Senior Alana Williams glances around the lunchroom toward the various lines and notices that she has a problem. Even amongst the many lunch line options such as the daily specials, snack bar, and the quest for life line (also known as the healthy line), she has few foods to choose from. This is because Williams is a vegan.
“Hinsdale Central certainly has some vegetarian options, but since I’m a vegan I have less of these available to me,” Williams said.
Realizing her limited options, Williams, a member of Central’s vegetarian club, decided to push for more vegetarian and vegan options in the lunchroom.
“I wanted to get black bean burgers in the lunch room because I think a plant-based diet is healthier and should be represented in the healthy line in the cafeteria. I also wanted another vegetarian option for myself and my vegetarian friends,” Williams said.
Last Friday was the first day that the vegetarian black bean burgers were served alongside beef burgers in the quest for life line. According to Elizabeth Kujawa, Quest Food Services director, four students pre-ordered the burgers through email and a total of eight burgers were sold. Those that tried the vegetarian burgers enjoyed them.
“It was surprisingly good. Compared to an ordinary burger, texture-wise, it was pretty different, but taste-wise, it was fantastic. Given the opportunity to take this over the normal burger, I’d choose this one every time,” said Naveen Balaji, senior.
In order to get the black bean burgers in the lunch line, Williams worked with Kujawa and vegetarian club in developing a recipe and getting it approved.
“[Kujawa] brought samples of the black bean burger and a veggie hummus wrap for [vegetarian club] to try. They wanted our honest feedback and we told them everything tasted great. From there we had to wait a while for everything to get approved,” Williams said.
“I’m always looking through recipe books. We have a recipe in place, but we kind of played around with it a little bit and adjusted some of the ingredients,” Kujawa said.
Black bean burgers will now be a regular staple in the Quest for Life line on Fridays and Williams hopes that it will open more peoples’ eyes to the benefits of vegetarianism.
“If this is my little legacy left on Hinsdale Central, then I’m happy with that,” Williams said.