It seems that every week in vegan food news is more exciting than the last and this week is no exception. For Earth Month, vegan fast-food chains Veggie Grill and Next Level Burger are celebrating with new menu items and promotions. An Everything Bagel-seasoned vegan chocolate just launched for all your 4/20 needs. And this year’s April Fools’ jokes—brought to you by vegan faves such as Tofurky—were funnier than ever. Read on for more.
1Earth Month arrives at Veggie Grill
Eating traditional fast food—with all of its environmentally damaging beef and dairy—is not a good way to honor the planet. However, when that fast-food is vegan, it’s a whole different story. And vegan fast-food chain Veggie Grill is celebrating Earth Month with several new initiatives.
First, the chain—along with its Stand-Up Burgers and Más Veggies brands—is helping plant-based newbies expand their horizons on VG Rookie Day (April 25). That day, any customer who brings a vegan first-timer to any Veggie Grill-operated business will get a BOGO meal. What does Veggie Grill serve? Think shareable apps such as Buffalo wings and big salads topped with vegan chicken, along with classic burgers with all the fixin’s, sides, and desserts. Its sister brands also offer a wide selection of newbie-friendly meals from burgers to tacos. All of the things that help keep rookie vegans on track.
Veggie Grill is also helping the planet with its VG Classic Burger, which is made with a Beyond Meat burger, American cheese, special sauce, lettuce, tomato, and onion, served on a vegan brioche bun. Throughout the month of April, Veggie Grill will donate a portion of proceeds from the VG Classic Burger to Grades of Green, an organization that gives young people tools and resources to build a greener future.
2Spicy spring menu at Next Level Burger
Earth Month celebrations continue at fast-food chain Next Level Burger (NLB) where spring is all about spice. The chain is adding 16 new options, including burgers, brats, and chicken sandwiches, many of which come with a kick of heat.
Notable spicy items include the Fire Chik’n Burger (slathered with house-made Next Level ghost sauce); Ghost Pepper Popper Burger (which features a spicy ghost pepper ranch); and Spicy Kraut Brat (which gets its heat from pickled jalapeño and spicy brown mustard).
Next Level Burger
The menu also features a new Good Catch Crispy Fish Burger made with a Good Catch fish patty, lemon-herb hayo, lettuce, tomato, and American cheese. Not only does this vegan fish burger save the ocean by replacing fish with a vegan alternative but from now until April 30, 10 percent of its proceeds will benefit non-profit environmental organization Ocean Blue Project.
Owned by vegan couple Matt and Cierra de Gruyter, NLB has been serving up Earth-friendly fast-food since its first location opened in Oregon in 2014. The chain has since expanded to locations inside Whole Food Markets in California, Washington, Texas, New York, and Colorado with plans to open 1,000 locations from coast to coast.
3Everything Bagel seasoning on a chocolate bar?
On April 20, Earth Month celebrations turn to praising one particular plant and a collaboration between two Los Angeles area businesses is taking this year’s snacking to a whole new level. Cleverly-named bagel chain Yeastie Boys and elevated edibles brand Kiva Confections have combined their talents to create this year’s Munchies Bar—a chocolate bar Kiva launches in small batches every year.
This year, the cold water hash-infused dark chocolate bar gets a generous sprinkle of Yeastie Boys’ signature Everything Bagel salty seasoning. That means that the underside of this slightly sweet chocolate bar is pressed with sesame and poppy seeds, garlic, onion and salt for a satisfying sweet and salty (… and garlicky) snack.
The Everything Bagel Seasoning Munchies Bars—which contain a total of 100mg of THC each—are available for $20 a pop at select dispensaries across California while supplies last.
4Funny vegan April Fools’ jokes
April Fools’ is that divisive holiday when everyone’s lie-detecting skills are on high alert and this year, vegan brands brought some great jokes.
Chickpea pasta brand Banza teased its “Just the Sauce” packets of mac and cheese sauce, one of which was made in a plant-based variety. The joke here is that Banza pretended to make a real product related to customer feedback on Banza’s (actual) new mac and cheese meals. Turns out its customers want just the sauce to use on other things and Banza’s April 1 suggestions include granola, apples, and just a spoon.
The Tofurky Company
Other brands got in on the foolery, too. Tofurky is apparently bottling meaty scents that have run off from their steam ovens in three delectable “pure ‘furkin’ seltzer flavors: Slammin’ Smokehouse, Poppin’ Pepper, and Grateful Gravy. Vegan chain HipCityVeg is offering a (totally fake but maybe delicious?) Sweet Potato Fries Shake served with a squeeze of raspberry ketchup. And raisin brand Sun-Maid launched “grape jerky” which is made by drying grapes in the good ol’ sun—and if this “jerky” sounds a lot like regular raisins, that’s because it is.
Over in Europe, German brand GREENFORCE—which counts vegan strongman Patrik Baboumian as an ambassador—took fans back to the 1600s with the “launch” of its Dodo Burgers, real vegan burgers made to taste exactly like extinct dodo birds … and the joke came with a powerful message.
“Not since 1681 has the world seen dodos. It’s a tragedy in many ways and an example of human-induced extinction,” Baboumian said in a statement. “Who knows… if tasty plant-based meat had been available back then, perhaps we would still have Dodos today. We have to find a way to make sure this type of thing doesn’t happen again and offer people alternatives to eating animals.”
Also, did you know that Starbucks finally dropped its vegan milk surcharge? But here’s the catch: it only applies to its new CauliMilk, a vegan milk made from luscious, indulgent, and slightly sulfuric cauliflower.
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