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How to cook for vegans

Don't Serve The One With Ears

How to cook for vegans (without patronising them)

Food

No, 'salad' does NOT count as a vegan dish. Louise Palmer-Masterton, founder of vegan restaurant Stem + Glory, explains how to cook (well) for vegans...

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve visited a non-vegan restaurant (or, in fact, gone to a friend’s for dinner) only to be offered a risotto or a ‘salad’. Worse still, that ‘salad’ contains that exciting combination of lettuce, tomato and cucumber! So, if you have a vegan friend coming for dinner, be bold, be creative. Not only is it far easier than you think to cook vegan food, your guests will truly appreciate a bit of effort. Here’s how to cook for vegans, without embarrassing yourself…

 

‘VEGETARIAN’ DOESN’T CUT IT

Start by reading packets. As a non-vegan you probably don’t know what non-vegan products sneak into your everyday cupboard staples. Even with veganism on the rise, packets are usually labelled ‘vegetarian’ but not necessarily ‘vegan’. It has been helped by recent changes to the law that allergens have to be written in bold, so it’s quite easy to scan ingredients lists for eggs and dairy which are the main culprits.

VEGANISE THE HECK OUT OF YOUR SIGNATURE DISH

Start with your perfect menu and then make it vegan. Ok, that might not work if you were planning steak and chips, but whether it’s sushi, pizza, Thai or a juicy burger, chances are you can turn your signature dishes vegan. Google your ingredients, adding ‘vegan’ and ‘recipe’, and you’ll find the ultimate vegan version of your dish.

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USE NATURE’S MYSTERIOUS FIFTH TASTE

Nature has given us a fifth taste – umami – which in a nutshell is ‘deliciousness’ and often it is the umami in food that makes it ‘mouth-watering’. For example, Italian food is generally rich in umami and a great choice to veganise. Tomato paste is very high umami as are olives, olive oil and sun dried tomatoes. Japanese food is also rich in umami and an easy way to learn how to cook for vegans.

BRAVE THE HEALTH FOOD AISLE

For the not-so-keen cook, wander down to the health food shop and stock up. You can get vegan alternatives to almost anything now. For example, vegan mayonnaise is easy to make, but there are a number of off-the-shelf versions that are really tasty. There is even vegan cheese, plenty of plant-based milks and creams too (e.g. soya, coconut-based, oat, rice, almond, cashew, etc) so dessert is easy to veganise too.

…AND DON’T FORGET THE VEGAN BOOZE

Search out vegan wine/beer. Co-op is best for vegan wine labelling and there is a really good website called Barnivore which lists all vegan wine, beer and spirits you can buy in the supermarkets. Finally, to spoil your favourite vegan, you can now buy vegan Baileys. Called Baileys Almande, it’s made with Almond milk and is delicious. Serve with a couple of vegan chocolates and your vegan dinner guests will be purring.

Louise Palmer-Masterton is founder of multiple award-winning restaurant Stem + Glory; a stylish but accessible plant-based restaurant, serving delicious gourmet vegan food from locally sourced ingredients. She knows how to cook for vegans. They have an extensive vegan bar, offering the craft beers and fine wines, alongside cocktails, mocktails and ‘smart’ drinks. Click here to follow Stem + Glory on Facebook.

Want to know the four secret ingredients that make vegans drool? Click here and all will be revealed…

 

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