21 May 2018

Tips for a Vegan-Friendly Dinner Party

It doesn’t have to be a #MeatFreeMonday to celebrate the power of plants in delicious meals! More and more people (celebrities and sports stars included) are extolling the virtues of a plant based diet. If you have vegan guests coming over for dinner, rest assured that it’s possible to wow them with a plant based menu so mouth-watering that we think even the serious carnivores will be impressed! Not only will your meal taste delicious, it will also be a visual feast as fresh herbs and vegetables can look so colourful and appetising on a plate.

Start Plant Smart

Instead of a plated starter, why not impress your guests with a beautifully laden Mediterranean-inspired platter of veggies, olives, nuts and dips to taste and enjoy with bread and crackers? Dress the platter with interesting and unusual choices such as purple baby carrots, dukkah-infused hummus, spicy chermoula and don’t forget crunchy radishes for a dose of ruby red colour. Micro greens and herbs add a tasty flourish.
Ideas to try: piles of sugar snap peas with tzatziki, paprika-dusted corn on the cob drizzled with olive oil, tofu tempura, dolmades, babaganoush and falafel.

Souped Up Soup

If it’s a chilly evening, you can’t go wrong with a hearty soup. Make the soup the day before and freeze any leftovers for lunch at the office. This Green Vegetable Minestrone is groaning with goodness – simply substitute the chicken stock for vegetable stock. Served with crusty bread, this soup is virtually a meal on its own.

Hearty Mains

If a plated meal is on your agenda, there is so much you can do with vegetables. Slow cooked casseroles are always a great bet in winter and can be left to cook for a few hours – this Brinjal, Chickpea and Tomato Slow Pot with Quinoa is a surefire crowd pleaser, and this wholesome Mushroom, Baby Marrow & Lentil Ragu Lasagne made with cashew nut cheese will go down a treat. For a lighter, more casual meal why not try this Zucchini Noodle Summer Pot (substitute the halloumi for tofu or vegan cheese).

Something Sweet

Impress your guests by serving sophisticated Poached Pears with Saffron – infused with cinnamon, these are the perfect partner for a homemade sorbet – click here for a basic sorbet recipe that can be flavoured with any fruits or even coconut milk.
Tip: make the pears the day before and see how the flavours intensify!

Cook’s Notes: Substitutes

Veganism means not only cutting out meat, but fish, dairy and eggs too. Luckily there are so many substitutions available on supermarket and health shop shelves these days. Look below for some quick fix swop solutions.

  • Butter
    Try canola, coconut or olive oil, and look for butter-flavoured avocado oil.
  • Cheese
    Luckily, plant based vegan cheeses are now readily available at vegan eateries, health shops and selected retailers.
  • Chicken
    Tofu comes in many forms and can be successfully used as a substitute. Mushrooms are also a delicious, nutrient-dense option to use when chicken is called for.
  • Ice Cream
    Sorbet is a good swap for ice cream, or visit your local artisanal ice cream store – they’re bound to have vegan ice cream made using coconut milk. For a quick fix at home, blend one or two frozen bananas with a little peanut butter and freeze for two hours.
  • Milk
    Almond, soya or cashew milk are good substitutes, although they are often not as sweet as milk, so experiment sweetening with sugar, honey or other natural sweeteners.
  • Cream
    Pureed cannellini beans can add creaminess to a soup, a tin of coconut milk is the perfect substitute for upping the creaminess in a curry and the high-fat content of avocados also make them a perfect substitute for baking and also a base for a creamy sauce.


Plant friendly meals make a difference to the planet and your health too. Visit our recipe website and browse our vegan and vegetarian recipes that can help make your next dinner party a #meatfree one.

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