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Vegan-friendly food for a baby shower?

I'm having a casual lunch-time baby shower and some of the guests are vegan (no dairy or eggs). I'm planning on having veggie crudite and fruit platters that everyone can eat, but I'm not sure what to make for a vegan-friendly main course. I want to make something that is not too difficult to prepare but still tasty, that can sit out at room temperature (planning on having a food spread that is out for a while rather than a sit-down meal). I was thinking maybe a vegan pasta salad? Does anyone have a good pasta salad recipe they could share, or other ideas for a vegan main course? I'm also thinking of baking vegan cookies for dessert (in addition to non-vegan cake we are bringing in)--any great vegan cookie recipes or other ideas for easy vegan-friendly desserts?

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  1. How about a middle Eastern spread? Hummus, baba ghanouj, falafel, pita, marinated veggies...could add feta/spinach pie for nonvegans.

    10 Replies
    1. re: loraxc

      Some of your favorite desserts probably are vegan. Like baked apples, and apple crisp with crumb topping. For a shower, I would do a fruit crisp using berries, and and put a scoop of coconut sorbet on each plate.

      1. re: AdinaA

        So do you just substitute margarine for butter in order to make the fruit crisp vegan? I never use margarine, does it come out as well? I don't think I would make it for this occasion because I don't want the alternative dessert to "compete" with the special baby shower cake that is intended to be the primary dessert, but this is helpful for other occasions.

        1. re: Nicole

          the brand most vegans prefer is earth balance.

          1. re: funniduck

            Earth Balance is awesome, and has no hydrogenated oils. Pay attention to whether you're getting a salted variety so it will mesh with your recipe.

          2. re: Nicole

            Yes. Kosher cooks do this routinely. With great success.

            1. re: AdinaA

              Great, earth balance margarine it is. Thanks for the tips!

            2. re: Nicole

              NYTimes has a story this week about how lots of vegans are using coconut oil for baking because it's solid at room temperature.


              1. re: piccola

                I use a mix of canola oil & walnut oil for crisp toppings and it works wonderfully.

                1. re: jessinEC

                  Good to know. And I actually have those things on hand, unlike coconut oil and margarine.

          3. re: loraxc

            I think the Middle Eastern spread is a great idea...vegans will have what they want and everyone else will be eating great food too. Nice to see a solution that doesn't involve trying to turn non-vegan recipes into something they're not.

          4. I would go with loraxc's idea if you want cold. You could produce a truly stunning array of Middle Eastern and Maghrebi salads. Serve them on interesting dishes. And amuse some guests and relieve others by marking the dishes "too hot to handle" or "so little pepper that it's edible even by northern Europeans".

            If you want warm food, think about making a curry, it keeps well in a chafing dish, or one of those aluminum foil warmers with a sterno underneath. Serve with rice and an array of homemade chutneys.

            1. Quinoa salad is super easy, inexpensive, and feeds a lot of people. It also won't really spoil. I love a mexican inspired one - I use quinoa (red or regular), green onions, lime juice and zest, black beans, cherry tomatoes halved, diced jalapeno and diced bell pepper (colorful variety), cilantro and a little olive oil to bind.

              A fatoush version is also good with chick peas, mint, parsley, LOTS of lemon juice/zest, cucumber, red onion, tomato and some crumbled vegan pita chips.

              1. If you're looking for a good and easy noodle salad - you can make a thai veggie peanut noodle salad (check out this one http://www.ourbestbites.com/2009/07/t...). It is meant to be served cold and you can add chick peas or tofu for protein.

                Or you could do a vegetarian lasagna (sub firm tofu for the cheese and add ingredients such as spinach and mushrooms). Or how about a baked potato buffet - you can lay out both vegan and non-vegan sides for people to customize their potatoes. How about vegan wraps, which can be made ahead of time - you can put roasted peppers, roasted eggplant, avocado, etc. in the wraps.

                1. Lots of great ideas, thank you! I may do a middle eastern spread as well as quinoa salad. The nice thing about these ideas is that they involve some protein, whereas pasta salad generally doesn't (if there is no cheese).

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: Nicole

                    It's easy to make a quinoa salad with middle eastern flavors.. I make one with chopped vegetables, chickpeas, olives, and a tahini dressing.

                    1. re: cheesecake17

                      Sounds great. Can you share the recipe or some basic directions (e.g., which veggies to use and how to prep them, etc.)?

                      1. re: Nicole

                        I don't really have a recipe, more like what to put in the salad and the dressing. Hope it helps. Sometimes I arrange slices of avocado on the top of the serving platter for a nicer presentation.
                        Salad- cooked quinoa, chopped cucumbers (I like to use the persian ones), halved grape tomatoes, chopped bell peppers (red, yellow, orange, not green), chopped scallions, cooked chickpeas, chopped parsley.
                        Dressing- tahini thinned with water. Lemon juice, salt, white pepper, cumin to taste. You can add mashed roasted garlic to the dressing also, just make sure it's really well combined and that there are no chunks.

                        I find that the quinoa really soaks up the dressing, so make more dressing than you think you'll need. If the salad looks dry, you can always add more. It's also really pretty if you can get the red quinoa.

                        1. re: cheesecake17

                          This is really helpful, thank you!

                          1. re: cheesecake17

                            Wow this sounds delicious! I was going to make a pasta salad using veggie pasta but might try this instead

                          2. re: Nicole

                            i like these kinds of salads with generous helpings of fresh herbs, especially mint and parsley.

                      2. OMG black bean brownies

                        12 dried prunes coarsely chopped + It is really important to use organic prunes, because we will make a sauce with the fluid they are reconstituted it.

                        in a small pot quickly simmer the prunes in 1.5 cups of water

                        use the prune simmer as a double boiler to melt about 2/3 cup of quality dark bittersweet chocolate, in a glass bowl.

                        use a submersion blender to puree the water and prunes, into a sweet syrup, add this and the melted chocolate to 1/2 cup oil (or melted natural buttery spread) and then 2/3 cup organic cane sugar + 1 tbsp pure vanilla, and mix well.

                        sift 1 cup of black bean flour

                        1 cup brown rice flour

                        and 1 tsp baking soda

                        1 tsp salt

                        add these to wet mixture and bring batter together and add 1/2 cup course chunks of a good quality fair trade dark chocolate

                        pour batter into small square pan lined with baking parchment

                        bake at 350º for about 35-40 minutes, for a nice soft centre, 45-50 minutes for a firmer centre.

                        1. Hello Nicole,

                          I would make layered bowls of rice, beans, salsa, and special sauce.

                          Check out my post at: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/769023

                          And you could add items like olives, cheese, good olive oil, ... if desired. The sauce by itself is good on chips, veggies as well - better than typical hummus IMHO because of the large addition of citrus and ground nuts.

                          Free range chicken or other protein can be added for those who wish while it is fine without because of the beans and nuts.

                          ~ SMaki

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: smaki

                            I can help you with the cookie part. These vegan oatmeal pecan cookies came out better than I thought they would! They were gone in five minutes at my office. Really easy to make, too. You can see what they look like here: http://www.whatwouldcathyeat.com/2011...

                            Vegan Oatmeal-Pecan Cookies

                            1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
                            1 ¼ cup rolled oats (old fashioned, not quick
                            )3/4 teaspoon baking powder
                            1/2 teaspoon baking soda
                            Scant ½ teaspoon salt
                            1 teaspoon cinnamon
                            1/4 cup chopped pecans (or substitute macadamias or walnuts), toasted
                            1 tablespoon ground flax mixed with 3 tablespoons water
                            ½ cup brown sugar
                            1/4 cup maple syrup
                            2 tablespoons unsulphured molasses
                            1 teaspoon vanilla
                            1/4 cup organic canola oil
                            ¼ cup dark chocolate chips, optional

                            Preheat oven to 350. Whisk together the flax and water, and heat in a microwave for 1 minute, or simmer for a minute on the stove. Combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and nuts in a bowl. In separate bowl, whisk together flax mixture, brown sugar, maple syrup, molasses, vanilla, and oil. Add to dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in the optional chocolate chips. Drop by the tablespoon on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from the cookie sheet while still warm and place on a rack or a plate to cool.

                            1. re: cathyeats

                              These look great! I'm realizing that all these ideas will serve me well when my sister visits, as she can no longer eat dairy. The only issue for the baby shower is that this recipe and a lot of the other ideas for vegans involve nuts, and someone who is allergic to nuts is coming. But I think I am going too crazy worrying about this, they can still eat the cake. With a bunch of people with different eating restrictions, I can't make it so that everyone can eat everything, I'll just make sure that everyone can eat something.

                          2. I love everything I've made from Vegan Cookies in Your Cookie Jar. What kind of cookie are you looking at? There's a fudgy chocolate oatmeal one that's really good, and a chocolate crinkle, and some great fancy almond cookies. You can check out the table of contents in the book preview on amazon -- if you can't see the recipe you want in there, I can type it up.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: eireann

                              Thanks for the tip! The fudgy chocolate oatmeal cookies sound great. I couldn't see the recipe in the amazon preview, but I found it online here: http://twokitties.typepad.com/my_webl...

                              1. re: Nicole

                                I have made those cookies like four times. I keep not making new recipes from that book because I like everything I've tried so much that I just keep making it again.

                                1. re: eireann

                                  I am the same way with recipes I love. :) Looking more closely at the recipe, one thing that confuses me is that it includes chocolate chips. Are there vegan chocolate chips? I took a look at the ones in my cabinet (Nestle) and sure enough, the ingredients include milkfat.

                                  1. re: Nicole

                                    Hershey's and Nestle aren't. Trader Joe's and Whole Foods brands both are; Girardelli is; and there's a brand that's a bit more expensive, Sunspire, that's in Natural food type stores. if you can't find any of those, most dark chocolate is vegan (generally the higher quality like Lindt and Ghirardelli) so you could just chop up a chocolate bar? Good luck!

                                    1. re: eireann

                                      Thanks for the tips, it should be easy for me to get Trader Joe's or Ghirardelli chocolate chips.

                                      1. re: Nicole

                                        It helps if it's marked as Kosher Pareve - that means no milk ingredients are included. Just watch out for gelatin - that can be kosher and if it comes from fish then it is pareve (neither meat nor dairy) but certainly not vegan! I'm in Canada - one of our generic store brands of chocolate chips is non-dairy - those are really easy to find.

                            2. For an entree a vegan friendly lasagna would be easy.
                              Conceptually, I would use pasta (or potatoes) and thin slices of zucchini to get that layered look.
                              Never tried soy cheeses, but I would think with a tasty sauce and seasonings the end results would be nice.

                              For meatiness, you can use Morningstar sausage crumbles(vegan???).
                              For a ricotta substitute, smashed firm tofu, which I think is optional and would detract from the layered look.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: dave_c

                                soy cheese has very different melting capacities than regular cheese. but a layered version of ratatouille looks very nice and is fine hot or room temp.

                              2. I was just researching the same topic! The shower will have mostly non Vegan/Vegetarians but the mom-to-be is Vegan and there a few Vegetarians thrown in. So I have to keep it mixed