UConn Dining Wins Gold for NACUFS Best Vegan Recipe

The University of Connecticut Department of Dining Services is honored to accept the Gold Medal for the Best Vegan Recipe contest from the National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS). Dining Services has also won the gold award for our vegan recipes in 2018, and 2016, and bronze in 2020.

Our recipe submission, Cinnamon Chipotle Cachapas with Black Bean Avocado Salsa, and Pickled Red Onions, was part of the menu rotation at McMahon dining hall this semester and was showcased as part of a plant-forward event.

“We are proud to have an administration that supports our involvement in NACUFS, a team of managers and chefs that believe in sustainability,” says Robert Landolphi, assistant director of culinary development for UConn Dining Services. “Most importantly we have a student body that dines with us daily and are willing to share with us what is important to them as they assist us in expanding our plant-based cuisine.”

This is the second NACUFS award for Dining Services this year. In March, UConn Dining Chef Sean Hawkins received bronze during a culinary challenge at the NACUFS Mid-Atlantic/Northeast Regional Conference. Hawkins’ award-winning recipe for Herb Crusted Turkey Filet, coriander sweet potatoes, frenched green beans, and a leek cream sauce can be found at the link below.

Want to make it yourself? Find a printable recipe here and check out the demo with Chef Landolphi below. Find more UConn Dining recipes at

Earth Day Spring Fling to Feature Zero Waste BBQ

The annual Earth Day Spring Fling, co-hosted by the Office of Sustainability and the Department Dining Services, returns after a two year hiatus due to the pandemic, to Fairfield Way on Wednesday, April 20th, from 11am-2pm.

The sustainability festival will include vendors, fun activities, and events including a goat yoga session and a zero waste BBQ lunch from Dining Services.

See below for event details:

Zero Waste BBQ – Dining Services will be catering an outdoor zero-waste barbecue featuring vegan, vegetarian, and sustainable food options sourced locally. Lunch will cost one flex pass or $12 credit/debit. The meal will include a small ice cream from the UConn Dairy Bar truck. The UConn Bakery will also be there handing out spring theme cupcakes to celebrate Arbor Day. Students can donate their flex passes at the event if they have extras. Click here for the menu.

Environmental Art Show: Show off your eco-related art! Submit your art entry.

12-1p Goat Yoga: Yoga alongside the little goats of Bradley Mountain Farm. 75 person cap – you must register beforehand. Bring your own towel or yoga mat to Founders Green.

Party Peddler Bike: Hop on the 10 person bike for a tour of sustainability along Fairfield Way.

125th Class Tree Planting: As a certified Tree Campus, we’re happy to plant the Class of 2022’s student-selected Three-Flowered Maple on the north side of Wilbur Cross from 1-2pm.

Eco-Vendors: Meet with student and community organizations dedicated to sustainability, as well as eco-minded businesses along Fairfield Way.

For more information, please email


Plant-based Café, CrossRoads, Opens in Wilbur Cross Building

UConn Dining Services’ highly anticipated plant-based café, CrossRoads, opened for business on Monday, August 30th, feeding students, faculty, and staff.

Located in the heart of campus on the main floor of the Wilbur Cross building, adjacent to the Information Center, CrossRoads offers a unique menu of plant-forward options that will satisfy meat-eaters, vegetarians, and vegans alike. Many items on the menu are also gluten-free. The casual café serves up ready-to-go salads and sandwiches that are made fresh every day on campus, desserts from the UConn Bakery, as well as build-your-own yogurt bowls.

The idea for CrossRoads started in October of 2020 when UConn undergraduate Madelyn Pickett ’23 (ENG) emailed Dining Services with her proposal for the plant-based café. To gauge the interest of the campus community, Dining Services sent out a survey and received thousands of responses in support of the café idea. Although vegan and vegetarian fare is available in all the campus dining facilities, Dining Services saw an opportunity with this cafe to bring additional exposure and availability of the great tasting plant-based products that are on the market to the flexitarians on campus, along with creating an education component on the health and sustainability aspects of a plant-forward diet. With full approval from the University, students then took part in a menu tasting in March of 2021 in the Dining Services Innovation Lab with Robert Landolphi, associate director for culinary development and residential dining.

When it came time to creating the branded look for CrossRoads, Dining Services continued with the idea of keeping elements of the Café centered around student involvement. Pickett turned to her friend and graphic designer Jared Beltz ‘23 (BUS). Beltz, a junior, is a digital media and design major at UConn and developed the logo, branding guide, and color palette for the Café.

The Café space was remodeled this summer with wood elements, plants from the UConn Horticulture Club, and campus photography to create a natural and welcoming feel. High top tables along with a lounge space are available for dining and studying.

In addition to making plant-based options more obtainable within the UConn community, the CrossRoads team strives to educate and spread awareness on the importance of sustainability. Through student leadership, the Crossroads Events Management Committee will coordinate and host events on a range of topics relating to the plant-forward movement. Such areas include sustainable farming, alternative proteins, nutritional topics, etc.

CrossRoads is open to the public; hours Monday through Friday from 7:30am-3pm | Husky Bucks, Credit/Debit, Points and Flex Passes accepted.

CrossRoads Café – website 

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