By Jessica Ferrigno
The phrase America’s favorite pastime conjures up images of baseball fans sitting in bleachers eating hot dogs and peanuts and Cracker Jack while cheering on their teams.
But just as the game has gone through changes, from the dead ball era, to the expansion era, to the long ball era–so too has stadium food. And that’s pretty good news for vegans..
While it may not always be a piece of eggless cake to find vegan meals at baseball stadiums, it’s not impossible.
One of the reasons is that back in March, Aramark, a company that supplies food to nine teams (the Boston Red Sox, Colorado Rockies, Houston Astros, Kansas City Royals, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Toronto Blue Jays), announced new vegan options for the stadiums. Here are some examples:
– Greens and Grains (Pittsburgh’s PNC Park) – Kale, spinach, roasted corn, carrots, quinoa, brown rice, cranberries and sunflower seeds, tossed in a Sriracha-carrot dressing.
– Un-Tuna Salad (also at PNC Park) – Chickpea salad made with celery, pickle relish, onions and sweet mayo dressing, served on wheat bread with spinach.
– The Impossible Burger (New York’s Citi Field) – Plant-based vegetarian burger, made to order.
– Vegan Cauliflower Cheesesteak (Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park) – Roasted cauliflower, poblano peppers, onions, vegan cheese sauce and vegan roll.
– Vegan ’Acho Nacho (Toronto’s Rogers Centre) – Red and white tortilla chips topped with vegan cheese, black beans, guacamole and pico de gallo.
“Food has become a major player in the fan experience and that increased role is a motivating factor for us to continue to enhance our menu offerings each season,” said Carl Mittleman, President of Aramark’s Sports and Entertainment division, in a press release. ”Ballpark food has come a long way. In addition to doing the classics well, we’re focusing on driving quality, increasing healthy options, making it convenient and providing personalization for our guests.”
Since other stadiums don’t want to strike out with fans, they seem to be following the trend. We combed the menus of eight baseball stadiums and found that while some stadiums hit a few home runs with their plant-based offerings, others hit some foul balls and offered the bare minimum.
Chicago’s Wrigley Field has a variety of options for meatless meals. Marquee Classics, which is in Aisle 120, offers guests roasted cauliflower sandwiches, fruit cups, veggie chopped salads and a vegan/vegetarian rotating option. There are also stands that offer veggie dogs and veggie burgers for vegetarians.
Like Wrigley, New York’s Yankee Stadium shows it cares about its fans who have adopted a plant-based lifestyle when it started offering a selection of new vegan entrees. Bareburger in section 132 offers Guadalupe, which is a vegan black bean burger topped with pickled red onions, guacamole and spicy pico de gallo on a wheat bun, as well as the Beyond Sausage, a vegan sausage with pickled jalapenos, caramelized onions and a pretzel roll. There is also a vegetarian black bean taquito cup, which is spiced black bean hand rolled taquitos with chili con queso and pico de gallo that can be made vegan upon request.
Mix it up at Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium and grab a veggie philly CHZ Steak. Or if you’re looking for a more traditional meal you can get a Beyond Burger, which is 100% plant-based at the Price Chopper Market Place. At the same location, vegetarian options include the veggie burger or dog. If you’re looking for more of a sit down meal, then Kauffman stadium also offers kale salads at both of their restaurants, Craft and Draft and Rivals Sports Bar.
Phoenix’s Chase Field has got your (diamond) backs, vegans! It offers a sonoran vegan wrap or a veggie burger at Taste of Chase 130. Of course you can always score a Field Roast Vegan Dog at Burger Burger Diamond Level 214.
Boston’s Fenway Park does not have the vegan friendly variety of foods offered at the other major league stadiums.. Fenway ambassador, Ben Golfin said there was a lack of demand for meatless options, though the stadium is not ruling out rolling out new plant-based options in the future. For now, vegans can still enjoy a completely vegan veggie dog in the visitor’s clubhouse area.
Seattle’s Safeco Field features the The Natural (main level, section 133), an outpost for health-minded palates, which has expanded its vegetarian and gluten-free options to include quick-serve sandwiches and salads stuffed with beets, fennel, quinoa, and kale. Field Roast vegetarian hot dogs can be found here, as well as at select stands throughout the park. And the Great Sate Burger offers a veggie patty.
Don’t worry about striking out at Denver’s Coors Field. You have plenty of greens to choose from at its Infield Green Salads and Wraps. It also offers veggie pizzas or veggie sandwiches at Wazee Market and veggie burgers and veggie dogs in sections 134 and 323.
In Texas, Arlington’s Globe Life Park, home to the Rangers, scores this season with these new offerings: Vegan Nacho Grande and the Nitro Cold Brew Coffee. According to Livekindly, the nachos consist of a mass of tortilla chips smothered with house-made vegan chili, vegan cheese sauce, lettuce, tomato, olives, and Beyond Meat Crumbles. The coffee is from Cuvee Nitro Cold Brew Coffee, a local Texas company, and poured on draft with the option of French vanilla or hazelnut syrup and almond milk.
Interestingly, Globe Life Park has been catering to vegan Ranger fans since 2016 when it launched a vegan cart. The cart menu includes a vegan burger, tamales, wraps, salads, fresh fruit and veggies, and the most popular – a veggie dog with all the fixings.
In an interview with the Dallas Observer, Casey Rapp, the general manager of the park’s food and retail services, said that the cart was just a pilot program started after a vegan fan requested more vegan options, but he soon realized, “It did well enough to keep.”
Now that’s a grand slam!
Jessica Ferrigno, a journalism major at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, is a Friends of Animals summer intern.