Being a vegan (or a vegetarian) can be a little challenging in the season of meat-eating parties. If you’re planning a summer barbecue there’s still plenty of time to add vegan alternatives to the traditional party menu. There’s no excuse for vegans to settle for the veggie platter and potato chip bowl where there are delicious alternatives out there that even meat-eaters will like!
Alternative to Mayonnaise-based Potato Salad: German Potato Salad (without the bacon, of course). Carnivores and vegans alike will love German potato salad. Sugar and vinegar make for a sweet and tangy salad. German potato salad is traditionally served warm, but it’s just as yummy cold. The bonus to not using mayo is that the salad can be outside longer without risk of spoilage. About.com’s vegetarian section has a great recipe.
Related: Best Vegan Protein Powder
Alternative to Mayonnaise-based Pasta Salad: pasta with balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Penne, ziti and especially rotini are good choices for the pasta. Add green, yellow and red bell peppers and you’re good to go. Just like the German potato salad, the pasta salad with balsamic vinaigrette can be outside without the risk of spoilage that a mayo-based salad would have.
Alternative to Traditional Baked Beans: Texas Caviar. Don’t let the name fool you, there are no fish eggs involved. Texas Caviar is a mixture of several types of beans (kidney, black and pinto work well, but a lot of recipes use black-eyed peas), hominy, green peppers, jalapenos, onions, tomatoes and Italian dressing. Serve with tortilla chips.
Alternative to Hamburgers: Grilled portobello mushrooms. Thick and meaty, filling and delicious on a whole grain hamburger bun. Marinate the mushroom cap with the gills up in a balsamic vinaigrette and toss on the grill just like a hamburger. Just be sure the spot on the grill hasn’t been used to cook meat.
Alternative to Hot Dogs: tofu dogs. While I’ve tried to come up with alternatives, not substitutes, for traditional barbecue fare, there really isn’t an alternative to a hot dog. And there’s probably no chance meat-eaters will opt for vegan alternative, but it doesn’t hurt to try!
Alternative to Dairy-Based Dips: guacamole. Everyone like a good guac! Just be sure your recipe includes lemon juice to keep it from turning brown. For a heartier guacamole, add finely chopped onions and tomatoes. For a little zip on your chip, add a finely chopped jalapeno too.
Alternative to Cakes: vegan fruit pizza. It’s easy to hold and walk around with, no need for forks or plates like you need with cake. Check out About.com’s recipe. Get creative with the fruits: no need to stick with the traditional fruits if you don’t want to.
Alternative to Ice Cream: watermelon granita. If you’ve never heard of granita before, think of it as a cross between sorbet and a snow cone but really easy to make. Puree watermelon, sugar and a little lemon juice, pour into shallow, wide pan like a cookie sheet and freeze. Take a look at The Food Network for complete instructions.
With these delicious alternatives to traditional the summer barbecue menu, vegans can leave parties stuffed just like their carnivorous friends. And party hosts no longer have to dread having their vegan friends over for dinner.