Special Diet Tea Time: Vegetarian/Vegan

A sampling of ingredients you can use for a vegan tea menu. Product images courtesy of their respective manufacturers; used by permission.
A sampling of ingredients you can use for a vegan tea menu. Product images courtesy of their respective manufacturers; used by permission.

You’ve sent out the invitations. You’re looking forward to enjoying afternoon tea with friends or family. And then it happens …

Oh no! One of my guests is a vegetarian! Maybe even a vegan! What do I do now??!

First let’s understand that a vegetarian diet entails a wide variety of foods, and most of them are commonly available.

Now let’s look at what vegetarians don’t eat. All vegetarians avoid meat, poultry, fish, and seafood, and their derivatives, such as Worcestershire sauce (contains anchovies) and gelatin. Ovo-vegetarians eat eggs; lacto-vegetarians eat dairy; an ovo-lacto-vegetarian consumes both. Vegans (VEE-guns) abstain from all foods of animal origin, including eggs, dairy, and honey.

If your guests eat eggs and dairy, you can simply prepare more egg salad, cream cheese, and cucumber-and-butter sandwiches. For vegans it gets a little trickier, but it’s doable.

Here’s a simple vegan menu with dishes all of your guests can enjoy. It uses only those products and ingredients found in supermarkets from New York City (where I used to live) to the middle of nowhere (where I live now).

Vegan Tea Menu

Scone course
Sophia’s Maple Scones with Earth Balance Buttery Spread® and no-sugar-added fruit preserves.

Savoury course
Hummus topped with chopped olives or shredded carrot on pita triangles (cut pita into eight “pie slices,” toast lightly)

Mashed white beans (rinsed canned or cooked beans, seasoned with salt, pepper, herbs, and a splash of extra-virgin olive oil) spread on thin slices of baguette, topped with paper-thin slices of cucumber or radish

Avocado slices sprinkled with lemon juice and salsa on an original flavour Triscuit® cracker

Turkey, beef, or ham analogue (soy-based ersatz “meat”) with Dijon mustard and fresh dill, rolled in a lettuce leaf

Sweets course
Chocolate-dipped fruits – strawberry, kiwi, banana, carambola, or whatever’s in season, dipped in melted dark chocolate chips

Baked mini phyllo shells filled with vanilla coconut-milk yoghurt mixed with shredded coconut, topped with a fresh berry

And a delicious simple-to-make cookie:

Pecan balls
About 3 dozen

1 cup Spectrum Spread® vegetable shortening
1/4 cup Florida Crystals® sugar
1-1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 cup ground pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla
Confectioner’s sugar, optional

Preheat oven to 300 deg F. Cream the shortening with the sugar, then add in the flour, pecans, and vanilla. Mix well. Shape the dough into balls about 1″ in diameter. Place on un-greased cookie sheets. Bake for 35 minutes; cool, then roll in confectioner’s sugar.

Choose one or two dishes, or serve the whole menu. If you’ve got a large natural foods store like Whole Foods or EarthFare nearby, you can vary this menu with all sorts of exotic ingredients and ready-made foods.

Vegan dishes are also free of cholesterol, so they’re suitable for anyone on your guest list who’s watching cholesterol intake.

Discuss your proposed menu with your guest/s in advance if possible. Then when the big day arrives, set out your finest china and linens, put the kettle on … and relax.

See also:
Vegan Variation on a Scone

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2 thoughts on “Special Diet Tea Time: Vegetarian/Vegan

  1. Pingback: The Best of the English Tea Store Tea Blog in 2012 « Tea Blog

  2. Pingback: Special Diet Tea Time: Vegetarian/Vegan « Tea Blog | Wu Long Diet Tea

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