Monday, April 23, 2012

A Dinner To Impress Some Fellow Vegans!

Usually - as a vegan - when you are having people over for dinner, they are amazed that you can serve anything more than carrot sticks and raw tofu. But this weekend, Mr. Vegan Eats & Treats invited two of his tennis friends (a couple) over for dinner - and they are both vegan! I really wanted to make something special for them... especially because it's so rare that anyone makes us vegans a really special homemade meal. I thought long and hard about the menu, and even solicited some brainstorming help on the PPK (which was very helpful!). In the end, I decided to go the Italian route - a cuisine I really love and that I feel really comfortable with in the kitchen:

For the first course - I made a huge vegan antipasto platter. I wanted to be sure that the items on the platter would be yummy at room temperature, and that they would provide an array of colors and flavors and textures. So, I made some small bruschette, some marinated and grilled veggies, and then a fancy assortment of olives (including a little bowl of toothpicks and a little bowl for the pits).

The bruschette were super yummy - I used fresh tomatoes and basil from the farmers market, which is awesome. So easy to make and so delicious!

The grilled veggies were good because I could do them earlier in the day and they were still delicious for dinnertime. The veggies were red onion, red & yellow bell peppers, zucchini, and asparagus. I especially love grilled asparagus!

Of course fancy olives are a hit. Those huge ones were my favorites!

Along with the veggies was some fresh focaccia that I made. I used this recipe - with just fresh rosemary, coarse salt, and a little olive oil for the toppings. I also made it with half white whole wheat flour, which gave it a little more body. I really love focaccia, and this was quite a special treat!

For the main course I made my favorite lasagna. I decided to make lasagna because 1. I make a really great vegan lasagna, and 2. that way I wouldn't be in the kitchen boiling raviolis while everyone else was chatting in the living room. I hate that! Casserole dishes are really great for parties for that reason. Even though we were all hungry piggies, there was still a bunch left over - so that's an extra bonus! :) 

Of course I had to make a fancy dessert! So I made some not-so-little chocolate tortas, topped with powdered sugar and served over a fresh strawberry coulis... along with some super special chocolate-dipped strawberries. SO GOOD. I love the combo of the fresh, bright flavors of the berries with the rich, earthy chocolate. Also - it was beautiful, which is also sweet.

I had such a great time planning my menu and cooking up such a special meal. Lately I've been really focused on the yoga teaching and yoga practicing aspects of my life, and it's been a while since I've really taken on a big kitchen project. I think this project sorta got my culinary mojo flowing again, and now I have all sorts of fun ideas on my to-do list (all the ideas I considered, but rejected for this menu - you'll see them here soon enough!).

Also, one last thing - as I was cooking and getting ready, Mr. VE&T showed up with these beautiful flowers, which he had plucked from an overgrown lot behind the parking lot. How cute!


  1. yummy yummy! those are some lucky pals.

  2. What a feast! Now I'm off to read more about that lasagna!

  3. Now this is truly a meal to impress! That anti-pasta tray alone is worth a night out! I will have to remember this menu for an upcoming dinner party, I also think lasagna is party-perfect. (Enchiladas can work too.)

    I also like how everything is so pretty and colorful!

  4. An amazing spread - I'm impressed!

  5. Wow, this is an incredible menu. Your friends are fortunate!

  6. Anonymous9:58 AM

    Wow, those tennis players are some lucky ass vegans. I want to come over!

  7. wow- that is one amazing vegan dinner! everything looks fantastic. i especially want to eat the ENTIRE platter of antipasto.

  8. Wow! That is one awesome meal!! Everything looks so fancy and delicious!!

  9. What a fancy pants meal! Any vegan would be lucky to have you cook for them! Or, anybody, for that matter.

  10. Anonymous1:36 PM

    Can you share the recipe for the chocolate tortas? They look amazing!! You have some lucky friends :-)

  11. I love living vicariously through your posts!! This dinner looks beyond amazing... what attention to detail! :)


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