How to Host a Vegan Dinner for Meat-Lovers

How to Host a Vegan Dinner for Meat-Lovers

Laurie head shotPosted by Laurie Fanelli, guest blogger

The American Heart Association recommends we eat 4.5 servings of fruit and vegetables every day, so why not help your family and friends reach this goal by hosting a heart-healthy vegan dinner once in a while?

Although many people welcome the opportunity to try a new cuisine, there are always a few meat-lovers who feel as if they’re missing out on a main course when presented with a plant-based menu. First, here are a couple of things you can do to ensure everyone has a great time at this light get-together:

  • Don’t sell vegan food as the same as meat. Because veggie burgers and beef burgers don’t taste alike (and why should they?), focus your spread on the contents of its nutritional value. Plus, a meat-loving guest may be uncomfortable if you try to put them on the spot for a rave review of a meat-free meal…
  • Ask your guests if they have any dietary restrictions. As a vegetarian, I always appreciate when a host asks about these in advance. One of your guests may even have Celiac disease or a food allergy, so it’s best to know which ingredients to avoid before the night of your dinner.Vegan Recipes

Along with being a great way to incorporate healthy ingredients into your diet, a vegan lifestyle is also beneficial to the environment. According to Meat Free Monday—created by Stella, Mary, and Paul McCartney—skipping meat one day a week helps to alleviate global greenhouse gas emissions, reduce world hunger, and prevent the mistreatment of animals in factory farms. No matter what’s on the table, here are three easy, vegan dinner ideas for meat-lovers, vegetarians, and people who eat everything:

Baked Eggplant with Marinara Sauce

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 eggplant
  • 4 cups marinara sauce
  • 2 cups breadcrumbs
  • 2 cups water
  • 8 oz vegan mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Baked EggplantStart by preheating the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (you’ll use this time to finish the following tasks). Slice the eggplant into 1/4-inch slices, then fill one bowl with water and another with breadcrumbs. Dip your eggplant into the water and then into the breadcrumbs, making sure each slice is completely covered. Place the covered eggplant slices on a cookie sheet that has been coated with one tablespoon of olive oil. You may need two cookie sheets to hold all the eggplant slices. Place your eggplant slices into the preheated oven, and cook for 15 minutes on each side.

Drizzle one tablespoon of olive oil along the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish, and coat this layer with marinara sauce. Place the eggplant slices into the dish, followed by a layer of marinara sauce (completely covering the eggplant). Repeat.

Cover the baking dish with foil and place it in the oven, which should still be at 400 degrees. Cook for 40 minutes or until the sauce starts to bubble at the sides of the dish. Remove the foil, top with slices of vegan mozzarella, and place the dish back into the oven. Cook for an additional 10 minutes. Top your eggplant marinara with fresh basil and serve.

Grilled Portobello Mushroom Burgers

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 8 portobello mushrooms (or however many you need to accommodate your guests)
  • 4 red peppers, roasted
  • 8 vegan kaiser rolls (check the label for egg content)
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1 cup balsamic vinaigrette
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Coat each side of the portobello mushrooms with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Grill each side of the mushrooms for five minutes, while gently toasting the kaiser rolls as well. Assemble the burgers and top with roasted red peppers, arugula, and vinaigrette.

Classic Bean Tacos with Cilantro and Avocado

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 cans refried beans (check the labels to make sure they aren’t made with lard)
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 package corn tortillas

Bean TacosHeat up your beans in a sauce pan, and only toast the tortillas right before serving. Let your guests assemble their own tacos so they can customize each one to their specific tastes. Of course, don’t count out some fresh dip at this vegan fiesta!

Do you have any go-to meatless recipes that satisfy meat-lovers? Share your ideas with a comment or a #GoodMatters tweet.

Image sources: Wikimedia Commons | Laurie Fanelli

This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.