Unny Nambudiripad

Unny is a co-founder and the Executive Director of Compassionate Action for Animals. Please see his biography.

Is your vegan chili the best? Please enter the competition!

Attendees rate vegan chili
The 5th Annual Vegan Chili Cook-Off is less then three weeks away! It is sure to be a wonderful time, and it is free! So invite your friends and mark your calendars: Saturday, February 22, 7pm, at First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis (900 Mount Curve Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55403).
Have what it takes to compete? There are only nine contestant spots remaining: perfect your recipe or put together a cooking team, and register today. Prizes for best-voted chili of the night include giftcards to Common Roots Cafe and Pizza Luce!

CAA Podcast Episode 1

Check out our new experimental podcast!

Before I get to the podcast, did you hear that King Amendment, which would have nullified state animal cruelty laws, was defeated? Great news!

I interviewed the Seward Cafe in a one-time trial podcast. It’s just 6 minutes long! In this podcast I talked to the cafe about their extensive vegetarian and vegan options and their unique restaurant. Please let me know what you think. We’ll only continue the podcast if it is popular!

Are you interested in public speaking and getting our message out to new audiences? Join Bridges of Respect, our humane education program. Here’s what we accomplished last year. We’re having a meeting for those interested in helping out on Sunday, February 9 at 12:30 pm at our community office, 2100 First Avenue South, Suite 200, Minneapolis, MN 55404.

If you love the work we do and want to help us increase our capacity, please join our fundraising team. We’re having a meeting for new fundraising volunteers on Sunday, February 16 at 3 pm at our community office, 2100 First Avenue South, Suite 200, Minneapolis, MN 55404.

We have so many great events coming up! A potluck, dine-out, bake sale, chili cook-off, and banquet. Check them out!

Bridges of Respect Review

Our Bridges of Respect Humane Education Program delivered nearly 4000 vegan food samples to students in schools all over the Twin Cities and St Cloud area. It was the hard work and dedication of our volunteers that made it happen: Nathan Huerkamp, Lisa Kimball, Florence Brammer, Cari Lombardi, Jennifer Swick, Nick Coughlin, and Pam Berry, as well as several volunteers from the St. Cloud State University student group Advocates for Animals and the Environment. In addition, Christy Coughlin, Freeman Wicklund, and Lauren Plunkett lent their personal expertise as volunteer presenters. Lauren, for example, graduated with her degree in nutrition from the University of Minnesota this year and has recently been accepted for a dietetic internship. She helped middle school students identify which plant-based foods provide which nutrients. By the end of the year we provided over 50 presentations that convey respect and compassion for animals in an established learning environment.

Are you interested in learning more about Bridges of Respect? We’re getting together for a meeting to go over a few details of the program and to do a couple of practice presentations that help us prepare for the classroom. We need several people to be there to give us an audience for the practice presentations and would appreciate your feedback.

The meeting is from 12:30 – 3:00pm on Sunday, Feb 9th at CAA’s Community Office.

Chili Cook-Off Registration Open

Do you make the best vegan chili in town? Enter the competition!

Last week I mentioned our 5th Annual Vegan Chili Cook-Off, and now we’ve opened up registrations to contestants! There are just 13 spots, and we expect them to fill up. Sign up today! If you simply want to attend and rate the chili, it’s free to attend. It’s on Saturday, February 22, at 7 pm at the First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis (900 Mount Curve Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55403).

Our cookbook reviewer is back with a review of Betty Goes Vegan. What cookbook will Michelle review next? You can find out on Minnesota Public Radio!

We have a special dine-out on February 11 at 7 pm, at Galactic Pizza (2917 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55408). For everything we order, Galactic will donate 25% to Compassionate Action for Animals! Even better, they will contribute all day if you simply show them a coupon on our website.

Mark Your Calendars for Our Annual Banquet

I have a lot of events to announce! I hope to see you soon!

  • First, we have a potluck on Thursday, January 23 at 6 pm at our office, 2100 First Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55404. Warm up with great food and company!
  • We’re hosting our 5th Vegan Chili Cook-Off on Saturday, February 22 at the First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis, 900 Mount Curve Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55403. We’ll open up registration to contestants soon!
  • We’re hosting our 10th Annual Banquet on April 3, 2014. I look forward to celebrating another successful year with you! You can register right now.

We have more events including a Valentine’s potluck and bakesale to announce soon.

Do you live outside of the Twin Cities, Minnesota area and want to plan your own festival like the Twin Cities Veg Fest? We’ve created a new website on how to plan a veg fest! We’ve included all details on how to form a committee, find a venue, coordinate advertising, and more!

Vegan Eats World Cookbook Review

Through 300 bold international recipes, this cookbook answers the question, What if the world were vegan? It encourages the reader to open their plate to food from around the world no matter where their kitchen is.

Written by Genevieve Gamlin, author of TwinCitiesVegan.com and Compassionate Action for Animals volunteer

Vegan Eats World starts with asking what if the world were vegan?, followed by a quick "How to Use This Book" section which includes a key for icons used to label recipes. The book is divided into three parts. Part One, Kitchen Cartography, includes six sections: Before Cooking; During Cooking; After Cooking, Chill Out; Ingredients; Shopping Lists; and Kitchen Equipment. These thirty-four pages can be a life saver for the novice home cook as they are filled with countless how-to's and cooking terms defined. Part Two, The Recipes, is broken down into twelve chapters: Spice Blends; The Three Protein Amigos: Tofu, Seitan, & Tempeh; Pickles, Chutneys & Saucier Sauces; Salads, Spreads & Sandwiches; Soups; Curries, Hearty Stews & Beans; Dumplings, Breads & Pancakes; Asian Noodles to Mediterranean Pasta; Hearty Entrees; Robust Vegetable Entrees & Sides; Rice & Whole Grains: One-Pot Meals & Supporting Roles; and Sweet Beginnings. Part Three ends the book with menu ideas, online resources, recipe by icon index, thanks & acknowledgments, metric conversions, index, and an about the author section. As you can imagine, this is a large book reminiscent of a college textbook.

Diving into such a large book can be overwhelming. I thought about picking a recipe from each chapter, but I ended up going to the "Recipe by Icon" index and picking a few from the "On a Budget Section". While making my shopping list I was greeted by unfamiliar ingredients. They are referenced in Part One, but I still had to figure out where I could get these ingredients in my neck of the woods. I started with my usual grocers, Trader Joe's and Kowalski's, but wasn't able to find many of the spices. The next day my sidekick dropped by Indian Spice House in Eden Prairie and was able to find many ingredients on the list. This cookbook will most likely make you venture to specialty grocers. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of spending a small fortune on spices at Kowalski's before realizing how cheap the spices are at places like Indian Spice House. I think the "On a Budget" icon only applies if you already have most of the spices or can find a good online source.

It was finally time to cook the first recipe on my menu, jerk-roasted seitan strips, which calls for the seitan coriander cutlets. I did not read through the cutlet recipe since it had the "under 45 minutes from start to finish" icon. Big mistake. The forty-five minutes does not include preparing other recipes needed for the final recipe or pre-soaking of beans or nuts. So even though the seitan has the "45" icon the recipe calls for three minutes of kneading, ten minutes resting, thirty-four minutes baking, and at least forty-five minutes cooling before use for a total of ninety-two minutes. The jerk-roasted seitan called for blending up all of the ingredients then cooking for thirty minutes. That is a grand total of one-hundred-twenty-two minutes, not including miscellaneous time for prepping ingredients for a recipe I thought would take fewer than forty-five minutes.

Aside from the misleading icons, the recipes were delicious as well as fairly straight-forward and easy. I did run into one snag during a recipe that called for spices to be ground in a coffee grinder. Not having a coffee grinder, I figured I could use my one-cup food processor, but it didn't work so I ended up just putting in the spices whole.

I recommend this book to anyone who loves going out to any international restaurant and is interested in recreating dishes at home. The author states that she took some liberties with regard to what is authentic, but I did not notice anything that was too far off. One improvement would be if this book had an index that sorted the recipes by region. The author states that vegan cuisine does not live on a map, but it sure would be nice to pick recipes based on a dinner guest's favorite region.


Jerk-Roasted Seitan Strips: Despite the length of this recipe, it was fairly easy. The seitan had a meat like texture and was delicious. The hardest part was trying not to cry uncontrollably after food processing the onion mixture. The finished product was very flavorful with a mild kick. The book suggests serving this dish with Island Brown Rice and Peas. I already had some cooked brown rice I wanted to use up so I just threw in some frozen veggies, coconut milk, and spices.


Coconut Black-Eyed Pea Curry: This recipe also calls for an onion to be food processed, convincing me that this book should come with a pair of goggles. For a recipe with coconut in the name, there was not a strong coconut flavor. This recipe was fairly bland, but makes a good side dish.


Lemon Garlic Potatoes: I had some extra potatoes to use up and I love garlic so I decided to make this dish as a side. They were really good mainly because you cannot go wrong with potatoes, but they weren't as lemony or garlicky as I expected.


Sri Lankan Red Lentil Curry: This dish was hot! The strong flavors from the various spices were new to me. I loved the texture, perfect for scooping up with naan.


Yogurt Naan Griddle Bread: This was by far the best naan recipe I have ever tried. This naan was made with garlic and cilantro, but the book offers many different variations.


Japanese Soul Food Menu: Tonkatsu Sauce, Sesame Panko Tempeh Cutlets, Shredded Green Cabbage, Lemon Wedges, and Steamed Rice: This is my new favorite tempeh recipe. Normally I am not a huge tempeh fan because of the texture, but the way it's prepared in this recipe creates a perfectly crunchy outside and meaty inside. The tangy, salty sauce was easy to make and really made the whole meal, who doesn't love dipping?

Last Chance to Donate in 2013!

Please make your donation before the end of the year!

CAA is the new wave of animal activism, blending a winning combination of ingredients including youth, intelligence, professionalism, media savvy, and contemporary technology to advocate passionately and successfully for its chosen constituency.

Joe Connelly, editor, Veg News

Twin Cities Veg Fest is growing. In 2012, 1,200 people attended. In 2013, 2,000 attended. We expect 2,500 to 3,000 in 2014. But we can only accomplish this with your help. We’re engaging thousands about the horrors of factory farms by handing out leaflets and showing videos. At our potlucks, dineouts, cooking classes, at our presentations at middle schools and junior highs, we’re giving resources to people so they can change their diets. But we can continue this only with your financial contribution.

As far as donations, there is no better return on your investment … than through CAA, who effectively reach out to young minds questioning the ways of our culture. Both their efforts and impact are highly focused and result-driven. A truly amazing group.


Thank you for your support!

For the animals,

Unny Nambudiripad
Executive Director

Time for Giving

Please consider making a donation to Compassionate Action for Animals. Giving is a great way to express your compassion to animals. Another way you can give is through your estate.

While we were planning Twin Cities Veg Fest, Annette made these easy burritos and wild rice with eggplant and mushroom dishes for our volunteers. They were a big hit! Try out the recipes yourself.

There are many ways to contact CAA and follow our work. I'd like to hear from you! Last week I started writing these short emails, and I wonder if you prefer these or the longer ones we used to do?

For the animals,

Unny Nambudiripad

Executive Director

Get Involved

Subscribe to our weekly update:



Veg Resources

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, September 15, 2020 - Tuesday, December 8, 2020

UMN Student Group Zoom Meeting

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Vegan Recipe Swap!

Sunday, November 15, 2020

18th Annual Vegan Virtual ThanksLiving

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Vegan Recipe Club via Zoom

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Vegan Recipe Swap!