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Hosting a vegan dinner party even meat eaters will love!

by Victoria Mason-Mehew
by Victoria Mason-Mehew

Finding vegan meals even meat eaters will love can be tricky, I have both vegan and non vegan friends for dinner parties and finding a good balance can be tough. If like me you have non-vegan family members and friends, you may have heard comments along the lines of “vegan food is boring”, “I could never give up cheese” or just “I don’t like vegan food.” Personally I have heard comments like this over the years and have previously cooked meat and vegan options at dinner parties creating more work and washing up for myself! Therefore I decided to try to find more recipes that would be vegan friendly for me but also appeal to my non-vegan guests.

In general I tend to stay away from fake meats and tofu, sticking to rich pasta dishes with creamy sauces using delicious vegetables, usually so satisfying nobody misses the meat. The reason I don’t just substitute with fake meats is that although I find them satisfying, non vegans can be very sceptical. The taste and texture can be a little bland if you are used to eating the real thing and don’t have a problem with it. As a vegan I also like to show my friends that my diet doesn’t have to just consist of meat substitutes and plain vegetables. It can be a chance to show how varied and appetising vegan food can be. I like to be creative with dinner party foods, show my non vegan friends what I eat and dispel the idea that vegans just eat lettuce! I enjoy surprising them with depth of flavour, a filling and hearty meal and even pudding!

Below is one of my favourite go to pasta dishes, it is deliciously creamy, you can prepare some in advance before guests arrive and it’s relatively simple to execute.

Ingredients for four people

  • One large butternut squash peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 340g of Linguini
  • One large onion, diced
  • Two cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of dried sage
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • Half a teaspoon of red chilli flakes
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil

Method
In a large pan, toast sage lightly in the olive oil, add onions, garlic and sauté until soft.

Toss in the butternut squash and sauté lightly for 5 minutes, stirring continuously.

Add the vegetable broth, salt and pepper and red chilli flakes, bring to the boil, cover and simmer until the squash is soft and water reduced, around 20 minutes.

While the sauce is cooking, in a separate pan add a pinch of salt to boiling water and cook the linguini until al dente.

Once the squash is soft remove from hob and blend using a handheld blender into a smooth thick soup like consistency.

Bring the pan back to the hob and add the drained m linguini, cook until soft, serve immediately, garnish with fresh coriander, season with a little salt and pepper and vegan Parmesan.

The reason this recipe works for me is that friends are always surprised it’s 100% vegan. The butternut squash creates a deliciously creamy texture without the need for dairy products. It’s also satisfyingly filling so despite being a healthy option it still feels indulgent enough to be suitable for a dinner party. Team it up with a white wine and a lighter starter and desert to ensure your guests aren’t too stuffed to leave!