Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Vegan, Kosher, and Meaty Chili and Salad Buffet and Other Vegan Foods

Dear friends,

This past week, we had the immense pleasure of hosting my mother and my niece for several days.  We had a blast going to Sea World for two days, celebrating my grandson's birthday party, and more.  Of course, all of our fun also involved plenty of food, but the twist is that my niece is a vegan.  She doesn't eat any animal products, such as meat, milk, eggs, honey or any of their byproducts.  So I took a visit to Aldi to see what I could find, and we also bought a lot of food at Walmart and Publix after she arrived. 

The first night, I planned a chili buffet and invited the whole family, including my adult daughters and their families.  We kept almost all of the ingredients a la carte so people could choose what they were able to eat. This doubled for good kosher options, too, since my oldest daughter's family eats a minimal-meat semi-kosher Mediterranean diet.  Our chili fixings were seasoned chili beans, black beans, diced tomatoes, garlic spaghetti sauce, sauteed peppers and onions -- as well as non-vegan ground beef, baked beans with bacon, and shredded cheddar cheese.  We set out salad ingredients like spinach, romaine lettuce, carrots, croutons, and sliced cucumber.  The girls also made a fresh fruit salad with green apples, peaches, pineapple, etc.  We let each guest butter their own french bread as desired, since butter is non-vegan.  For drinks, we made lemonade and added in some Tazo peach tea.

My grandson loves his meatless chili, fresh fruit, and French bread.
We had lots of leftovers to put away in the fridge.
It's a good thing we have stackable Rubbermaid!

We dipped into these for snacks a few times while she was here,
then mixed all of the chili stuff together for dinner tonight.

Another night my niece fixed herself a Boca burger
and made one for me too.  It was good,
and so much less fat than a beef hamburger!

Not all veggie burgers are vegan.  Some have egg in them.
You have to look at the ingredient list.
When we were at Sea World eating in a restaurant,
we had to ask for the ingredient list when ordering.
Yes, the Garden Burger is vegan.
Fresh produce can be expensive,
but it is pretty affordable at Aldi.

Soy milk, almond milk and cereal for breakfast.
She also ate a lot of peanut butter on flat bread, 

as well as vegan protein bars like the Lemon Zest Luna Bar.
When we went to my grandson's birthday party, 
my daughter offered ice cream made from coconut milk 
for the vegan option.
For sweets, Oreos are now vegan.  Yum! 

Snack foods!
I had to check the labels of all of the packaged foods

to make sure they didn't have any meat, egg, dairy, or honey
hiding in the ingredient lists.  Some crackers have milk or cheese in them.
The vegetable chips were scrumptious, especially
with salsa or with red pepper or chipotle hummus.
We ate a lot of mixed nuts and cashews, too.
The girls made a salad and veggie dinner one night.
The chips are Pringles multi-grain,
served with red pepper hummus.

Not all of the salad dressings are vegan - 
certainly not the creamy ranch!

Artistically served!
There you have it -- a little healthy hospitality!  It really doesn't take that much extra effort to accommodate our menus to the special dietary needs of our guests, and I think it lets them know we care and that they are welcome in our homes.  For another post on vegetarian hospitality, in this case for international student guests who are Hindu, read Our Thanksgiving Indians.  If you'd like to read another post featuring hummus (with directions for making it from scratch) and decorative salads, here you go: Love, Love, Baby Love and Food Love, Too!   For other buffet style meals, see: Baked Potato Night and Other Buffet Meals at the Knowles House.

For healthier eating (at least some of the time!)

Virginia Knowles

Linking at:


  1. Virginia, this is so thoughtful of you to go to the extra trouble and create a smorgasbord that honors your family's choices! I love that you just searched out what would work and came up with such a creative option. What a great mom/grandma! Thanks for linking this to Food on Fridays. I'm going to share it on a Vegan Shmegan Facebook page, too, because you've included so many great ideas.

  2. Your left over dishes look like my refrigerator.
    It is difficult to cook for a crowd when some foods are off limits to some. You did very well and pleased everyone it seems even the grandson licking the platter clean. :-)

  3. I came over by way of miss Ann K. I am a vegan too.

    And that coconut milk ice cream is yummaroo!

    Thanks for sharing these ideas.


  4. amen nice post thanks for sharing looking for to visit more..blessings from arnhem


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