Minus 8 gains meatless meat alternatives

Dining services hopes to increase dining options for students with food allergies and dietary restrictions

Meatless shrimp held in chop sticks over a plate of food.
Tossed in Teriyaki and nestled on a bed of mixed vegetables and bamboo is just one of the many ways to enjoy the new plant-based shrimp available at The Rock. Photo by: Angie Rosenthal | Torch Photographer

Students now have the option to enjoy vegetarian meat options at the Minus 8 station within the Rock Café. 

The station is offering vegetarian shrimp and ground meat to be used in a stir fry at Minus 8, or cooked by itself and used at other stations in the Rock. This addition comes after the Minus 8 station had been closed during the Fall 2021 semester.  

“The addition of plant-based meats opens up the protein selections for students with allergies and vegetarian/plant-based diets,” Camille Lang, the dietary nutritionist at Ferris, said. “The meatless shrimp is specifically a great way to bring ‘seafood’ to the station without introducing the shellfish allergen.” 

The vegetarian shrimp is made primarily with mung bean protein. One ounce of plant-based shrimp contains 30 calories and 1.9 grams of protein. It’s also made with sunflower oil, modified potato starch and hydrogenated vegetable oil. For comparison, one ounce of regular shrimp contains 28 calories and 6.8 grams of protein, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

The vegetarian ground meat is made from pea protein. Pea protein has been used in vegan meat options, such as the Beyond Burger, in recent years. The ground meat did not have nutritional information available on the Dining Services’ website. 

According to Lang, students and staff who have tried the vegetarian meat options have enjoyed both the flavor and texture of the “meats.”  

“We have received positive feedback from students and staff alike that they are generally satisfied and excited to see Dining Services offering more plant-based options,” Lang explained. “They are a great addition to any stir fry at Minus 8 and can even be cooked by themselves and used at another station, such as the pasta, salad, taco and deli stations, to create a variety of vegetarian and vegan friendly meals from other stations as well.” 

Both the Rock and the Quad Café are interested in expanding their plant-based options to provide more selections for students with food allergies and those who are vegan or vegetarian. Ferris’ Dining Services encourages students with feedback to reach out and provide suggestions for new menu items they would like to see.