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Menu Planning: How to Host a Party with Vegetarian Guests

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March 01, 2014 · 805 Views

Hosting a dinner party requires you to be considerate of other’s dietary restrictions. Not everyone may be able to eat your grandmother’s five-meat and six-cheese lasagna. If you have vegetarian guests, there are several ways that you can tweak your menu to ensure that everyone leaves the event happy and well-fed.

Educate Yourself

Learn the differences between the types of vegetarians. Some vegetarians will still eat eggs or dairy products, but vegans eschew all products made from or with animals. This includes white sugar for many. Ask your vegetarian guests what type of vegetarians they are to help you plan your menu. If you are unsure, plan to make some vegan dishes that do not use any animal products so all your vegetarian guests will be happy.

Host a Potluck

Take some of the effort of serving a meal for many off yourself by hosting a potluck dinner. Your vegetarian guests can bring the type of dish they will be able to eat, and your other guests will have the chance to try one of the favorite recipes of your vegetarian guests.

Serve a Build-It-Yourself Buffet

A standard sit-down affair makes it more difficult for each guest to customize his or her food. Consider a taco or baked potato bar where guests can fill their taco or potato with their own choice of toppings. If serving tacos, have a vegetarian ground beef alternative available. You can find these in grocer’s freezer cases or make your own. Other options include serving make-your-own sandwiches or top-your-own pasta or nachos. Look for vegan-cheeses and sauces at health food stores.

Serve a Vegetarian Main Dish

To satisfy everyone’s tastes, prepare a popular vegetarian main dish. If your guests eat dairy products, consider a comforting macaroni and cheese. Spaghetti with tomato-based marinara sauce is one option, and you can have cooked meatballs served on the side for your meat-eating guests. Lasagna is another vegetarian alternative. You can prepare a cheese-lasagna for vegetarians or look for vegan recipes that require no dairy products or eggs.

Prepare Hearty Sides

Some occasions, like Thanksgiving, are based around a meaty main dish. If this is the case, serve up hearty vegan sides like stuffing made with vegetarian gravy and without eggs, or a filling vegetable-based casserole. By offering these hearty sides, your vegetarian guests won’t go hungry even if you choose to serve meat for your main course.

Make your next dinner party a success, whether you have vegetarians, meat-eaters or both!

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Crystal Hessong is a lifelong lover of learning everything about everything. She has written about cooking news and advice through Examiner.com and has taught classes that combine science with cooking. Crystal has also written extensively about plants and gardening.

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