The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

Enjoy the Super Bowl with these Vegan Snacks!

Posted on February 03, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor


If you plan on watching the Super Bowl this Sunday, you might want to treat yourself to some vegan snacks. Here’s some suggestions from Vegetarian Journal to help you out:

Vegan Munchies Recipes include:

Simple Bean and Tomato Dip
Pizza Dip
Chili Dip
Smokey Hummus
Hummus with Dill, Mustard, and Garlic
Pecans Roasted with Tamari and Garlic
Seasoned Roasted Sunflower Seeds

Quick Dips
To make a sweet dip fast:
Place a small amount of nut butter or apple butter in a mixing bowl. Stir to soften. In a separate bowl, mash a banana with berries and/or orange juice concentrate. Combine banana with nut or apple butter and mix until well-combined. You’ve got it! You can add in chopped nuts, chopped dates, crumbled cold cereal, or fresh berries, as you like.

To make a savory dip fast:
Place soy yogurt, vegan sour cream, or tofu in a blender or food processor. Add a small amount of salsa or drained canned tomatoes, canned beans, some chopped bell peppers (or fresh chili, if you like heat), and parsley and blend until smooth. Chill for 10 minutes before eating.

Quick and Easy Snack Ideas Add some of the following to your shopping list so you can assemble some fast snacks to take to work or school or to enjoy when you are relaxing:
Whole wheat crackers, pretzels, popcorn, cold cereal
Dried fruit, nuts
Frozen berries or cut fruit
Vegan yogurt
Extra-firm tofu, tempeh, or seitan
Nori or dried seaweed sheets
Ready-to-eat fresh produce, such as sliced fresh carrots or baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, fresh green beans, snow peas or sugar snaps (edible pea pods), radishes, green onions, cut broccoli or cauliflower florets, shredded cabbage
Canned, packed in water or juice apricots, plums, tropical fruit salad
Pickles, olives
Canned tomatoes and tomato paste, salsa

Here are some ideas for combining these ingredients:
Tomato paste, with or without salsa mixed in, used as a condiment for pretzels, crackers, or fresh veggies
Nori crumbled into cold cereal, such as corn chex or shredded wheat or added to crumbled tofu, tempeh, or seitan
Canned or frozen fruit mixed with vegan yogurt
Popcorn tossed with nori

To subscribe to Vegetarian Journal, visit: Vegetarian Journal


Posted on February 03, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

US Agricultural Statistical Data – The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service is seeking public comments on the paperwork and regulatory burdens associated with the conduct of its ‘Agricultural Surveys Program’, which “… contains a series of surveys that obtains basic agricultural data from farmers, ranchers, and feedlots throughout the Nation for preparing agricultural estimates and forecasts of crop acreage, yield, and production; stocks of grains and soybeans; hog and pig numbers; sheep inventory and lamb crop; cattle inventory; cattle on feed; grazing fees; and land values …”

Comments Due By: March 27, 2017

Website: The January 25, 2017 USDA NASS Federal Register Notice is posted at

Chain Restaurant Poll

Posted on February 02, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor


Go to:

Special Vegan Meals at Restaurants on Valentine’s Day

Posted on January 31, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor


Here’s a list of some restaurants offering special vegan meals on Valentine’s Day. Make reservations as soon as possible!

Real Food Daily, West Hollywood and Pasadena, CA:
Ravens at the Stanford Inn, Mendocino, CA:
Full Bloom Vegan, Miami Beach, FL:
Ethos Vegan Kithchen, Winter Park, FL:
Café Sunflower, Atlanta, GA:
Great Sage, Clarksville, MD:
True Bistro, Somerville, MA:
Hangawi, New York City, NY:
Blossoming Lotus, Portland, OR:
Counter Culture, Austin, TX:
Café Flora, Seattle, WA:

VRG’s complete online list of veggie restaurants in the USA and Canada can be seen here:

Honeygrow Offers Many Vegan Options

Posted on January 31, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor


Honeygrow is a chain with clearly marked vegan options on their menu. Locations are in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, and Washington, DC. They will soon be opening up in Brooklyn, NY.

They offer stir-fry bowls including the Red Coconut Curry vegan option, which includes rice noodles, tofu, and veggies. You can easily substitute brown rice for the rice noodles, and alter the veggie choices in your bowl. Honeygrow also has a make-your-own stir-fry option where you can select Sour Cherry BBQ Sauce or Sesame Garlic Sauce, in addition to the Red Coconut Curry option. You then create your bowl with options including tofu, whole wheat noodles, brown rice, and a variety of veggies.

Additionally, Honeygrow offers a vegan kale salad made with mustard soy vinaigrette, green kale, organic roasted spicy tofu, apples, carrots, roasted beets, red onions, and radishes. There’s also a make-your-own salad option, which can easily be prepared vegan.

Finally, their Honeybar dessert option can be made vegan. It includes fresh fruit, maple syrup (instead of honey), three fruits, and two toppings.

For further information, see:

VRG Offers Two $5,000 Scholarships plus One $10,000 Scholarship – Deadline is February 20th!

Posted on January 30, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor


Due to the generosity of an anonymous donor, The Vegetarian Resource Group each year will award $20,000 in college scholarship money to graduating U.S. high school students who have promoted veganism/vegetarianism in their schools and/or communities. Vegetarians do not eat meat, fish, or fowl. Vegans are vegetarians who do not use other animal products such as dairy or eggs.

One award of $10,000 and two awards of $5,000 will be given. Entries may only be sent by students graduating from high school in spring 2017. Deadline is February 20, 2017. We will accept applications postmarked on or before February 20, 2017. Early submission is encouraged.

Applicants will be judged on having shown compassion, courage, and a strong commitment to promoting a peaceful world through a vegan/vegetarian 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 look at your e-mail.

For details on the contest, see:

Vegan food in your foodservice?

Posted on January 30, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

About Bon Appétit Management Company

Bon Appétit Management Company is an on-site restaurant company operating 650-plus cafés in 31 states for corporations, universities, and museums as well as public restaurants.

Bon Appétit Management Company says they were born in the San Francisco Bay Area, and “as a result we’ve always been ahead of the curve when it comes to offering plentiful vegetarian and vegan options at our cafés. Our chefs love the challenge of serving up plentiful interesting offerings … We’ve long conducted “vegan culinary boot camps” across the country to train our chefs to think beyond the salad bar and take inspiration internationally. (Thai pesto, anyone?) Multiple Bon Appétit university cafés are fully vegan or vegetarian, with unique and ever-changing menus. All of our cafés use color-coded stickers to identify items that are vegetarian and/or vegan.” If your foodservice uses Bon Appetit, ask them about their vegan options and training.

Here’s a couscous recipe on their blog.

And a Lentil Salad

For more foodservice ideas, visit

Celebrate the Chinese New Year: Enjoy Vegan Chinese Food

Posted on January 27, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor


What better way to celebrate the Chinese New Year on January 28th then by preparing a vegan Chinese dish. Here’s some recipes from Vegetarian Journal to help you out:

Boiled Rice and Mushroom Congee
T’ang Dynasty Cold Fruit Soup
Cabbage Salad
Citrus Snow Peas
Street Side Tofu and Mushrooms
Stir-fried Noodles
Sweet Walnuts

Fried Lotus with Black Rice
Sesame Kale
B&B Stir-fry with Udon Noodles

To subscribe to Vegetarian Journal, visit:

FDA Tells The VRG That Vitamin D2 Is Permitted in Orange Juice

Posted on January 27, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor


By Jeanne Yacoubou, MS

In July 2016 The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ruled that vitamin D2 could be added as a nutrient supplement to plant-based beverages intended for use as milk alternatives as well as to non-dairy yogurt alternatives.

[VRG Note: Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) is derived from fungal or plant sources. Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is most often derived from sheep’s wool (lanolin) although a vegan vitamin D3 form is available Vitamin D3 is frequently added to cow’s milk and orange juice.]

The VRG wondered if vitamin D2 was permitted by the FDA to be added to orange juice since nothing in the recent ruling specifically addressed this issue.
We searched Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and located the status of both forms of vitamin D as a food additive.

Here it states that vitamin D3 may be added to juice; Vitamin D2 is not mentioned.

By contrast, vitamin D2 may be added to certain foods:

On this page it states that “Vitamin D2 may be used safely in foods as a nutrient supplement defined under 170.3(o)(20) of this chapter…” but there is no mention of juice. Under that section, the CFR states the definition: “Nutrient supplements: Substances which are necessary for the body’s nutritional and metabolic processes.”

Here’s where the CFR states that it’s admissible in certain foods/beverages to use either form of vitamin D as “vitamin D.” Again, orange juice is not specifically identified in relation to vitamin D2 supplementation.

Searching for more information about FDA’s position on vitamin D2 in orange juice, we contacted a few government scientists who conduct nutrition research.

Dr. Bess Dawson-Hughes, MD at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University sent us a link to a pertinent article on vitamin D titled Vitamin D fortification in the United States and Canada: current status and data needs

A footnote in Table 1 Lawful addition of vitamin D to foods in the United States of this article specifies that vitamin D3 is permitted in juices. It appears that Table 1’s “vitamin D” for the other foods/beverages can be either vitamin D2 or vitamin D3.

We asked Dr. Dawson-Hughes: Do you know if FDA’s position is that since D2 is defined as a dietary supplement and it is NOT expressly prohibited from being added to juice, then companies may add it to juice?

She replied:
Since milk can be fortified with D2 or D3 (see statement below from the Calvo article), I would think that D2 can be used to fortify other foods.
This is the statement from the article linked above on which Dr. Dawson-Hughes based her conclusion:

…Vitamin D, which includes crystalline vitamin D2 and
D3 and vitamin D2 and D3 resin formed from the irradiation of ergocalciferol and cholecalciferol, can be added as the sole source of added vitamin in the food categories shown in Table 1 and must not exceed the specified limitations …

The VRG also contacted FDA by email and phone for confirmation. Here is our question posed in January 2017 to FDA’s Food and Cosmetics Information Center and Technical Assistance Network (FCIC/TAN) followed by their reply:

Q: … [In the CFR] D2 is permitted in plant-based milks but I see only D3 as allowable in fruit juice.
Are companies in the US permitted to add vitamin D2 to orange juice?

A: Thanks for your inquiry! Yes, vitamin D (2 & 3) can be added to orange juice.

Thank you for contacting FDA’s FCIC/TAN.

The VRG followed up with a phone call to FCIC to inquire about the specific reference in CFR’s Title 21 on which FCIC based its answer.
We began the phone call by asking whether a juice company could add vitamin D2 to orange juice. The immediate response was “If a company has approval.” Wondering which CFR regulation supports this reply, we continued by asking for the CFR reference. We received this answer after being put on hold for a few minutes: “If vitamin D2 is not expressly written as prohibited [in the CFR] it may be used [as a dietary supplement defined in 21CFR170.3] in orange juice.” The call was disconnected while we repeated our request for the CFR reference for this statement.

Related Information:

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 judgement about whether a product is suitable for you. To be sure, do further research or confirmation on your own

For information on other ingredients, see
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2nd Annual Vegan Mac N’ Cheese Smackdown and Baltimore Vegan Weekend

Posted on January 26, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

Screen Shot 2017-01-25 at 9.40.12 AM

Feb. 17-19, 2017

We’re writing because once again, we [Baltimore Vegan Drinks] are co-producing the Vegan Mac N’ Cheese Smackdown, but this year, it’s in the middle of Baltimore Vegan Weekend – spanning Friday Feb. 17 to Sunday Feb. 19. There’s a vegan foods crawl all over Baltimore Friday night, the Mac Smackdown and an afterparty on Saturday, and Vegan Brunch, plus a Vegan Pizza Party on Sunday.

In 2016 just over 1000 guests attended and we had 28 chefs. Our event was covered by the Baltimore Sun and the Washington Post, plus it inspired spin-off events in Philly and Asheville. We have a bigger space with parking lots this time and we want to do even BETTER, really pushing the awesome-ness of vegan mac and cheese out into the world.

Here are links to the event pages –

mac and cheese smackdown –

And the Facebook page for the vegan weekend –

Thanks and take care, Rissa

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