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Top tips to veganise a dinner party

Got vegans coming for dinner and panicking about what to serve up? Here's some top tips so you can impress your guests with a scrumptious, vegan-friendly menu!

Hosting a dinner party when you have vegan pals can be challenging, especially when you rely on meat to be the centre piece. Well, look no further as Muddy has enlisted the help of Louise Palmer-Masterton, the founder of multiple award-winning restaurant Stem + Glory; a hip and trendy but accessible plant-based restaurant, serving delicious gourmet vegan food from locally sourced ingredient 100% made on site.

Louise is a long-term vegan so she really knows her stuff when it comes to delicious vegan meals, and with her help you can be a pro in no time!

The number of vegans has risen dramatically over the last two years, from 1% of the population to 7%, according to a survey published earlier this year.

But what do you do if your friend who is coming for dinner is a vegan?

Don’t panic! Here are a few tips to help you not only get it right, but to totally impress your guest:

1. Start with your perfect menu and then make it vegan! Might not work if you were planning steak and chips, but say you were planning Indian, Italian, Asian or middle eastern – pretty much any style of cuisine works actually. Compile your signature dishes and then google a vegan version. You can literally put in your ingredients, then add ‘vegan’ and ‘recipe’ and you’ll find something.

2. Nature has given us a fifth taste – umami – which in a nutshell is ‘deliciousness’ and often it is the umami in food that makes it ‘mouth-watering’. For example, Italian food is generally rich in umami and a great choice to veganise. Tomato paste is very high umami as are olives, olive oil and sun dried tomatoes. Japanese food is also rich in umami and easy to veganise.

3. If you are not such a keen cook, get down to the health food shop and stock up. You can get vegan alternatives to almost anything now. For example, vegan mayonnaise is easy to make, but there are a number of off-the-shelf versions that are really tasty. There is even vegan cheese, plenty of plant-based milks and creams too (e.g. soya, coconut-based, oat, rice, almond, cashew…) so dessert is easy to veganise too.

4. Start reading packets. As a non-vegan you probably don’t know what non-vegan products are sneaked into your everyday cupboard staples. Even now with veganism on the rise, packets are usually labelled ‘vegetarian’ but not necessarily ‘vegan’. It has been helped by recent changes to the law that allergens have to be written in bold, so it’s quite easy to scan ingredients lists for eggs and dairy which are the main culprits.

5. Search out vegan wine/beer. Co-op is best for vegan wine labelling and there is a really good website Barnivore which lists all vegan wine, beer and spirits you can buy in the supermarkets. Your dinner guest will really appreciate that you have done this research.

6. Finally, to really spoil your favourite vegan, you can now buy vegan Baileys! Called Baileys Almande it is made with Almond milk and is delicious. Serve with a couple of vegan chocolates and your vegan dinner guest will be purring.

Cooking vegan a lot easier than you think. It’s also cleaner, healthier and a more sustainable way to live. Rise to the challenge of vegansing your menu. Remember to liberally add high umami vegan flavours and you’ll be on track to produce a delicious and satisfying meal, and your guest will leave super impressed.


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