On Tuesday, October 27, 2015, Cornell kicked off Food Days with “A Greener Dinner” at Okenshields, offering not only a plant-centric feast, but food items that are also sustainable and locally sourced.
Walking around Okenshields, I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of items and cuisines offered. On top of the usual Mesculun Bar, Asian and Dessert sections, there was also a Harvest Bar, a Mediterranean Bar, a Main Street station, and a Soup section.
I started off at the Harvest Bar which featured various types of salads, fruit and yogurt. There were also dried fruits such as apricot and dates, something that we definitely do not see in the dining hall on a regular basis. My favorite here was the Farmer’s Market Quinoa Salad composed of quinoa, tomato, cucumbers, bell peppers, cilantro and pistachios. I like the textural crunch that the vegetables and pistachio provided, as well as the bright, earthy notes that the cilantro provided.
Next, I moved on to the Mediterranean Bar to get my fix of pita bread and dips. In addition to the regular Hummus, there was also Roasted Carrot Hummus with Dukka Spice Oil and Baba Ghanouj, a dip made up off cooked eggplant, onions, tomatoes, olive oil and various seasonings. There was also Grape Leaves with Bulgur and Mint that you can fill your pita bread with.
On to the Main Street station, mains offered included Indian Chana Masaledar, Alook Palak, and Caramelized Cumin-Roasted Carrots. There was also Vegetable Spring Rolls, Egg Fried Rice, and Stir Fry Tofu and Kale in the Asian section. Soups included Buddha’s Delight, African Curried Coconut Soup with Chickpea, and Roasted Butternut Squash Bisque.
Last but not least, what better way is there to end a Green meal with fresh Strawberries from the Dessert Bar? With the strawberry season coming to a near end, take advantage of these good-looking strawberries – deep red color, shiny, firm and plum with intact green stem. If you’re looking for some variation to your regular strawberries, enjoy them with some Cardamom-Infused Cream or crushed Pistachios. Vegan Ice Cream was also served.
Many of these dishes featured strong spices such as coriander, nutmeg and cinnamon. While these spices may require an acquired taste, adding spices to food is an exciting, inexpensive and nutritious way to add color and flavor without the calories.
Other Cornell Food Day events included Scary Ugly Foods and Cook Smart with Anabel’s Grocery. Be sure to check them out to learn how you can aim towards a greener diet for better health and sustainability!