Vegan Entertaining Tips

How to throw a PETA-approved dinner party

Yes, you can still bring the house down even when there's no meat involved. Let one of the most popular vegan bloggers guide the way for breezy entertaining—no matter who's at the table.

Oh She Glows blog creator Angela Liddon, knows what it's like to have her hands full: She just released her second cookbook, Oh She Glows Every Day, which she wrote when her daughter was three months old, and now has a second child on the way. But even then, she still finds time for one of the things she enjoys most: hosting family and friends for dinner.

Her book focuses on go-to vegan recipes that can fit into a busy life and are accessible to the everyday cook—even meat eaters. "Non-vegans eat many 'vegan' foods, too, probably without even realizing it," Liddon says. So whether you're pleasing a whole crowd of meat-free friends or need to cover all bases with one menu, here are five tips to entertain with ease.

① Stretch the Goods
One heavy-hitting ingredient, like an all-purpose cheese sauce (get the recipe), can work for you in many ways over the course of the night. Use it on a platter of chili cheese nachos as a starter, then use it in creamy "mac and peas" as a side to the main event.

② Be a Protein Pro
Don't be nervous about whether vegan food is enough to fill up on. Lentils, beans and tofu are brimming with protein. Even if they're not the main focus, you can likely add them into any dish you're making. Try adding lentils to pasta for a bonus protein boost and extra texture. If you need further convincing, consider this: Liddon says the tiny pulses are "virtually undetectable" by her two-year-old daughter.

③ Face the Fats
"I'm a big advocate of adding at least one kind, if not multiple kinds, of healthy fat into my dishes," Liddon says. That means plenty of walnuts, hemp hearts, avocado and tahini. And not just in the expected ways, like whirled into hummus or drizzled on vegetables: Tahini is the secret ingredient in Liddon's lentil-mushroom Bolognese, which she finds gives extra creaminess to the dish.

④ Get Lucky
Another tip: Go potluck-style. Not only does this mean less on your already-full hosting plate, but those with vegan or gluten-free diets can bring whatever dish accommodates their own needs. Or plan a meal that lets people construct their own dinner, like a taco spread. Vegans can skip the sour cream, and non-vegans can go for the chorizo.

Photo: Ashley McLaughlin

⑤ Ease Up for Dessert
Take the pressure off yourself when it comes to dessert. Go the no-bake route or make a sundae bar, using the recent vegan ice cream boon to your advantage. Liddon's go-to desserts include Meyer lemon cheesecake served with strawberry compote and peanut butter-chocolate pie, both of which can be found in her latest book. Don't worry: No one will fault you for the absence of a seven-layer cake after a full night of feasting.