At Mean Greens Café, a dining hall at the University of North Texas, students will find a fried rice bar, a Vietnamese pho station, and a Mediterranean grill. But they will not find any meat or dairy products. Mean Greens Café is entirely vegan.
Chef Cristopher Williams is the café’s general manager. He hopes to persuade diners that plant-based meals can be interesting and delicious.
Williams: “I love the challenge of the meat-eater who comes and says, ‘Well, I can’t eat that because it’s vegan.’”
He lures people to the café with dishes like crispy eggplant Parmesan, carrot and pumpkin souffle, and red curry and spring pea tofu.
Williams: “If we always remember to build flavor and flavor things, then it makes it a lot easier to transition to some of these things, like tofu or tempeh or things you’re just not used to.”
Eating more vegan and vegetarian meals can benefit the climate. Producing plant-based foods creates less carbon pollution than producing meat and dairy products.
Williams: “And so when people eat with us, we try to explain to them how good veggies can be, how easy they can be.”
Williams hopes that by providing delicious, flavorful vegan dishes, he can encourage meat eaters to choose plant-based meals more often.
Reporting credit: Shannon Young / ChavoBart Digital Media