The holidays are full of delicious foods, from turkey on Thanksgiving to sugar cookies at Christmas. But if you are having a vegan friend or family member over for a meal this holiday season, you need to make sure you plan well in advance so that your guest will have plenty of options for food. Cooking for a vegan guest isn’t hard, but it does involve a bit more imagination than cooking for your omnivore friends.
Do some research
Before you assume you need to make a tofu dish, Vegan Cooking with Love recommends asking your guest a few questions. Not all vegans eat soy, gluten or honey, and it is better to ask in advance and prepare than be caught off-guard. You also want to ask your guest if he or she has any food allergies, or if there is a particular dish they would like you to make.
Check your ingredients
Many foods contain hidden ingredients derived from animals, making them unsuitable for vegans. Check the ingredients list of any pre-made food items, such as bread or pie, for honey, eggs, gelatin, meat broth, cheese or butter. If you are not sure whether a certain ingredient is safe for vegans to eat, look it up online or simply ask your guest if the ingredient is vegan-friendly.
Switch up your recipes
If you usually make your stuffing using pork sausage and chicken broth, Food 52 instead recommends looking for a recipe that uses vegetarian sausage, vegetable broth or a variety of veggies in place of animal products. You might even discover a new recipe that you like better than your tried-and-tested one. The same goes for dessert—a fruit cobbler can quite easily be made vegan without removing any of its deliciousness.
Make it a potluck
Rather than keeping the responsibility of preparing the entire meal to yourself, ask each guest to bring a side dish and have a potluck meal. The Kitchn recommends dishes like risotto, soba noodle salad, curried coconut carrot soup or coconut tapioca pudding as dishes most of your guests will be thrilled to make or eat. If you mention that you have a vegan guest attending, your more adventurous friends will probably enjoy the challenge. Those who aren’t skilled in the kitchen can easily bring store-bought appetizers, such as chips and salsa or almond-milk ice cream.
Make it a theme night
If you feel like you are in over your head, you can always make it a take-out party. It’s fairly easy to find vegan food at Indian or Asian restaurants—just make sure you ask the staff which dishes are vegan before ordering. Alternatively, organize a build-your-own burrito party or a buffet with plenty of options for meat-eaters, vegetarians and vegans alike.
While many people think that cooking for vegan guests is scary and intimidating, the reality is that it can be quite rewarding. Vegans do not want to inconvenience you and would happily give you suggestions or even offer to bring a vegan-friendly side dish so you don’t have to go out of your way. With a little planning ahead, you can throw a successful dinner party for all your friends, vegans included.
This article is presented by Perkins Motors in Colorado Springs, Colorado.