Being vegan can be challenging at times - reading ingredient labels, figuring out what to order at a restaurant and making sure you take the right vitamins and supplements.
But another challenge I have come across: feeding the non-vegans in my life.
Surprisingly - and sometimes frustrating for vegans - a lot of people refuse to eat something if it is vegan friendly.
I won't force anyone to eat my vegan concoctions, because I wouldn't want anyone trying to force me to eat something I don't want to eat. But, honestly, most of the time, (I didn't say always), you can't even tell the difference between vegan and non-vegan food. So give it a try!
My mom refused to try anything with tofu in it because she had it once and hated it. Well, my parents came to visit me one day and I had them both try my vegan ranch dip with some plain potato chips and they liked it. Surprise! Silken tofu is a main ingredient.
The taste of tofu is all in the way it is prepared, I promise you. Sometimes it's not so good - just like your hamburger or crab cakes don't taste the same every time you cook them or order them when you are out to eat.
My vegan diet also is a regular topic at work. My co-workers lovingly refer to me as "the vegan." We like to share our food sometimes and every once in a while they will say, "Hey, vegan! Do you want the rest of my vegan grapes?" or "Do you want some strawberries, they're vegan!" They are happy when they can feed me, and so am I.
So, feeding non-vegans without them crinkling their nose at the site of the food I make is the goal.
Recently, I had a jewelry party where I invited some friends to get together, look at jewelry, socialize and, of course, eat.
The menu was as follows: the basics - potato chips and pretzels. I also made pico de gallo, which naturally is vegan, and served it with tortilla chips.
My co-worker, who hosted the party at her home, made a pasta salad with no meat or cheese, and one of my guests made bruschetta, that I served on small pieces of bread. (A lot of bread is vegan, as long as it doesn't contain any honey, eggs or dairy products.)
I had a veggie tray with assorted vegetables and served them with garlic hummus and the ranch dip I mentioned earlier. I also made vegan potato salad and, for desert, mini vegan vanilla cupcakes. I had made the cupcakes several times before and they were well-received by vegans and non-vegans alike.
So, I?met the challenge and successfully fed all of my guests.
Pico de gallo
3 roma tomatoes, diced
2 medium globe tomatoes, diced
1 small onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
Pinch garlic powder
Pinch ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving. Serve with tortilla chips.
Vegan ranch dip or dressing
8 ounces silken tofu, drained
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Pinch granulated sugar
1 cup vegan mayonnaise (I like Vegenaise)
3 tablespoons fresh scallions, minced
1/2teaspoon black pepper
In a food processor, combine all ingredients and process until smooth. Dip will look thin - refrigerate overnight to thicken. Serve with veggies, chips or as a salad dressing.
6 roma tomatoes, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 1/4 teaspoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Mix together garlic, vinegar, salt, pepper and basil. When combined, drizzle in oil and continue to mix ingredients together.
Add tomatoes, mix until combined and let sit for 20 minutes at room temperature.
Serve on top of small bread slices. Can be served cold after refrigerating, or place bread in toaster oven or oven until toasted.
Remove and top with bruschetta mixture and put back in the oven for a few minutes until warm. Top with grated vegan parmesan cheese if desired.