Okay this is not my forte as you may know if you follow my blog, so I have brought in an expert to share with you Vegan Dining Ideas. Lily usually writes about nutrition and how it relates to certain diseases. She has change it up for me and has many great ideas for vegan dining. Enjoy!
Top Tips for a Vegan Dinner Party
For most of us, being told that one of our dinner guests is a vegan can set our pulses racing in a panic as we try to imagine what we can cook that doesn’t involve any animal products. With no beef, no butter and no eggs to use, you can be left wondering how on earth you’re going to create a memorable and delicious meal.
Although in the past I’ve tried to cater separately to my guest’s different dietary needs, cooking all those different things is just a hassle, so this time when I was informed I was expecting a guest with a vegan diet, I threw caution to the wind and decided to create an entirely vegan meal that the meat lovers would enjoy just as much as the vegans and vegetarians.
Once I’d tried my hand at vegan cooking I quickly warmed to it. If you love cooking then you’ll adore the diverse and delicious tastes you can create with entirely vegan ingredients. In today’s health conscious times, even if you love your meat and your dairy, going vegan every now and again is a great way to eat healthily without your meals having to be boring.
Ideas for a Vegan Dinner Party
Before you embark on your vegan adventure, it’s important to make sure you understand exactly what vegans do and do not eat. If you want your recipes to be 100% vegan then you can’t include any animal products; so fish, meat, eggs, milk, butter, cheese and even honey are out.
If you’re using anything from a packet such as sauce bases or stock then check the label carefully to ensure there are no forbidden products in it.
Dark, chocolate and margarine can both contain milk solids, Gelatin is generally derived from animal products and whey is derived from milk, so vegans can’t eat any of these. Some refined sugars are whitened with bone char from animal bones and some beers and wines are made using the swim bladders of fish, known as ‘isinglass’. Be careful using any product that contains flavorings as these can often be extracted from fish and animal products.
Start your meal with some exciting veg based hors d’œuvre that will get everyone’s appetites going, such as mushrooms stuffed with sun dried tomatoes and olives, or crudites and dips made from beans or pulses.
Variety is the spice of life so in order to keep your vegan meals interesting make sure to include a wide range of ingredients. Include nuts, wholegrain, fruits and leafy veg and make sure your meal includes some protein. There are lots of good vegan alternatives to meat such as soy mince which can add protein to a meal, or you could opt for that vegetarian favourite – tofu.
Try cutting a pack of tofu into thick slices and marinating in your favourite flavours, such as balsamic vinegar and garlic. The longer you can leave your tofu in the marinade the more flavour it will absorb so try to leave it overnight in the fridge if possible. To cook, bake the tofu for around 30 mins in a hot oven until it becomes golden. This makes a great replacement for a chicken breast or pork chop in any meal and is much less calorific.
Another great alternative to meat is the classic nut loaf. The wonderful thing about nut loaves is that they’re really versatile as you can add the things you like to them. I use mixed nuts, lentils, onions, carrot and raisins in mine. I bake it for around 40 mins and it really is an incredibly tasty and satisfying bite, perfect for cold winter evenings.
Deserts are often a dinner party show stopper and there’s no reason why your vegan offering can’t be just as spectacular as a non-vegan one. It’s often said that we eat with the eyes and when it comes to desserts that’s definitely the case.
I trawled for hours looking for the ideal dessert recipe and eventually found this incredible avocado chocolate cheesecake. I was sceptical at first but couldn’t believe how fantastic it tasted and to be perfectly honest, if you didn’t tell your guests it was vegan they would never know. You will need to source some ingredients you may not have like raw cacao powder and coconut oil, but it’s worthwhile as once you’ve tasted this cake you’ll want to make it again and again.
Article by Lily Oldman