Despite the growing popularity in vegetarianism with ‘Meatless Mondays’ and an awareness of the damage the meat industry wreaks on the environment, people still love their meat and for a vegetarian couple, this can pose a real problem when it comes to planning their wedding meal. Do you stick to your principles and serve a full-on veggie meal? Or should you back down and provide some dishes to keep the meat-eating guests happy? For those couples who insist on going completely vegetarian, there are several specialty catering companies that can help plan a menu that, while avoiding animal products, will still satisfy the most carnivorous guests. Here are a few dishes that are so tasty, they may even convert some of your guests to go veggie!
There’s An App For That
Appetizers lend themselves perfectly to a vegetarian diet as they need to be small and light and leave the way open for the entree. Dishes such as rice paper spring rolls, stuffed with julienned vegetables and a spicy, Thai sauce are always popular as are stuffed mushrooms or small, bite-sized veggie tarts. Your imagination can run wild when it comes to salads, with so many options for add-ins, dressings and greens. A warm, goat cheese salad with flavourful cherry tomatoes and walnuts or the ever-popular Caprese salad with rich Bocconcini cheese, good quality olive oil and fresh basil leaves is a perfect start to the meal and sure to satisfy all tastes.
The Main Event
While it’s easy to provide vegetarian apps, most people expect a meaty main, so this is where you need to get creative! Long gone are the days of bland vegetarian options, such as the lentil loaf or tasteless tofu. Vegetarian chefs are experts in creating innovative and imaginative dishes using a variety of veggies, grains, nuts and legumes and, in some cases, people don’t even know they’re not eating meat! If you want to trick your guests’ taste buds, considering serving a cauliflower steak or buffalo wings. This Instagram-friendly dish has become a staple in vegetarian circles and, much like the ubiquitous Portobello mushroom, their texture provides the same ‘mouth feel’ as meat but with added nutrition and, in many cases, more intense flavour. If you really want to embrace the meat alternative, consider serving seitan. A favourite of hardcore vegetarians, seitan is now showing up in all kinds of meat-free dishes where, if marinated and cooked correctly, can be substituted into any dish where meat would normally play a starring role. Just make sure your gluten-free guests are aware it’s part of your meal though as they won’t be able to tolerate seitan’s high-gluten content.
Another great meat-free option is to embrace the veggie pasta movement. Popular with the carb-free crowd, veggie pasta’s, made using a spiralizer (or excellent knife skills!), are a perfect base for meat-free sauces or non-dairy ‘cheeze’, but won’t fill you up or leave you with carb overload. Want to serve a crowd-pleasing lasagna? Using layers of eggplant and Portobello mushrooms is a nice, light alternative and the addition of a ‘meat’ sauce made with soy protein granules provides that texture meat-eaters are used to.
Of course, meat-eaters and vegetarians alike all love a decadent dessert and while meat is obviously not an issue, the ‘animal-friendly’ theme can be continued by serving non-dairy desserts. With so many people suffering with food allergies and intolerances these days, providing a non-dairy dish will be much appreciated and there are many talented vegan chefs who can create an over-the-top, show-stopping dessert that everyone can love. Non-dairy ice creams and gelatos are a refreshing end to any meal when paired with fresh, in-season fruits, and flourless chocolate cakes provide a rich, intensity that all guests will surely savour.
With such an abundance of options, your vegetarian wedding meal is bound to please even the fussiest foodie and you never know – you may just convince a meat-lover that a vegetarian diet can be a tasty, flavour-packed lifestyle choice!