By Tatiana Morand
People always ask me, “Isn’t it hard being vegetarian?” and without exaggeration, I always say no. (I also always get asked, “Do you eat salad all the time?” The answer to that is also no. Mostly I eat pasta.).
In this day and age, the wealth of vegetarian and vegan restaurants in North America, as well as the growing popularity of blogs with amazing vegetarian recipes, means that being vegetarian really isn’t difficult.
However, when I came to Dublin, I was a bit worried. It’s easy for me to find everything I need back home in Canada, but I wasn’t sure if the situation would be quite the same in Dublin.
Thankfully, though, I didn’t have to worry. There are plenty of good vegetarian options near campus and around Dublin, and it’s easy to buy the ingredients you need to make delicious meals as well.
I have to start by mentioning my absolute favourite Irish food: curry chips. (Don’t keep reading if you’re hungry.)
To the uninitiated, they are chips, or fries, covered in curry sauce. To me, curry chips are magical. They are the perfect food coming home from a night out, or coming home from class, or any time.
(A close runner-up is chips with garlic mayo and cheese. I know, I know, I’m such a gourmand.)
On a healthier note, I was lucky enough to be able to go to the World Vegetarian Day Festival on one of my first weekends in the city! My friends and I tried vegan fish and chips and vegan nachos.
(When I said “healthier” I meant “very slightly healthier”…) If you’re in Dublin in September, I would definitely recommend checking it out!
Near campus, there are also quite a few great vegetarian options that are quick and easy between classes. When I need to detox between eating curry chips, I like going to Chopped. It’s directly across from campus, and you get to pick the ingredients you want in a large salad or wrap.
My two other close-to-campus go-tos are Mama’s Revenge and KC Peaches. If you love burritos (and who doesn’t?) then check out Mama’s Revenge for a delicious and absolutely giant burrito. (There are a couple of other burrito places near campus, but Mama’s Revenge is by far my favourite.)
If you’re looking for slightly more variety, fill up a plate at KC Peaches. For a flat fee, fill up a plate with as much food as you want! They have an open buffet with several vegetarian salad and pasta options.
If you’re looking to cook vegetarian or vegan meals for yourself, I would recommend grabbing your groceries at Tesco. They sell several meat substitutes; the “meatless chicken” is my favourite.
They also sell tofu and quinoa (staples in my vegetarian diet) for a better price than you could find at some of the more “posh” grocery stores. If you can find a good Middle Eastern or Asian supermarket nearby, they’re also great resources. (I particularly love getting halloumi cheese for topping my salads.)
To find cool new recipes, I usually look at food blogs. One of my favourites is Oh She Glows, but some of the recipes can be difficult to make as a student living abroad (namely because I don’t have a blender). I would definitely recommend her Vegan Caesar Salad, though! I also love her Next-Level Vegan Enchiladas, although I use real sour cream and add cheese because I’m not vegan.
I also have a few go-to recipes that are so easy, they barely count as recipes. One of my favourites is crustless quiche: just mix eggs, milk, cheese, and whatever veggies you want in a pan and stick it in the oven! (If this wasn’t direct enough, here’s a recipe.)
Stirfrys are also classic student food: easy, cheap, and helping you use up all the food you have in the fridge. I like putting tofu and garlic in mine, and making rice or udon noodles on the side.
Finally, you can’t go wrong with pesto pasta. This is so easy that you don’t even need a recipe: just buy some pesto, some pasta of your choice, and whatever vegetables you think go well with it. Cook all of these things, and mix them all together. Tah-dah!