Veg Out: The Best Vegetarian and Vegan Food at State College

This one is for any plant-based or vegetarian Penn Staters who often find themselves struggling to find food on campus or downtown.

Imagine this. You plan to go to lunch with your friends. They choose a restaurant that you know does not offer anything you would eat other than a salad. Panic sets in, but you decide to accept for fear of feeling annoyed.

It is frustrating to have to order the same salad as your meal when eating out. Unfortunately, many restaurants in downtown State College or on campus offer little to no vegetarian or vegan options.

In a neighborhood filled with young people like State College, sustainable eating is becoming increasingly popular with growing awareness of our looming climate crisis. Choosing to eat vegetarian, vegan, or pescatarian even just a few days a week is an easy way to reduce your environmental footprint and show some love to our planet.

Here’s your guide to some of the downtown and campus restaurants that offer the best plant-based foods:

Irving

Is anyone really surprised that Irving is the first? For vegetarians, the Very Veggie Wrap, Crunchy Peanut Butter and Banana Wrap, Grilled Cheese, and Grilled Portobello Sandwich are some amazing options.

Granted, Irving’s might be better for those on a vegetarian diet – the options for vegans only include a few bagels (a shocking find to me, actually), oatmeal with plant-based milk, the salad of spicy Thai noodles and most smoothies. My favorite smoothie is “Going Green”. I even managed to perfect the recipe from home once.

If you’re an oat milk fan like me, you know how hard it is to find it. Fortunately, Irving’s has it, along with several other non-dairy milk options.

Green bowl

Green bowl is honestly the holy grail of downtown State College vegetarian restaurants. Guests can create their own Asian-style bowl, choosing from the type of noodles, protein (tofu included!), Vegetables, and gravy.

It’s also at will, so you can fill your bowl as many times as you want on a budget. You can really customize everything, so it’s great for those who go on a plant-based diet.

Playa Bowls State College

Playa Bowls certainly has no shortage of plant-based options, offering everything from health shots and juices to açaí bowls and smoothies. It’s a great place to have a nutrient-dense breakfast or mid-day snack.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to personalizing your bowl. You can really customize it and adjust the toppings to suit your needs. Several delivery services are also offered, so you don’t need to prepare for a snowstorm to get it.

Pho 11

As far as I know, Pho 11 is the only true pho seal in the area. You can choose tofu for virtually any dish, so you never feel like you’re “substituting” for protein. The menu is very extensive, so you can go there every week and try a new flavor. Plus, there are still a lot of people in the area who haven’t ordered food from here, so it’s also a fun new dish to present to your friends.

Cozy Thai bistro

Comfortable thai is one of the more accommodating restaurants for vegans and vegetarians at State College. There are so many plant-based options, and almost every menu item can be changed to be vegan or vegetarian.

Cozy Thai holds a special place in my heart as a Thai food fanatic. Employees are so attentive to dietary needs, and although meals inside are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, you can still order for pickup.

Custom Snap Pizza

Instant pizza is a great classic. Everyone knows it, and most people love it. What’s great about Snap is that it offers vegetarian and vegan pizzas, salads, and cereal bowls.

The pizzas are customizable by crust, sauce and toppings. Cauliflower and gluten-free rinds are offered for people with allergies or a preference for a vegetable paste. Vegan cheese comes for a fee, and it also has an impressive array of veggies.

Salads and bowls aren’t as convenient for vegetarians and vegans as most of them contain chicken and cheese, but it’s an easy fix if you ask for it without.

The HUB

You just finished class and you’re starving. You don’t have enough time to get back to your dorm or apartment, so you decide to kill the time at the HUB.

HUB Dinner isn’t very impressive in terms of vegetarian and vegan options, but they are there. Jamba Juice offers açaí bowls, smoothies and healthy shots, Soup & Garden offers make-your-own salads, and Starbucks offers baked goods and egg bites for vegetarians.

Sower’s Harvest Coffee

Sowers is the place to go for quality, local and ethical food. It’s extremely accommodating for any dietary needs or restrictions and makes it clear which options are vegetarian and gluten-free and others that can easily be made dairy-free. The vegetarian pesto omelet is super filling and the grillatillas are delicious.

Pita hut

Smoothies and salads can get boring quickly. Pita Cabana is a great vegetarian place to order when you want a Middle Eastern Mediterranean flavor. It’s a local Lebanese restaurant and it gives off chipotle-esque vibes. There are so many options to choose from, but it never hurts to stick to classics like falafel.

Roots

How could I leave this one aside? With Snap, Roots has to be one of the most popular places in the city center. An added bonus is that it has an incredibly healthy, delicious, and mostly plant-based menu.

Roots offers a wide selection of various plant proteins such as beans, tofu, nuts and other vegetables. The combinations of bowls are endless. It is the place for those who like to eat herbal in State College.


Eating plant-based is easy when you have delicious, accessible, and nutritious options. Vegetate for a more sustainable lifestyle and try these ideas!

Lauren is a junior advertising writer in Fort Myers, Florida. She is Floridian but, deep down, Pennsylvanian. Her funny fact is that she lived in Barcelona, ​​Spain. She is passionate about dogs, food, the Oxford comma and, most importantly, everything Penn State has to offer. Feel free to send him your best dog videos on Twitter @laurenwysseier or by email [email protected] with other requests.


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Tanya S. Norvell