VegMichigan Highlights

Welcome to VegMichigan

A nonprofit organization promoting awareness of the health, environmental and ethical benefits of a plant-based diet.




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Baked Acorn Squash Wedges

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Baked Acorn Squash Wedges

  • 2 medium acorn squashes
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 4 tsps. vegan butter spread

Using a sharp knife, cut each squash lengthwise in half and remove seeds and stringly membrane. Cut these in half for a total of 8 wedges. Sprinkle flesh side lightly with salt and pepper. Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Place squash wedges, flesh side up, in a large roasting pan. Spoon a tablespoon of the brown sugar mixture, followed by 1/2 teaspoon of vegan butter into the cavities of each. Cover the roasting pan with foil and bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour. Remove foil and serve.

Thanks-Living Stuffing Casserole

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Thanks-Living Stuffing Casserole

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 cup cashews, finely chopped
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond or soy milk
  • 2 cups seasoning dry stuffing (Pepperidge Farm brand is fine)
  • 1 tsp. poultry seasoning
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and saute’ celery and onion until softened. Pour into a large mixing bowl along with the rest of the ingredients and combine well. Spread evenly into an oiled 9″ x 13″ baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Cranberry Chutney Salad

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Cranberry Chutney Salad

  • 1  12-ounce back fresh cranberries, rinsed
  • 1  18-ounce jar orange marmalade
  • 1  8-ounce can crushed pineapple with liquid
  • 3/4 cup turbinado sugar 

Place cranberries and marmalade into a food processor and pulse until you get a course texture. Do not over-process into a sauce. Pour into a bowl and stir in the pineapple and sugar. Cover the bowl and allow to chill a day or two before serving. (Do not serve right away after preparing it – the flavors need time to develop).


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· 2 cups cubed fresh pineapple
· 1 naval orange, peeled, sectioned and cut into bite-sized pieces
· 1 ½ cups chopped organic strawberries
· 1 cup organic green grapes, halved
· 1 cup small vegan marshmallows (e.g. Dandee brand)
· ½ cup flaked coconut
· ¼ cup chopped nuts (almonds, pecans or walnuts)
· 1 6-ounce container vanilla Coconut Bliss yogurt
· 1 Tab. confectioners sugar
· 1 banana, sliced
Combine all ingredients together.
Chill before serving for best flavor.  Add bananas just before serving so they don’t turn brown.

The Lunch Room


The Lunch Room

by Renee Ratliff

DSC_0016Ann Arbor’s popular eatery, The Lunch Room, sprung from the desire to offer quality vegan food at economical prices. Phillis Englebert and Joel Panozzo wanted to show that there is a market for an all-vegan restaurant and that vegan food can have wide appeal among the public.

A fast casual restaurant, orders are placed at the counter and food is brought to the tables. Mouthwatering baked goods greet you as you walk in the door. Recipes, made with quality local ingredients, grace the menu. With a staff that is friendly and eager to answer any questions, The Lunch Room demonstrates the perfect balance of atmosphere, service and quality food.  DSC_0005

The Lunch Room started as a pop-up restaurant around the Ann Arbor area. Englebert and Panozzo would prepare meals in Phyllis’ kitchen and then transport them to a local business, morphing it into a restaurant for several hours. The pop-up meals were offered in all different settings including homes, a floral shop and a tattoo parlor. Cafeteria trays were used to serve the food, providing a casual and fun way to present five different courses in each section on the tray.

Engelbert and Panozzo started their food cart May 2011 at Mark’s Carts. Leaving the food cart scene after the 2012 season, they decided on a restaurant as their next step. The restaurant officially opened in August 2013 in Kerrytown. Engelbert and Panozzo put their hearts into this completely custom space with 35 seats inside and 20 outside. An inviting atmosphere, a lot of the elements you see in the restaurant were carefully hand-crafted including cutting table tops, dipping skewers for decorations and painting.

“The best-part or the restaurant is the customers. Having people eat our food, watching the joy it brings.” says Panozzo “It makes all the difference to have hand-made food, and having people recognize that.”

DSC_0018On this completely vegan menu, some of the favorites include BBQ tofu sliders, tempeh Ruben, pad thai and the southwestern salad. All sandwiches can be made gluten-free, and so can many other menu items. Panozzo and Englebert strive to feature a dinner special each night of the week. Specials so far have included a UP night with pasties, sushi night, pizza night and sliders night. Located next to Ann Arbors farmers’ market, there is a commitment to purchase local food and produce. Dinner specials are adjusted to what is in season. Local fruit ends up in the bakery for seasonal creations.  On farmers-market days breakfast is served and there is brunch on Sundays.

The Lunch Room is a community place for all to come and enjoy really tasty, made-from-scratch vegan food. VegMichigan members receive a 10% discount by showing their membership card.


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  • 3 Tabs. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 2 cups sliced celery
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tsp. tamari
  • 1 Tab. dry white wine
  • 2 cups dried green split peas
  • 1/3 cup dry pearl barley
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. liquid smoke
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper

 Saute onion, carrots and celery in the olive oil until softened.  Add garlic and cook another 30 seconds.

 Add rest of ingredients and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until everything is tender.

 Remove bay leaves.  With an immersion blender, “smash” half of the soup to make it creamy but leave some texture.

Jazzy Veggie gets creative without the meat


Jazzy Veggie gets creative without the meat

by Renee Ratliff

DSC_0010Since the restaurant opened in November 2010 Jazzy Veggie has offered Ann Arbor typical American favorites without the meat. The goal was to open a restaurant that appeals to vegetarians, vegans and meat-eaters alike. A casual family place that offers typical favorites you grew up with, without having to worry what it is made from.

With a unique collection of items that are main-stream, the restaurant provides many options at an affordable price. “I wanted to jazz up the food,” said Ananth

Pullela, Jazzy Veggie owner, “Life is too short for bland food!” It is the comfort food you crave, without meat, that doesn’t look or sound “weird.”Brown Rice & Spinach Salad - JV

More of a café, this is the place to go if you are looking for somewhere to have a quick bite with burgers and sandwiches.  The restaurant provides a variety of vegan soups, salads, pizza, burgers, sandwiches and more. Place an order at the counter, then find a seat and the food is brought to you at your table. Menu favorites include vegan krab cakes, black bean burgers, sweet potato fries and a variety of pasta, grain and bean entrees.  Everything is cooked to order and never fried. What’s next for the restaurant… gluten free pizza!

Jazzy veggie is a unique option for the veggie community. Even better, VegMichigan members get 10% off with their membership card.

Jazzy Veggie is located at 108 S. Main Street, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

October 12 Group Run, Breakfast and Book Signing with No Meat Athlete

no meat athlete

October 12 Group Run, Breakfast and Book Signing with No Meat Athlete

by Renee Ratliff

no meat athleteWhether the thought of participating in a 5K, 10K, half-marathon, marathon or more excites you or makes you cringe, there’s no question that running takes a lot of dedication and hard work. Good nutrition and diet are key components in any runner’s training plan, and for some, that means a plant-based diet.

Vegan ultramarathoner and blogger Matt Frazier visits Ann Arbor, Saturday, October 12 to discuss his new book “No Meat Athlete: Run on Plants and Discover Your Fittest, Fastest, Happiest Self”, as well as talk about his active, vegan lifestyle. Copies of the book will be for sale, and the event includes a book signing.

Matt Frazier started in 2009 to introduce people to this incredible, healthy, compassionate, sustainable way of life. Roughly around the same time he transitioned to a vegetarian diet, and qualified for the Boston Marathon six months later. In 2010, he ran his first 50-mile ultramarathon, and has since run several other marathons and ultras, including the recent 100-mile Burning River Endurance Run in Ohio. He credits his success and good health to a plant-based diet.

“I want to show athletes who aren’t yet vegetarian — but who are just curious enough that the title of the book intrigues them to pick it up — that this diet can absolutely work for sports.” Matt Frazier, “I want to help people who are already vegetarian/vegan/raw, but not active, to get in shape and discover the tremendous power in doing something they used to think impossible, and I want to give people who are already plant-based, already athletes, more tools to take both pursuits to the next level”

This free event is sponsored by VegMichigan, a nonprofit organization promoting awareness of the health, environmental and ethical benefits of a plant-based diet. In conjunction with the October 12 event, local business Running Fit (at the corner of 4th Ave and E. Liberty) will be hosting group runs with Matt at 7:00 a.m. (for distances over 10 miles) and 7:30 a.m. (for distances under 10 miles). Anyone interested in running is invited to lace up and join them, no registration required! A vegan breakfast will be available at The Running Institute (connected next door to Running Fit) from 7:30-9:30 a.m. There will also be a discussion on his book and lifestyle at the Ann Arbor District Library starting at 9:30 a.m. followed by a Q & A session and book signing.

Event Details

Event Sponsors: Rnning Fit, The Running Institute, Ann Arbor District Library, Arbor Brewing Company, Whole Foods, Shimmy Shack, Jazzy Veggie, The Lunch Room, Seva

V is for Vegan


V is for Vegan

by Renee Ratliff

_MG_4830_copyWe had the pleasure of meeting Ruby Roth at VegFest this spring, where she presented on The Transformative Power of Veganism. She captivated the audience sharing her journey and exploring her controversial children’s books.

Author of Vegan is Love and That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals, Roth is at it again with her new book, V is for Vegan: The ABCs of Being Kind. Audiences of all ages are taken on a journey through memorable rhymes and charming illustrations presenting the basics of animal rights and the veganism. 

We had the chance to interview the author on her life and her new book. Here is what she had to say:

How/when did you become vegan?
In 2003, a friend pointed out that my eating habits did not match my morals and values. I had always been interested in health, social justice, and politics, counter-cultural movements and activism. I was raised by a vegetarian mom and had lived on an organic tree farm. At that moment, I had to question what kind of person I really was! I ended up trying veganism for a summer as a health experiment and I stopped getting tonsillitis, lost weight, and had so much energy, it felt like taking off a heavy jacket and starting to run. I started researching the underbelly of the animal agriculture industry and never went back.

Are your family and friends vegan? Are they supportive of your lifestyle choices?
Yes! My parents and sister are now vegan as well—though my mom was already vegetarian since her teenage years. My honey, Justin Bua, has been vegan nearly 17 years and his 8-year-old daughter is born and raised vegan. We are part of a large community of Los Angeles vegans, but of course we have non-vegan friends, too. If anyone is unsupportive, I suppose they keep it to themselves…or they’d be met with a tsunami of information from me! Even if I were the only one in my community, I’d still be vegan!

What does veganism mean to you?
For me, veganism is the most far-reaching political tool we have today, much more powerful than the voting booth. From our economy to healthcare, energy, water shortages, environmental degradation, and pollution, we’re facing many grave issues—most of which we’ll never have legislative control over. But we do have de facto control over the markets. By pushing and pulling our support in the public realm, our vegan choices affect every major industry and every corner of the earth. My motto is “Love deeply, think critically, and act responsibly”—I believe veganism has provided me the vehicle through which I can effectively exercise my values.

Why did you choose to focus on writing children’s books?
I have been aiming for a career in the arts since childhood, but I’ve also loved social justice studies and politics since high school. In college I doubled majored in art and American Studies and later put those two loves together to create resources for a new generation of kids who will eat, think, and live differently. I don’t think we can wait for the next generation to grow up before we teach them to live consciously.

What inspired you to write this book?
The vegan population has more than doubled since 2009—we are the fastest growing food movement there is! I wrote V Is for Vegan as a prequel to my other works to serve a demographic I know will continue to grow over the years. More and more parents are experiencing the practical and far-reaching benefits of veganism and want to bring their children on board. I believe kids need to understand the motives as much as adults do, especially when veganism is a new practice to the family.

VIV_cover_10x10_72How is this book, V is for Vegan: The ABCs of Being Kind, different then your first two books?
V Is for Vegan is written for my youngest audience yet! It’s a bright, rhyming, funny book that provides a joyful overview of the lifestyle that even the youngest of kids will understand. The first two books delve deeper and introduce the concept of personal agency. That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals addresses the emotional lives of animals, factory farming, the environment, and endangered species in regards to our food choices. Where it covers the “why,” Vegan Is Love covers the “how,” offering the many ways we can put our love into action—from food and clothing to entertainment, zoos, and circuses.

What was the most challenging part creating V is for Vegan: The ABCs of Being Kind?
Narrowing down what to cover! I had 26 sentences in which to embody a whole philosophy and practice—and I decided it needed to rhyme to make it as fun as possible. I covered what I believed were the most important and pertinent ideas for the youngest of kids to know—and I trust that those 26 sentences will serve as a jumping off point for everlasting discussion and discovery.

Was there any difficulty illustrating topics such as factory farming?
Yes, I didn’t want to sugarcoat the paintings and yet I didn’t want to illustrate horrors as they would have appeared in photos. I had to balance the images delicately so that they were honest depictions while being manageable for a child’s capacity. With color, composition, and character, I believe I created imagery that piques interest and gets kids to engage without turning away in fear.

Your books are written for children, however a lot of adults also don’t understand the issues. How do you think these books have helped share your message with an older audience?
I always say…these books are so easy even adults can understand! It can be hard to articulate why we’ve gone vegan to others because the motives are overwhelming and complex—it’s animals, health, dirty politics and corruption, violence, environmentalism, philosophy, and more. These books put the main tenets in the simplest, most stripped-down terms. That’s why I suggest that adults keep the books on their coffee tables, office desks, or in their waiting rooms! Because veganism is still so relatively new to the mainstream, the concept can still spark controversy. I think a lot of non-vegan adults pick up the book out of sheer curiosity for this reason—to see what in the world is inside! And they might learn a thing or two in a non-threatening way since it’s not addressed directly to them.

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding your books, how has the media responded to this book? How is it different from when you published your first book, That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals?
There’s not as much “outrage” this time around! I truly believe it’s a result of every year past since 2009 in which veganism has made its way further into the mainstream lexicon. More people understand the definition, know vegans, are borrowing eating habits from the movement, and are experiencing the benefits. The information-sharing is working, y’all, so keep it up!

Final words of advice?
Let’s work to increase our knowledge of health and the animal agriculture industry and grow this network of activists! Please join my mailing list at so we can continue the conversation!

Vegan School Lunches


Vegan School Lunches

by Renee Ratliff

It’s that time of year again cool weather, football, pumpkin spice and… school. As the kids go back to school preparing creative, nutritious, vegan lunches that your kids will eat can be a challenge. Here are a few websites that will help ease the transition back to packing lunches this school year.

Cheeky Kitchen

The Flaming Vegan

Peas and Thank You


Vegan Peace Blog



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Upcoming Events

6:30 pm Ann Arbor Vegan Meetup Group @ Seva
Ann Arbor Vegan Meetup Group @ Seva
Nov 30 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Join us after Thanksgiving at this Ann Arbor vegetarian institution.  Plenty of entrees to choose from so bring a friend! ... Read More >
all-day VegMichigan’s December Metro Det... @ Ferndale Public Library
VegMichigan’s December Metro Det... @ Ferndale Public Library
Dec 1 all-day
Please check out our library display, located at Ferndale Public Library, 222 E. 9 Mile Rd., Ferndale, Michigan. Contact person ... Read More >
7:00 pm VegMichigan’s Vegan 101 Cooking ... @ Rochester Hills Whole Foods
VegMichigan’s Vegan 101 Cooking ... @ Rochester Hills Whole Foods
Dec 1 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Attendees will learn the nutritional aspects of a plant-based diet and taste samples of the prepared food. These classes are ... Read More >
6:00 pm Greater Lansing Vegan Dinner Club @ Clerical Technical Union - MSU
Greater Lansing Vegan Dinner Club @ Clerical Technical Union - MSU
Dec 6 @ 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Open to everyone. Please arrive by 5:45 pm. For more information contact:  517-332-7898 or #meetup_oembed .mu_clearfix:after { visibility: hidden; ... Read More >
7:00 pm VegMichigan’s Vegan 101 Cooking ... @ Ann Arbor Whole Foods
VegMichigan’s Vegan 101 Cooking ... @ Ann Arbor Whole Foods
Dec 8 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Please join VegMichigan for this fun and informative cooking class. Attendees will learn the nutritional aspects of a plant-based diet ... Read More >

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