I shamed myself the other week when I invited my dear friends who are Vegan over for dinner and we started to discuss the menu.
“So I’m not sure what to make because I know you are Vegan,” I said.
“Don’t worry, we will bring a Vegan App and a Vegan Pizza.”
“Wait, I invited you guys.”
“It’s ok don’t bother.”
I let them bring the pizza and the App.
“Really Felice…..this is so not OK,” I chided myself.
“You should know better. You’re smart and love to learn so you can do this…you can learn what to make for your Vegan friends.
More and more of my friends are becoming Vegan and rather than educate myself about what I can serve them when they come over, I keep asking the same dumb questions about whether this or that is ok. I should know better!
I mean what’s so hard about this? Roast the veggies and don’t use butter…use olive oil. No you can’t have Cobb Salad with cheese and bacon. Do you know why?
Oh yeah…Vegans don’t eat meat. Vegans don’t eat cheese. Vegans don’t eat animal products.
But even though Vegans just don’t eat animal products, there’s plenty of plant-based alternatives (like the Impossible Burger, Beyond Meat burger and various cheese substitutes) that are so close to the real thing, they can turn the stomach of a years-long vegetarian.
But no cheese! I love cheese…I mean could vegan cheese ever be as tasty as my favorite sharp cheddars and Parmesan with balsamic. And what is Vegan cheese it anyway?
Apparently, Vegan cheese involves consolidating protein from various plant sources, often nuts and seeds, instead of animal milk. The proteins are separated with lactic bacteria and oils, emulsifiers and thickeners are added for texture. Some vegan cheeses are aged like dairy cheeses, but unlike the proteins in animal milk, the plant proteins don’t naturally bond to each other. This is why vegan cheese isn’t as sharp or flavorful as dairy cheese.
Light bulb flash…..Just because my guests don’t eat cheese doesn’t mean I can’t serve it. I just have to put my hunk of cheddar or shaved parmesan on the side– we can all be happy!
This really isn’t so hard. I just hadn’t spent the time to think it through. And I really am not an anti-Vegan. I am pro health and am fascinated by nutrition. The truth is my friends look thin and are super athletic and they aren’t perpetually starving. They always make the most incredible feast when we go to their place and we never feel like we are missing out
So I have made myself a little Plant based Vegan quiz and realized how easy this all is to master.
Butter – oh yes that comes from a goat and a cow not a butter plant.
Cheese – yup that doesn’t come from a plant.
Nut butter — Oh yes that comes from a nut — and nuts come from the ground — yes nuts grow on trees and so we can have all those nuts!
But what about bread — can we make flat bread pizzas with tomatoes and mushrooms? Can I use any bread — No I CANNOT! Why? Because some bread has eggs in it or milk or cheese!
Breakfast can be oatmeal or granola with almond milk and fruit and nut butters.
Lunch and snacks can be salads with beans, fruits and vegetables.
Dinner can be grilled or sautéed veggies with a whole grain like quinoa.
OK, I’m ready now to invite them again. They will be safe at my dinner table. I have sufficiently shamed myself into learning Veganism 101 and have given myself an A-Plus.
And to prove it Im going to make Crispy Roasted Cauliflower Hummus next time when they come over…