Vegetarian Action

The Vegetarian Asian Kitchen

When dietetic intern Julia Driggers was told to create an entire cafeteria meal based on a particular theme during her food service rotation, she knew exactly what she was going to do - a vegetarian feast. Being a dietetic intern working mainly in a clinical setting, she was thrilled to hear that she had a chance to promote something she really cared about. "Being a dietitian, you sometimes have to put your personal beliefs behind you," she said. "This project gave me the opportunity to promote vegetarianism and show others that eating vegetarian can be rewarding and delicious."

For her theme, Julia chose "The Vegetarian Asian Kitchen: A Taste of the East." Her menu included Vegetable Asian Soup, Falafel Sandwiches, Pad Thai with Tofu, Fried Banana Cake, and a complete vegetarian salad bar. She also created an original recipe, fried bananas, using pancake batter as the breading.

In addition to cooking and collaborating in the kitchen, Julia decorated the cafeteria with Asian influences and developed posters focusing on each of her featured entrées. She told the history of falafel and tofu and explained how to use them in everyday cooking. More than 300 vegetarian meals were served.

Julia also set up her own vegetarian booth and handed out VRG materials. She created a poster board outlining the benefits of going vegetarian and answered the patrons’ questions. "I received a lot of positive feedback from the customers, and I really feel I influenced my food service managers to offer more vegetarian options."

Furthermore, Julia conducted a cafeteria "Vegetarian Preference" survey where she asked customers what types of vegetarian foods they would like to see offered. She presented this information to the food service managers to help influence their menu planning and product purchasing for the cafeteria.

After graduation from her dietetic internship, Julia wants to continue promoting vegetarianism, no matter how big or small the challenge may be.

Julia's Fried Bananas

(Serves 6)

  • 1 banana
  • 1¼ cups vanilla soymilk
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 6 ripe medium bananas, not peeled
  • Vegetable oil for deep frying
  • Vegan sugar and cinnamon to garnish

In large bowl, mash one banana. Then, stir in soymilk and maple syrup.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Add the banana mixture and stir until smooth. Take unpeeled bananas and dip into batter until coated. Set aside on parchment paper.

Heat oil for deep-frying to 350 degrees and fry the bananas a few at a time until crisp and golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on top as desired. Serve hot.

Total calories per serving: 295 Fat: 9 grams
Carbohydrates: 53 grams Protein: 5 grams
Sodium: 240 milligrams Fiber: 6 grams