It’s a common catastrophe – you’ve invited a friend or colleague to dinner, but are completely stumped at how to cater to their vegan lifestyle. The first thing you may be wondering is: What does being a vegan even mean? Well, in short, vegans don’t consume any animal-based products, including dairy, chicken broth, fish, honey, and eggs. This differentiates them from vegetarians, who only exclude animal flesh.
It can seem quite daunting to prepare a meal devoid of animal-derived foods when you’ve never done it before. Nevertheless, approaching the task with a level head and a basic understanding of veganism will win you the appreciation and applause of your plant-based dinner guests.
The key to cooking any quality meal is to keep it simple. There is no need to purchase expensive mock meats, alternative cheeses or nut milks. At its core, veganism is about consuming vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, and grains. You’ll probably find that some of the food you enjoy already is vegan, or can be easily veganized.
We’ve arranged a menu for the perfect dinner that will delight both vegans and meat-eaters alike. The recipes are simple and easy to follow without compromising the taste. Where you can, use fresh, seasonal ingredients to really boost the flavor of the dishes.
Start your dinner off on the right foot! Serving appetizers on their arrival will create a welcoming vibe, and any peckish guests will satisfy their cravings while waiting for dinner. Appetizers should be quick and easy to prepare beforehand so you can focus on entertaining your guests and preparing the main dish. We’ve come up with a selection of mouthwatering hors d’oeuvres that are sure to please everybody at the table.
Chickpea Hummus Dip
When it comes to plant-based foods, your blender is your best ally. Pair this fool-proof creamy hummus with crunchy carrots and fresh celery sticks for a quick and easy snack.
With a squeeze of zesty lime, this guacamole is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Organic corn chips are an excellent dipping companion. However, most well-known conventional chip brands, such as Pringles, Ruffles, Lays, and Ritz, are vegan as well, so feel free to use them instead.
An instant classic, the fresh tomatoes and basil in this super simple bruschetta recipe will have your guests craving more. Serve with fresh or toasted French bread, which is accidentally vegan!
This smokey Middle-Eastern dip is made with roasted eggplants, and is amazing with crispy pita chips, or fresh pita bread. It’s traditionally vegan, and a definite success with guests. Top with fresh parsley or sesame seeds for an irresistible presentation.
Easy Vegetable Curry
This accidentally vegan meal is cheap, quick, and will certainly impress your plant-eating friends! Use any leftover vegetables you have in your fridge, as this recipe is super versatile.
High-Protein Mac and Cheese
If your vegan guests are bringing their herbivorous kids along, this is a dish you need at your dinner party! However, it’s totally acceptable for adults, as well. With simple, easy-to-find, cheap ingredients, it’s a win-win meal.
This super simple meal contains super simple ingredients that may already be sitting in your fridge. Put them to good use in these yummy burritos that are sure to be a hit with your guests! Tip: Lay out the ingredients and turn your counter into a burrito bar!
Healthy Vegan Pasta
Play it safe with this easy pasta recipe: just spaghetti and vegetables in a light tomato sauce. You can get creative with the ingredients, too! Use up your leftover veggies and serve your guests this delicious healthy meal.
Keep dessert extra simple – after the vegan feast you’ve just served, your guests will likely not have much of an appetite. Serving a bowl of dairy-free ice cream and an assortment of fresh fruit such as strawberries or peaches will wow your guests.
Vegan ice creams are becoming increasingly popular as the vegan movement gains momentum, meaning most supermarket chains stock an assortment of delicious dairy-free options. Dairy-free ice cream is commonly made from coconut, almond or soy milk, with coconut milk producing the creamiest version of your favorite icy treat.
Extra tip: Pour some Hershey’s syrup to your ice cream. YES, its vegan!
If you’d prefer to keep it natural, try making your own sorbet with a couple frozen bananas, any other frozen fruit of your choice, and a splash of plant-based milk (as mentioned above, coconut is the creamiest). Blend until smooth, and enjoy!
If you’re planning on serving drinks alongside your delicious vegan cuisine, it’s a good idea to double-check the alcohol. Most wines and some beers aren’t vegan due to the use of animal products in the manufacturing process. Play it safe by serving liquor, wine, or beers that are labeled as vegan. Or if you’re feeling fancy, whip up some delicious veganized cocktails!
The idea of serving vegan food can be intimidating, especially if it’s outside your culinary comfort zone. However, it’s easier than it seems. Sticking to fresh ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes will ensure your plant-based cooking is celebrated by all your guests. Remember, vegans are really nice people!