North Carolina State University kicked off the fall semester with several initiatives promoting plant-forward options.
The Raleigh, N.C., university has debuted Plant-Powered Mondays at its Oval Food Hall, which features a rotating menu with a variety of plant-based entrees and sides. Those plant-based dishes include stuffed shells with angry sauce, mushroom tofu cakes with red pepper, tamale pie with black bean and corn salsa, a vegan lentil shepherd’s pie and Turkish stuffed peppers.
The menu was designed by NC State chefs Chad Cliffe and Hopeton McLaren. The chefs were inspired to launch Plant-Powered Mondays due to a greater demand for plant-based options and with the importance of catering to all diets in mind, according to a statement. The chefs said they prioritized developing a menu with food that diners would find filling while still being vegetarian- and vegan- friendly.
“Plant-Powered Mondays are ultimately a step to encourage everyone to make healthy, nutritious and filling choices that meet their individual needs,” the university said in a statement.
In addition to the new plant-forward menu, NC State also recently hosted a visit from celebrity chef Dustin Harder on his Universal Meals tour, which kicked off at the university on Oct. 4. Universal Meals is a plant-based food program free of the top nine allergens, offered at no cost to colleges and universities. The Universal Meals recipes were developed by Harder in collaboration with the Culinary Institute of America and Spork Foods.
A Universal Foods dining hall pop-up featured a special menu including Cauliflower and Chickpea Masala with Brown Rice, Garlicky Sweet Potato and Kale Mash and Smokey Brussels with Shiitake Bacon. Students were also given the opportunity to meet Harder.
“The timing is perfect to take Universal Meals out on the road to engage institutions in the benefits of offering recipes for their diners that create a seat for everyone at the table,” Harder said in a statement. “It just so happens the recipes are affordable, accessible and delicious too.”