A Non-Vegan’s Guide to Creating a Vegan Dinner Party Menu

Making food that vegan and non-vegans alike can enjoy is not the challenge you think it is. Take it from me, a non-vegan.

Rebecca Eisenberg
Published in
8 min readFeb 24, 2020

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Photo: Andrik Langfield/Unsplash

A common lament in many of the various food and cooking groups on Facebook is a plea from someone who is hosting a dinner party and has just found out one of their guests is vegan and please, oh god, won’t someone help them find a good vegan recipe they can make???

Often, the recommendations that come in from cooks more experienced with vegan cuisine involve aquafaba, tofu, or other ingredients that can be unfamiliar and intimidating to non-vegans. Many of those recipes are worth trying, but the last thing a dinner party host needs is adding a brand new ingredient to the mix.

I’m not vegan. I do, however, live in L.A., and so naturally I often host vegan friends at dinner parties. I create menus that work for everyone, simply using recipes I already know and love that just happen to be vegan and that everyone can enjoy. I know! What a concept.

If you’re a non-vegan facing this particular dilemma, have no fear. I’m here to help.

Let’s dive right into the main courses, shall we? Side dishes and salads are easy enough to make vegan, so I’ll trust you can figure that out. Mains and desserts are the real challenge… or are they? Let’s investigate.

You know what’s great? PASTA. Pasta is great. And you know which pasta brand has almost entirely vegan pastas? BARILLA. Yes, one of the most popular pasta brands in the world makes boxed pasta that is almost entirely vegan (just don’t use the protein+ variety).

You know what else is vegan? Tomato sauce. Cringing because serving your guests pasta with tomato sauce sounds basic af? This burst cherry tomato sauce would like to have words with you. If you want to be really extra, you can make your own homemade eggless pasta dough. Nothing seems basic when served with homemade pasta.

Photo: Yup It’s Vegan

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Rebecca Eisenberg
Tenderly

Freelance editor, sometimes writer. Formerly @Upworthy, Headspace, Medium. Fat positive feminist. I write about food & cooking @ ThePracticalKitchen.com.