Holiday Potlucks (Minus the Meat)

Holiday season is around the corner, and as we start to think of ideas for dinner parties and potlucks, I thought I would provide a good guidelines to consider when having vegetarians guests.

Though people are becoming more welcoming to vegetarian options these days, there are still some unfortunate guests who don’t have any other choice but to fill up on green beans and mashed potatoes. I’d like to think that I’ve provided a great list of meals on my blog, but if you are looking for other ideas, try researching interesting (hearty) dishes for vegetarians online. There are tons of websites that offer a variety of options, from casseroles to pastries. Make sure not to get in over yourself, too. Everyone has vegetables in their fridge, so you can always work with what you have and incorporate a vegetarian twist to it, such as swapping ground meat for veggie ground in your specialty lasagna recipe.

Below are some things to keep in mind for those who plan on bringing a dish for a potluck, and for those who are hosting a dinner party that aren’t really sure how to incorporate a vegetarian dish into the mix.

Ethnic dishes

How about a falafel plate with some tabbouleh? Or even a rice pilaf? If you’re adventurous enough, you can try an Indian paneer (cheese) curry. If you go Mexican, you can try making quesadillas with vegetables, bean and cheese burritos, or veggie tacos. The options are endless. It’s just a matter of keeping in mind the type of ethnic foods your guests are open to trying.

Protein substitutes
Mushrooms, quinoa, tofu, beans, chickpeas and eggs (for those who aren’t vegan) are all great sources of protein. A lot of grocery stores now have a section where they sell vegetarian meat substitutes like veggie ground, veggie/vegan sausages, vegan cheese and veggie chicken. You can incorporate any of these items to add substance when substituting meat.

Seasoning
People forget that just because you’re vegetarian, doesn’t mean you don’t have taste buds. Seasoning is key. To add flavouring, one of my favourite things to use is Italian seasoning, as mentioned on my post on pasta bake. So good! Even spices like paprika, cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, or chili power can be used to give a simple dish a little kick.

Misleading products
Mayonnaise is made out of egg, so you’ll want to make sure that if your guest is vegan, your best to nix the recipe or find a substitute. Surprisingly, fish sauce is used in a variety of dishes that one wouldn’t think twice about. Caesar dressing is normally made out of anchovy paste, and BBQ and worcestershire sauce is often times made of out of some type of fish sauce. Some vegetarians don’t really care too much about the fine details of whether or not a popular store-bought sauce contains some type of fish sauce, but it’s good to stray away from these items to stay on the safe side.

A great thing to keep in mind is that only having veggie sides for your vegetarian guests is not enough! You can create one flavourful and vegetable-packed main like a stir-fried rice and then serve it with meat and vegetarian accompaniments. That way you have both sides covered.

Keeping these things in mind shows that you’re keeping your guest(s) in mind, while ensuring they leave feeling full – and not just from the sides.xo

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