An Unprepared Vegan in Rome, Italy

Vegan in Italy… what an oxymoron! I know!

Hi! My name is Morgan Tripi and I am a vegan culinary arts major. Studying abroad has always been a dream of mine and what better city than Rome to try and learn the ins and outs of the Italian culinary world. I plan to spend my next 3.5 months here traveling throughout the country to scope out the best of the best vegan food that they have to offer.

When I left the United States to get here, my travels were a bit all over the place to say the least. What was supposed to be two easy flights from Chicago to Toronto and then Toronto to Rome ended up being a flight to Istanbul, Turkey, an 18 hour stay there, and then a final flight to Rome. Due to this, I did not get the option to put in a vegan meal request for the 10 hour plane ride to Istanbul. When I asked an employee, I was given a tray of fruit and a singular roll… A great snack, but not a meal.

One pear, one apple, one banana, a singular strawberry, a handful of grapes, a roll, and a cup of water

By the time that I got to my apartment in Rome, I was exhausted and HUNGRY. When it was finally time for dinner, I was anxious to see how the tomato sauce here compared to the sauce that my Italian family makes back home. My roommates and I headed over to a little piazza near our apartment to sit down for dinner. I ordered trenette al pomodoro e basilico. Trenette is a thin, ribboned durum wheat pasta that has a slight ridge on one side. The sauce was a simple tomato sauce with fresh basil on top. It came out in a black bowl making the colors look so vivid that they almost looked fake. The smell took me right back to Upstate New York on Sunday mornings when the sweet and savory scent of sauce cooking was the first thing to reach your nose. The portion size was perfect, even though I was ravenous from my 48 hours of travel, and I can assure you that I did not let any of it go to waste.

Trenette al Pomodoro e Basilico

The most noteworthy vegan meal I have had thus far was at another restaurant that we stumbled upon called Taverna 51. On the menu I took a gamble and ordered the sformato di verdure con salsa di basilico e pinoli. Arguably, my knowledge of the Italian language is very limited, so as far as I was concerned, the word vegano that was placed on the end of that was enough for me! What came out was four cylindrical shaped veggie looking patties, topped with pesto and a side salad. The pesto was vibrant and fresh. The patties were like a well seasoned and fresh veggie burger of sorts and the salad, while lackluster, had the fresh Italian tomatoes that I cannot say no to. Overall, I would give the meal a 4/5 stars for being tasty, fresh, and fairly satiating while still staying light.

Sformato di Verdure con Salsa di Basilico e Pinoli

I would be lying if I said that I have figured out what I am doing here food wise. I have been traveling all around the city in search of satiating plant-based proteins, complex carbs, and fresh, local produce. It is definitely going to take me some time to get my vegan standings here, but there is not a doubt in my mind that I can do it. There are two grocery stores within five blocks of my apartment, both with a great selection of staples, so stay tuned for a big vegan grocery haul to come!

A Message from the Office of Global Engagement:

The safety and security of Drexel students is a priority for the University. As part of the efforts to support Drexel students that are studying abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of Global Engagement has conducted a rigorous review of programming and provided additional support to participating students with customized pre-departure orientations and regular check-ins during the required self-isolation period and the term.

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