How to entertain vegan guests in South Africa
One of the more common things we hear from non-veggie friends is “What on Earth do I feed my vegan/ vegetarian guests besides a side salad? Vegan food is so hard to find in South Africa.”
We think the main issue is the common myth that vegetarians and vegans must just eat salad. I mean, what else would they be able to eat, right? Wrong of course! J Almost every meal you can think of can be veganized to suit your veggie friends and surprisingly, there are tons of easy veg-friendly products in South Africa. There’s a whole array of vegan dishes you could make that will please everyone at the dinner table, in fact, you could probably make a vegan meal with the items you have in your house right now and don’t even realize it.
If you’re hosting a vegan or vegetarian guests for the Christmas holidays, we’ve got you covered:
Many dishes like pastas, stir-fry’s, wraps, and tacos are easy to customize. You could cook the meal as usual, and just prepare the meat on the side, or allow guests to add their own toppings. Have a look at some of our recipes for some inspiration:
Meat alternatives (like Fry’s) make cooking for vegan guests so much easier, it takes the scary mystery factor out of cooking vegan food, and allows you to make what you’d usually make with ease. Just replace whatever meat you’d usually serve with a vegan replacement. Some great examples include veggie burgers, sausages and mash, veggie roasts, etc. Here’s some recipes to help you get started:
If you want to cook for a vegan guest, one of the best ways to do it is to simply ask them for help! Most vegetarians and vegans are used to working some culinary magic now and again and will probably relish the opportunity to share their kitchen discoveries with you.
If you’re hosting a dinner and entertaining a vegan guest, ask them to bring a dish to share. You can even ask them to help you decide on the menu or ask them for adaptations for dishes you’d like to create for your dinner.
It can be tough if you cook food for your guest and they won’t try it or eat it. It’s also hard for guests who might feel rude declining the food you offer. Try to be open-minded about other’s dietary choices. If they don’t want to try a dish because it contains an ingredient they don’t eat, simply move on. There’s probably nothing wrong with your cooking, but everyone is different and has different preferences.
Similarly, if you’re visiting a vegan or vegetarian guest, the safest option is to ask before you bring meat or dairy dishes to the party. Some plant-based eaters are fine with it, while others are uncomfortable and would prefer to keep their home meat-free.
If you’re in a situation where you’ve been offered a dish that doesn’t fit with your dietary choices, simply decline politely. Rarely does Aunt Carol want a lecture on the evils of factory farming, or the impact of animal agriculture on the environment. The best way to avoid making your host feel disheartened is to simply explain, while the food looks delicious, it’s just not an ingredient you eat and follow by letting them know you’re excited to try some of their veggie burgers or the soup they made.
It’s fine to share your beliefs with others, but keep in mind that everyone is on their own journey, and no one wants to be made to feel guilty or ashamed of their meal. Save the lectures for one-on-one conversations and remember kindness is much more effective for persuasion.
If you’re curious about the vegan or vegetarian dishes your guest brings to the party, try it! You’ll be surprised at how delicious vegan food can be. There are also some seriously fantastic vegan desserts out there that will please everyone. Have a look at some of ours:
If you discover a vegan dish you enjoy, ask for the recipe. Let the cook know how much you appreciate them sharing their food and how amazing it was. You just might discover a new item or two to add to your Meat Free Monday (link to https://www.supportmfm.co.za/) repertoire.
One of the great aspects of vegan eating is that almost everyone can eat plant-based foods. Most of the Fry’s range is even Halaal, Kosher and Shuddha approved. There are many great dishes out there, so give it a try. You just might find something you like!