One of the things to consider is which food to serve. Catering to everyone’s dietary preferences might seem daunting but having an event with no animal-based food products served can extend your celebration to the animals as well. Sadly, there is still a stigma attached to vegan food. When guests hear ‘vegan’, ‘animal-friendly’ or ‘meatless’, they might think of tasteless, boring salads; carrot sticks and nothing else! But in reality, this is not the case. With so many ideas for delicious, animal-free recipes, your celebration can be festive in more ways than one.
A vegan buffet
Whether it’s finger food, a buffet or a sit-down meal, planning in advance is key. It might help to collect your friends and family’s ideas and suggestions on which food they enjoy, and then you can make the vegan equivalent. There is almost no dish, food or snack which doesn’t come in the vegan variety, but it does take a little creativity in creating the flavour and textures. With appetisers, there are many simple, mouth-watering suggestions like zucchini rolls, caramelized onion focaccia, polenta bites with marinated cherry tomatoes and basil, or veggie couscous with lemon zest flavouring. There’s no shortage of inspiration out there!
For the main dishes, a plant-based alternative to a popular meat dish can go down a treat. Creamy pasta made with almond milk, veggie lasagna or BBQ'd plant-based fillets with mushroom or pepper sauce can also look and taste like their animal-derived counterparts. The key is to make sure the ingredients are as fresh as possible, and with so many different food options from supermarkets and farmer's markets, it can be a simple and straightforward task to cook up tasty dishes.
Desserts are some of the easiest things you can make – yes, even without using eggs, butter or milk! With many quick and simple recipes online, desserts can be whipped up in no time and presented on either small plates or in colourful glasses. Your guests wouldn’t know whether it was cow’s milk or almond milk in your thick fudgy chocolate cake. The opportunities are endless!
What about drinks?
Some alcoholic beverages, soft drinks and juices are made using animal products. The substances used are often from slaughtered animals, such as gelatin, fish bladders and blood, and are commonly found in more drinks than one would think. Some brands clearly label their drinks, but not all do. Usually, spirits are most likely to be vegan-friendly and so are many beers and wines, but it’s worth asking and also checking online which are vegan-friendly and which ones aren’t.
At the end of the day, what we remember about celebrations has very little to do with the food, however, tasty food can make a lasting impression! It’s about spending time with family and friends, and enjoying being together, and what better way than doing that with animal cruelty-free celebrations.
For delicious plant-based recipes, check out our recipes section. Or find more great suggestions which are suitable for any occasion:
- Spice it up! Spices and seasoning bring our flavors and it's much better than using animal fat. Think black pepper, cilantro, herbs and Indian spices which can be added to all kinds of grilled vegetables such as artichokes, peppers and mushrooms.
- Vegetables aren’t the only thing to throw on a grill. Grilled fruit such as pineapple, peach, apples and strawberries also taste great.
- There are plenty of delicious veggie alternatives like sausages and burger patties where you can't tell the difference. You can burst them with additional flavor if you add seasoning of your own.
- Salads don’t have to be boring, typical or just made of potatoes. Think beans, lentils, quinoa in there, raisins, grapes and lots of delicious egg-free dressing.
- A barbeque wouldn’t be complete without extras and side dishes. Cold or warm pasta with pesto, stuffed peppers with rice, filled mushrooms or grilled vegetables with pine nuts with penne with olive oil goes down a treat.
- If thick juicy burgers are what you’re after then easily create your own. With many natural recipes available online, you’ll only need to add the toppings and seasonings.
- Charred flatbreads are always a winner at barbeques. They can be served with veggie burgers, tomatoes, or rubbed with garlic and drizzled with olive oil and rosemary, aubergines or chopped herbs.
- You can create tasty skewers by using mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, zucchini and tofu. If using wooden skewers remember to soak them in water first so they don’t catch alight!
- Theme your barbeque! Will it be Italian? Thai? Or Indian? Have a look at traditional animal-friendly dishes to bring the feeling of holidays to your home.
- Potatoes are a staple at barbeques, however instead of the typical potato salad, grill sweet potatoe with cilantro and lime, or bake potatoes with pesto or tomatoes. There are many animal-friendly sauces and spreads which could also be added and served warm.