Cooking for Your Non-Vegan Friends

After 3 soggy cauliflower pizza crust attempts, I finally made it for friends and family.

After 3 soggy cauliflower pizza crust attempts, I finally made it for friends and family.

One of the best ways to smash the ‘vegan food is boring’ stereotype is to cook for a conventional eating crowd. But it can be a challenge. Will my girlfriend’s father like the curried lentils and vegetables I eat most days? Probably not. So, what’s a surefire way to cook a plant-based meal even the most meat-and-potatoes consumer will enjoy? 

There’s no one way to do it but here are some guidelines.

Know your audience. Who are you cooking for? Are they allergic to soy? What’s their spice tolerance? Do they hate mushrooms? If possible, you want to have that information beforehand. It’s okay to ask a few questions about your guests to ensure you don’t venture into any problem areas. Once a bit of dietary preference information is gleaned, one can start to form a game plan.


Next, be sure to keep it simple. Go with something you know you make well. When cooking for a group it’s not the best idea to get experimental. There can be beginners luck when trying a new dish but more often than not, the first run at something is just ‘eh.’ So, cook something that is in the wheelhouse. 

If it is an option, make them a Beyond Burger or sausages. It’s just so damn tasty. And it is really entertaining to watch people bite it, then look down, tilt their head, furrow their brow and say, “holy shit.” Take that Carl!

If using a different meat or cheese substitute, make sure you’ve tried it before. Inviting over people to make pizza and trying a new brand of shreds that blackens but doesn’t melt and tastes like sour almonds, could forever turn someone away from vegan cheese and there’s some good stuff out there! Check out our blog on it here. So, if deciding to use substitutes, go for what you know. 

You can’t go wrong with fully loaded tacos or nachos or burritos. Homemade guacamole, salsa, some beans, sauteed peppers, onions, maybe mushrooms, maybe cauliflower, maybe jack fruit, your favorite hot sauce, tomatoes, some shredded lettuce, a touch of creamy cheese, a squeeze of lime juice and a pinch of cilantro and you’re gold. Whatever your favorite variation may be, tacos are universal when you stuff them with a ton of different things, playing with temperature, creaminess, spice and texture. BAM! An enjoyable lunch option that won’t give your friends those orange, ground beef grease stains in the corners of their mouths. 

Udon noodles with some simple sauteed veggies and a siracha sesame seed topper.

Udon noodles with some simple sauteed veggies and a siracha sesame seed topper.

Noodles are vegan. A lot of people are too busy trying to get the chicken fat stains out of there khaki pants to realize that 99% of noodles are vegan. A creamy, Italian-inspired pasta dish can be a real winner. Or some rice noodles in a big bowl of something Asian. They’re the type of ‘wake-up-call’ dishes that make people go, “oh yeah, I can order my favorite menu item, minus the chicken and I’m eating a good vegan meal.”

2019. There are numerous looming problems in the world but one thing is for certain, it is the greatest time to be eating exclusively plants.

With the emergence of inspiring chefs and unreal vegan products, it is getting more and more fun to share the knowledge and introduce people to the ridiculous variety and quality of vegan food out there.

Hope you all get a chance to cook and share a meal with someone you love this week.

We hope this helped.