A guide to eating vegan on The Hill

Salads are a feels bad man.

So you've decided to go vegan for one reason or another. Congrats! Along with getting tons of questions about where you'll get your protein or if you would eat meat on a desert island, you get to navigate your way through UCLA dining. But fear not, my fellow herbivore, for I, a ~Seasoned Vegan™~ am here to teach you the ins and outs of veganism on The Hill.

Rule #1: ALWAYS check the menus online.

All dining on The Hill has menus you can check online beforehand. They all signify if something is vegan, and you can even click on a food item to see its ingredients.

Rule #2: BPlate is your best friend.

I hear so many people trashing BPlate, but honestly? It isn't warranted because BPlate is actually super accommodating for dietary restrictions. Not only do they have Meatless Mondays (sometimes with two vegan bowls, littyyyyy), but they always at least have grains, vegetables, and tofu you can eat in the case they don't serve a specifically vegan dish. Some of my favorite items include the tomato and basil soup; the cauliflower; the kale; the potato, kale, and bean bowl (bless); the vegan brownies; and the vegan tiramisu.

Me, loving BPlate as always.

Rule #3: Always get "Build-Your-Own" things from to-go restaurants.

If you're on a time crunch, always always always go for the "Build your own" option. At The Study, you can customize a vegan sandwich, sausage, salad, or pizza. At Rende, you can make a veggie burrito bowl vegan by just omitting cheese and sour cream or go for the eggplant tofu and rice. At BCaf, get breakfast bowl with a rice, beans, veggies, no cheese, and salsa (they even give you the option of adding a veggie patty) or a Build-Your-Own smoothie (they're a God sent).

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I promise my sandwich was delicious even though the balsamic reduction makes it look like a hot vegan mess.

Rule #4: Ask for almond or soy milk.

When getting a coffee at 11 pm the night before your midterm, always ask for soy or almond milk instead of dairy milk (they won't charge extra on your Easy Pay). Just make sure you don't put your drink next to your friend's and mistakenly take a sip of their coffee with cow's milk (speaking from experience here).

Rule #5: Sometimes you gotta get creative.

Like hella creative. For example, because weekend brunch is pretty limited on vegan options, I always ask for a plate of potatoes. I add beans, corn, carrots, etc. from the salad bar and some salsa from the egg station. Sometimes, I'll even get in the omelette bar line and ask for sauteed vegetables.

A creative brunch with a bowl of beans, potatoes, and salsa, a bagel with hummus and spinach, tomato and wild rice soup, and pineapple.

Bonus Tips:

-De Neve Late Nite has vegan cheese for pizza and vegan chicken tenders. Ask for it with the regular fries. You're welcome.

-BPlate Gran-n-Go's Peanut Butter and Oat Smoothie tastes like it was made by Jesus himself.

-BPlate also has vegan brownies typically on Sunday brunch, but get them early because even the omnivores eat them.

-Cafe 1919 and BCaf both have vegan cookies. At BCaf, get it with a coffee, and at Cafe 1919, ask for it with the coconut sorbet.