A Guide to Catering for Vegetarian Guests

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We’ve all been there. Our vegetarian friend is coming to dinner, and we have no idea what to cook. Even if you haven’t faced this particular headache, with over 7 million Americans following a vegetarian diet, it’s bound to happen sooner or later. So, what do you cook for the main course when meat is “off the table,” so to speak? Instead of a roast or barbecue platter, you might have to get a little more creative when coming up with a meatless centerpiece of your meal. Here are some tips on how to Wow your vegetarian guests during your next dinner party.

A guide to catering for your Vegetarian guests

Don’t Just Skip the Meat

One of the biggest mistakes that too many hosts make when cooking vegetarian is to eliminate the meat from their favorite dishes or to replace it with a safe alternative such as tofu. Unfortunately, this rarely ends well. Meat dishes are specifically designed to meld with the flavor of the main ingredient, whether that be beef, poultry, or seafood. You should stick to following recipes that are intended to be vegetarian.

a guide to catering for your vegetarian guests

Keep Things Simple

If you’re not used to cooking vegetarian dishes, it’s best to stick to simple recipes. Most veggies don’t need a lot of herbs or spices to bring out their natural flavors. A lot of times, simply adding olive oil, salt, and pepper to roasted vegetables is all you need to make a delicious side dish. Some veggies don’t even require cooking. A platter of dip and raw veggies makes a tasty appetizer for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.

A guide to catering for your vegetarian guests

Cook More Veggies Than Just Side Dishes

It can be tempting to forego the hassle of coming up with a vegetarian main dish and just offer up safe side dishes for your friend, but this is a big no-no. No matter how tasty your side dishes are, they aren’t likely to give your guest a full and balanced meal. You should include a hearty meat-free main dish that’s made of something such as tofu, lentils, beans, or other protein-rich sources. If you have other non-vegetarian guests, you can always cook a second entree to offer a meat option.

Cooking for vegetarian friends doesn’t necessarily have to be a hassle. With a little bit of planning and preparation, you can create the perfect menu to impress your guest. Just remember to keep it simple and be considerate of your guest’s needs.


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