Having vegetarian or vegan guests sometimes poses a dilemma in knowing what to serve. Vegetarians avoid meat, while vegans refrain from all animal products including eggs, so catering to these diets can seem a little intimidating. The good news is that these lifestyles have become so mainstream that finding menu options is easier than you think. What makes a great host, is having something for everyone around the table.
Most holiday dinners are based on the main protein like a turkey or standing rib roast. To accommodate your veggie guests, make a protein filled the main course that will make them feel welcome, and included. Rice paired with legumes such as lentils makes a complete protein, that can be baked into bell peppers, or combined with spices, dried fruits, and nuts for a filling, delicious casserole. Cooked quinoa is a protein powerhouse with 8 grams per cup. I love to combine it with sautéed onions, garlic, toasted pine nuts, and sun-dried tomatoes, and pile it high in portobello mushroom caps for a satisfying entrée.
Customize side dishes like mashed potatoes by making a batch of vegan butter and nondairy milk, and use vegetable broth in place of chicken for soups. Vegetable dishes don’t normally use any meat or dairy ingredients, so having plenty of colorful offerings is always a good idea.
Dessert can get tricky because most recipes call for eggs and butter. The internet has an abundance of recipes such as these: http://allrecipes.com/recipes/1664/everyday-cooking/vegan/desserts/, to make your sweet finale fool-proof. Rather than go it alone, consider making your get together a pot luck, allowing people to bring their own dishes, and take the guess-work out of knowing what to make. I actually love this idea because everyone gets to try something new, and it may change the way you plan your next menu!