I'm hoping you can help me. I am not a vegetarian so I am not at all familiar with vegetarian cooking. In a couple of weeks I have to prepare a graduation luncheon for 80 people at our church.
That isn't a problem but one of the families is vegan and I need some ideas on vegan dishes that I can serve. I really don't want to mess up and serve them something they can't eat. The last time I cooked for them I made a meatless lasagna but didn't realize the cheese was a no no. Can you help?
For the regular meal I was planning on BBQ pork on a bun with potato salad and Ratatouille (which is just a dish of mixed veggies that I think I can serve to a vegan.) I found vegan recipes for a pineapple upside down cake so I've got dessert covered.
Can you suggest something for the main meal? I've never worked with tofu or beans but I'm willing to give anything a try. Any suggestions you can make will be greatly appreciated. Thanks! T. S.
Dear T. S.,
Most Savvy Vegetarian recipes are vegan. Here are some easy recipes that can be made in quantity, that everyone can eat, and that go with your menu:Tofu Burgers Black Bean Veggie Burgers Tofu Sloppy Joes Tasty Pasta Salad (leave out the feta cheese) Vegetarian Chili
Here are some other ideas:
Be careful to use only vegetable oil in the ratatouille. If you're making a green salad, don't add bacon bits, eggs, cheese, or use dressing that contains eggs (as in mayo), buttermilk, etc. You can get vegan mayo in natural food stores. Or make two versions.
Make a vegan version of the potato salad with vegan mayo and no eggs.
Get some veggie spread, vegan mayo, & soy cheese so the vegans can enjoy the buns too. Make sure the buns are vegan! (no lard, butter, milk or egg - your local bakery might have something, or try the natural food section). Whole grain if possible.
Label the vegan foods as 'low fat, dairy free, egg free', to avoid stigmatizing the vegans. Group the labelled egg/dairy free dishes at the top of the buffet line, so there is less chance of utensils ending up in the wrong dishes.
It's very kind of you to take the trouble to make the vegans happy. Your non-vegetarian guests who are on heart healthy, low fat, low cholesterol, or lactose free diets will appreciate it too.
Thanks for all the great tips, especially the tip about the rolls. I wouldn't have thought of that at all. My Mother makes a great roll with vegetable shortening so I will press her into service.
You mentioned vegetable oil. Is olive oil okay? The dressing on my potato salad is just white-wine vinegar, olive oil and dijon mustard.
It is interesting that you mentioned heart healthy and low fat. My doctor has just told me I have to start eating this way. I guess I'll be visiting Savvy Vegetarian more often.
Thanks again - I feel much better knowing that the vegans won't have to sit and just watch people eat. - T. S.
Olive oil is great, and the dressing sounds delicious!
The main thing is to try to blend the menu and include everybody, so that the vegans aren't off in a corner eating weird food, while the normal people are all having a good time together eating normal food. Sounds like you're working hard to make that happen. Bless your heart!
Judith Kingsbury, Savvy Vegetarian