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How to feed 5 carnivores and 1 vegan

We go to a family's house once/week for a philosophy discussion. The father is paralyzed and must be fed by his wife. The son is a vegan. They have a woman come in and cook (I think she makes stuff for them to eat all week), but there are occasions she can't make it. I'm thinking Memorial Day might be one of those times. I told the mother of the family that I'd like to bring something some time since they're always feeding us. I mentioned pizza one time and she said they LOVE pizza--but of course the son can't have cheese.

I'm not married to the pizza idea but if I did go for it, how do I get take-out pizza for everyone and make a vegan happy? (There's a Whole Foods not far away--wondered if they'd be able to make a vegan one.)

If I didn't do pizza, any other ideas? Like if we made hotdogs or hamburgers, what could I do for the son? But I have to keep in mind that a hamburger might be hard to feed a paralyzed man. Also, I don't think they have a grill (we do) and we live about 20-30 minutes away.

I do have a coleslaw and a cake that are vegan. I just need some kind of main dish. I should tell you the son usually just eats a big plate of vegetables and then has several large plastic cups of something we never see--I imagine it's various vegetable juices. So I don't think he's really concerned about a "tastes-like-meat" anything.

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  1. You could order "take out" for the majority and prepare this:
    for the vegan.

    1 Reply
    1. re: todao

      Well that would sure be an act of love for me to make it since I have an intolerance of bell peppers and can't even stand the smell of them. Think it would work if I got as far as baking the crust the first 20 min., adding the sauce and tempeh and then driving over to their house to cook it in their oven the rest of the time? Or would it get too soggy in 30 min?

    2. Yah know, if you are willing to bring your grill...

      Pizza would work! You can do grilled pizza..make the vegan one first, no meat even on grill, of roasted veggies and some Vegan cheese (or not, roasted veggies are nice alone) then do grilled pizzas for you all as you like.

      Here is ONE idea from a Google search of grilled pizza, that uses start from scratch dough, but maybe store or Pizza shop place bought would also work.

      Have fun! From a fellow Philosophy person...as my name suggests.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Quine

        Sorry, should have mentioned that it's a gas grill. Not portable. I could find out if these folks have one. It would make things easier, that's for sure.

        1. re: Birmingham

          And it is a fun idea. Making meals together is a great community experience. I am totally carnivore but as you may have guessed, attended a many Potluck dinners that included Vegans. Once we were assigned by color and menu item....Great:; I got Purple and MAIN!
          Really a purple MAIN dish?

          I am also of Polish and Czech decent. I made. Stuffed Red cabbage, stuffed with a rice, dried fruit and minced nut filling It came out purple and got rave reviews.

          1. re: Quine

            Wow, that idea of assigning a color and menu item could get really interesting. I like it!!!! Sometimes I really love cooking with restrictions, because it makes me get more creative, and makes cooking more interesting.

      2. I just had the same issue this weekend. For the vegan, we made coleslaw and baked beans (the Mango BBQ Beans from Appetite for Reduction are marvelous, reheat well and actually taste better the next day). The rest had sausages with the coleslaw/beans as garnish. ;)

        Any side salad with a grain/bean would be fine for a vegan. Or consider making portobello steaks/burgers.
        Here's a good recipe- sub out the sour cream out though: http://www.food.com/recipe/absolutely...

        Hummus and other bean dips are easily vegan, and can be dipped with veggies.

        2 Replies
        1. re: blinknoodle

          Oh wow, thanks a lot! What do you suggest for substitution on the sour cream?

          1. re: Birmingham

            You can sub vegan sour cream if you don't mind spending a few bucks on a tub of it from Whole Foods.

            Otherwise you can sub vegan yogurt (maybe mixed with some lemon juice) or another topping altogether. Lots of vegan spreads are subbed with mashed white beans mixed with herbs and spices. Like for a vegan pizza, you can sub out the cheese altogether and instead make a white bean spread (either hand-mashed or pureed) with some garlic, basil, oregano, etc., maybe with some nutritional yeast (used a lot as a vegan cheese sub). You get the creaminess from the beans without the dairy.

        2. I'll admit that I first read your headline as "How to feed 5 carnivores with 1 vegan." Ha! Might not be enough to go around! As a lactose-intolerant person whose family loves pizza -- my experience is to stay away from the fake cheeses and just get a gooey topping (or extra sauce) for a personal-size pizza for the son. I make my own using Deborah Madison's dough recipe in quiche pans, so it's more like a veg pie. Another option might be minestrone soup or other bean soup. If the carnivores really miss the meat, you could cook sausage up separately and they could put it on top.

          5 Replies
          1. re: jessinEC

            That has been another thought: making a vegan chili or baked bean type thing and then have hotdogs for the carnivores.

            What would you term a "gooey topping" for the pizza?

            I did call Whole Foods today and they said they could make a vegan pizza with or without vegan cheese.

            1. re: Birmingham

              or skip the chili, have hot dogs for the carnivores, and get vegan dogs or something similar for the son.

              Field Roast makes *terrific* vegan sausages, and you can get them at WF.

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                Oh, so there IS something better than Tofu Pups these days? My husband and I tried them over 10 years ago and nearly gagged. (And we like tofu dishes.)

                So that gets me back to finding out if they have a grill. That would be great if we could grill hotdogs and vegan sausages, I could make a vegan baked bean dish, a vegan coleslaw, and my Mexican wedding cake sans frosting.


                1. re: Birmingham

                  not once in my 21 years as a vegetarian did i ever encounter a Tofu Pup...or Tofurkey. i preferred to create my own tofu recipes until i found out i had to give up soy...then i moved on to seitan.

                  i was really quite surprised by how good the Field Roast products were, and even after i reclaimed my inner carnivore i happily continued to eat them...until i got my Celiac diagnosis and had to give up all of those as well because they contain wheat. the Chow gods have a twisted sense of humor.

                  anyway, look into it - they make sausages, deli-style slices, and loves, and a variety of flavors. several of them were developed after my time, but i really liked the smoked tomato and lentil sage.

              2. re: Birmingham

                I usually go for roasted red peppers or other roasted vegetables, tomatoes, pineapple. They all add moisture/smoothness. Stay away from raw peppers or mushrooms -- it can end up being flatbread with veggies falling off, not so appealing. Chili is a great idea -- you could have bowls of cheese, sour cream, chives, etc. that people can add (or not).

            2. If you need a dessert and have a cool bag I can hightly recommend the following recipe - I fed it to a bunch of carnivores and they never noticed it was vegan.


              1 Reply
              1. re: Peg

                That sounds pretty good. I already had a cake in mind--but I've already found so many interesting vegan recipes, I'm thinking of just bringing something every now and then to surprise the son.

              2. I don't know if I should start a new thread for this, but I was going to make for the occasion "Spicy Slow-Baked BBQ Beans" from "366 Delicious Ways to Cook Rice, Beans, and Grains" (page 234). I want to double the recipe and just want to check with y'all on whether you think it's safe to simply double everything -- I know that doesn't always work.

                2 c dried pinto beans, soaked overnight
                6 c water
                2 onions, sliced
                2 garlic cloves
                28-oz tomato puree
                1/2 c brn sugar
                2 T chipolte en adobo
                1 T chili powder
                2 t dried oregano

                After boiling the beans gently for about 1 hr, you transfer them--and the cooking liquid--into a pot or dish with all the other ingredients and bake 2-3 hours. I'm thinking 12 cups of water is going to be WAY too much--but what about the other ingredients?

                2 Replies
                1. re: Birmingham

                  I don't think 12 cups of water will be way too much, the beans really absorb it. But you could start with 10 and then add more if they start to dry out. These sound pretty good, but the mango ones someone mentioned above are intriguing.

                  1. re: cathyeats

                    Yes, I'd make the mango ones myself but except for me and the vegan, I don't think the rest would go for it... Oh, just thinking: I could make both--then I wouldn't have to worry about doubling that recipe.

                2. You could very easily do a Tex-Mex night- tortillas and/or rice, salad with a lime and cilantro dressing, plus a number of different fillings. Some great vegetarian ones are calabacitas (zucchini/yellow squash sauteed with onions and spices), black bean and butternut squash, even just simple refreid beans (without lard, of course). Meat could of course be marinated and offered as an option as well.

                  The condiments could also be flavorful and vegetarian- guacamole, pico de gallo, etc....though cheese could be available for those who want to add it.

                  If you want to walk the line between baked beans and a southwestern menu, this recipe for buckaroo beans is WONDERFUL- sort of like baked beans, but less sweet and more spice (though not TOO spicy). The ingredients list made me raise my eyebrows, but it all works out as beautifully balanced flavors. Would recommend making them the night before, though, as it gives more time for the flavors to meld.


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: 4Snisl

                    I'm growing zucchini and yellow squash right now and do hope to make some dishes with them this summer. I have made a similiar chili with chocolate and coffee and like it a lot. Thanks for the ideas!

                  2. Just FYI, the meal is on and they do have a grill. Here's the menu:
                    Hotdogs for the carnivores
                    Field Roast vegan sausages
                    Spicey baked beans (good for all)
                    Fumi Salad (vegan has had and loves)
                    Chocolate Wacky Cake (thanks to Good Health Gourmet)
                    Rice Krispy "Golfballs" (thanks to Blancmange--but these might not make it to the dinner)

                    I realize this is quite unambitious, but I want to start easy. (And they tell us their grill hasn't been used in a long, long time so it's not a sure thing.) I really appreciate everyone's help and I intend to try out all the other suggestions some time.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Birmingham

                      Just a tip: If you're grilling the field roast, too, make sure it's on a separate part of the grill from the hotdogs. You don't want any meat juices on there.

                      1. re: Birmingham

                        This sounds good to me. I am glad you are providing the field roast sausages because many vegan and vegetarian friends complain about just being served sides when invited to dinner. I'd make extra field roast, they are great and the carnivores might like them better than hot dogs ( I do!)

                        1. re: magiesmom

                          I'd make extra field roast, they are great and the carnivores might like them better than hot dogs ( I do!)
                          absolutely :) even though i eat meat again, i would actually still *prefer* Field Roast some days - i wish i could still eat it!

                      2. Just thought I'd follow up: everyone had a great time Memorial Day evening. The family was really touched that we would go to all that trouble and they were even teary-eyed saying this was their first party since the father's accident that left him paralyzed. I was a bit embarrassed because all we did was grill Nathans hotdogs and Field Roast sausages, plus provide baked beans (spicy vegan plus regular BBQ), Fumi salad (that didn't come out as well as it could have for some reason--not enough S&P I think), and chocolate wacky cake with o.j. glaze on top.

                        The vegan was so happy with the Field Roast sausages and said he ate my spicy beans all week. He was really pleased too that we found vegan hot dog buns for him. The parents loved the Nathans--don't think they ever had them before.

                        The thing is, this family feeds us all every week at the philosophy sessions so I think it was very little to do in return. I'm already planning next time: want to do a "French Country White Beans" dish with regular kielbasa and vegan kielbasa (any recommendations?). Saw a great Whole Foods recipe of grilled skewers of kielbasa, onions, and apples.

                        Thanks for all your help. I'm definitely keeping this thread and all the suggestions!