Inviting guests round for some delightful vegan food and drink is the perfect way to bring everyone together and show off your culinary skills. Here, Katie Georgeson from kitchen appliance manufacturer Stoves gives us her five top tips for hosting a vegan dinner party.
Hosting your own vegan dinner party is a great way to try something new and cater to guests with different dietary requirements. Plus, if you follow a vegan diet yourself, it’s a great way to showcase the food you love. But with so much to prepare, how can you keep on track? In this article, I’ll be giving you my top tips for planning ahead, creating a menu and deciding on decor, so you can enjoy your get together just as much as your guests.
Dinner parties can require a lot of planning and preparation, especially if you’re making dishes you’ve never made before. To give yourself less time in the kitchen and more time with your guests, it can be helpful to plan ahead at last a week before the event and double check if anyone has allergies that need to be catered to.
Decide on your menu in advance so you know just how much time you should allocate to preparing and cooking each course. You could even do a practice run in the week running up to your party, which can be particularly useful if you’re not used to vegan cooking and are working with unfamiliar ingredients, like tofu. Some courses, especially dessert, can be prepared ahead of time, so you can enjoy your evening knowing all you have left to do are the last-minute essentials.
Set the scene
It’s not only the food that makes a dinner party. Your theming, table settings and general atmosphere all work to create the perfect evening. You could choose to focus on a specific country and tailor your menu to it, or you could celebrate nature by dining alfresco and using natural materials, like slate, to serve. You could even host your dinner party on meat-free Monday, an international campaign encouraging people to avoid meat on a Monday to improve their health and help the planet.
When it comes to dinner parties, the ambience is just as important as the food you serve. If you want your get together to have a relaxed feel, I’ve found that serving dishes in larger plates and bowls and asking guests to help themselves can work well. For more intimate meals, lighting some candles is the perfect way to create a bit of atmosphere.
Keep starters light
When it comes to starters, you should always aim to keep them light. A selection of hummus dips with crackers and vegetable sticks can work well, especially when guests are serving themselves. For a more formal affair, soups and salads are classic stress-free starters. Take salads to the next level with vegan cheese and dressings or be experimental and add some pomegranate seeds or pecan nuts. Remember, vegan food doesn’t have to be boring. It’s all about the extra touches that can really add a burst of flavour.
Impress with your main
Your main is the perfect opportunity to really impress guests with your cooking skills. You can get some great meat alternatives out there which taste amazing and are sure to satisfy both vegan and non-vegan guests. You could make tacos, burgers, a curry or a pie with jackfruit. Or, use nuts and lentils to make a vegan meatloaf, and serve with a vegan gravy and vegetable sides.
Finish on a high note
No dinner party is complete without dessert, and this course can easily be prepared ahead of time, so all you need to do is pull it out of the fridge or freezer and serve. You could stick to a classic vegan cake recipe or impress with a dairy-free cheesecake or ice cream. If your guests would prefer something more savoury, a selection of vegan cheeses from Wild Oats can work well accompanied by some grapes, figs, chutneys and pickles. Pair with a delicious vegan wine and you’re sure to impress.
Hosting a dinner party is the perfect excuse to get everyone together and enjoy some good food. With these simple tips, you can relax and enjoy the night no matter if you’re inside or outside of the kitchen.