By Gabriella Vigoreaux, Epicurious
Great news--your vegan friend is coming over for dinner! And...so is your carnivore pal. Here, vegan bloggers tip you off on how to satisfy both.
Vegans are pretty easy to figure out, right? No meat, no poultry, no fish. No dairy. No honey (wait--no honey?). No non-vegan beer. (Huh?)
Maybe vegans aren't as simple as they appear. Which makes them not as simple to have over for dinner--especially when omnivores are part of the mix. That's why we sought out the following entertaining tips from bloggers Laura Wright of The First Mess, Ashlae Warner of Oh, Ladycakes, and Valentina Solfrini of Hortus Cuisine.
DITCH THE TOFU, TEMPEH, AND SEITAN
Telling your omnivore friends that you're going to serve seitan ragú is a guarantee they'll cancel at the last minute. "Instead, serve a meal that's heavy on grains, along with sides that are starchy and filling, like roasted vegetables or rosemary mashed potatoes," Warner suggests.
You read that right. Pizza is surprisingly vegan-friendly, as long as you top it--or at least a portion of it--with vegetables and greens and leave off the cheese. Wright tops her pies with harissa, arugula, and thinly sliced eggplant. Valentina makes a Chickpea and Rapini Pizza Roulade stuffed with truffled hummus, bitter greens, and a vegan béchamel.
SERVE BREAD AND (NUT) BUTTER
Hey, we're not serving gluten-free folks at this dinner. So go crazy with the bread, most of which is perfectly vegan. In lieu of butter, Valentina suggests "interesting jams or preserves and nut butters."
SEE MORE: Our Favorite Vegan Recipes on Epicurious
GO AHEAD, PUT MEAT ON THAT BUFFET
Buffets are the easiest way to serve meat and not throw it in a vegan's face. But you don't have to turn your house into a Golden Corral--Valentina suggests a focused buffet, like a vegan-friendly taco or bruschetta bar, with both meat and veg options. Vegan chili can also be great alone or on meat.
AVOID BEER AND WINE, BUT BREAK OUT THE LIQUOR
Vegans can drink virtually any hard liquor--rum, vodka, bourbon, gin, and tequila--unless it contains dairy (sorry 'bout ya, Bailey's!). Steer clear from beers and wines unless you're absolutely sure they're vegan--many are processed with animal products such as egg whites, casein, gelatin, or fish bladders.
FOR DESSERT, IT'S ALL ABOUT COCONUT MILK
Honey is off limits to most vegans, who consider beekeeping cruel and unusual (for the bees). Dark chocolate, on the other hand, is warmly welcome. Butter, of course, is off limits, as are eggs, milk and cream. In other words: vegan desserts are a handful. But here's a tip we got from Wright's recipe for a vegan chocolate-hazelnut torte: Make vegan whipped "cream" by chilling a can of full-fat coconut milk, scooping out the cream, and beating it until it's light and fluffy. Sweeten as desired, put over vegan ice cream and sprinkle with shaved dark chocolate. Bam! You just made vegan dessert decadent.
More from Epicurious:
20 Must-Try Ways to Pair Items You Already Have In Your Pantry
10 Pizzas to Try Before You Die
Breakfast of Champions: Creating the Ultimate Egg Sandwich
A Visual Guide to Winter Squash
25 Coffee Shops You Need to Try
How to Make Creamiest, Dreamiest, Cheesiest Mac and Cheese Ever