Veg on Campus: A Back To School Special

Deviating from our usual format, Animal Voices hosts its very first back-to-school special. On this show, we offer a grab bag of listeners’ helpful hints and ideas for new and returning students at the University of Toronto and beyond. We share recipes for quick n’ easy meals that are both affordable and healthy. We also give listeners the scoop on local animal organizations. Think of this episode as an aural Frosh pack for the veg-minded and curious.

Please see below for links and full transcripts of our listeners’ suggestions.

News articles taken from Bio Research Center’s Pakistan Wildlife News

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or download an mp3 of the show.

Janet said:

Every low-budget college student should own a crockpot. Here’s my boyfriend’s recipe for:

Easiest Black Beans Ever. Inexpensive, too! Toss all the ingredients into a crockpot, simmer on low for 24 hours or till beans are tender. No need to pre-soak the beans. Once the beans are done, they can be used in a variety of ways or in other recipes calling for cooked beans. I like to serve them over a bowlful of hot brown rice with a large dollop of Trader Joe’s guacamole salsa on top. Or, roll them up in a warm tortilla. Umm good.


16 ounce bag of dried black beans
1 large onion, chopped
1 whole head of garlic, cloves peeled and chopped
1 T red chili pepper flakes
1T salt (more or less)
8 cups water

That’s it! Serve with a simple lemon/olive-oil-dressed avocado/tomato/butter leaf lettuce salad on the side. Yum!

Tofutti Cuties for dessert. 🙂

Jess said:

If you’re living in Toronto, you’re bound to be doing some serious walking. Vegan shoes are a must!
Queen West is my favourite part of the city to find these vegan gems. First, I would recommend purchasing Toms shoes (if not for their veganness, then for the one-for-one program) because they are relatively low-priced and extremely comfortable. Heel Boy (located at 682 Queen St. West) has a wide variety for both women and men, as does Get Outside (located at 437 Queen St. West and 3456 Yonge St.). I would also suggest Simple shoes – although they do (unfortunately) offer some non-vegan shoes, they also offer many vegan ones. You can check out their vegan selection at Big Foot (located at 516 Queen St. West), Groovy (located at 323 Queen St. West) and various other locations across the city.

Jeff said:

In response to your Facebook message re the “Back to School” special, re activism and “tapping into Vegan AR communities”, I cannot suggest strongly enough the importance of identifying the real meaning of AR and Veganism if one is to represent AR correctly. By this, I mean the critical need to understand fully and embrace Abolitionist Veganism as the only meaningful and effective expression of one’s moral obligation to nonhuman animals and indeed to the cause of Animal Rights.

If an advocate learns nothing else, it is absolutely urgent and essential to not allow the New Welfarist positions of groups such as Toronto Vegetarian Association, Canadians for the Ethical Treatment of Farm Animals, Peta, HSUS, and many others to continue confusing the issue of how we use animals with the use of animals at all! These organizations DO NOT represent the Animal Rights cause. Many of them, including mass media, have co-opted and corrupted the term. All animal use constitutes slavery and exploitation. The Animal Rights cause stands for the recognition of nonhuman animals’ right to their own interests and freedom from human domination and exploitation. No amount of protest campaigning against suppliers or other users for “better” treatments will free animals from their enslavement. And nor will the suggestion that Vegetarianism is somehow a morally acceptable position. The only way animal exploitation will end is by removing demand for all of the products of animal use and exploitation. This happens instantly when one adopts a Vegan world view—and not just the diet—the unequivocal advocation of respect for nonhumans’ moral personhood.

Bottom line is, the only truly effective and productive activism is grassroots Abolitionist Vegan education. All other personal and organizational efforts fall short and are redundant as a result. As a dear Abolitionist Vegan friend recently said, “If we really respect nonhuman animals interests, we should go vegan, stay vegan and promote veganism.”

Finally the greatest resources I can recommend are the books, audio/video content, interviews, podcasts, and searchable blog essays of Professor Gary L. Francione all available at

Helen said:

Microwave… Vegan mug brownie:

Restaurant… Buddha’s (666 Dundas St. W.) is tasty and has the biggest portions for the lowest price, but cleanliness is so-so.

Eat well on a budget by… cooking lots of Ethiopian and Indian dishes and using dried legumes. Also Hot Yam has cheap, healthy, local, organic, vegan, etc. lunches on… Wednesdays?

Wish I’d known… university campuses are great places to do AR outreach, but it’s very difficult to find committed volunteers. Everybody’s busy stressing about the latest essay or exam. If you’re willing to head it up, there are lots of local veg/AR groups that would be happy to supply volunteers.

Dino said:

Daal, daal, and more daal. You set 2 cups of beans to cook over low heat for 8 hours (so turn it on before you head out for the day, and turn it off when you get back to the house. In a small pot, add a bit of oil. Let it get hot over said hot plate. Add cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and let them pop. Add a dash of turmeric, and turn off the heat. Ladle in 2 cups of the bean water into the spice mix. Drain the rest of the water from the beans, and stir through. You’re set with a lovely bean soup.

Cube up some potatoes. Toss with oil, spices (curry powder, garam masala, italian seasoning, Mrs. Dash, whateve you have), salt, a bit of chile flakes or pepper, some garlic powder (really, the sky’s the limit). Microwave in a covered dish for 7 minutes, and remove from the microwave to toss the potatoes. Cook for another 7 minutes, and you should be golden.

The same technique that I mentioned for potatoes works great for broccoli florets (about 7 minutes total cooking time), cauliflower (8 – 9 minutes), sweet potatoes (20 minutes), plantains (same as potaotes, as long as you peel off the skin), green beans (8 minutes total), cabbage (7 minutes total cooking time), collard greens (add a bit of water, and cook 6 minutes), or kale (add a bit of water, and cook 6 minutes). Your cooking times may vary, as your microwave might be different, but that’s a general guideline.

Rice cooker is your friend. They’re inexpensive, as is rice, and will provide a lovely way to bulk out any meals you’re making. If you’re really broke, and need something fast, a bowl of rice and some Indian pickles (not vinegary, but rather salty and hot spicy) will get you through in a pinch.

For salads, nothing tops the ease of cabbage and carrot salad with hummus. Chop up 1/4 head of cabbage, and grate 2 medium carrots. Toss to combine with about 1/2 cup of hummus (adjust up or down to your liking), a bit of salt, some lemon juice, and ground black pepper. Let it marinate for 5 minutes, you clear off the cuttting board and wash off the grater. Eat with bread, or by itself.

Chickpeas, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, cabbage, cilantro, and lemon juice, salt, pepper, cumin powder, are lovely together. Throw on a bit of olive oil to bring it all together nicely, or skip the oil if you’re watching your weight.

Cooked potatoes, diced beets, diced daikon or red radish, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and salt make a great filling for red leaf lettuce, romaine lettuce, or endive leaves.

Try to eat at least one servince of raw vegetables per day. It keeps the system moving with the fibre, and keeps you well stocked with vitamins and minerals. Get at least one bean dish in every day. The protein is invaluable, and beans are tasty and filling (and cheap). Oatmeal is your friend. It’s very inexpensive, and will keep you full. It’s fairly simple to cook it up in the microwave, and vary your bowl every day, with the addition of various fresh and dried fruits. I like sliced apples, cinnamon, and a bit of brown sugar. When you’re about to try a new recipe, do a quick internet search to see if someone else has tried it already, and how it came out. I’ve saved myself from multiple disasters this way.

Brandy said:

A few suggestions would be:

1. Get a Good Food Box. Cheap produce, delivered once a week to help eliminate shopping needs. Foodshare even offers one called ‘The Wellness Box’ which contains pre-cut fruit and veggie. So if kitchen space is really limited, this might be right up your alley.

2. Get a blender and make smooties. Some berries, a ripe and/or frozen banana, some juice or soy milk, and you have the beginnings of a healthy snack or even breakfast. Add some flax oil to up the healthy goodness. Adding a scoop of Vega during especially busy times helps ensure your getting the vit and minerals you need. Check out Craigslist or VV if buying one new isn’t an option.

3. Of course, go Hot Yam! on Thursdays (or whenever they are serving this year). Healthy, super cheap, and deeeelicious.

‎4. Keep whole grain bread and yummy sandwich fixins in your fridge for late night snacks. Will help prevent overindulgence in fried snacks (which are certainly not brain food!).

5. Power bars are your friend while in res or adjusting to the busy schedule of university. Cliff bars and Luna are yummy and pack an energy punch. They are all vegan as well – even the yogurt and caramel ones are totally dairy free! Keep a bunch stashed in your room and never leave home without a couple in your backpack.

Adam said:

1. If you have a fridge, prepare a couple cups of (dry) legumes and rice and stirfry a pan-full of vegetables over the weekend. Customize it with your choice of spices and herbs and pack it up in Tupperware. Beans, rice, and veggies will survive longer than a salad, cost you very little money, save you a lot of time, and can conveniently travel around with you in a backpack for when you get hungry as you’ll be able to heat it up in a microwave.

2. Likewise, make several simple sandwiches at a time and a bag of GORP to store in the refrigerator before you go to bed so you can just grab and go when you are late for classes.

3. I always have a cliffbar in my backpack as an emergency ration in case lunch isn’t enough to carry me over before dinner. They are filling and relatively good for you and will save you a lot more money than if you bought something from a cafe or fast food joint instead.

4. Carry a waterbottle on you at all times to avoid the “need” to purchase an overpriced environmental hazard called “bottled water.” On that note: never leave home without a recycled and/or reusable silverwear.

5. If you work on campus or become reliant on staff, think about sharing some vegan cookies or cupcakes with them once a semester to show you appreciate their work and that vegans taste better.

6. Don’t be afraid to talk to the head chef or purchaser of food at your cafeteria. Drop suggestions in the suggestion box as well as praise for vegan dishes that make your belly smile. If you are feeling empowered, schedule an appointment to meet with the food committee chair (if you are not the chair already) or head of the cafeteria to discuss increasing vegan options. Bring some simple and tasty recipes to request. Chances are good that you may see one of them offered within a couple weeks.

7. When at the salad bar, go for color and creativity. An otherwise boring salad suddenly becomes an art and political statement. You’d be surprised how many people will compliment you on your salad, at least I was. Vegan outreach doesn’t just take place at demos and on message boards, but in mundane interactions you have with other bipedal apes. Eating a delicious (looking) meal at a table of omnivores goes a long way in inspiring people to try more vegan food or even adopt the diet.

Catherine said:

There is a pesky little rumor out there that it is expensive to eat vegan. Tip: this is a myth. The more simple your meals, the cheaper and tastier they will become. You do not need to buy expensive meat replacers to have a hearty meal. A staple recipe in my house is Papa’s Green Bean Marinara.

Green Bean Mariniara: You can cook just about any vegetable you like in this chunky marinara. Start by sautéing garlic in olive oil, add a can or two of diced or plum tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Add green beans and cook until they are soft enough for your liking. I like to leave it for an hour on low heat. Eat with some crusty Italian bread. So simple, cheap and easy, all in one pot. Enjoy!

2 thoughts on “Veg on Campus: A Back To School Special

  1. Boil a handful of fettucine noodles. Melt about 1/3 cup of Earth Balance margarine in a pan and stir in 2-3 tablespoons nutrional yeast. Pour the nutrional yeast-margarine mix over the noodles. Throw in whatever veggies you’ve got (I like cherry tomatoes in mine) and some basil (optional). Sprinkle with salt and pepper. It’s quick, easy and delicious 🙂

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