View Full Version : Making vegan food for non-vegans

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Jul 22nd, 2005, 07:43 PM
Okay so it's my first time going back to my hometown since I became vegan and it happens to be on my parents' anniversary.

So I want to cook them something that shows how tasty veganism can be, and is also anniversary-appropriate - any suggestions?

Nothing ridiculously complicated but I do have a couple weeks to practice...

Thank you!!

Jul 22nd, 2005, 09:19 PM
Maybe you'll find something here:

Aug 3rd, 2005, 08:07 AM
Okay, so, this weekend my grandmother's side of the family is having a little reunion type thing. We all got a letter from my aunt, who's hosting it, about the activites and everything that will be happening. We're only going to be attending Saturday, and that day it's just supposed to be a potluck type thing at her cabin on a lake. The main food is provided (all types of dead animal, of course) but people are supposed to bring other stuff. A lot of my family doesn't know about my vegetarianism, let alone my veganism, so I'm sure I'll end up having to defend myself and my morals to distant relatives I barely know, and haven't seen for years. I'd love to be like "well, try this" when they ask the usual annoying questions about what I actually can eat and whatnot, and I'd like to be able to impress the non-believers and everything, and well, obviously also have something to eat throughout the day, so pretty much, the point of this longer than intended thread is what do you suggest would be some good stuff for me to take? Stuff that most people could easily enjoy, rather easy to make and easy to haul there and everything. Thanks! :)

Aug 3rd, 2005, 08:28 AM
I like to make curried mushroom & coriander couscous, or curried chickpea, eggplant & zucchini couscous. They are always a big hit:

Curried Mushroom & Coriander Couscous: When making couscous, add 1 tsp hot curry powder (per two cups dry couscous), and sea salt to taste. Meanwhile, fry mushrooms (as many as you like) in a little olive oil, and add to the couscous. Add lots of chopped coriander and mix well!

Curried Chickpea, Eggplant & Zucchini Couscous: When making couscous, add 1 tsp hot curry powder (per two cups dry couscous), and sea salt to taste. Meanwhile, steam the zucchini and eggplant until cooked, but not falling apart. Add a can of chickpeas, and the zucchini and eggplant to the couscous.

Bring some pita bread, and some green meditteranean type salad with olives and stuff as well.

Oh, and another good one is Lebanese Bulgur and Lentils:

- 1 cup Bulgur Wheat (course)
- 1 cup dry brown/green lentils
- 4 cups water
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp hot cayenne
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- sea salt to taste
- olive oil to taste

Boil the lentils until they are tender. Once they are cooked, add the bulgur wheat, the spices and the garlic. Stir well, cook for 5 minutes and then turn the heat off and cover with a lid and let sit for 10 - 20 minutes, until the bulgur has absorbed all the water. Drizzle with olive oil.

Again pita goes nice with this, as do chopped cucumber & tomato salad

Aug 3rd, 2005, 09:00 AM
finger foods like vegan saussage rolls? felaffels?
Vegetable sticks and little bits of pita bread (paste with olive oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds and bake in oven..) to dip into hummus, guacamole?
sometimes if i make a really thick dahl i cool it and use it as a dip aswell. it goes down a treat!

Banana suggested some great bulghar recipes..another one is tabboleh..its really quick and if you leave it in the fridge overnight it tastes better.

why dont you amaze them all with a vegan chocolate cake or similar yummy desert!

good luck, let us know how it all goes!!

Aug 3rd, 2005, 05:41 PM
These brownies are delicious, I got them from a great cookbook, Your fam will not be able to tell they're vegan :)

Death By Chocolate Brownies:

1 1/3 cups granulated sweetener
cup applesauce
2 tablespoons of water
2 teaspoons flax powder
cup water
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/3 cups unbleached white flour
cup cocoa
teaspoon baking powder
teaspoon salt
1-cup vegan chocolate chips
- Oven at 350 (8x8 square dish sprayed w/ cooking spray)

- Stir together granulated sweetener applesauce and 2 tablespoons water in med. Bowl.

- In small cup mix flax powder and cup water—add to applesauce mixture and stir to combine (add vanilla)

In another small combine flour cocoa, baking powder and salt, then add applesauce mixture to flour mixture. Stir to just combine then add chips.
Pour into prepared pan
Bake for 40 mins for chewy, 45-47 for cake like brownies

Brownie topping:

1 cup powdered sugar
cup canola oil
teaspoon vanilla
1/6 cup cocoa
3 tablespoons arrowroot
cup water

While brownies are baking place powdered sugar, canola oil, vanilla, cocoa and arrowroot in small saucepan.
Stir to combine w/ wire wisk
Stir in water
Keep on heat till thickens but do not boil (if boils arrowroot is destroyed)
Pour hot topping over brownies and let cool completely before serving. So yummy! :p

Apr 27th, 2006, 12:34 PM
I've been talking to my boyfriend (who refered to vegans as "stupid people who think they're better than everyone else" the other day :mad: ) about how cruelly animals are treated in the food industries, and trying to show him that we don't need meat and dairy to survive. At first he was very skeptical about it ("I knew you'd start lecturing me sometime" - i thought i was very restrained seeing as we have been going out for two years now! But i love him, and try to respect his views even if i don't like them), he's been brought up in a meat eating family and he only really eats meat and dairy and startchy products.

However! After a while he admitted that he wouldn't mind being a vegetarian if he didn't like meat so much, or that he doesn't like any "vege" food. So i'm figuring one step at a time here...I've given him linda macartney sausages, as although i don't think i've ever eaten them, a lot of people have said they're close to meat, but he wasn't too fond of them. He brought himself some vegetable burger (it might have been birds eye) but he said it was too soggy and some Quorn burgers which he said were just plain awful (i don't blame him there!)...If he eats a stir fry now he will leave out the chicken which is lovely and bless him at least he's trying to please me buy making an effort! He's also said that if he does buy meat he will only buy it from a farmers market as the animals might have had a better life :rolleyes: but still, it's a start.

Anyway! After all this rambling...(congrats if you've read this far!) i need some recipe ideas for things that i can make for us both to eat (i'm fed up of one meal for him one for me etc and having meat in my fridge, yuck). I'm not going to cook anything with dairy in either, if he wants cheese on somthing he can grate it on himself!

The problem is that he won't eat a lot of vege's/other foods, so i need recipes that will convince him it's ok not to eat meat, but don't include anything that he *really* won't eat which is...

*Peppers, any colour
*Tomato (in any form! Or cunningly disguised in anything!)
*All beans and pulses, apprently although i don't think he's tried most of them (makes it quite hard...)
*Anything majorly spicey
*Soya Milk/Cheese (although he doesn't mind the ice cream, healthy healthy! hehe)
*Spring Onions
*Beansprouts/bamboo/water chesnuts

I've been trying to think of something, but all i can come up with is stir fry, but he won't eat that! He can't even eat my lovely spag bol hehe. Anyway, any help would be greatly appreciated, i'm looking forward to showing him that vegan food is a lot nicer than omni food :D

Apr 27th, 2006, 02:30 PM
I suggest getting a very good vegan cookbook. I'm not sure which ones available in your area are considered very good however. I went through this with my family when I first went vegan. It took some time to change their tastes - and they do need to change in order to appreciate the taste of foods devoid of animal products.

I started off slowly and made some favorite foods such as sweets and pasta dishes. If you learn how to make seitan it's a great bridge for meateaters, especially with rich sauces.

My husband now eats things he used to swear he didn't like. As he says, "so long as it tastes good I'll eat it." Unfortunately, I think that us vegans are held up to intense scrutiny concerning our culinary skills when omnivores find out what they are eating is vegan. Expanding your culinary skills is therefore important when it comes to converting omnis (or just having a peaceful meal with them.) And admitting when a dish doesn't turn out right is also important. I know we all have different preferences with food so figure you'll eventually make something he likes - and then you can make it often. It will be a bit hit-or-miss for awhile.

I hope someone from the UK can suggest a good cookbook or website for recipes.

Good luck.:)

Apr 27th, 2006, 02:36 PM
Try buying 'La Dolce Vegan' by Sarah Kramer off Amazon, it's the best vegan cookbook I ever bought. All the recipes are fast, easy and cheap and really yummy.

Apr 27th, 2006, 04:25 PM
I've been looking at getting that book but i have never been sure if it was any good - i've got the Garden of Vegan that she did with the other woman (whom i can't remember the name of...) and i found that i haven't really used any recipies from it, i tend to use my vegan cooking for one book, but i shall definatly look into it now.

And thanks for your advice Diane! I'm aware that it will be slow progress and that maybe he won't even get there at all! But i'm sincerly hoping so.

Apr 27th, 2006, 08:06 PM
Blimey - that's a pretty extensive list of things he won't eat.

I'm sure you're aware of all the excellent Indian veggie restaurants around Leicester, and not all of the stuff they do is spicy (or if it is normally they all seem happy to make stuff with less spice when you order - I have a spicyphobic friend :) )

I would particularly recommend Indigo on the Melton Road. We went there recently and the crispy mushrooms in batter were gorgeous and not spicy at all!

I also have quite a few recipe books which I wouldn't mind lending you - send me a pm if you're interested :)

Apr 27th, 2006, 08:25 PM
My omni hubby just made a lovely veggie mince & onion, soy can be a bit sickening for me so he used dyhidrated soy, soaked it in some gravy, fried the onions, added the mince & gravy and cooked it slowly for a while, served it up with tinned peas and new potatoes... really tasty and even hubby enjoyed it.

Apr 27th, 2006, 08:39 PM
Try replacing chicken in recipes with Releat chicken style pieces. They smell so much like meat they make me feel sick. They taste like chicken too.

Apr 27th, 2006, 08:41 PM
I find them a bit too jelly like maisie.

Apr 28th, 2006, 03:52 PM
I shall definatly get him some of those chicken pieces to try Maise, if i added them to stir fry it'd be no biggy if he didn't like them - he could just pick them out and get on with it! (what a loving gf i am :rolleyes: :D )

Twinkle - Thanks so much for the suggestions, i don't think he's ever tried a curry as he's afraid it'll be too spicy, i shall have to persaude him to come with me to an indian restaurant soon! And those battered mushrooms sound to die for - battered mushrooms, onion, babycorn, anything really - i'm a big fan! :D And thank you a lot for the offer of lending me some books, it's so lovely of you - i'd really appreciate it!

Feral, that's a very good idea for a recipe, i haven't tried soymince on him...yet! Thanks!

Apr 28th, 2006, 03:55 PM
Don't feed him fake meats. If he's like any "vegan hating" omnivore, he'll spend the whole time eating it, going, "Hmmm, kinda chewier than real meat", "The taste is a little off", "The color is a little weird", "It doesn't smell like the real stuff, hmmmm"....etc, etc. :rolleyes:

Apr 28th, 2006, 04:01 PM
True! He did do that with the Quorn burgers actually, but i managed to explain that they aren't supposed to mimic meat entierly, just provide a decent substitute for people. Hopefully he will come to like them for what they are, not what they're replacing! :)

Apr 28th, 2006, 04:04 PM
I hope so too but try to get him interested in other foods too, not just fake meats.

Apr 28th, 2006, 05:59 PM
True! He did do that with the Quorn burgers actually, but i managed to explain that they aren't supposed to mimic meat entierly, just provide a decent substitute for people. Hopefully he will come to like them for what they are, not what they're replacing! :)

The Quorn stuff here at Whole foods lists egg whites as the first or second ingredient. My bf loved them before but now we don't buy them.

Have you searched other recipe and meal idea threads on the forum? Here are a few:


Apr 28th, 2006, 06:10 PM
This sometimes goes down well with omnivores - if I remember correctly it's from the original Cranks recipe book but I've pinched it off another web site to save typing. It does contain tomatoes but I think you could just leave them out, or use an alternative veg like courgettes with maybe a drop of wine or stock to make it moist. I don't think there's anything else on the proscribed list! Mushrooms and nuts are OK are they?

Crispy mushroom layer

Wholemeal breadcrumbs 8oz
Mixed milled nuts 4oz
Margarine 4oz
Large onion 1
Mushrooms 8oz
Tomatoes 8oz
Salt and pepper to taste
Marjoram 1tsp

Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Combine the breadcrumbs and nuts. Melt 3oz margarine and fry the bread and nut mixture together until golden. Chop the onion, mushrooms and tomatoes, then melt the remaining margarine and saute the onion till transparent. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer gently for 5 minutes. In a lightly greased ovenproof dish layer up the breadcrumbs and vegetables, starting and finish with a layer of the bread/nut mix. Bake for 1/2 hour.

- apologies for butter refs, now removed. Actually I use oil rather than margarine and it seems to work OK.

Jane M
Apr 28th, 2006, 06:24 PM
Try looking around Bryanna Clark Grogan's site also.


I've had omni's argue with me over the seiten I was serving saying it was meat. So you might want to explore seiten as an option.

Apr 28th, 2006, 06:36 PM
Seitan is amazing!! Sauce is important though as it can taste a little strong sometimes. My (usually very un-impressed by much) parents were in awe of seitans resemblence to meat. A restaurant in L.A. called Truly A Vegan Restaurant slices off a think chunk, grills it up and puts it on a toasted roll with a sauce made of veganaise, minced garlic, and cilantro. Its making me drool just thinking about it.

I'm going to try that crispy mushroom recipe Harpy! just as soon as I get off my anti-cooking phase. It sounds delicious! Maybe I can get my bf to cook some up tonight? He loooves mushrooms too.

Apr 28th, 2006, 06:45 PM
If you can't find seitan in the store you can make it at home. Its a long messy process, but interesting none-the-less. I got this recipe from the Vegeterian Times Complete Cookbook.

Homemade Seitan (Say-Tan)

Pour 7 1/2 c whole wheat flour into a large bowl.
Slowly stir in 6 c water.
Keep stirring until the mixture forms a ball.
Knead for 10 minutes to develop the gluten in the wheat.
Remove the ball from the bowl and hold it under cold running water while stretching the dough repeatedly until the starch and bran wash away, about 10 minutes but you'll be able to tell when you're done.
Form the dough into a loaf, place it on cheesecloth and tie the ends.
Set it in a pot of boiling vege stock or whatever flavor you choose and simmer 1 hr adding liquid to the pot as needed.
Remove the loaf and allow it to cool.
Slice or cube it as needed.

Jane M
Apr 28th, 2006, 06:54 PM
I've heard good things about the instant seitan available now. Though to be honest I have never tried it. I'm still doing the homemade stuff or buying it premade. It makes a really good bbq too!

That crispy mushroom dish looks really good. Sorry I didn't look at that before! Wonder how it would work with portabellas?

Apr 28th, 2006, 06:56 PM
Instant seitan?? I've never heard of such a thing. I'm definately going to check for that!