You’ve committed to throwing a holiday dinner party this year and you’re currently planning out your menu. Chances are, you know of at least one of your friends or family members who don’t eat meat (maybe more) and you feel paralyzed on how to create a crowd-pleasing menu.
With a few extra minutes of planning you’ll be able to easily adjust your menu to have offerings for everyone in attendance.
Here are five tips on how to host a dinner party with plant-based eaters at your table:
Don’t make meat the star of the show
You can still please everyone by serving meat, you just don’t have to make it the focal point of the meal. When you have lots of hearty “sides” such as winter green salad, roasted squash and Brussels sprouts, roasted fingerling potatoes, apple-cranberry sauce, wild mushroom and farro dressing, alongside pork tenderloin or turkey, guests can choose and everyone will leave full.
Find delicious recipes easily
There are so many resources out there for amazing plant-based (and easy to make) recipes. Pop over to the Thrive Forward Recipe Center, which is exclusively plant-based and narrow your search by using the keyword “vegan.”
Convert your traditional holiday dishes
Sure, people who are following a plant-based diet avoid dairy, eggs and butter (among other things), but there are simple swaps for these ingredients that don’t compromise taste and please the whole crowd. Swap dairy one-for-one with a non-dairy alternative such as almond milk or soy milk. Make it “buttermilk” by adding a teaspoon of white vinegar to a cup of non-dairy milk. Swap egg for a “flax egg” or “chia egg” by combining 1 tablespoon of flax or chia with 3 tablespoons water and let sit until it thickens—approximately 5 minutes. Finally, swap butter one-for-one with coconut oil (solid at room temperature).
Talk to your guests
Don’t be afraid to call up your guests and double check a recipe or confirm your meal plan with them. They will likely greatly appreciate the thoughtful gesture (and offer to bring a dish too!)
Don’t forget dessert!
Dessert can be a course that is both easily overlooked for a plant-based option and seems completely daunting. Don’t be afraid to make the swaps suggested above into your favorite cookie recipe, or try your hand at a vegan cake or pie (a quick search through food blogs will yield delicious results). You can also keep it simple by serving some fresh berries over coconut ice cream. Or there’s always your local bakery (you’d be surprised how many now offer plant-based options)!
Once you’ve hosted your first plant-friendly feast, you’ll realize just how simple an endeavor it is, and likely start incorporating your delicious plant-based recipes into your daily eats. Enjoy!