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Treat Your Friends to a Vegan Dinner Party!

I recently told my new neighbor that I’m vegan and that I haven’t eaten meat, eggs, or dairy products in nearly 18 years. “Wow,” he said. “You must really like salad!” I suppressed a groan, smiled, and explained that while a fresh salad is nice on occasion, I eat much more than that, including beefless tips with sautéed asparagus and red onion, macaroni and “cheese”, Tofurky Italian sausages with diced peppers and onion, Pad Thai, and vegetarian chicken fajitas.

He seemed a bit skeptical, even after I rattled off a list of the popular vegan products that are available at the nearby grocery store, so I decided to throw a vegan dinner party to show him—and a few of my other nonvegan friends—just how delicious, and easy to find and make, vegan food really is. The best way to anyone’s heart is through their stomach, after all. My idea worked too. My guests devoured the food and agreed that there was no reason to eat animals with all the tasty vegan food available. The chocolate tofu pie was a huge hit, and my neighbor even asked for the recipe for the spinach and artichoke dip (below).

 

My rave-worthy spinach and artichoke dip!
Treat Your Friends to a Vegan Dinner Party!

 

I promise, I’m not telling you this just to impress you with my culinary skills or my party-hosting prowess. Hosting a vegan dinner party is a good way to convince your (unenlightened) friends and neighbors that they won’t miss a thing if they go vegan. I never even tried foods like falafel and curried garbanzo beans when I ate meat and cheese, so going vegan has opened up whole new worlds for me.

If you, too, plan to host a vegan dinner party, I have a few tips:

• Serve a couple of “fancy” homemade vegan entrees as well as some easy-to-prepare items that are available in most area grocery stores. Not everyone likes to cook, and you want to show people that they don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen every night to make a tasty vegan meal!

• If you’re not a chef yourself, choose easy dishes that you’ve successfully prepared before. (You can experiment when company is not coming to dinner!). • Have copies of the recipes by each dish so that your guests can make them, too, and be sure to casually mention a couple of upbeat things about being vegan—like how each vegan saves more than 100 animals every year—rather than gory slaughterhouse stories (ruining your guests’ appetites is never a good idea!). • If you prefer a more outdoors-y gathering, fire up the grill and serve summertime favorites like vegan potato salad and BBQ tofu salad. Enjoy!

As promised, here’s a rave-worthy recipe for vegan spinach and artichoke dip:  

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

1 12-oz. jar marinated artichoke hearts (drained, not rinsed)

5 oz. frozen spinach (defrosted, and the excess water squeezed out)

1-2 cloves garlic

1 cup Vegenaise

½ cup nutritional yeast

• Preheat oven to 350°F.

• Chop up the artichoke hearts and garlic. Mix all ingredients in an oven-safe bowl.

• Bake in the oven until bubbly and brown—usually about 20 minutes. Makes 8 servings.

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  • YourFace says:

    @Kaja

    Oz. and cups are types of measurements used in the Untied Stales.

  • Living // Daiya Cheese Contest Winners // PETA says:

    […] experiences with us and are featured below. Take notes if you’re considering hosting your own vegan dinner party for your […]

  • Kajsa says:

    Your recipes look delicious! But unfortunately I don’t think I’ll be cooking any of them. I live in Sweden and oz is not a measurement I want to adjust my cooking to. It only seems to overly complicate things. What is an oz? and 1/12 of an oz, isn’t that a very strange number? And cups for that matter. the last time I looked in my cupboard, Cups came in very different sizes.

    No, I think I’ll have to stick to my usual recipes. They may be a bit boring but hey! I understand them :P GL with your future cooking though!

  • Carla says:

    Thanks very much for this post! I’m a relatively new vegan, and I’d like to throw a dinner party for my friends, who are all very curious about what I’m eating these days. This is really helpful!

    Vanessa, I hope you’ll take the plunge and go vegan! I was scared at first too because I live in a household of omnivores, but once I got going it wasn’t that hard! Even eating out isn’t as tricky as I thought it would be. Good luck!

  • Toni says:

    My first introduction to vegan food. I remember about 23yrs ago, My then husband was TOTALLY a meat eater hardly every eating vegies.. which was a pain to cook for as i LOVED my veg. We were invited to a friends place for dinner she was totally vegan and her husband still ate meat, so my then husband agreed to go. However she cook us some vegan dishes mix with vegies including beefless dishes and a vegan chicken dish.. topped off with many baked vegies. my then husband had no idea he wasn’t eating meat said it was the best he had.. blah blah then we told him there was not one piece of meat about the ENTIRE meal! He was amazed! to be honest EVEN I couldn’t tell that it wasn’t meat. I only knew it wasn’t meat because my friend had told me.. thanks to the wonderful world of the internet I’m able to cook more and more vegetarian meals. I’m still yet to change completely. but it is not far away. :-)

  • Shawnette says:

    Great article! I make beefless tip kabobs that taste better than any steak I had ever eaten…even my non-vegan husband agrees! My battle is that some family/friends are afraid to try non-meat products, as if they really know what’s in their meat products?!

  • cheese recipe says:

    Oh god finally got an good idea to face my hard time ! I will use this idea as the base for my cooking.

  • Krista says:

    I’ve been a vegetarian for 19 years, and most recently became a vegan a year and a half ago. I laughed out loud when reading your story! EVERYONE out there thinks I LIVE ON SALAD! LOL! You’ve inspired me to throw a lovely little cocktail party, and veganize it up! Now everyone will see there’s more to me than just salad! Thanks for the great idea!

  • Mary Proulx says:

    Vanessa, don’t be scared…it takes work at first, but soon one finds oneself learning recipes and menus that one makes all of the time. I am vegan, two of my four daughters are vegetarian, the third daughter and my husband are carnivores (and allergic to gluten), and my youngest is just a baby who requires babyfood…it takes a lot of planning, but it is worth it! I feel so, so much better since I have become a vegan. My 14 year old and I cook together and it is a great bonding experience. Maybe if you and your husband cook together, the task will be fun and adventurous instead of daunting! As for restaurants, most of them these days are very accomodating to dietary needs. The sign of a great restaurant is being able to create a dish that is a delight to you.

  • mariyah says:

    Wow I am amazed I have been trying to get my friends to go vegan but they just can’t buy once I make this dinner they might change there mind!

  • Jeremie Blanchard Roach says:

    We love to eat at Lovin Spoonfuls in Tucson! It’s worth driving an hour to get there.
    I tried inviting my neighbor (a doctor) to our house for a vegan dinner. His reply was,” I’ll bring my own meat”. I was so shocked at his rudeness that I hardly knew what to say. Needless to say, we haven’t had him over for dinner. And I am grateful he is not MY doctor!
    I am a nearly lifelong vegan, but my husband ate meat, until he ended up in the cardiac intensive care and then surgery. He has eaten vegan since then, going on 6 years. I’m so proud of him for changing his diet.He’s in perfect health now.

  • Maggie says:

    Wonderful! Thank you! I’m having a hard time with a lot of people. This is an excellent idea! Thanks so much! I’m only at 2 and a 1/2 months of Veganism right now, but I love it so far.

  • Vanessa Delgado says:

    I wish you had given us the whole menu for that evening, since it was such a huge success. I am a vegetarian, but very nervous about becoming a vegan. It will be difficult, having a husband who still eats meat, but not impossible. We go out to eat quite a bit, and that makes it very difficult, too. We are very fortunate to have one of the world’s best vegan restaurants in town, though…Lovin’ Spoonfuls (Tucson, AZ)! I’m just starting to venture into there. Why am I so scared?????

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