Cater like a pro for a Vegan party!It’s becoming increasingly popular to ditch meat, dairy and eggs for ethical, environmental or health reasons. The owner here at CF Entertainment is a vegetarian, and we recognise the growing market for our fellow veggies and vegans. With this in mind, we’d like to share with you some ideas for hosting a vegan party. Nothing beats coming together with family and friends to celebrate food. When it comes to deciding what to serve, however, it can get a little tricky. If you’re lucky enough to be surrounded by vegans it should be relatively easy. However if your guests aren’t used to eating animal-free, depending on their attitudes, you might have some added extra pressure to deliver something spectacular to fill the void that meat left behind on their palate. I find the best way to play it safe is having guests help themselves. Whether it’s a buffet to pick at throughout your vegan party or a sit down meal with everything laid out in serving dishes, that way people have the freedom to still eat what they like. Here are some ideas for themes:
Pizza Have your guests top their own pizzas for a bit of fun. The toppings are entirely up to you; fresh vegetables (or roasted for extra flavour) with dairy free pesto for dolloping and herb infused oils for drizzling. You could provide dairy free cheese, but it’s definitely an acquired taste. If you are looking to try one, violife is extremely popular as far as UK brands go. However, if cheese free-pizza is good enough for Pizza Express to put on the menu, it’s good enough for us!
Mexican Set up a do it yourself station with tortilla wraps, taco shells, nachos, fajita seasoned veggies like mushrooms, peppers and onions, a hearty chilli made with a five bean mix or meat free mince, dairy free cheese and sour cream, salsa, guacamole, spicy rice, black beans, jalapenos and lots of crisp salad. Anyone for Margaritas?
Tea Party Make some moist and delightful cakes with this wonderful trick: soda. Packet mixes like Betty Crocker can be made up using nothing but a can of fizz, the flavours are up to you. For example you can make a carrot cake with ginger beer, a lemon drizzle with lemonade, chocolate cupcakes with soda water and Cointreau for a naughty twist of zest or a coffee cake with cream soda. You could also get really fancy with some impressive, egg-free macarons using Aquafaba to make your vegan party one to remember. If you haven’t heard of Aquafaba, the wonder liquid in vegan cooking. . .
. . .it’s simply the water that comes in tinned chickpeas and beans. Since it’s been infused with all the proteins and goodness, it forms stiff peaks when whisked so is perfect for meringue, mousse, royal icing and all sorts. Pinterest is absolutely flooded with recipes, just choose the flavours that appeal most to you!For more recipe banks, Oh She Glows, and Minimalist Baker, are excellent resources for sweet treats. Wallflower Girl also has a complete guide on how to throw a vegan afternoon tea, complete with finger sandwiches and scones with clotted coconut cream. Perfect for Mother’s Day, a baby shower or a girly get together!
Curry You can’t really go wrong with a curry night. Spice things up with Indian vegetable curries, pilau rice and mushroom fried rice, Bombay aloo and aloo gobi. Don’t forget the poppadoms and mango chutney! Alternatively, you could go even further to the East and serve up some mouth-watering Thai curries: creamy green, fiery panang or nutty massaman. Just beware of fish sauce if you’re using sauces or pastes from jars.
Mezze or Tapas Give your guests a taste of the Mediterranean with a Turkish or Greek inspired mezze. Think falafel, toasted pitta or Turkish bread, houmous, baba ganoush (an aubergine dip), stuffed mushrooms, tabbouleh (a bulgur wheat based salad with fresh herbs, vegetables and seasoning), marinated artichokes, olives, dolmades (stuffed vine leaves), lentil kofta and grilled vegetables such as aubergine or peppers. Most of these dishes are widely available in supermarkets, or you can get creative and whip up some from scratch. Homemade houmous is particularly easy and you can use your favourite flavours. Why not try harissa, sundried tomato or mint and lime? For more Spanish infused dishes, you could serve patatas bravas (spicy potatoes), stuffed peppadew peppers, mushroom tapenade, paprika roasted cauliflower, mini bruschetta with tomatoes and balsamic vinegar, gazpacho (a cold tomato based soup) or crispy polenta balls. Vegangela has some awesome recipes, as does the BBC and as always, our inspirational friend Pinterest.Hopefully this has given you some ideas to get your mouth watering and your hands itching to get cracking! Never think of veganism as a restrictive diet; you can rustle up diverse and delicious vegan party food for every occasion and to satisfy even the toughest crowds. Good luck, and most importantly, enjoy! Written by Catie Allwright, a twenty-something Masters student, animal charity volunteer, vegan and foodie.