The vegan bar had just been vaguely sitting there at the beginning of the year, barely worth a glance as I walked to the main dining area. Now, I’m addicted.

Unfortunately, an automatic knowledge of how to navigate the intricacies of the oh-so-intimidating vegan bar was not bestowed upon me at my first wander over to the station. I almost bowed out before even being able to give it a try.

From watching vegan bar veterans order, I put bits and pieces together until I had enough knowledge to put together bowls I loved. Fortunately for you, I can now pass on my knowledge so you too can try it out for yourself.

1. Get in line

Vegan Bar

Photo by Alyssa Perkins

No, seriously. Don’t glance around unsure because you’re not some vegan extraordinaire. The vegan bar is for everyone. Trust me, if I managed to figure it out, so can you.

2. Look at (and choose) your veggies

Vegan Bar

Photo by Alyssa Perkins

Arguably the easiest part of the process, the vegetables are on display for you to see. You know what you like, so go with that. Don’t be afraid to try new things either. (Why not give the tofu a try?)

#SpoonTip: You can actually get veggies from the salad bar, put them on a plate and bring them to the vegan bar to be thrown in your mix. 

3. Be patient

GIF courtesy of

Likely, the Sodexo cook is overwhelmed with students and underwhelmed with appreciation from their hard work. Don’t interrupt them when they’re dealing with other students, and try to ask for what you want all at once.

4. Choose your sauces (and spices)

Vegan Bar

Photo courtesy of @tedeytan on

The most nerve-wrecking part, because you really, being a first-timer, don’t know how it will taste. And you probably don’t know your options either. That’s what I’m here for.


– Oil is a classic with little added taste.

– Soy Sauce is a salty sauce that works well with almost everything. (Personal Fave)

– Veg Base has a very light flavor and is the tiniest bit salty. (To be honest, I’m not sure what this is, and neither was the Sodexo cook. According to Google, it’s some version of this.)

– Sweet and Sour tastes pretty much like the name suggests.

-Chili Sauce has a hot chili flavor.

-Sriracha (pictured above) is kind of like a spicy ketchup.


Hidden away, but they exist, just ask.

– Garlic powder

– Ginger powder

– Red pepper flakes

– Salt

– Pepper

Some of these spices even contain health benefits so don’t be afraid to load up.

5. Choose your base

Vegan Bar

Photo by Alyssa Perkins

You’ve got a choice of quinoa (a complex superfood), rice, lentils, or (rice) noodles. Most all of which will soak up your sauces and have little taste of their own, so base it off your preferences and texture feels.

6. Chow down

Vegan Bar

Photo by Alyssa Perkins

The Sodexo cook hands you your completed bowl. You’ve done it, you’ve ordered from the vegan bar. That wasn’t so bad, was it? It’s actually kind of fun, experimenting with food combinations. The vegan bar isn’t just for vegans anymore.

Be sure to thank the cook before you dig in!