Catering for vegans and vegetarians at events
People today are more health conscious than ever before so odds are a number of those attending your event(s) will have specific dietary preferences and requirements that need to be accommodated in your catering.
Vegan and vegetarian guests are too often left out in the cold at catered events (see: lacklustre veggo spring rolls and dry veggie quiche) so, how can we maximise quality and flavour to ensure our meat-free friends are well looked after?
- Balance the menu
A common faux pas in event catering is failure to balance the ratio of vegetarian/vegan foods to meat options. At cocktail style events, vegetarian/vegan options should ideally account for one third of your canapé menu. This is not only about accommodating dietary preferences but is also about injecting some variety.
- Cultural cues
Vegetarian and vegan food doesn’t have to be bland and predictable if you look to other cultures for culinary inspiration. Asian cultures are a good place to start as they have a rich heritage in and experience with vegetarian and vegan dishes.
- Fresh is best
Some of the ‘classic’ vegetarian dishes have a bad reputation because more often than not they’re bulked up with cheap produce making them heavy and bland. (Think of all the flavourless vegetarian quiches you’ve encountered at events!)
Catering for vegetarians and vegans presents a great opportunity to experiment with fresh, seasonal produce and really embrace unique flavour combinations.
- Proper preparation
To plan a balanced menu, you need an estimate of the number of vegetarian and vegan guests attending. Gauging numbers well ahead of time will give your chef time to plan an exciting menu with lots of choice and variety for guests.
- Amp up the protein
There should be a good balance of protein, carbohydrates and fat in all-catering options, vegetarian and vegan dishes included!
Meat free doesn’t mean protein free. Try to incorporate vegetarian and vegan friendly proteins like tofu, tempeh, nuts, beans and lentils. Using these proteins will also add depth to the menu and create some exciting flavours that even meat eaters will love.