Veganism isn’t just a diet but is a lifestyle choice that prohibits the use of animal products of any kind (food, clothing, products test on animals). If you’re a meat (or cheese) lover, having the vegans over for supper can be a scary proposition.
Depending on the person, vegans can be relatively relaxed about other people’s eating habits while maintaining their own personal choices. I have a friend who is vegan is delighted when we include vegan choices for supper. She’s known for traveling with her own snacks just in case, and is happy to graze the kitchen, piecing together her own meal. But if you’re inviting someone for dinner it’s only polite to make sure you can offer foods they will actually eat.
There are lots of ingredient substitutions that help to make regular recipes into vegan friendly dishes. For example, 1 egg can be substituted with Ener-G Egg Replacer, or 1 banana (cake recipes), or 2 Tbsp corn starch (these and others via Vegan Action).
Below is a recipe for vegan chili (adapted from The New Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen). It can be served with hearty bread or baked potatoes.
If your animal-loving friend is comfortable with other’s food choices then grated cheese or burgers can be served on the side (just make sure the vegan & non-vegan dishes are kept separate from start to finish). If you have lots of people to please at your table then this compromise may be necessary. Pasta dishes can also easily be made vegan (and give you the option of serving meatballs on the side).
But planning a full vegan meal can be easy. This chili is hearty enough you won’t even miss the beef. The Vegan Chef also has tons of delicious recipes you can try and combine to make a completely vegan meal.
Vegan Chili (adapted from The New Moosewood Cookbook)
Preparation Time: 1 ¾ hours. Serves 6
3 or 4 19 oz. cans of kidney beans (drained and washed)
1 cup tomato juice
1 cup uncooked bulgur wheat
2 tbs. Olive Oil
2 cups chopped onion
6 to 8 large cloves garlic, minced
1 medium carrot, diced
1 medium stalk of celery, diced
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp basil
2 tsp. chili powder (or more to taste)
1.5 tsp. salt
Black pepper and cayenne, to taste
1 medium bell pepper, chopped,
1 – 14 oz. can tomatoes
3 tbs. Tomato paste
Finely minced parsley (optional)
In a large pot heat olive oil, add onion, half the garlic, carrot, celery, and seasonings. Sauté over medium heat about five minutes, add bell pepper, and sauté until all the vegetables are tender.
Add tomato juice and bulgur wheat and drained kidney beans to pot. Simmer over lowest possible heat, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 30 minutes or longer. After about 15 minutes, add remaining garlic.
Taste to adjust seasonings, and serve hot.