Vegan cooking has made its way into an unlikely place this summer: The Minnesota State Fair, taking place from August 25 to September 5. The annual festival, notoriously heavy on meat, dairy, and fried foods, premiered a Vegan Main Dish Competition this year, where the contest’s 13 participants were invited to enter their best entrée sans animal products. Salads were prohibited, and entries were required to contain a complete protein and 12 or fewer ingredients. The dishes were assessed in four categories: appearance, ease of preparation, taste, and texture. The lucky winner, Janel Schliemann, was awarded $10 and a vegan cookbook for her spicy couscous dish. Although this was the first contest of its kind at the Minnesota fair, Utah, Iowa, and Texas state fairs have all had vegan-cooking competitions in the past.
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