Residential dining halls and Union Street Market at the University of Connecticut will soon switch to using a gluten-free, vegan pizza crust.
Robert Landolphi, the culinary operations manager for UConn Dining Services said that the new product was brought to Dining Services a few weeks ago.
“We’re always looking for a better product, especially with gluten-free,” Landolphi said.
Landolphi said that he thinks the new flat-bread-like crust is a good replacement for the old one because it can be eaten by people who have many different dietary restrictions.
“The other one had corn syrup and egg whites, this one doesn’t have either and it doesn’t have any allergens,” Landolphi said.
Following a tasting with non-gluten-free students, Dining Services decided to begin using the crust in all the residential dining halls.
“They all liked it a lot and that’s when we made the decision that this was going to be our new gluten-free pizza crust on campus,” Landolphi said.
Landolphi said that, as the dining halls and Union Street Market run out of pizza crusts and need to order more, the orders will be filled with the new crusts.
“We hope that within the next couple of weeks this is all we’re going to have,” Landolphi said.
Landolphi said that students can ask for a gluten-free pizza in all dining halls now.
“It’s there, all you have to do is ask a manager in a dining hall,” Landolphi said. “We can do it by request, we’ll make them a pizza.”
Landolphi said that Dining Services is looking to incorporate more plant-based items into the dining halls’ menus for next semester.
Items that Dining Services has been looking at as possible new items include whole-grain raviolis, broccoli-kale ravioli and red lentil pasta.
“It’s great because (the red lentil pasta) it’s a lean pasta, so instead of just getting a load of carbs with no protein, this one actually contains proteins, vitamins, and minerals,” Landolphi said.
Landolphi said that, when Dining Services is looking at possible menu items they consider factors such as the nutritional value, the taste and the cost of the product.
“We take into consideration how clean of a product is it, when it comes to allergens, or high fructose corn syrup,” Landolphi said. “As long as it’s got a clean label, we’re interested.”
Landolphi said that Dining Services looks at adding or changing menu items in response to student suggestion as well, such as the recent introduction of more authentic rice in all the dining halls.
Landolphi said that the UConn Dining Services website also has a comments section where students can provide feedback and ask if an item can be added to the dining halls’ menu.
“We’ll look into it, we’ll test it and if we like it, we’ll put it on the menu,” Landolphi said