Putting on a Spread for Vegetarian
Offering a vegetarian option is usually necessary when running a catered event. Some events, however, are designed to offer only vegetarian food. Perhaps the event is for a vegetarian society, an animal charity, or just for a group of guests who happen to be mostly vegetarian. Creating a vegetarian menu can be tough and a vegetarian buffet requires even more dishes than a set menu to keep things interesting. If you want to make sure you put on an impressive spread for your vegetarian guests, try these tips.
Take Advantage of Fresh, Seasonal Ingredients
Local and seasonal ingredients have become all the rage in the culinary world. The UK has so many amazing ingredients that haven’t always been taken advantage of as they should be. You might be surprised by what’s available, from garlic to sea greens. A lot of chefs have become fond of foraged ingredients too, as well as growing their own in kitchen gardens. Seasonal and local ingredients not only offer plenty of vegetarian options, but they’re more environmentally friendly too. It’s better to source food from down the road than it is to get it from halfway around the world.
Although things are slowly improving, vegetarians and vegans often find themselves faced with the same options when eating at restaurants or catered events. It can get incredibly boring to be offered the same dishes again and again. If you want to put on a vegetarian buffet, you’re going to have to get creative to provide a variety of things to eat. Instead of simply trying to adapt traditional, common dishes by replacing meat and fish, it’s better to have something a little different on offer. There are plenty of ways you could approach the catering for your event, depending on the theme.
Look at Cuisines That Focus on Vegetarian and Vegan Eating
For inspiration, turning to cuisines that focus on vegetarian and even vegan food is a great idea. Some cuisines use very little meat, fish or dairy, while others use none at all. Several regions of India have a strong focus on vegetarian food, and you can also find plenty of meat-free dishes in Thai, Japanese and Vietnamese food. These cuisines are often so vegetable-heavy because of religious practices, which teach being kind to animals. Sometimes, vegetarian food is popular simply because it’s cheaper or it’s just what’s available.
Be Careful of Non-meat and Fish Animal Products
One important thing to remember if you’re putting on a vegetarian buffet is that making food vegetarian is more than simply removing meat and fish. For example, some cheeses are made using an animal rennet, although you can get cheese made with vegetarian rennet. Products like gelatine and suet are animal-based products too, so it’s important to watch out for them. If you want to offer vegan food, even honey might not be acceptable because it’s technically an animal product.
If you want to cater an event for vegetarians, you need to be careful not to fall into the trap of boring and predictable food. There are still millions of possibilities, even when meat and fish are taken out of the equation.