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. 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. 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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