When I moved to Minnesota in the early ’80s, one of the first things I grew to love was the Minnesota State Fair. Though never a farm girl myself, I was born and raised in Indiana and enjoyed entering Indiana State Fair creative activities competitions as a 4-H’er in the 1960s.
When I moved to Minnesota from New York, I was happy to learn that adults could participate in the creative competitions of the Minnesota State Fair, and promptly began entering baked goods and other creative activities entries on an annual basis.
In 2010—as a direct result of attending the third Compassionate Action for Animals’ “Their Lives Our Voices” Midwest Animal Advocacy Conference—I made the decision to transition from a vegetarian to a vegan diet and lifestyle.
After making the decision to be vegan, I immediately began to lobby the Minnesota State Fair to include a vegan baking category to its competitive baking categories. While the fair officials declined to create a vegan baking category, they did agree to create a Vegan Main Dish category, beginning with the 2011 fair.
What’s the Vegan Main Dish contest?
As only the second state fair in the country as of 2011 to have a competitive vegan cooking category (Iowa was the first), the Minnesota State Fair’s decision received wide and favorable attention in local and national press.
The number of entrants has grown annually, and thanks to the creation of this category and the participation of fair fans, thousands of fairgoers are able to see the wide-ranging appeal and variety of plant-based, cruelty-free main dishes.
How to enter
Entering a vegan main dish in the state fair is free, easy and fun. And you might even win a ribbon, a small stipend and—if you are the first-place winner—an additional special prize, the Twin Cities’ own Robin Asbell’s newest vegan cookbook, Vegan Meal Prep: A 5-Week Plan with 125 Ready-to-Go Recipes.
Purple Potato Salad with Whole Grain Mustard from “The Vegucation of Robin” on page 136
July is the start of the Potato season, and August is typically the peak but you can still find Purple Potatoes around town.
At this time of the potato season you might find the purple potatoes to be on the small size, so consider doubling the quantity from 4 to 8 depending on the size of potatoes you find.
Check your local farmer’s markets starting June 29 to see if they are readily available.
I found purple potatoes in a variety pack at Lund & Byerly’s (Terrific Trio – Little Potato Company brand). I’ve been told variety packs with purple potatoes are also available at Trader Joe’s. I’ve seen a variety pack from Melissa’s Gemstone Potatoes which also has purple potatoes. You may only find 4-5 small purple potatoes in the variety packs, though. If you can’t find something in the store, check with the produce manager at your local grocery store, they might be able to order for you to pick up locally.
Blueberry Cobbler with Lime and Coconut from “Whole Food Heaven in a Bowl” on page 124 (optional recipe)
The original recipe is vegetarian, not vegan. Here are some substitutions we recommend to make it vegan (and gluten-free!).
Replace the 1/2 cup unsalted butter with one of the following:
1/2 cup of Earth Balance
1/2 cup of refined coconut oil, softened
Replace the 1 cup of whole milk with one of the following:
1 cup of coconut milk
1 cup of lite coconut milk
1 cup of other non-dairy milk (i.e. almond, soy, rice milk, etc.) look for unflavored or plain varieties
Replace the optional ice cream/whipped cream with one of the following:
Vegan ice cream, (Soy Dream, Rice Dream or something similar)
Vegan Whipped Cream, Reddi Whip makes a few non-dairy whipped creams (almond and coconut, etc.)
If you’re planning on making the recipe gluten-free:
Replace the 2 cups of whole wheat self-rising flour with a gluten-free flour blend OR try out this gluten-free flour blend recipe:
(Whisk together all of the following)
1 cup gluten-free oat flour
1 cup sweet rice flour (Mochiko Sweet Rice Flour works well, and is available at most Asian Markets, and some larger grocery stores)
Bridges of Respect provides free humane education presentations to schools and community groups of all ages in the Twin Cities metro area. The current Humane Education Team includes Christine Coughlin, Kathy Coughlin, Freeman Wicklund, and Shannon Kimball.
In 2018, the team brought 38 presentations to over 1100 students, presenting six out of their seven presentation topics. Their presentations cover topics ranging from our society’s use of animals in entertainment to food. Circle of Compassion, Our Food Our World, Beyond Violence, and Animals in Entertainment are the most popular presentations and can be tailored for audiences from primary to postsecondary school age, curriculum, and time available.
Shannon Kimball was the Program Coordinator of Bridges of Respect from 2005-2018. He became involved with CAA around the time he met Freeman Wicklund, former Program Coordinator of Bridges of Respect, when Freeman came into his store to print and laminate some posters for the program in 1998. Shannon became involved with CAA’s outreach and the Bridges Program gradually, before becoming a Humane Educator in 2003.
In 2005, Shannon focused on reworking the presentations down to a strong core of topics that would be sustained by a growing team of volunteers.
Using critical thinking to cultivate kindness
“I want to leave people with a sense of urgency without destroying their outlook on the whole world,” said Shannon with a little laugh. “I get kinda tired sometimes of being the bearer of bad news. I can see the looks in some kids faces––no matter what age group I’m with––when they start to get a grasp on the realities of how bad it is out there and that we really do need their help.”
The presentations encourage students to critically think about the use of animals in our society and honoring humanity’s values of compassion, responsibility, mercy, and empathy.
Each Bridges of Respect presentation ends with a brief overview of plant-based nutrition along with ways to eat more plant-based if the students are interested in giving it a try. This information is typically something students will not receive in class, and if they do, it’s usually a very brief overview.
“We always come back to ethics and compassion as our main message, but we also include health and environmental issues,” noted Shannon. Classrooms that have requested Bridges presentations range from biology to ethics to nutrition and beyond!
Changing lives one classroom at a time
The end of each presentation also includes another favorite: samples of vegan meats, cheeses, and milk. In 2018, Bridges gave shared over one thousand food samples, reaching 570 students. Food samples really help show how easy (and delicious!) plant-based eating can be.
One of the questions he frequently gets in classes is ‘What about conscientious omnivorey? If we’re nice to animals, isn’t that good enough?’ To which Shannon answers, “Any action is commendable if we’re trying to reduce suffering for animals but it’s more of a milestone than an endpoint. The vegan community has built more infrastructure than conscientious omnivores. What I mean is that if I hop on a plane and ask for a vegetarian or vegan meal, chances are they’ll know what I mean whereas if I said I was a conscientious omnivore they wouldn’t know what I was talking about and that’s because groups like Compassionate Action for Animals have been there building structure and community that makes it easier for people to move in the plant-based direction.”
For more information or to schedule a free presentation for your students or organization, please email email@example.com. You can also support Bridges of Respect’s outreach and longevity by making a donation or getting involved as a presenter.
The Vegan Recipe Club is for everyone—those curious about vegan cooking and those more experienced with it.
It’s a chance to build community with fellow participants and try making some great new food!
It’s also a chance for CAA to connect with folks who might be shy about attending our events but feel comfortable learning about veganism in a library setting.
And we know all the benefits a vegan lifestyle can have. This club will help the animals and the environment, and potentially people’s health.
Recipes are being chosen with an eye toward supporting folks from communities of color who are experiencing health disparities.
The club is also an opportunity to help the East Lake Library branch and the community by participating in and promoting the use of the library collections.
How does it work?
In the month prior to the Vegan Recipe Club Meeting, head on over to the East Lake Library (2727 East Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN) and pick up a copy of the recipes to peruse or check out the cookbooks for use at home.
Try making one or more of the recipes then come to share and discuss what you thought about them with the group.
My name is Henry Patterson. Like many, I didn’t grow up as a vegan or vegetarian but did grow up with a love and respect for animals. I am a board member and volunteer at Compassionate Action for Animals.
What drew me to veganism?
My younger brother became a vegetarian first, and after he read Diet for a Small Planet 1971, by Frances Moore Lappé he challenged me to make the switch. It took a little convincing, but I did. I started as a pescetarian (some seafood, but primarily a vegetarian diet). The benefits were improved health, including reducing the risk of colon cancer that runs in my family.
I switched to a 100% vegan diet seven years ago, in June 2012, and haven’t looked back since.
Why the interest in the Vegan Recipe Club?
Like my entire family, I have always loved to cook and have cooked for friends and coworkers for years. My favorite dishes have changed over time, but soups, stews, curries, French Ratatouille, and tofu scrambles remain amongst the ones I love to make and share.
Recipes for July 2019 discussion
The 4th of July Holiday is coming up and it might be the perfect opportunity to try out your cooking skills on family and friends.
Enjoy the recipes and feel free to share photos of your creations with CAA on Facebook or Instagram @exploreveg.
Anna Zillinger and Ayanna Muata, Hennepin County Library staff at East Lake Library branch, for all their work in planning and supporting the program.
The Vegan Recipe Club is based on the Vegan Cookbook Club which was started in December 2016, at the Mount Royal Branch of the Duluth Public Library (DPL). The Duluth project was initiated by Bonnie Ambrosi and Alicia Peterson and continues thanks to Bonnie’s leadership. Thanks to Bonnie for reaching out to CAA about the idea of starting something similar.
Compassionate Action for Animals (CAA) for promoting outreach and education programs that support and build an animal-friendly community in the Twin Cities.
Vegan teens should choose a variety of foods and aim for a balanced plate including fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes at most meals. Teens can meet all their nutritional needs through a mindfully planned vegan diet!
Research shows that vegan and vegetarian teens tend to be well-nourished compared to their non-veg peers. Generally, they have lower cholesterol, lower risk of obesity, and healthier weight for height. Vegan teens eat less fast food, fewer salty and sweet snacks, and have a higher intake of fiber, iron, vitamin C, and vitamin A.
One other health benefit that has been observed: vegan teens often have a later onset of menstruation which is associated with a decreased risk of breast cancer.
Studies suggest there is no difference in growth between vegan teens and their non-veg peers. Teens do have higher calorie needs than adults to support growth, needing as much as 50% more calories than their parents. For girls, once menarche is reached, their calorie needs decrease as growth slows.
There are a few key nutrients that are important at this critical stage of growth. See the table (on right) for details (1). Food is always the first choice, but a once-daily vitamin may be helpful to assure micronutrient needs are consistently met.
Vegan athletes usually need additional calories to support physical activity. It’s easy to add in snacks like trail mix, mixed nuts, dried fruits, smoothies, crackers with nut butter or hummus, or healthy granola bars to meet the needs of growing teens on the go.
It’s increasingly easier for vegan teens to “match” what their non-veg peers are eating to decrease the potential for feeling different or left out. Vegan pizza, burgers, burritos, corn dogs, nuggets, and more are available at grocery stores, and more and more restaurants and food trucks offer vegan versions of classic favorites.
While it is important to respect a teen’s need for privacy and independence, it is fair to expect participation in family mealtime including responsibility for helping with meal prep or clean up and sharing the meal.
Teenage years can be an exciting time for exploring independence and learning about one’s place in the larger world! Many teens from non-veg families choose to try a vegetarian or vegan meal plan as they learn about the environmental impact of raising animals used in the food industry and the ethics of consuming them. Others teens who have grown up in a vegan family might experiment with eating meat away from home as they make more independent choices and are influenced by peers. As Brenda Davis R.D. and Vesanto Melina M.S., R.D. say in their great reference book, Becoming Vegan, “For parents, this is a great time to learn a lesson about boundaries and letting go.”
However, we can provide a foundation of compassion and healthy eating that allows teens to make informed choices and encourages plant-based eating!
(1) Adapted from the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group resource on Vegetarian Teens.
Please note: This information, while accurate, does not provide an all-inclusive feeding plan and is not intended to substitute personal medical advice. It is intended to offer guidance only. We recommend working with a registered dietitian to help meet any specific questions you may have.
Suzy Sorensen is a Twin Cities-based Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator who is passionate about plant-based eating! She has a Certificate of Training in Vegetarian Nutrition from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and opened Move2Veg Nutrition Counseling in 2009 to support those interested in plant-based eating. For more information, visit move2veg.com.
The vegans are organizing! If you haven’t heard about the new vegan food festival and drink sampler by now, get ready to be excited—the first Vegan Invasion is this July.
Featuring a growing list of vegan food vendors (including The J. Mobile, Comfort Candy, Crepe & Spoon, Evans Organic Eatery, Hope’s Vegan Kitchen, Keiko’s Kitchen, Radical Eats, Prairie Vegan Pies, Seed Cafe, Spinning Wylde, Vegan East—and of course, Reverie Mobile Kitchen and The Herbivorous Butcher Food Truck), local craft brews, spirits, non-alcoholic options, as well as vegan retailers, this event is sure to leave no craving unsatisfied.
To learn more, we asked the organizers about what inspired their event and what you can look forward to—read on for a sneak peek!
What is Vegan Invasion and what led to its creation?
Just like a beer sampler, festival attendees receive a souvenir glass and are invited to sample unlimited alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages including beer, wine, cold brew, kombucha, and craft sodas. Food and retail products from plant-based businesses are available at an additional cost. At this festival, everything—all drinks, food, and retail items—is vegan.
Vegan Invasion is inspired by festivals around the country, and we regularly talked about throwing a good party that included alcohol and food. Vegan Invasion is the outcome of those conversations. We piloted the Plant Based Showcase in 2018 and quickly realized there was a strong interest in a vegan event that brings together food and drink. This time, DJ Jake Rudh will spin records on the patio, adding an extra layer to the festive atmosphere.
We want the Twin Cities to have a fun party where we could both showcase and support the growing plant-based food and drink scene in the Twin Cities and beyond. We also want to create an environment where plant-based eaters can come and eat whatever, drink whatever, and shop without having to worry about labels. There is so much creativity, passion, and innovation going on in the Twin Cities right now based around creative food and craft drinks, this just seems like a great time to join the celebration.
Together, The Herbivorous Butcher and Reverie both have a great deal of festival experience. As the first vegan food and drink sampler event in the Twin Cities, were there any other events that influenced the creation of Vegan Invasion?
We’re big fans of craft beer festivals and there are so many great ones around the state; we like the convivial spirit amongst breweries and the way they foster creativity and innovation. We hope our festival will do the same for both the beverage and the food side of things. Twin Cities Veg Fest has been an annual plant-based festival for over seven years and they have been inspirational and supportive to so many of us; it is now the largest plant-based festival in the entire Midwest and a super fun event to attend.
Vegan Street Fair in North Hollywood was instrumental in the logistics behind organizing vendors. There is an art to what they do, and their assistance put us light years ahead of where we would have been otherwise. The Herbivorous Butcher has also been a vendor at EatDrinkVegan and Coachella, both of which provided insight into what is needed to plan an event of this proportion.
Were there any takeaways from the events you’ve been at across the country that you wanted to bring into the event?
We admire the structure of Vegan Street Fair and its dedication to hosting a truly inclusive event. Events can be quite cost prohibitive to both vendors and attendees, so we kept accessibility in mind when selecting pricing structures.
We’ve enjoyed drooling over wild food creations and have encouraged our prepared food vendors to think outside the box and come up with some Instagram-worthy dishes. Festivals such as ours are the perfect time to try new things and attract both new and returning customers.
Is there anything you want Vegan Invasion attendees to leave with?
We hope that everyone who attends has fun, meets new people, and is introduced to new businesses. Our ultimate goal is to enhance community.
General admission is $25 through July 13 and $30 the day of the event. We also have a VIP option, as well as ticket options for designated drivers and attendees who are underage.
Is there anything else you’d like people to know about Vegan Invasion?
This festival is for everyone, and we want everyone to feel welcome regardless of their current food preferences. We have so many great breweries, some of them from out of town, non-alcoholic options, and there will be amazing and creative food that will make this an unforgettable experience.
Meet Lisa and Katherine, the owners and creatives behind Hark, a 100% vegan, gluten-free, celiac-safe bakery based in Uptown.
The idea for Hark came to the duo when they were in school together over six years ago. They would often create different veganized dishes and baked goods to share with friends. “We were talking about what we wanted to do after we left and the idea was that we would someday have a vegan cafe,” recalls Lisa.
After graduating, both moved to New York—Lisa managed a vegan restaurant and Katherine shortly moved to Minneapolis to work at the Guthrie as a theater artist. During this time, the two didn’t forget about their idea.
“A series of events happened where it was going to be possible for Lisa to move here and we thought, ‘Oh, we could actually do that. It doesn’t have to be a crazy dream where people are talking to you all the time like, It would be so great if you guys opened a place where we could eat your food all the time,’” says Katherine with a smile, “And then she moved here in November and here we are.”
So far, the two have been making their gluten-free, vegan sweets and savories—including bagels, donuts, cinnamon rolls, and king cakes—for private events (including a house show), pre-orders, and pop-ups and plan to have more items available for pre-order soon, including cheese.
“I ferment vegan cheese, like brie, blue cheese, and goat cheese, and in order to sell that we have to have other licenses that we don’t have yet. So that’s next,” says Katherine. “I have a little fermentation fridge in my house—I bought a wine fridge because you can temperature control them so that it’s stable and safe to eat and right now I have four wheels of brie in there that are a mixture of macadamia and cashew and then I have five or six blue cheeses in there—it’s cool, it smells great.”
Worth noting, Hark in its original ideation wasn’t going to be gluten-free—the duo added that as an element after Katherine found out she has Celiac Disease a little over a year and a half ago. “It severely limits the amount of things you can eat. It’s not just like, ‘I’m gluten-free but I can still eat out.’ In fact, I can’t eat gluten-free things at places because cross-contamination is deathly dangerous,” explains Katherine. “So a lot of it was me going, ‘Ah, I wish I could eat my favorite pies and cinnamon rolls and donuts again.’”
Bagels were one of the things the duo started with. “Most gluten-free baked goods have eggs in them,” explains Katherine, “because without gluten or something to hold it together, most manufacturers use eggs.”
The two have worked quickly to make many of their vegan favorites gluten-free while paying special attention to taste and even diving into research into the chemical structure of different ingredients to create the most balanced blend of flours for their gluten-free flour blend and their cheeses. Everything else is made from scratch too, including the soymilk, vegan butter, and mayonnaise they use in their recipes, and they put each recipe through a number of tests before they deem it ready to share.
Neither studied chemistry in school—they’re just passionate about their food. “It’s a good thing that we’re nerds,” says Lisa with a laugh.
After their experiences living in New York, the two hope to bring vegan bagels to Minnesota. Katherine starts, “To be able to just go out and get a tub of cream cheese and some lox and bagels and bring it back to your apartment for brunch—” “—is so a thing in New York,” finishes Lisa.
The two are in the process of looking for a brick and mortar that serves as a neighborhood hang out spot for vegans and non-vegans alike and carries ready-made items like blue cheese dressing (or blue cheese cheesecake!) as well as bagels and cream cheese and other plates to enjoy in-house or out. “We both have the sneaky approach to veganism with folks—we like to give them a friendly introduction to incorporating vegan food in their life,” says Katherine.
Lisa adds, “The place that I worked at for a long time in New York was a vegan fast food place and it was the same idea but from a different angle—how do we make something accessible and approachable for people who aren’t vegan but are kind of curious about plant-based or just want to try something different. I think that’s the goal.”
“Yeah, in addition to vegans being able to enjoy food they really didn’t think they would be able to have again,” says Katherine. “We did a first taste of the blue cheese I’ve been making the other night and I never thought I would get to eat that flavor again. It’s creamy, smelly, so blue cheesy.”
Can’t wait to try something from Hark? Right now, you can order cinnamon rolls, bagels, and donuts. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to place your order and follow them on Facebook for updates.