Michelle Obama’s Healthy Lunchtime Challenge cookbook is here! Featuring Alexea Wagner’s Vegan Sloppy Joes!  »

US First Lady Michelle Obama hugs her introducer, 12-year-old Marshall Reid from North Carolina and author of “Portion Size Me: A Kid-Driven Plan to a Healthier Family,” during a Kids’ “State Dinner” in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on Aug. 20. This first time event includes 54 children, ages 8-12, from all US states, three territories and Washington, DC, to a luncheon in support of the Let’s Move campaign, featuring healthy recipes and a performance by Nickelodeon’s Big Time Rush.

Remember last month, when we talked about Michelle Obama and Epicurious’ Healthy Lunchtime Challenge? Remember, kids from across the country submitted healthy recipes, and one from each state (plus three “territories” and poor old D.C.) won inclusion in the recipe book and a trip to attend a Kids’ State Dinner at the White House? And we got really excited because one of the recipes, by Nevadan Alexea Wagner, was explicitly vegan? Time to get excited again, Kinder Krunchies, because the free e-cookbook is available! 

The winning recipe-writers and their parents were feted on Monday at the White House, by the First Lady (and the President), where they served a few of the kids’ recipes, including Arizonan Haile Thomas’ vegan-by-default quinoa, black bean, and corn salad. Haile, by the way, is ridiculously precocious, particularly in the kitchen. Basically she’s a ringer, and we hope our hero Alexea got enough to eat at that omnivorous luncheon.

You can download the cookbook here [pdf], if you’re interested. As for the proud vegan: “I saw sloppy joes at school, but I wanted to make sure they were cruelty-free,” says Alexea, who serves this with kale salad that has shredded carrot, spicy pecans, and sliced strawberries, and a big glass of soy milk.

Still rules!

For your convenience, the following recipes are secretly vegan:
Arizonan Haile Thomas’ quinoa, black bean, and corn salad;
Coloradan Aiden Gould’s rainbow salad with black beans, mint, and lemon;
Delawarean Jourdann Latney’s stuffed tomatoes;
Marylander Samuel Hightower’s sizzling tofu with green onions and sugar snap peas;
Michigander Avery McNew’s apple oat balls!;
Utahan Lahav Ardi’s lentil veggie soup;
and West Virginian Alexis Nelson’s golden Moroccan butternut stew (less the honey I KNOW).

There are also a good number of vegan-except-for-cheese recipes, or easy veg-protein-for-meat substitutions. I realize I sound like I’m trying to sell you on this book, which is predicated on the idea that there is a CHILDHOOD OBESITY EPIDEMIC OH NO THE CHILDREN ARE FATTENING, which we at Vegansaurus find generally gross. But getting kids cooking is great! Especially if it’s vegan food! If nothing else, you don’t have to worry about them accidentally contracting a terrifying food-borne illness if you don’t bring illness-bearing foods into your kitchen.

You can see more utterly charming photos from the Kids’ State Dinner at NBC News, and  download the cookbook [pdf] at Epicurious. Invite some Happy Veggie Kids into your kitchen!

[Photo by Saul Loeb / AFP - Getty Images via NBC News]

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