The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

Valentine’s Day Menu Ideas

Posted on February 12, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor


Are you looking for some special vegan dishes to prepare on Valentine’s Day? If so, you may want to prepare some of these dishes that previously appeared in an issue of Vegetarian Journal:

    Pasta with Rich Mushroom Broth
    Risotto with Asparagus and Capers
    Mustard-Roasted Vegetable Medley
    Pear-Watercress Salad
    Apple Salad with Greens
    Rose-Scented Raspberry Mousse
    Instant Chocolate Pudding


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Washington, DC Green Festival May 6-8th at the DC Convention Center

Posted on February 11, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor


Visit The Vegetarian Resource Group in Booth #504 at the 12th annual DC Green Festival! This event offers live cooking demonstrations, vegan/vegetarian food, and over 250 sustainable businesses showcasing their products!

For information see:

A Vegan Mac ‘N Cheese Smackdown in Baltimore!

Posted on February 11, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor


Creamy mac ‘n cheese. Taste the smooth, velvety sauce as you bite into al dente pasta, pulling a stretch of gooey goodness from your fork. It almost melts in your mouth. Now, imagine all that deliciousness is vegan. Yep, completely plant-based with no animal ingredients. No butter, no sour cream, no cheddar. Amazing, you say? Well, just wait until you taste it!

Baked, stove top, bubbly, or slow-cooked – mac ‘n cheese expresses the style of the individual making it. Experience the best Baltimore has to offer on Saturday February 20th at the Vegan Mac ‘n Cheese Smackdown, where local chefs and cooks will compete for vegan-cheesy excellence. The Vegan Mac ‘n Cheese Smackdown will be held from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM at the Urban Business Center, located at 1200 West Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21223.

Contestants’ vegan mac ‘n cheese will be judged on mouth feel, taste and texture. Categories include Best Overall Mac ‘n Cheese, Best Gluten-Free, Best “From Scratch” (ie, no processed ingredients), People’s Choice, and Most Like Grandma’s. Grand prizes include a mac trophy as well as gift cards to local businesses. Some lucky attendees can expect to win delightful door prizes, too!

This event is open to the public and costs $10 in advance or $15 at the door. More than 500 guests are expected to taste the city’s finest in vegan mac n’cheese! PEP Foods will be on hand to sell other savory and sweet vegan delights, and a variety of locally-made beverages will be available for purchase.

The Vegan Mac ‘n Cheese Smackdown is a fundraiser for PEP Foods, a collective of vegan businesses and activists. The goal of PEP Foods is to create healthy, affordable, environmentally-responsible alternatives to animal products that are available and accessible to everyone, regardless of income. The collective is currently renovating an all-vegan commercial kitchen in West Baltimore. Other event sponsors include Baltimore Vegan Drinks, A Well Fed World, Better Health Better Life, Open the Cages Alliance and Local Color Flowers.

Website & Tickets:

Calendar Listing:
Vegan Mac ‘n Cheese Smackdown
February 20, 2016, 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Urban Business Center, 1200 West Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21223
Advance tickets, $10; $15 at the door
Join us for an over-the-top cheesy afternoon!

Are you looking for a new vegan handbag or wallet? Mechaly is offering a discount!

Posted on February 10, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor


Mechaly is all about design, fashion, the environment, social responsibility, excellence, inclusiveness, integrity, authenticity and, of course, being a voice for animals. The mission is to take animals out of the equation. Since 2014, Mechaly has been committed to using cruelty-free materials in its handbags, wallets, and more. Sample products include vegan leather backpacks, a weekender bag, tote bags, clutch bags, wallets, etc. The items come in several different colors and sizes and are vegan certified by and PETA.

If you’re wondering what the name “Mechaly” means. To the founders, Mechaly represents their Legacy; it is their Culture, Heritage, Family, and Tradition. Mechaly is the maiden name of their mothers. They have vivid childhood memories of their grandfather, Henry Mechaly, and the principles he instilled in them. As children, they would often visit their grandfathers’ farm where he taught them to respect all living beings! He taught them that life is precious and to cherish good health and each day that is given to us on this earth. Grandpa pushed them to pursue their dreams. The Mechaly brand commemorates the confidence and determination their grandfather instilled in them. Mechaly is also dedicated to all grandparents who believe in their grandchildren unconditionally.

Start shopping today online! If you use promo code SHOP35 in your post, you’ll receive a 35% off discount on sales made via

The Deadline for High School Seniors Applying for The Vegetarian Resource Group College Scholarships is February 20th!

Posted on February 09, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor

If you are a High School Senior that promotes veganism/vegetarianism on an ongoing basis, or if you know a student that is doing this, please let them know about The Vegetarian Resource Group College Scholarship Contest. Each year, the VRG offers three scholarships to graduating High School Seniors – Two $5,000 scholarships and one $10,000 scholarship.

Applicants will be judged on having shown compassion, courage, and a strong commitment to promoting a peaceful world through a veggie diet/lifestyle. Payment will be made to the student’s college (U.S. based only). Winners of the scholarships give permission to release their names to the media. Applications and essays become property of The Vegetarian Resource Group. We may ask finalists for more information. Scholarship winners are contacted by e-mail or telephone. Please don’t forget to look at your e-mail.

Entries may only be sent by students graduating from high school in spring 2016. Deadline is February 20, 2016. We will accept applications postmarked on or before February 20, 2016. Early submission is encouraged. For details on these scholarships, and to see information on previous winners visit:

If you would like to donate to additional money to go towards VRG scholarships or internships, go to



Posted on February 08, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor


Today is the start of the year of the monkey. Enjoy the Chinese New Year today with some vegan Chinese food. Here are some recipes you can use:

Asian Sautéed Eggplant (from Vegan Meals for One or Two)
(Makes 2 servings)

1 Tablespoon peanut or sesame oil
½ Tablespoon diced onions
2 cups peeled and cubed eggplant
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1 Tablespoon vinegar (rice vinegar is best)
¼ cup vegetable broth
1 teaspoon sesame seeds (if desired)

Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until soft, approximately 2 minutes. Add eggplant and toss over medium-high heat so cubes are coated and oil is absorbed, approximately 2 minutes. Add soy sauce, red pepper flakes, garlic, vinegar, and broth and reduce to simmer. Cover and allow to cook until eggplant is tender, approximately 8 minutes. Stir in sesame seeds, if desired, and enjoy!

Fried Rice with Peanuts or Almonds (from Meatless Meals for Working People)
(Serves 6)

1 large onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon oil
2 cups pre-cooked rice
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 small zucchini, chopped
2 Tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
1 cup roasted peanuts or almonds, chopped or whole

Sauté onion in oil in a large frying pan or wok over a medium heat for 3 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and stir-fry 15 minutes.

You may also enjoy this article with recipes from a previous issue of Vegetarian Journal:

To subscribe to Vegetarian Journal, go to:

Roasting Dandies Marshmallows

Posted on February 05, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor

Dandies All Natural Vanilla Marshmallows have been a favorite vegan treat since they hit the market in 2008. While they are by no means a health food, they are a wonderful cruelty-free alternative to traditional marshmallows, which are made with gelatin, an animal-based ingredient. I love tossing a few Dandies in a mug of vegan hot cocoa and snacking on the mini version by the handful right out of the bag. You can even melt them down to make crispy cereal treats.

During a recent snow storm, while watching the fire crackle away, I got the sudden urge to see how Dandies would fare when toasted over an open fire. Would I be able to recreate a favorite childhood memory with a vegan version of marshmallows? I had never tried it before, thinking they would char when exposed to the hot flames, or maybe they wouldn’t be able to stay firm on the stick, melting away into a sugary mess.

I popped a Dandies marshmallow onto a perfectly-sized piece of kindling and held it over the fire. Much to my surprise and joy, the ‘mallow started to slowly puff up to almost twice its size. Then, right on cue, it started to caramelize into a golden brown color around the edges. Eyes wide, I twirled my stick, giving it an even roast. The sweet, gooey, slightly-burnt taste took me right back to summer camp and it was even better than I remembered. Too bad I didn’t have any vegan chocolate and graham crackers on hand!

It’s not a hugely important part of life, but the fact that vegan kids everywhere can enjoy the time-honored tradition of roasting marshmallows, huddled by the fire, surrounded by friends, maybe with a few folk songs thrown in for good measure, is something I love knowing the possibility of.

You can find Dandies Marshmallows nationwide at grocery stores and natural foods stores. See for a store locator to find your nearest Dandies, or buy online at


By Samantha Gendler

Veganism at Colorado State University By Kelly Johnston

Posted on February 04, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor


Colorado State University (CSU) is located in Fort Collins Colorado and has an excellent reputation for its animal science and agriculture programs. Many vegan students considering the pursuit of higher education at CSU may feel apprehensive about applying to an institution so intimately linked with animal agriculture. The city of Fort Collins and the surrounding area of Northern Colorado is also well known for involvement in animal agriculture. Unfortunately, Northern Colorado is home to several feedlots, dairy farms, and slaughterhouses including JBS Swift one of the largest animal processing companies in the world. You might expect that CSU’s proximity to and relationship with animal agriculture could create a challenging environment for vegetarian and vegan students. However, CSU is surprisingly vegan friendly and ripe with advocacy opportunities.

Many incoming vegetarian/vegan freshmen may be worried about the on campus dining options available at CSU. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the campus dining halls are incredibly accommodating to students who follow plant based diets. Avoiding animal products in the dining hall is made easy by the Eat Well @ CSU labeling system. This labeling system marks food items that contain no animal products as vegan, whereas the vegetarian options are those that do not contain meat or fish. The dining halls are made up of stations such as the salad bars, pasta bar, and the Mongolian grill where students are able to create delicious and healthy vegan dishes. The salad stations offer various protein packed toppings including baked tofu, edamame and sautéed Portobello mushrooms as well as many varieties of vegan quinoa, pasta, and rice salads. The deli stations can prepare sandwiches made with various veggies, hummus, vegan cheese, vegan lunch meats, vegan mayonnaise, and other vegan condiments. Vegan students can also enjoy the Mongolian Grill where they can create their own stir-fry by picking veggies, a vegan sauce, and vegan proteins (choose from tofu or seitan) atop either noodles or steamed rice. If you let the cook know you are vegan, they will separate your meal from others so there is no non-vegan contamination during cooking. Some dining halls offer a Mexican food station where vegans and vegetarians have plenty of options including build your own burritos, tacos, and taco salads with various beans, veggie taco meat, and tamales. All tortillas, beans, guacamole, and salsas are always vegan! At the pasta station students can create their own pasta dish by picking veggies, a vegan sauce, and vegan proteins (choose from tofu, seitan, or veggie crumbles) atop different varieties of noodles. The grill stations all offer a few varieties of veggie burgers as well as vegan toppings including vegan cheese. At breakfast vegan students can enjoy scrambled tofu or vegan sausage. Additionally, all dining centers offer dairy alternative milks and vegan desert options including chocolate chip cookies, dairy free gelato, and Dutch caramel apple pie. Each dining hall also provides at least one vegan/vegetarian soup per day, as well as other express options including sushi. There is also one dining center on campus (Corbett) that offers an exclusively vegan/vegetarian station for lunch and dinner during the school week! The CSU dining halls offer many more vegan options and for more information regarding the plant based dining options at CSU please visit Students may also take advantage of several vegan friendly restaurants within walking distance of campus such as Tasty Harmony, the Rainbow and Avogadro’s Number

One of the reasons CSU’s dining halls are so accommodating to vegetarian diets may be partially attributed to the fact that the dietitian for housing and dining services is a vegetarian. One of her current projects is the initiation of a Meatless Monday campaign which encourages students to eat vegetarian and vegan options one day per week by increasing the number and variety of plant based options in the dining halls. Some of the exciting new vegan options students can try at CSU’s new Meatless Monday events include aloo Gobi, Chana masala, mushroom and sweet potato stew, faro and braised tomato stuffed zucchini, as well as roasted cauliflower, spinach, and white bean pesto pasta!

Although CSU’s relationship with animal agriculture may represent a source of discomfort for many vegan students, it can also represent an excellent opportunity for activism. CSU is home to an active animal rights group called Rams Organizing for Animal Rights (ROAR). This group can provide new vegetarian and vegan students with a friendly campus community that is accepting of their diet and beliefs. The group can also help students become involved in activism activities and volunteer work. Another excellent activism opportunity for vegan students at CSU can be found at the bimonthly JBS Swift slaughterhouse protest. JBS swift is located just 30 miles from campus and has become the target of the nonprofit organization Greeley Cow Save. This is an excellent opportunity for students who are interested in being a voice for the voiceless. Northern Colorado is also home to several other active animal rights organizations including Animal Action Network and a branch of Direct Action Everywhere.

Despite Colorado State University’s intimate relationship with animal agriculture, this university is surprisingly accommodating to students with vegetarian eating patterns. Not only do vegan students at CSU have the opportunity to eat well, they also have the opportunity to join a well-established and active vegan community.

For more information about eating at college, see

If you are a high school senior and looking at colleges, be sure to check out the VRG annual college scholarship contest:


Posted on February 03, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor


It appears Wendy’s is expanding their Black Bean Burger test beyond our original report earlier last year:

If you live in the areas mentioned, please let us know how they taste.

Wendy’s announced:
We’re testing our Black Bean Burger in three markets: Columbus, Ohio; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Columbia, South Carolina. We have chosen our test markets to be representative of the larger United States, and we look forward to hearing customers’ reactions to the Black Bean Burger.

Q: What are the ingredients in the patty?
A: Some of the main ingredients are: black beans, wild rice, farro, onions, brown rice, carrots, quinoa, corn, green bell peppers and red bell peppers. Sauce and seasonings include ingredients such as red wine vinegar, chili peppers, cumin, sea salt, oregano and cilantro.

Q: How do you cook the black bean patty?
A: We cook the black bean patty in a separate oven so it does not contact the grill where we prepare meat. However, the restaurant as a whole is not vegan or vegetarian so cross contact with other menu items is possible.

Q: Is the Black Bean Burger vegetarian?
A: Yes, the Black Bean Burger is vegetarian.

Q: Is the sandwich vegan if you order it without the sauce or cheese? Or, could I order this sandwich vegan?
A: The ingredients in both the bun and the black bean patty are considered vegan. The cheese and the Parmesan ranch sauce are not vegan. At Wendy’s, we make every sandwich to order, so just ask for your sandwich to be prepared without cheese or ranch sauce. Also, we cook the black bean patty in a separate oven so it does not contact the grill where we prepare meat. The restaurant as a whole is not vegan or vegetarian so cross contact with other menu items is possible.

Q: What kind of bun does the Black Bean Burger come with?
A: The Black Bean Burger is served on a toasted multigrain bun featuring nine different grains and seeds including white sesame seeds, red quinoa and rolled oats.

Q: When will the Black Bean Burger be available in my area?
A: We are in the very early stages of testing at this time. We do not have a timeline on when the Black Bean Burger will be available outside our current test markets, but we are closely tracking consumer inquiries.


Buns are toasted in a common toaster with products that contain Egg, Soy, and Milk.

Nutrition information is based on standard product formulations. Variations may occur due to differences in suppliers, ingredient substitutions, recipe revisions, product assembly at the restaurant level, and/or season of the year. Quality Is Our Recipe, LLC and its franchisees, and Wendy’s International, LLC and its employees, do not assume responsibility for a particular allergy or sensitivity to any food provided in our restaurants. Federal regulations have identified 8 major food allergens: milk, eggs, wheat, soybeans, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and crustacean shellfish. For your convenience, menu items and ingredients that contain these major allergens have been indicated. Assembled in food preparation area where meat and dairy products are present.

The contents of this posting, our website and our other publications, including Vegetarian Journal, are not intended to provide personal medical advice. Medical advice should be obtained from a qualified health professional. We often depend on product and ingredient information from company statements. It is impossible to be 100% sure about a statement, info can change, people have different views, and mistakes can be made. Please use your best judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. To be sure, do further research or confirmation on your own.

For more information on quick service chains, see


Posted on February 02, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor

According to NonProfit Pro, these are the top five companies for Employee Giving:

1. Bank of America
They allow their employees to double their contribution to eligible charities each year with a $5,000 cap per calendar year.

2. Intel
For their matching program, after an employee has volunteered 20 hours of their time for eligible nonprofits, for each hour after the initial 20, Intel will donate $10 to the nonprofit, with a cap of $10,000.

3. Microsoft
They match employee donations up to $15,000 per year, per employee. Additionally, Microsoft employees who volunteer at a nonprofit for at least four hours per calendar year can receive $25 for every hour they volunteer.

4. Verizon
Verizon gives $750 grants to up to two organizations after an employee has volunteered for at least 50 hours at each separate nonprofit.

5. Medtronic
They match employee donations of up to $50,000 per employee per year. Additionally, they donate $500 after an individual employee volunteers for 25 hours at a nonprofit.

For info on other companies that make matching donations, see and check “Would you like your employer to match? You could double your donation.”

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