Guess who’s coming to dinner tonight?
When a vegan friend invites herself/himself over for dinner… It can soon become a hassle. Most of the time, your dinner guest will offer to bring their own food. But if you want to treat them and cook them a vegan meal, you’ll see that it’s not rocket science after all!
What’s a vegan diet?
To answer this question, we first have to remind you that being vegan – much more than simply being on a diet – is truly a lifestyle, and one that’s very respectful of animals. Vegans take it even further than vegetarians. They are very concerned with animal welfare, and cut all animal products out of their diets. Out with fish, meat, cured meats, and also eggs, milk, dairy products (butter, cheese, etc.) and honey. So that leaves fruit, vegetables, pulses (lentils, chickpeas), cereals, plant-based animal protein substitutes (made from soya) and seeds, etc.
Vegan recipe ideas
To put together a vegan meal, you can follow the hashtags #CuisineVegan, #CuisineVegane and #MangerVegan on Instagram, or the @marielaforetvegan, @la.petite.okara and @eva_lespetitsplats accounts. Another option: vegan cookery websites or specialist Pinterest accounts. You’ll find a whole host of recipes to liven up your meal plan. For example:
How about making olive tapenade, aubergine dip or a little hummus instead of standard-issue vegetable sticks? If don’t have the time (or the inclination), you’ll find them ready made in organic grocery shops. Other ideas to play with: various tarts (courgette and tofu, leek, etc.), vegetable creations served in little glasses or a spinach omelette (made with plant-based milk and chickpea flour), etc. In fact, there are vegan versions of all the traditional appetisers.
The main event
- You can opt for a variety of salads: Thai quinoa salad, lentil and plant-based cheese substitute salad, kale salad, seasonal potato salad…
- Bowls are every bit as easy to make and very on trend. Made with a base of couscous and anything you want on top (chickpeas, grated carrots, red cabbage, sweet potato, tomatoes, etc.) Be sure to serve the food items in a deep, round dish.
- You can offer vegetable curries with quinoa or gnocchi and pan-fried vegetables or vegan lentil sausages. If you want to go exotic, why not go with a vegetable tajine with candied lemon, or chili sin carne. Anything goes!
If you like cheese, you will easily find faux cheeses (like Camembert) that are vegan friendly.
To round off the meal with something sweet, you can make anything (or almost anything) without using milk, eggs or butter. Yes, really. For example: vegan cannelés (dense little rum cakes) made with tofu, rice flour and soy milk; sticky rice made with coconut milk; or vegan chocolate cream made with soy milk.
The mistake you don’t want to make
For a vegan, there’s nothing worse than feeling stigmatised. Basically, being given their own “special dish” whereas you’ve prepared a different one for the other guests.
Inviting a vegan friend over for dinner will mean that you have to make some slight adaptations, but it’s not all that challenging after all! So it’s definitely easiest to prepare a completely vegan meal and avoid putting meat dishes on the table, even if kept apart from the other dishes.