Who said that vegan catering had to be bland and boring? With Australian macadamias it’s anything but dull!
This year, perhaps more than any other, deserves a special celebration to mark its conclusion. You may only be having only a small gathering, but with a growing number of people switching to plant-based foods, it’s a good idea to have some vegan options on your menu. But catering for vegans doesn’t require cordoning off a section of the servery area just for them. In fact, there are plenty of vegan party foods that are delicious for everyone, carnivores included!
Whether you are catering for plant-based enthusiasts or friends and family with other dietary restrictions there are some strategies that work better than others when feeding a crowd. “Make your own” menus, where guests all have the same type of dish (like a taco or a pizza) but have the freedom to pick and choose the ingredients that go into the meal are particularly good.
An at-home taqueria: Set out all the ingredients and allow guests to assemble the tacos as they choose. Include hard and soft taco shells (make sure some are gluten free if you have guests that need to avoid gluten) as well as some corn chips - in case people want more of a taco bowl. Then offer several substantial fillings. A vegan, bean-based filling is hearty and a sure-fire hit with everyone. You can include it next to our smoky paprika and macadamia chilli chicken taco filling for those who like a little meat. Have a selection of separate vegetables like shredded lettuce, diced tomato, grated carrot and sliced cucumbers so that people can choose what they prefer. Provide a grated vegan cheese, alongside the regular version, and don’t forget to include a vegan sour cream to go with the guacamole!
Make your own pizza: This is a great option for entertaining vegans, just make sure you have a vegan cheese on hand! Many traditional pizza toppings (think tomatoes, olives, mushrooms, capsicum, eggplants, onions) are suitable for people with plant-based preferences. Simply make sure you have plenty of these to go around when you lay out your selection of ingredients for guests to choose from. If making pesto for the occasion, make sure that you leave out the parmesan so that everyone can enjoy it. Our delicious macadamia pizza base is also a great way to add some pizzazz to the pizza.
Grazing tables and platters: Another good choice when hosting vegan friends. Simply make sure that you include a range of vegan options (dips, ‘cheese’, vegetables and bread) on your board. And of course, some macadamias.
Chips and dips have become an important part of Australian entertaining. There are many delicious vegan dips that everyone, no matter their dietary preference, will enjoy. Virtually no one says no to our macadamia hummus. Macadamia ‘veganaise’ is a delicious savoury dip to go with crudite or crackers and our brightly coloured roasted beetroot and macadamia spread adds a pop of colour to the party!
Canapes can also add an air of elegance to your soiree. These Christmas canapes use a macadamia cheese as a base and can be topped with a variety of toppings. Although they are suitably scrumptious for everyone, vegan party-goers will love the fig and balsamic and basil and tomato variations.
Don’t forget that a bowl of salted, mixed nuts is a great party snack… that just happens to also be vegan! Of course, the macadamias with their creamy, buttery crunch are always the first ones to disappear from the mix, so you might want to add extra macadamias to the bowl!
Some people find it difficult to think of vegan idea to replace meat at a traditional Aussie barbeque. With sausages and steaks out of the question for your vegan guests, you could stock up on manufactured meat-alternatives or you could get creative with what you throw on the bbq plate. Large flat mushrooms and vegetable skewers cook really well over the grill. And did you know that macadamias can also be cooked on the bbq?
When you need to cater for a plant-based diet while entertaining, it’s a great idea to forgo the green leaf salad and have a table full of substantial ‘meaty’ salads that are suitable for vegans. Salads with lentils and pulses are a nutritious and hearty alternative for vegans and our layered salad with ginger soy macadamias is a winner with everyone. If you prefer to make Beetroot and Macadamia Salad, Macadamia Brown Rice Salad or our delicious Macadamia Freekah Salad, make sure you are swapping out the dairy products for vegan alternatives (non-vegans won’t know the difference!)
Vegan desserts can be absolute showstoppers and so delicious that there is no need to bother with non-vegan alternatives! Lemon and blueberry macadamia 'cheesecake' is guaranteed to please (just use a vegan-friendly gelatine substitute) as are our mini vegan chocolate macadamia cheesecakes. Serve them both with this special strawberry ice cream for the full extravaganza!
You could also wow guests with our lemon macadamia tart with lemon coconut filling - simply use agave or maple syrup instead of honey to sweeten!
What are your favourite vegan party food ideas?