By Lisa Rimmert, Director of Development
Recently, a few women in Denver, CO hosted a civic engagement event called, “March! Write! Unite!” They described it as a way to keep the momentum going after the Women’s March that happened worldwide on January 21. I’ve been experiencing a particularly high level of angst and determination, so when I saw the event on Facebook I decided to attend with a couple friends.
The event organizers had posted a list of items they hoped could be donated, and one of them was food. “Perfect!” I thought, or possibly exclaimed aloud as I’ve been known to talk at my computer from time to time. Since the election, I had been struggling with how—or even if—to connect my activism for animal rights and my activism for human rights. I know, I’m late to the game on this! A lot of people have been thinking about this and doing work on it for decades!
I thought this event presented a fantastic opportunity for me to bring human and animal rights together without co-opting the event in any way. I could provide food to nourish the activists who attended this human rights-centered event, and keep it human-centered while adding an element of animal rights in the form of vegan food!
I emailed one of the organizers and offered to provide food if she was okay with it being vegan. She was absolutely OK with it, especially because I was offering it free of charge!
What a success! The 50 or so people who had RSVPed on Facebook could eat delicious animal-friendly food while writing to their elected officials to voice concerns about a wide range of political issues! What could go wrong?
I’m glad you asked.
In the week leading up to the event, something wonderful and terrifying happened. While the list of attendees started small, the event spread quickly on Facebook and ended up with over 150 attendees! Obviously, this is great for civic engagement in Denver, but a little overwhelming for the poor sap who had agreed to provide food—yours truly.
Thankfully, my friends Sara and Kim were quick to offer help so we could still provide delicious vegan food to everyone! So, come January 29, about 150 mostly non-veg folks wrote letters to their elected officials—all while eating delicious vegan food!
Here’s a list of what we provided, with a recipe for the Curried Chicken Salad Wraps below—
- I bought assorted vegan donuts from a vegan bakery in Denver called Beet Box Bakery. I cut them in half so more people could have some.
- I prepared an easy veggie tray with red lentil hummus, carrots, broccoli, and cherry tomatoes. This was the least exciting dish, so I’m not sure I recommend it. Lesson learned!
- I had a blast assembling mini fruit skewers the night before the event, with sliced strawberries, pineapples, and blueberries—red, white-ish, and blue.
- I whipped up a cashew cheese spread and put spoonfuls of it into muffin cups with pretzels and crackers.
- Kim made three kinds of mini muffins, mostly using ingredients she already had in her kitchen! She made blueberry lemon, banana nut, and cocoa spice muffins, and they were delicious.
- I knew someone else was providing coffee, so I brought non-dairy creamer.
- I messaged my VO colleague Alex Bury in a panic, and she gave me the recipe listed below for easy, make-ahead Curried Chicken Salad Wraps
Curried Chicken Salad Wraps
Yields 4-6 wraps.
- 4 tablespoons mild yellow curry powder
- 2 cups Follow Your Heart Vegenaise
- 1 package thawed Beyond Meat Chicken Strips (Lightly Seasoned or Grilled variety), diced
- 2 stalks celery, washed and diced small (optional—you can skip the celery if you’re in a hurry!)
- ½ yellow onion, finely diced (optional—also OK to skip)
- ½ cup golden raisins
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Red chili flakes (optional—if you like spicy food)
- 1 package of your favorite wraps (recommended: Trader Joe’s Lavash Bread, flour tortillas, or big romaine lettuce leaves)
- Mix the curry powder and Vegenaise together in a large mixing bowl.
- Add the rest of the ingredients—except for the wraps—to make the curry salad. Mix well and taste. Add more salt if desired, and/or red chili flakes if you like spicy food.
- Place the tortilla or wrap on a clean surface. Add ½ cup curry salad. Roll it up like a burrito.
- This will make 4-6 wraps—depending on how full you make them—and they keep well overnight in the fridge. It’s also a great party appetizer! Serve in a large bowl surrounded by crackers.
- Try adding sliced and toasted almonds, chopped fresh cilantro, and/or lime wedges to kick up the spice and texture.
Note: Beyond Meat has the same amount of protein as chicken, but zero cholesterol and zero saturated fat. Vegenaise tastes like mayonnaise but doesn’t have any cholesterol. If you serve a dollop of this curry salad on top of mixed greens, or in a sandwich stuffed with other fresh veggies, you’ll have a lunch that is fast, super healthy, and super good for you!
Beyond Meat can be found in Raley’s, Safeway, Target, Whole Foods, and local food co-op stores. Look in the freezer section.
Vegenaise can be found in Albertsons, Safeway, Whole Foods, and local food co-op stores. It will likely be on the shelves near the mayonnaise with animal products in it.