Bruschetta.
Bruschetta.

How to host a vegan dinner party

THE first thing I do when inviting people over is to ask if they have any food allergies or food preferences. I used to worry when my father came over because he was a vegan. It can be very difficult to know what to cook if you are not familiar with this life choice.

The most important thing to do is not panic and ask the questions of what they can eat and go from there and if in doubt salads, tofu, veggie pizza, pumpkin soup or roast vegetables with rice is always a winner. Don't forget to read the labels of any purchased products and see if they are suitable for your guest. There are so many pre-packaged choices in the local supermarket for you to choose from as well.

If your grandchildren are vegetarian or vegan Hommus dip and carrot sticks or celery is a nice snack. Pasta with vegetables sauces or a veggie stack are easy enough to make. Beware of products with gelatine as it is an animal by-product.

Use a good stock, Massel is a good brand as all Massel liquid stocks are gluten-free and, because they are vegetable based, are suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

Vegans do not eat any animal product. A healthy and varied vegan diet includes fruits, vegetables, plenty of leafy greens, whole grain products, nuts, seeds, and legumes.

Vegetarians do not eat meat (red meat, poultry, seafood and the flesh of any other animal), and may also include by-products of animal slaughter.

Pescetarian is a person who eats fish (and dairy) but no other kinds of meat-however this is not considered vegetarian or vegan.

BRUSHETTA

Ingredients

4 medium tomatoes, diced,

Fresh basil leaves, torn

2 garlic cloves, crushed

Sea salt

1 baguette (French stick)

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Balsamic glaze

Method

Combine tomatoes, basil, garlic and sprinkle liberally with salt. The salt will help draw out the tomato juice and make your bruschetta more flavoursome. Set aside in the fridge.

Cut the baguette diagonally into 1-1 1/2cm thick slices. Grill or toast the slices until they're golden on both sides.

Just before serving, add the olive oil to the tomato mix and stir through, allowing to stand for another 5 minutes before serving then drizzles with Balsamic glaze.

Arrange bread on a platter, spoon on the tomato mix and serve immediately.

PUMPKIN SOUP (vegan/vegetarian)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 leek, white part only, finely sliced

1 garlic clove, crushed

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1kg peeled pumpkin, diced

1 large potato, peeled, diced

1L vegetable stock

1/2 cup (125ml) thin cream for vegetarian or coconut cream for vegan

 

Pumpkin Soup
Pumpkin Soup

Method

Heat oil in a large saucepan over low heat, add onion and leek and cook for 2-3 minutes, until softened but not coloured. Add garlic and spices and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add pumpkin, potato and stock and bring to the boil. Turn heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, then blend in batches.

Return soup to pan, stir through cream and reheat gently. Season and add a little more nutmeg if desired.

TOFU AND VEGGIE STACK (vegan/vegetarian)

1 Tub Store bought Hommus dip

300g sweet potato, peeled, cut into 12 rounds

2 zucchini, trimmed, cut lengthways into 8 slices

1 small (350g) eggplant, trimmed, cut into 4 thick slices, lengthwise

250g firm tofu, cut into 8 slices

250ml (1 cup) tomato passata (Tomato based sauce)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, plus basil leaves, to serve

1 garlic clove, crushed

100g mixed salad leaves, to serve

 

Tofu and Veggie stacks.
Tofu and Veggie stacks.

Method

Place the sweet potato in a heatproof dish with the remaining water. Cover and microwave on High for 1 1/2-2 minutes or until almost tender. Drain.

Heat a chargrill or barbecue over high heat. Spray the zucchini, eggplant, tofu and sweet potato lightly with oil. Grill for 2 minutes each side or until lightly charred and tender.

Combine the passata, basil and garlic in a bowl. Place the eggplant slices on the prepared tray. Spread eggplant with half of the hommus, top each with 2 zucchini slices. Spread with half the passata. Top with the tofu slices, remaining hommus, sweet potato slices and the remaining passata.

Bake the stack for 15 minutes or until golden and bubbling. Top with basil leaves and serve with mixed salad leaves.

COCONUT TAPIOCA WITH MANGOES (vegan/vegetarian)

Ingredients

1/2 cup (100g) Seed Tapioca (Sago)

400ml can coconut milk

1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste

1/3 cup (90g) palm sugar, finely chopped

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 mangoes sliced (you can use any fruit you choose)

Small mint leaves, to serve

 

Coconut tapioca with mangoes.
Coconut tapioca with mangoes. Christine Perkin

Method

Combine the tapioca, coconut milk, vanilla bean paste and 1 cup (250ml) water in a large saucepan. Set aside for 30 mins to soak. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 mins or until tapioca is transparent. Remove from heat. Add the sugar and salt and stir to combine.

Set aside for 10 mins to cool. Transfer to a bowl and place in the fridge for 1 hour to cool completely.

Spoon tapioca among serving bowls. Top with mango and mint.


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