Vegetarian Awareness Month is wrapping up, but the meat-free mealtime fun doesn't have to end! In addition to giving away 5 copies of our e-book "Easy Vegan Meals by SparkPeople: The No-Stress, No-Guilt Way to Reap the Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet," today I'm sharing tips for anyone who might need to cook for a vegetarian or vegan. With the holidays on the horizon, I hope you find these tips to be of use.
When I wrote "Easy Vegan Meals by SparkPeople," I intended it to be for vegans, vegan wannabes, and those who love them. Don't worry--SparkPeople isn't taking the stance that we all need to ditch meat forever. But with at least 325,000 vegetarians and vegans on our site, we know that many of our members are interested in eating less meat and more plants. We believe there's room at the table for all of us. This book fills a niche, and I wrote it with the SparkPeople philosophy in mind--moderation, no fad diets, and taking small steps along the way to a healthier you.
That said, let's segue into tips for feeding the vegan or vegetarian in your life.
Beyond Broccoli: Tips on What to CookIf you're hosting a vegan or want to throw a plant-friendly dinner party, what do you serve? Here are some tips.
Consider a DIY meal. Put all the toppings or sides in separate dishes so everyone can accommodate their own lactose intolerance, aversion to spice, or vegan diet. How about a burrito bar? (Make some soy crumbles or sauté onions, peppers, and mushrooms for everyone.) What about a pasta buffet? (Serve pasta, sautéed vegetables, cooked white beans, faux Italian sausage, and marinara sauce, then let everyone build a bowl.) Or what about a pizza party? (Buy or make pizza dough, then let everyone make their own pizzas. Kids love this!)
Separate the meat and vegetables. Cook and serve meat in one dish, vegetables in another. If you had planned to roast yams with the ham, use two dishes. Making pasta? Cook sauce and set some aside before adding sausage or meat. Serve gravy on the side, and if you're adding bacon to your baked potatoes, serve it separately. When grilling, clean part of the grill thoroughly or use foil to cook vegetables or veggie patties.
Use separate serving dishes, utensils and cutlery. This is actually just a good kitchen tip in general: Never put cooked food on a plate or in a bowl that held raw meat, and use separate cutting boards and knives for vegetables, meat, and poultry.
More Ideas for Those Who Have a Vegan in the House
Buy or preview "Easy Vegan Meals by SparkPeople: The No-Stress, No-Guilt Way to Reap the Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet" on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.
Or enter to win one of five copies here. (The usual rules apply. We will choose winners Nov. 15.)
Want more healthy recipes from Chef Meg, me and fellow SparkPeople members? Be sure to subscribe to SparkPeople's Recipe of the Day email. Click here to sign up!
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