When you're catering a party or special event, such as a wedding, you'll want to ensure there's a range of food suitable for the dietary preferences of all guests. Veganism has experienced a recent surge in popularity, and you may be wondering what to serve vegan guests when you're preparing classic party food, such as sausage rolls, chicken satay skewers and burgers. Thankfully, there's a wide range of vegan meat alternatives available, which makes it easy to offer vegan versions of any meat-based dish you're serving. Here's an overview of four meat alternatives for you to consider:
Textured Soy Protein
Textured soy protein is a versatile plant-based product that is made with defatted soy flour. It's quick to cook and usually sold dehydrated. Textured soy protein can be purchased in a variety of sizes from granules to thumb-sized chunks. Once rehydrated, it is similar in texture to ground beef, so it's ideal for use in chilli, sausage rolls, burgers and beef nachos.
Jackfruit are large bulbous fruit commonly grown in the Far East. The flesh has a similar texture to beef casserole, and it's this meaty texture that's made it so popular with those looking to recreate classic dishes, such as barbecue pulled pork and meat pies. Jackfruit is widely available in canned form, which makes it quick and easy to cook, and although it's very plain on its own, jackfruit will absorb the flavours of any sauces or spices used during cooking.
Seitan is a versatile product made with vital wheat gluten, which is the main protein found in wheat. When mixed with water or stock, vital wheat gluten has an elastic yet firm texture that can be easily shaped before cooking. Vital wheat gluten can be boiled, steamed or roasted, and when combined with meat-free chicken flavour bullion, it makes a convincing substitute for chicken or roast meats. Seitan sausages grill well and are an ideal substitute for soy sausages.
Tempeh is made with fermented soybeans and pressed into blocks that can then be sliced into thin strips or cubed before being pan fried to make it crispy. It has a slightly nutty taste that's often overshadowed by the smoky flavour released during cooking. Tempeh is ideal for making BLT sandwiches or salads and mini quiches made with a tofu centre.
As you can see, accommodating vegan guests when organising event catering doesn't need to be complicated. Experiment with some meat-free recipes ahead of time to get an idea of what meat alternatives you prefer working with, and ask vegan guests for their input into the dishes you're preparing.