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Jul 10, 2013 08:14 PM

Do you have a vegan or plant-based menu that you serve to omnivore guests? Just brainstorming...

So, I had some omnivore friends over tonight and was thinking about what to feed them. We don't generally eat meat, dairy, or eggs, especially not at home. I wanted to serve as mainstream a meal as possible (no imitation meats, tempeh, TVP) while still sticking to our meat- dairy- and egg-free diet.

This is what I served:

* Mung bean hummus, pita, and crackers
(This is a great recipe, by the way.)
* Cherry tomatoes
* Olives
* Tabbouleh
* Grilled vegetables and toum (garlic sauce
)* Mujadara (rice and lentils)
* Roasted cauliflower in tahini sauce

Tell me, do you have any go-to menus to serve non-vegan dinner guests that don't involve TVP, tempeh, or mock meats?

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  1. Well, this isn't my menu, but my vegan friend often goes to tofu simmered in the TJ's red curry simmer sauce, with a touch of coconut milk, served over rice.

    All her friends, including myself, really love it. TMI, my digestive system doesn't love it as much, but it is tasty!

    1 Reply
    1. I usually scan the complete menu options in the back of any of my veg cookbooks. Often I will make the menu as is, but sometimes I will cherry pick things I think people will like best.

      1. We are carnivores, but often serve (and enjoy) "meaty" grilled portobellos, paired with roasted brussel sprouts/green beans and a good tossed salad. German potato salad would go well with this.

        We often serve an assortment of nuts and olives as an appetizer; we'd add cheese, but you could just as easily add dried fruit or grapes.

        7 Replies
        1. re: pinehurst

          fwiw, german potato salad is made with copious amounts of bacon.
          maybe a plain potato salad using a vinaigrette dressing instead of a mayo-based dressing?

          1. re: westsidegal

            Or a vegannaise-based dressing....... ;)

            1. re: westsidegal

              Fakin' Bacon could work, but that's ersatz meat.

              1. re: mcf

                Well, actually it is tempeh marinated in a smoked sauce. Not ersatz meat at all, such as the Morningstar Farms and SmartBacon products. Really a great protein source and I use it regularly for BLTs. Tofurky also makes a tempeh bacon that is even better IMHO. But I never eat these as stand alone items, only in sandwiches as BLTs. Not sure non-veg people would appreciate.....

                1. re: Science Chick


                  If it weren't ersatz bacon, they'd call it tempeh instead.

                  The OP asked for non tempeh options, hence my comment.

                  1. re: mcf

                    Fakin' bacon is just a side-moniker. It is called "Smokey Tempeh Strips" straight up....look at the package! You brought up the idea of Fakin' Bacon....I only wanted to clarify that it isn't one of those mysterious meat-like amalgamations. It is tempeh.

                    1. re: Science Chick

                      Again, the OP asked for suggestions specifically not to include tempeh.

                      If it weren't ersatz meat, they wouldn't be callin' it bacon.

          2. soup (usually a vegetable soup "creamed" with cashew cream"


            stuffed cabbage or peppers (with a grain-based stuffing); or vegetable paella; or pasta with vegetables; or port. mushrroms; or roasted vegs [or some combination of several of these depending . . . ]

            fruit/vegan cake/vegan ice cream

            15 Replies
            1. re: alc

              That sounds great. I'd serve vegan chocolate mousse for dessert - the vegan gateway drug.

              1. re: MplsM ary

                Do you have a favourite recipe? Something I haven't made...

                1. re: Full tummy

                  I have a chocolate tofu mousse pie (no-bake) that gets rave reviews from everyone. Never fails.


                  1. re: blinknoodle

                    I tried this yesterday and it was INSANELY good! My husband, who is constantly requested more/better vegan desserts, was SO HAPPY! Thanks so much for sharing this!

                    BTW, I was unable to find the box Mori-Nu firm silken tofu, so I used Nasoya silken that comes refrigerated. I wasn't sure whether it was soft or firm (sure seems soft), so I left out the additional non-dairy milk from the filling to increase the likelihood of it firming up alright. It did firm up just fine and had a glorious texture. I was also worried that the dates in the crust would be overpowering....but, no! They were actually not perceptable as dates, per se, and did not detract from the intense chocolate flavor at all. I used half Guittard bittersweet and half Guittard semisweet chips.

                      1. re: magiesmom

                        Actually, the Mori-Nu silkens come in several varieties (see photos), although I don't know how "firm" these are, compared to refrigerated non-silken types

                        1. re: magiesmom

                          I am no expert, but I believe it has more to do with the texture than the firmness.

                          This has one explanation for how it's made (I can't vouch for its veracity).

                          1. re: will47

                            Yes, the Japanese silken is an entirely different process from the Chinese style. Texture totally different, but still comes in a variety of firmnesses. My only point is that the Mori-Nu brand comes in different degrees of firmness, whereas the nasoya brand that I had to use for the pie doesn't state firmness and I was concerned that they pie wouldn't set properly. However, leaving out the extra liquid called for in the recipe seemed to do the trick and the pie set fine.

                            I have since gotten my hands on the Mori-Nu firm and used it to make this yummy key lime pie. Here, the white chocolate sets the pie, instead of chocolate for the above mousse pie. I cut the recipe in half to make one pie, but I used REAL white chocolate, not the palm oil chips, and reduced it to 8 oz (I thought that 12 oz would be WAY too sweet. The 8 oz contributed plenty of sugar to offset the key lime least to my tastes). I'm betting that you could use the almond/date crust here, and leave out the cream cheese if you wanted it to be vegan:


                            1. re: Science Chick

                              I think gently pressing under a pan (with a towel wrapped around it) would also help reduce the moisture content of a softer one.

                              1. re: will47

                                You really can't press silken is literally like very thin, delicate Jello! Totally different even from soft Chinese tofu, which you can sort of press. Japanese silken process is different from the Chinese process and produces a different product. It is not packed in water at all, just poured into the packaging and it sets up after the package is sealed. Chinese is make into cakes, cut up and packaged in water for retail sale.

                                1. re: Science Chick

                                  You can press the harder types of silken tofu just fine. Even the soft stuff should be possible to press some water out of if you just use towels and no weight or a very light weight.

                                  1. re: will47

                                    I just confused, because there *isn't* any water in the cardboard box least as far as I can tell! At any rate, the recipes that I have posted are for the tofu right out of the box. Pretty sure the recipe accounts for whatever liquid is in the tofu. They both came out great and setup perfectly! :)

                                    1. re: Science Chick

                                      Right, but there's water in the tofu (and sometimes a tiny bit of water outside it, even in the aseptic packages) What we were talking about was using a softer (silken) tofu for a recipe that calls for a harder one, in which case you could gently press it.

                                  2. re: Science Chick

                                    You can expel some of the water by piercing the box and letting it drain for a few hours. That said, since I pretty much use silken tofu for whirred/whizzed/blended things like mousse or dressings, the water helps to liquefy the tofu, so I don't bother.

                  2. re: alc

                    I would point out that cashews (yum) can be very hard to digest for some people. I had a digestive upset after eating a (yummy) cashew-based dish, and a nutritionist told me that was not at all rare.

                  3. Falafel works pretty well- just make a dairy-free yogurt sauce to go with.