How to host a vegan dinner party this Veganuary
17 Dec 2021
Make Veganuary a month to remember. Impress your friends with a plant-based dinner party
Everything’s better when friends are involved. So, if this is your first year trying Veganuary, why not throw a vegan dinner party? Whether you’ll be inviting long-time plant-based friends or fellow Veganuary novices, a homemade plant-based feast is a perfect excuse to experiment with new recipes. Plus, there’s no better way to stay motivated than a special Veganuary-themed event in the calendar.
Without further ado, here’s our guide to hosting a vegan dinner party to remember.
Invite your guests — and ask them a few questions
Step one when planning any dinner party is creating a guest list and selecting a date that works for everyone. After you’ve done this, don’t just keep them in the dark until the day. Ask your friends whether they have any food preferences — this will make choosing what to cook a lot easier!
Most importantly, you should ask them if they have any allergies or intolerances. Vegan cuisine often incorporates lots of nuts, beans, and grains. You don’t want someone to go hungry if they can’t eat the star ingredient of your dish!
Plan your meal well in advance
The best way to have a stress-free vegan dinner party is to plan the evening well ahead of time. As food is the focus of the evening, this includes the dishes that you’ll be serving. There are lots of amazing plant-based recipes out there, so decide what’s important to you. Do you want something that’s easy to make? Do you want to veganise a traditionally meaty dish? Maybe you want to test your cooking skills and serve something completely unique?
A simple recipe might give you more time with your friends and take the stress off. However, if you’re an experienced chef, then you might be in your element! We’ve curated a few of our favourite main course recipes, so you can choose one that sounds right for you.
Easy vegan meals
One of our favourite 30-minute vegan dishes is our Roasted Aubergine and Borlotti Bean Bake.
To make this dish for four, you’ll need:
- An aubergine, chopped into chunks
- 1 courgette, chopped into medium sliced half-moons
- 1 pepper, thickly diced
- 5 whole cloves garlic
- Salt, pepper, Italian herbs
- 2 tins chopped tomatoes
- 1 x 400g tin borlotti beans
- Dash of balsamic vinegar and vegan red wine
- Olive oil
Heat your oven to 180C fan. Simply add all the vegetables and garlic to a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 20 minutes. Take the tray out of the oven and add the tomatoes, borlotti beans, vinegar, wine, and seasoning. Bake for another 20 minutes. Take the tray out of the oven and you’re ready to serve.
You might choose to serve this bake with rice, couscous, or pitta bread.
Innovative vegan meals
These Chickpea Burgers are a delicious twist on your classic meat burger. They’re an ideal Veganuary swap. To make six for your vegan dinner party, you’ll need:
- 1 x 400g tin chickpeas
- 5 roasted cloves of peeled garlic
- 1 red onion, finely diced
- Fresh Italian mixed herbs
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
- 6 level tablespoons flour (you can use gram, plain, lentil, or quinoa flour)
- ½ red pepper, finely diced
- 50g sundried tomatoes
- Burger buns
- Fresh salad leaves
- Burger sauces
Blend the chickpeas (drained), garlic, salt and pepper, flour, a generous glug of olive oil, herbs, and sun-dried tomatoes in a food processor. You want the mixture to be thick and chunky. Add the diced red onion and red pepper and mix by hand.
Then, separate the mixture into six even portions and mould each one into a burger patty shape.
Cook each burger in a frying pan with some olive oil. Each side will need 4 – 6 minutes. Serve with salad and sauce in the burger buns.
Unique plant-based dishes
If you’re hoping to serve up a standout dish that your guests haven’t tried before, consider these Mexican cuisine-inspired Vegan Jackfruit Tacos.
To make tacos for four, you’ll need:
- 1 x 400g tin jackfruit
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 red peppers, sliced
- 2 onions, thinly sliced
- 1.5 tsp cumin seeds
- 2.5 tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp chilli powder
- Salt and pepper
- Vegetable oil
- 6 corn tortillas, warm
- 1 Avocado, sliced
- Fresh coriander, roughly chopped
- Lime wedges
To make your tacos, fry the onions, peppers, garlic, spices and salt and pepper in a large frying pan with olive oil. After a few minutes, add the jackfruit. Cook for around 15 minutes or until the vegetables are golden brown and the jackfruit has broken up into smaller pieces. You can help this along with a spoon.
Serve the mix in the tortillas, with optional salsa, avocado, coriander and lime.
For some dessert inspiration, take a look at our article on how to make delicious chocolate vegan desserts.
Create a vegan cocktail bar
If your friends drink, then they’ll probably want to enjoy a glass or two with their meal. Lots of alcoholic beverages actually contain animal products or use them in the production process, making them unsuitable for vegans.
If you want your vegan dinner party to stay true to the spirit of Veganuary, then you’ll need to think about your drinks quite carefully. Beers, wines, and ciders are more likely to contain animal products than spirits, so make sure you scrutinise these labels — it isn’t always clear from a glance at the bottle!
Our Cacao Gin is a perfect vegan gin option for your cocktails. Featuring botanicals such as macadamia, juniper, coriander, orange and grapefruit, it has a wonderfully fragrant and uplifting finish. Our Mango & Passionfruit Gin Liqueur is ideal for those looking for something a little fruitier. Alternatively, if you’re hoping to pop some fizz or add some bubbles to your cocktails, our Classic Prosecco is a crisp, refreshing tipple made in a boutique winery in the Dolomite foothills — it’s our suitable-for-all go-to for all our dinner parties.
Are you expecting a few guests who always go for a beer? Our award-winning Cocoa Beer is a dark, not sweet, porter-style ale — and it’s vegan, of course.
Think about entertainment
Will your home-cooked meal be the star of the evening or will you need to entertain your guests into the night? If you’re serving multiple courses and opening a bottle or two of wine, then your dinner party could easily roll on for a few hours.
Multiple courses might also be a nice idea if the aim of the night is to sample a few different vegan dishes in celebration of Veganuary.
If you’re serving up just one quick vegan main course for your dinner party, then think about planning some activities for your friends. These could be on-theme and food-related, like a vegan chocolate tasting session. Simply choose a few luxurious vegan chocolates and make a blindfold… The session will host itself! Our bitesize vegan Selectors are particularly perfect for sampling.
If you live near bars or music venues, then you could combine your dinner party with a fun night out. Alternatively, if you feel like having a cosy evening in, then you could get out your favourite board games, rent a new film release, or simply have a night of catch-ups and laughter.
We hope you have a wonderful vegan dinner party full of great food, splendid drinks, and lots of laughter.