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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.

              http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/02/din...

              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.