May 23, 2019 | 66° F

Rutgers can now get their “health on” with Veganized


If I had a nickel for every time a friend asked me to go out to the newest seafood buffet or steakhouse, I would be rich. Sohen I saw a plain, pale pink flyer for Veganized on the F bus, I immediately whipped out my phone to google the address. I know how frustrating restaurant eating can be as a vegetarian — there aren’t a lot of options if you’re not in the mood for pizza or pasta. But eating vegan is a completely different story. That’s why restaurants like Veganized, located at 9 Spring St., are so special.

Veganized is easy to miss if you’re not looking for it. Upon entering, I was immediately approached by a waiter inviting us to go upstairs to be seated. The setup of the restaurant is quaint: the kitchen is located on the first floor and easily visible from the register with all seating upstairs.

Veganized’s menu is littered with cutesy names like “Rawzagna” and “Rawvioli.” I decided to see what the most popular item on the menu — the "Deluxe Burger" was all about. For $16, I hoped this wasn’t just your regular Wendy’s burger with fake meat, and I wasn’t disappointed.

The patty is made of lentils and mushrooms, and on top were rings of seared onions, smoked eggplant, lettuce and two tomato slices. Underneath, there were long, thinly sliced pickles — what Veganized describes as “special sauce” — all tucked inside a sweet potato bun.

Overall, the burger was delicious. The zesty “special sauce” complemented the rest of the hearty meal. Even though the burger isn’t particularly juicy, the succulent onions and tomatoes make up for it.

Why should you choose Veganized’s "Deluxe Burger" over a hamburger off of the McDonald’s Dollar Menu? It’s healthier and your heart will thank you. Despite the not particularly “college student-friendly” price, you get a lot for your money. I took home some of the burger and heated it up in the oven the next day, and it tasted just as fresh.

As a side, I had the choice of crispy fries, sweet potato wedges or a salad. I chose the fries to see how they stacked up to other fries you might get at a fast food place. Each fry had some crunch to it, but was less salty and greasy than regular fries. They tasted more like a genuine potato. Even the ketchup that was served with them tasted different from regular Heinz ketchup. It was tangy and slightly thinner.

I also tried out the "Rawzagna," Veganized’s take on lasagna. Looking at the dish, it doesn’t look anything like the traditional Italian meal. The pasta is replaced by three raw zucchini slices. Stuffed between them are nut cheese, fresh tomato slices, mushrooms and tomato sauce, topped off with pesto. While the taste was much different from classic lasagna, the dish was delicious in its own right.

The zucchini was surprisingly good as a pasta substitute. It felt smooth, fresh and less heavy than pasta. The nut cheese was also an amazing substitute for parmesan. It had a bit of a crunch to it, and added a nutty, savory taste. Don’t expect something that’ll taste exactly like lasagna, though. The "Rawzagna" is an amazing pick off Veganized’s menu. It’s original and you won’t be able to find something like it anywhere else.

The service at Veganized is impeccable. The food was served promptly, the servers are extremely friendly and well-informed about the way their food is made. When I told my server how much I was enjoying my meal, he energetically told me about the way it's made. For the record, Veganized prides itself on being totally local and natural.

The price tag on the food makes Veganized a once-in-a-while treat, but if you want to drag your meat-eating friends somewhere, you can eat without pulling your hair out — and prove that yes, delicious vegan food exists. Definitely try it out if you can get past the price — your taste buds and your body will thank you.

Susmita Paruchuri

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