If you’ve invited someone round to dinner only to discover they are a vegan, it can often mean a panic to know what to cook. Perhaps none of your people-pleasing recipes are free from meat, fish and dairy. But don’t panic! Here are some easy tips for vegan-pleasing.
How to adapt a recipe for a vegan
So, what do vegans eat? And how on earth does a non-vegan cook for them? Here are a few tips from Louise Palmer-Masterson, founder of award-winning vegan restaurant Stem + Glory, to help you not only get it right, but to totally impress your guest:
- Dream up your ideal menu and then veganise it! Ok, this might not work if you were planning steak and chips, but say you were planning Indian, Italian, Asian or Middle Eastern – pretty much any style of cuisine works actually. Compile your signature dishes and then google a vegan version. There are stacks of vegan recipes online and you can literally put in your ingredients, then add ‘vegan’ and ‘recipe’ and you’ll find something.
- Start reading packets. As a non-vegan you probably don’t know what non-vegan products are sneaked into your everyday cupboard staples. Even now with veganism on the rise, packets are usually labelled ‘vegetarian’ but not necessarily ‘vegan’. It has been helped by recent changes to the law that allergens have to be written in bold, so it’s quite easy to scan ingredients lists for eggs and dairy which are the main culprits. So be really careful what you use.
- If you are not such a keen cook, get down to the health food shop and stock up. You can get vegan alternatives to almost anything now. For example vegan mayonnaise is easy to make, but there are a number of off-the-shelf versions that are really tasty.
- Search out vegan wine/beer. Co-op is best for vegan wine labelling and there is a really good website Barnivore which lists all vegan wine, beer and spirits you can buy in the supermarkets. Your dinner guest will really appreciate that you have done this research.
- Be creative! Be bold! I’ve lost count of the number of times I have visited a non-vegan restaurant and asked what they can provide for me only to be offered a risotto or a salad. Worse, when probed that the salad contains that exciting combination of lettuce, tomato and cucumber! And please, from the bottom of my heart. Do not serve stuffed things if it’s me coming to dinner!
Vegan recipes to try
Vegan main course recipes
- This spinach and pumpkin curry with cashew nuts is a real crowd-pleaser
- Impress with this vegan goulash with cucumber noodles. It uses tempeh – a soy product that’s a great probiotic food.
Vegan starter or dessert recipe
- Gluten-free vegan protein blinis – not only will these please vegans, but those watching their weight or avoiding gluten will love them too! Use them for a tasty dessert, or top with hummus for a savoury starter.