The Herbivorous Butcher Releasing First Cookbook

The Herbivorous Butcher with Cookbook

The Herbivorous Butcher’s siblings, Aubry and Kale Walch, will produce their first cookbook this fall. The Herbivorous Butcher Cookbook, simply named, will teach readers how to make the vegan meats that the Minneapolis-based company is known for, such as chicken, Porterhouse Steak, deli meats, and more. More than 75 recipes for both the meats and the dishes created with them are included in the book, many of which are based on the siblings’ experience running the first vegan butcher shop in the United States.

The Walches used the pandemic’s downtime writing a cookbook after a friend who is also a cookbook author suggested it.

“Aubry and I have always wanted to share our recipes but never had the time to test and perfect so many recipes. During the start of the pandemic though, we had nothing but time to try and retry recipes until we had a set we were proud of… We’re really excited to share not only some of our meat and cheese recipes that we’ve been making since our days at the Minneapolis Farmers Market, but also recipes from our homeland of Guam that our ancestors have been making for centuries,” Kale Walch said.

Vegan Meat Their Way

The Walches continuously experiment with recipes in their Minneapolis business to create fresh meats, cheeses, and accouterments that give The Herbivorous Butcher its distinct flavor. While most siblings would shudder at the prospect of working together, this pair has made it work by sharing a passion for veganism and dividing up the work—Kale Walch developing new goods and recipes while Aubry Walch figuring out how to make them practical.

These approaches were also utilized to the creation of their debut cookbook by the partnership. “While writing the cookbook, we still lived in the same four-plex apartment building and we’d constantly be dropping our new recipe tests at each others’ doors, and with feedback from each other, we polished every recipe into the ones written in the book,” Kale Walch said. 

The Walches hope that as pioneers in the vegan meat meat industry, readers will regard the book as a basic tool as well as a fun resource for unlocking the unlimited vegan meat possibilities of bases like seitan. “My greatest hope is that readers can feel the joy that I first felt when I realized the unlimited possibilities seitan had to offer… To me, it was a puzzle: how to use different juices, herbs, spices, binders, and cooking methods to turn a high protein flour into everything from a steak to a sausage,” Kale Walch said. He also hopes that home cooks will use the book as inspiration for their own, entirely new creations, expanding on the foundation laid by The Herbivorous Butcher when it first popularized vegan butchery. “It was a culinary challenge that could benefit from every tradition, and the more I learned, the better my products became… I hope that readers can begin this journey like I did, making new vegan meats, the likes of which I could never imagine,” Kale Walch said about creating from scratch.

The United States’ First Vegan Butcher Shop

The Walches, who are originally from Guam, established The Herbivorous Butcher in 2016 after two years of selling vegan products at the Minneapolis Farmers Market. After seeing a shortage of vegan options in their area, the Walches came up with the idea for The Herbivorous Butcher.

“We were eating french fries and side salads when we ate out and it was entirely traumatizing… Even mentioning our hairbrained idea of opening a vegan butcher shop to people was a faux pas. People would say, ‘A vegan what? … Now that’s an interesting idea,’ which in Minnesota is code for, ‘I’m uncomfortable, next topic, please,'” Aubry Walch said.

The term “vegan butcher” had never been heard of before 2016, but The Herbivorous Butcher’s offerings—which include deli meats by the pound, brats, ribs, sausages, prepared dishes, and specials—quickly received national recognition, attracting hordes of consumers inquiring about their meats and cheeses. Today, their creations, which have been praised by WuTang, Guy Fieri, and Jon Stewart, can be seen in a variety of restaurants throughout the region and are available for delivery to all 50 states.

And, thanks in no small part to the popularity of The Herbivorous Butcher, the early pushback on the semantics around “vegan butcher” did not endure long as the word gained traction. The word “vegan butcher” eventually entered the vernacular, sparking a lengthy legal dispute between the Walches and Nestlé, one of the world’s largest food businesses, over the right to trademark the now-coveted term. Nestlé abandoned its pursuit of the Walches in 2021, and the Walches won the battle.

Shortly after, the pair went on to their next project: Herbie Butcher’s Fried Chicken, Minnesota’s first vegan fried chicken joint. The siblings sell buckets of perfected vegan fried chicken, sides including mac & cheese and coleslaw, and biscuits with maple butter, as well as milkshakes (made with NadaMoo ice cream) with various mix-ins, in this smaller area compared to their larger main butcher store.

“Now, the options are endless and amazing, and there are vegan butcher shops all across the country and around the world and we can hardly believe it. Just saying that brings tears to my eyes because we’ve come so far as vegans… Vegan butchers are becoming mainstream, slowly but surely, and it’s music to our ears because that means that choosing compassion is becoming mainstream. It’s beautiful,” said Aubry Walch.

The Herbivorous Butcher’s Future

The twins are looking forward to a future where vegan cuisine continues to rise, with Nestlé slain, many pioneering vegan enterprises in their pocket, and a cookbook on the horizon.

While there are no imminent plans to launch additional vegan butcher shops outside of Minneapolis, they are not ruled out. Aubry Walch stated, “We’ll branch out soon… We’re planning for the long game and if we expand out-of-state, we want a solid, lasting plan that will stick.”

For the time being, the siblings are putting together events to promote their first cookbook, which will hopefully bring them closer to their fans through cooking demonstrations and discussions across the country. “Our goal is forever to continue to spread awareness and make it easy to eat vegan without sacrificing anything, and we hope that this cookbook is a great step,” Aubry Walch said.


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