versatile dish. Not only does it augment sandwiches or pastas, but also doubles as a dip with pita chips or vegetables. Simply begin by grabbing a large stir-fry bowl, adding a dollop of cream cheese, a smattering of Parmesan cheese, black pepper and Italian seasonings located by the pizza station and microwave the bowl for about 20 seconds. Stir up the mixture, grab enough spinach to fill your bowl, place it on your tray and hand-shred the spinach into the still-hot mixture. Once mixed, add a small helping of shredded mozzarella and a splash of balsamic vinegar to it. Microwave for about 20 to 30 seconds and enjoy! The dish contains plentiful amounts of nutritious spinach and is a phenomenal add-on to any meal.

Another staple dish that can see a huge benefit from some creativity is the common rice and bean bowl. We’ll talk through a Cajun version first. The best place to begin to build these bowls is definitely the vegan bar, where rice and beans are constantly available. Start by filling a bowl with rice. For the Cajun version, add some kidney beans, black beans, and head over to the spice rack. Add the Cajun seasoning and touches of sage, thyme, parsley, garlic powder and chili powder to your taste preference. Stir it up, microwave and enjoy! For a Tex-Mex version, start with rice and add black beans, then head over to the salad bar and augment your bowl with green peppers and onions. Saunter over to the spice rack and add the Taco spice mix, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder and black pepper.

Making fantastic fried rice is incredibly simple. Grab the usual bowl of rice, and add edamame, carrots and any other veggies you fancy. To boost the flavor profile from dull to delectable, use a decent amount of soy sauce and the superlative Sriracha. With this phenomenal mix made up, either microwave until it is hot or have the pasta station fry it up for you. Either way, you’re a winner.

Excellent eating in the Dining Hall is easy, especially if you apply some creativity and effort to your dishes. They do a great job of stocking the vegan and salad bars with a variety of excellent raw ingredients, and the spice rack is superb. Go crazy and make some delectable dishes. You stay classy, Grinnell.

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