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Veg Week 2011 Cooking Class Wrap Up

By Kelly Curtiss

In the aftermath of signing a pledge to spend a week eating vegan or vegetarian, most students are curious about what to do next. Yes, grocery shopping is a must, but then what?

Fortunately, CAA has thought of everything to help out a new vegan. Annually, Veg Week holds a cooking class for new vegans; this year's class managed to fill the room. The presentation was given by long-time CAA volunteer Rachel, who themed her class with a fitting autumn feel. The dishes made were a butternut squash bisque, walnut sage fettuccine, and a pear and ginger compote for dessert, perfect recipes for taking home to an extended non-vegan family on Thanksgiving.

Vegans and carnivores alike enjoyed this presentation, and everyone agreed, once they tried out a sample, that the dishes were delightful to the palette. The mood in the room was very informal, with attendees asking questions whenever they arose, and throwing observations and ideas back and forth about different dishes they had tried themselves.

When asked if she enjoyed new cookbooks, instructor Rachel mentioned during the class that her favorite place to find new recipes and substitution suggestions is online, by browsing other cooks' food blogs. This way real people will tell you what worked and what didn't, and in an open forum manner, vegans from all over the world can discuss and shape the best new tastes. Any new vegetarian or vegan can find it difficult to stay fresh and creative when busy with school, work, and other obligations, but the best resource is always other people. CAA has an open door for anyone looking for new recipes and suggestions on where to shop.

Veg Week 2011 Wrap up

"I never realized how many vegan options were out there and the amount of people who were already vegan! It was great to participate in Veg Week – I've never met so many vegans and had such great food! Thanks for everything, CAA!"

This is one of the many positive reviews we received after asking participants to tell us how the Pledge to Be Veg went for them. Veg Week 2011 was a success in raising awareness about the cruelties of factory farming and empowering people to make compassionate choices.

We started Veg Week with Paul Shapiro of the Humane Society of the United States, who gave an engaging presentation on factory farming and the efforts underway to help animals. We learned about cruel practices, such as battery cages that confine egg-laying chickens to tiny cages, leaving them unable to stretch their wings. We learned about gestation crates, where sows are kept and unable to turn around. But we also learned about the efforts across the country to outlaw the most cruel practices, work with the industry to reform these practices, and encourage consumers to incorporate more plant-based foods in their diet. Several students studying agriculture asked Paul challenging questions at the end of the presentation, and Paul handled them respectfully and knowledgeably.

There were seven more events and there isn't room to cover what happened at all of them! The events, including the cooking class, Shop With A Vegan, dine out, vegan bake sale, Vegan After Dark, potluck, and sanctuary tour, gave participants new opportunities to learn veg eating and cooking, meet animals, eat tasty food, and especially meet other people who care about animals. You can read more about the cooking class here.

Thanks to the restaurants that gave discounts to those who took the Pledge to Be Veg:

Thanks as well to all the volunteers that made Veg Week 2011 a success!

Vegan Food Showcase 2011 Report

By Kelly Curtiss

On a typical Wednesday morning at the U of M, students are crossing the Washington Avenue bridge with their heads down, their eyes avoiding the sun, their headphones in their ears blocking out the noise around them. Once in awhile they look up to anticipate oncoming bicycle traffic, or greet a friend.

But on Wednesday, September 28th, a strange set of tables with a tent and a grill were occupying the space that normally sits empty in the landscape. That tent was Compassionate Action for Animals' Vegan Food Showcase to advocate for animal and the upcoming Veg Week. To many students' delight, it was offering free food.

The event was a smash hit. The table was constantly swamped with students trying out the food during the passing time between classes. Many students remembered Veg Week from last year and were very excited to take the Pledge to be Veg once again, promising to change their eating habits from October 1st through the 9th. They warmly remembered their favorite foods and restaurants that they enjoyed during that time. Some of the foods that students got to try were Silk soy milk and Coconut Bliss ice cream. The Gardein 7-Grain meat, which is made with grain, mimics real meat in both its taste and texture. The mock chicken crispy tenders and "beefless tips" were a big revelation for many students that veganism isn't just about salads. A surprising number of people the volunteers talked to were already vegetarians, and after the slightest coaxing, they pledged to take the inevitable plunge to be vegetarian or vegan for just one short week. During the lower traffic moments, passers-by were excited to hold an in-depth conversation with the volunteers. Once students had a little more information and asked some questions of a practicing vegetarian or a passionate vegan, they were much more likely to sign up.

Jenny gets people to pledge to be veg

The main selling point in convincing people to sign the pledge was to tell them about the support system the CAA offers for the week. The students who seemed wary about pledging initially warmed up to the idea once volunteers mentioned the available coupons, Vegetarian Starter Kit, and the supporting events held throughout Veg Week so that novices and experts alike can come together with questions and struggles. In total, 237 people pledged to join us in celebrating and participating in Veg Week!

CAA is proud to host Veg Week's exciting events, including a potluck on Saturday and a chicken sanctuary tour on Sunday. See you there!

We need your help to support Veg Week 2011

Veg Week is upon us, and I'd like your help to make it happen! Can you make a donation of $100, $50, or $25 today to support our work?

Veg Week gives opportunities for people in a wide variety of circumstances to be empowered to help animals. Last week, I spoke to a young woman who said that she can't empathize with animals that she doesn't know. She told me that she doesn't know chickens. I quickly invited her to our chicken sanctuary tour that we're hosting on October 9, where she can meet chickens living in peace and get to know their unique personalities and see how they are living, thinking, and, when crammed in crates in factory farms, that they are greatly suffering individuals.

For those who don't know what vegans get in a grocery store, we're offering a shopping tour with a vegan. For those who are unaware of the plight of animals on factory farms, we're distributing leaflets about the cruelties of modern animal agriculture at our Vegan Food Showcase on September 28. And for those who want to learn about the national efforts underway to advocate for farm animals, we're hosting a presentation by Paul Shapiro of the Humane Society of the United States on October 1.

We have several more events and projects that help people take one more step to living out their latent compassion. Whether they're looking to socialize with other animal advocates, want to learn about vegetarian nutrition, or would like to try new vegan foods, Compassionate Action for Animals' Veg Week has something for them. But we need your participation, too, for this to happen. Please donate online or mail a check to PO Box 13149, Minneapolis, MN 55414 to help out.

Yours for the animals,

Unny Nambudiripad

Executive Director

Veg Week events!

Please join us for our 8th annual Veg Week!

Compassionate Action for Animals (CAA) started our celebration all things veg back in 2004. Over the course of one week we celebrate vegetarian diets, educate the public about compassionate food choices, and inspire respect for farm animals. Events include a potluck, a dine-out, a cooking class, and much more. Check out our calendar below for a full list of events and times, and please join us! If you haven't already, take the pledge and get discounts at restaurants and more!


Progress for Farm Animals with Paul Shapiro

Please join Paul Shapiro of the Humane Society of the United States to learn about how you can help farm animals! Want to be inspired, amused, entertained, saddened, and did we say inspired? This is the workshop for you! Hear from one of the nation's most seasoned farm animal advocates on why these animals' plight is so dire, the truly amazing work that's being done to help them, and how YOU can get involved and take action for the too-often forgotten and terribly abused billions of animals who suffer in the meat, egg, and dairy industries.

  • Location: Mississippi Room, Coffman Memorial Union, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, 300 Washington Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN
  • Time: 4 pm to 6 pm, Saturday, October 1

Cooking Class: Three Course Seasonal Menu

The menu will include Butternut Squash Bisque, Walnut Sage Pasta, and Cranberry, Apple, and Pear Crumble.

  • Location: Van Cleve recreational center, 901 15th Avenue SoutheastMinneapolis, MN
  • Time: Monday, October 3rd, 7 to 8:30 pm

Shop With a Vegan

Not sure where to start at the store to get healthy vegan food? Come on out and shop with a vegan! We'll talk about balanced plant-based nutrition and do a store walk through so you can stock your cart with the basics! Join Suzy Sorensen, Vegan Dietitian. Please RSVP to We have room for 12 people at this event, so reserve your spot early!

  • Location: Wedge Co-op, 2105 Lyndale Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN
  • Time: Tuesday, October 4th, 7 to 8 pm

Vegan Bake Sale

Satisfy your inner sweet tooth through CAA's very own baketivists! We'll be selling cupcakes, bars, and brownies to raise funds for Veg Week. See how tasty dairy- and egg-free baking can be, and support our work to advocate for animals.

  • Location: Basement of Coffman Union, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, 300 Washington Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN
  • Time: Thursday, October 6th, 10 am to 2 pm

Dine-Out, Everest on Grand

Come enjoy delicious Nepalese, Tibetan and Indian food with some incredible company. Everest's menu offers many vegan dishes to choose from. This dine-out is an excellent opportunity to learn about the excellent ethnic veg food options in the Twin Cities, and a great way to meet fellow animal activists!

  • Location: Everest on Grand, 1278 Grand Ave, St Paul, MN
  • Time: Thursday, October 6, 6:30 to 9 pm

Please RSVP at

Vegan After Dark at Jasmine 26

Let's celebrate the hard work of the volunteers that made Veg Week possible. Everybody's invited: volunteers will be appreciated, and everybody else can show their appreciation.Whether you are the appreciated or the appreciators please come and join us as we celebrate over some good food and drinks.

Jasmine 26 has gained an esteemed recognition for their contemporary take on authentic Vietnamese cuisines, ranging from their wonderful salt and pepper tofu to their amazing selection of curries.

Jasmine 26's bar offers signature cocktails and spiked or virgin bubble teas that are exotic, vibrant and refreshing. Voted best cocktails in the Twin Cities by City Pages 2008.

  • Location: Jasmine 26, 8 E 26th Street, Minneapolis, MN
  • Time: Friday, October 7th, 8 pm to midnight

Veg Week Potluck

What better way to celebrate Veg Week and try some great veg food than with a vegan potluck? While some food will be provided, everyone is encouraged to bring a vegan dish (no animal products) to share that serves around five to eight people. Also, it is encouraged, but not necessary, to bring your own plate and silverware. This is a great opportunity to sample dozens of delicious foods, meet cool people from the community, and have fun. If the weather is nice, we'll be outside!

  • Location: Meeting room, Van Cleve Recreational Center, 901 15th Ave. SE Minneapolis, MN
  • Time: Saturday, October 8, 1 pm to 3 pm

Chicken Sanctuary Tour

Most of us are familiar with chickens as providers of eggs and meat, but we've had little opportunity to meet individual chickens and get to know their personalities. Please join us at the home of Leah and Brian Wasieleski, where they have 29 chickens living in peace.

There are a variety of treats you can bring for the birds–they really enjoy guests who bring them goodies, and people learn so much from interacting with them that way. Foods you can bring include greens (on the head is best), melon, raisins, grapes, cob corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, tofu, cooked pasta, whole wheat bread.

We'll meet at the CAA Community office and carpool to her house. Refreshments (for humans) will be provided. Please RSVP to Unny at

  • Location: Carpool from the CAA Community Office, 2100 First Ave S, Minneapolis, MN
  • Time: 1 pm to 5 pm Sunday, October 9th

Pledge to be Veg

Amazing discount card. Cool prizes. Free food. Help animals. Take the Pledge to be Veg!

All you have to do is pledge to eat vegetarian or vegan from Saturday, October 1, to Sunday, October 9.

Participants will get a special care pack and discount card, which will get you deals at many local restaurants, such as Hard Times, Camdi, Evergreen, and more! We'll provide recipes, tips, and raffle prizes. Come to any of our Veg Week events for more resources and good times!

Take the Pledge to be Veg online today!

Have friends who might want to take the Pledge to be Veg? Tell them about it!

Help Out at the Vegan Food Showcase on September 28

We're hosting our 8th annual Vegan Food Showcase on the West Bank of the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and we need your help to make it happen!

Join us on September 28th for one of the most fun and effective actions we do to advocate for animals: give free vegan food samples and literature about factory farming to thousands of college students. You can help out for one hour or three, and enjoy the food and smiles as we hand out samples to the campus public.

Thank You For Volunteering

The Twin Cities leads the nation in volunteering, according to a new survey by the federal government as reported by the Star Tribune.

The study by the Corporation for National and Community Service found that 37.1 percent of Twin Cities residents volunteered in 2010. This is higher than any other metropolitan area.

Thanks to all the volunteers at Compassionate Action for Animals for volunteering! It's your hard work that makes everything we do possible. From potlucks and dineouts to Veg Week and leafleting and much more! Your help in planning events, making food, calling your friends, or greeting people at the door makes a difference.

With your generous contribution of time, energy, and talent, we are able to advocate for animals and reduce their suffering and death. We care about the mistreatment of animals, and we know that our greatest tool in changing the way they are treated is our own voice.

Read the entire Star Tribune article.

New Plant-Based Nutrition Resource

Michael Greger, M.D., has a new website, scours the world of nutrition research to give you information that is easy to understand.

Posting a video every day, is the newest resource for vegan nutrition. The site is created by the Jesse and Julie Rasch Foundation in partnership with Dr. Michael Greger. Dr. Greger has spoken for Compassionate Action for Animals before, and we know him to be a knowledgeable source about nutrition.

As stated on their website,

NUTRITIONFACTS.ORG is brought to you by the Jesse & Julie Rasch Foundation in partnership with Michael Greger, M.D. Dr. Greger scours the world of nutrition-related research, as published in scientific journals, and brings that information to you in short, easy to understand video segments.

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Veg Resources

Upcoming Events

Friday, April 14, 2023

UMN Student Group Vegan Food Giveaway

Monday, April 17, 2023 - Monday, April 24, 2023

Cooking Class: Vegetable Irish Stew with Tamuno Imbu

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Vegan Recipe Club (Zoom)