. . . it tastes good! Here’s an appetizer spread we created for the Oakland Ballet: skewers of brie & apple with maple syrup, and dates filled with mascarpone and gorgonzola. And a little garnish of finely chopped green onion . . .
I love the challenge of a crowd-pleasing vegetarian wedding menu, especially when it involves relatives from the
Midwest who want to know “where’s the beef?” The challenge becomes stickier when the couple chooses an all-vegan
menu — with relatives from the Midwest – challenging, but not impossible. Sharing food in community is one of our
oldest rituals – and one of life’s great pleasures. You don’t have to be a vegetarian to enjoy a wonderful vegetarian (or
vegan) meal. The secret is to start with high-quality, fresh, organic ingredients, and the difference between ho-hum and
fabulous is often a choice of seasonings.
For many vegetarian and vegan couples, their wedding day is the perfect opportunity to invite friends and family to
experience an all vegetarian or vegan meal. It is a way for you to share your heart, and a new experience for many of
your guests. I say go for it – it’s your party, celebrate it your way, with the food that you want. And if you offer
something really fabulous, your guests will be wowed and might even be inspired to rethink their habitual food choices.
I’ve often heard people remark that they “had no idea that vegetarian food could be this good”.
Non-vegetarians can get obsessed with the notion of protein. The fact is that all foods contain protein, and creating a
protein-rich meal from all-vegetarian ingredients is not rocket science. One way to satisfy dyed-in- the-wool carnivores
with a vegetarian meal is to add some hearty fare with eggs and dairy. And the combination of grains and legumes – rice
and beans – will provide all your essential amino acids. It’s the staple of many cultures, and the possibilities are endless.
I love grains and legumes: they’re satisfying, tasty, and nutritious, and they lend themselves to an endless variety of
Some couples try faking out their guests with faux meats, a staple that is gaining in popularity among many vegetarians and vegans. There are some excellent products on the market, created from natural, organic ingredients. As an example, Field Roast (www.fieldroast.com) products are vegan and include veggie burgers and sausages; my favorite is their chipotle Mexican sausage which adds texture and “sabor autentico” to a vegan taco bar, enchiladas, or posole.
I’m a huge fan of the cuisines of Mediterranean rim, among them the cuisines of Spain, Provence, Italy, Greece, the Middle East and North Africa. Mediterranean specialties tend to be heavily plant-based, with meat added as a condiment. In some instances, the meat can be replaced with a plant-based protein, or it can be left out altogether.
Here are a few selections from our Mediterranean menu:
Trio of relishes: baba ganouj, muhammara & beet hummus
Elegant platter of high-end cheeses, seasonal fruit & oven-dried tomato
Tortilla Española: traditional potato frittata with caramelized onion, mild chilies and peas
Spanish paella with seared vegetables, saffron, garlic, pimenton & scarlet runner beans
Polenta layered with sauce of tomato, fontina, gorgonzola, basil, marjoram
Moroccan tagine with yam, caramelized pearl onion, carrot, dried plum, saffron, cilantro
Ratatouille with eggplant, tomato, summer squash, basil, garlic, purple yam
Roasted seasonal vegetables with light balsamic reduction
Salad of root vegetables, dill vinaigrette, chopped egg
Silk Road bulgur pilaf with French lentils, caramelized onion, dried cherry, saffron, pomegranate seeds
Persian wedding rice with caramelized onion & carrots, saffron, cinnamon, orange zest, dried fruit, nuts
Another popular menu is Cuisines of the Americas, with specialties from Mexico, the American Southwest, and the Caribbean. My favorite is Mexican Posole, traditionally made with chicken or pork and a tasty combination of hominy, seared vegetables, garlic, chilies, and cilantro. Our vegan version includes Field Roast chipotle sausage and heirloom beans.
Samples from Cuisines of the Americas:
Mini empanadas with yam/chipotle filling and chimichurri dipping sauce
Mexican posole with hominy, seared onions, bell pepper, chilies, red ayocote beans, garlic, cilantro
Torta Azteca: blue corn polenta layered with sauce of seared onion, chilies, bell pepper, garlic, cilantro, queso fresco
Vegetarian (or vegan) taco bar with seared vegetables, strips of Field Roast burgers, condiments & guacamole
Black beans with mango, tomato, organic corn, avocado, lime, cilantro
Coconut pineapple fried rice with garlic, green onion, toasted cashews
Red, white & green salad with spinach, red cabbage, jicama, avocado
Painted Desert coleslaw: finely shredded cabbage and veggies in a lime marinade
Peruvian vegetable salad with baby vegetables, eggs, olives and thinly sliced vegan ham
Our menus span the globe and are prepared with love and expertise from local, organic ingredients. They are custom-tailored to fit our clients’ budget and needs. So whatever menu you choose, follow your heart. It’s your special day, and your guests will be delighted to find out how delicious and satisfying a vegetarian meal can be. And you and your Sweetheart can stay true to what you love – bon appétit!