Conversation and laughter over a meal with family and friends is one of the warmest ways to make memories, and is usually one of the simplest. When a large group of my family members started eating plant-based it seemed to take a little bit of the ease out of this tradition at first. The question “what should we have to eat?” hung in the air even longer, and a bit more awkwardly, than it had before.
I’ve found several unique and delicious recipes that I absolutely love for my husband and myself, or for inviting a couple of friends over. It can be difficult to translate these meals to 10+ people, especially when some guests prefer a meat option.
As our family starts closing in on a year of doing the partially plant-based dance, we’ve learned a couple tricks to feeding the whole lot with minimal stress. We’ve generally broken our meal planning strategy down into two directions.
One: Meals with Multiple Options
- Pasta/Lasagna – Any type of noodles with vegetable and a meat sauce options.
- Pizza – Picking an assortment of pizzas with different topping combinations, and throwing in a veggie pizza without cheese is a go-to crowd pleaser.
- Stir Fry – This is an easy option to prepare veggies separate from any meat you may be serving, and allow people to add it separately if they wish.
Two: Build you Own Meals
- Tacos/Fajitas – All you need is a stack of warm tortillas and the possibilities are endless for plant-based eaters to indulge in grilled and fresh veggies for a Mexican themed meal.
- Salad – OK, it may sound lame, but my family loved to do salad buffet style meals in the spring and summer even before many of us switched to plant-based. This option is a perfect and seamless transition for plant-based eaters.
- Burgers – Portobello caps are an easy option to add to a burger menu, along with a variety of options for store bought or homemade veggie patties.
- Mediterranean – Greek and Mediterranean food is a favorite in my family with so many options for plant based eaters.
This Sunday family meal ventured into the Mediterranean for the first time in an effort to change up our meal planning game. Using several recipes from cookbook Oh She Glows Every Day, we served up tabbouli, spiced chickpeas, hummus, grilled zucchini, tahini, olives, stuffed grape leaves and warmed naan. (Pita would have fallen more in line with the Mediterranean theme, but my family seriously loves naan.) My brother brought an assortment of grilled meat as an option for the meat eaters.
Hopefully this helped spark ideas for an easy plant-based meal for several guests. Take some of the stress out of those big meals with rooms full of people so you can focus on getting loud and rowdy and laughing until your belly hurts!
We are always looking for new options to keep things interesting. If you have any other crowd pleasing favorites, please share!