Food Sense

How to Cook Vegan In a Dorm Room

imagePhoto: Nikki L.

I started to cook for myself in college. Though my mom tried to teach me to cook in high school, I never felt the need to cook until I missed her food. Luckily, I had a kitchen in my dorm. For our guest blogger, Rachael, cooking in college is a much greater challenge. She’s vegan, mostly gluten-free, and she doesn’t have access to a kitchen. Still, with a few handy gadgets, she does prepare simple dishes that support her diet. Read on to learn more and get recipes, and be sure to visit Rachael’s blog, Passing Daisies!

If there is one thing I’ve learned in the three weeks I’ve been at school, it is that being a gluten free (GF) vegan in college is difficult. Being vegan is not as challenging as it used to be. It is the GF aspect that makes things a bit more difficult.

Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, has really stepped up their vegan awareness this year. Our new cafeteria features an entire section dedicated to only vegan and GF foods, often featuring meals like seared tofu, roasted red pepper hummus, roasted eggplant, lentil salad, and stir fry. Although I don’t always eat GF, being able to grab a GF and vegan peanut butter cookie whenever I like is a great feeling.

Once I venture away from that special section, however, my options become a bit more limited. The list of vegan- and GF-unfriendly foods is much longer: spaghetti, burgers, chicken patties, refried beans, bagels, yogurt, deli sandwiches, pizza, and dairy-laden desserts.

Because options are minimal, it can be much easier to cook in the dorm. I keep a stockpile of food in my closets. I have a wide variety of canned vegetables, rice, GF pasta, and snacks in my room. I also have a box of sweets and treats for when my sweet tooth strikes. You might think that it would be difficult to cook in a dorm without a kitchen. But, I have a few basic kitchen gadgets that I keep stored in my dorm: a rice cooker, a Sunbeam HotShot (it makes hot water quickly – great for tea), and a hand mixer. These items are all simple to use and make cooking in a dorm easy.

A rice cooker makes the lack of a kitchen very easy to overcome because it allows me to cook a wide variety of things in a small pot. Rice cookers can cook pasta, rice, and vegetables quickly, as well as cook soups and stews in a flash. The HotShot is great for those times when I need instant food – like the infamous Ramen Noodles (vegan ones, of course!), and a hand mixer is perfect for turning a baked potato into mashed potatoes in seconds.

This week, I’m sharing a few quick and easy recipes with you that are ideal for college students low on cash, time, and groceries. Plus, they can all be made with five ingredients or less, which is ideal for students with limited storage space. They also have one thing in common: protein!

Click to get the recipes:

Banana Bowls

Open-Face PB&A Sandwich

Rice Cooker Pasta

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