How to win at dinner parties: A cheese-less cheese platter to please them all
You’ve been there before. It’s a dinner party and things can get tricky since you’ve gone plant-based. This time, things will be different because it’s you hosting: the meal is on your terms.
Even though you’ve gone plant-based, you’re aware there’s nothing worse than alienating your friends with what they view as “weird” vegan food. You’ve seen it happen and don’t want to be the friend whose friends pretend to like their food. “Interesting” and “unique” are not the adjectives you want your guests using to describe your food.
Truth is, you’re overthinking it. Everything from the snacks to the mains are going to be fresh, natural and vibrant.
In this blog post I’ll help you construct the perfect plant-based “cheese” plate: the centrepiece to any successful gathering. There will be no meat, no dairy and no eggs on this platter but there will be incredible, pleasing flavours. Let’s break the platter down by its main components.
Make your homemade vegan cheese the platter centrepiece.
salty + crunchy
There are SO many options in this category that are fantastic to add to a platter. Think pickles (cornichons to be a bit fancy), fresh veg (carrots, celery, fennel), roasted nuts, crunchy corn kernels, olives and falafel. These plant-based snacks will be hugely appreciated while providing classic comfort.
salty + smooth
There are a variety of dips that work perfectly with a 100% plant-based diet. Hummus (the classic recipe or un updated version like red onion), babaganoush and guacamole are all brilliant options. These familiar recipes and flavours lend themselves perfectly to the task.
While cheese is certainly not needed (just look at this delicious list!) you can always have a dairy-free cheese centrepiece. If you’re a keen cook, we’d recommend trying to make your own. Avoid additives, preservatives and unfortunate flavour surprises by giving this garlic and herb plant-based cheese a try.
Babaganoush is an aubergine dip. Its rich, smokey flavour and smooth texture makes it a beautiful dip option for the "cheese" platter.
sweet + smooth
One of the greatest gratifications of a successful welcome platter is the combination of salty and sweet. Don’t forget to add a sweet and spreadable element to your “cheese” platter. This could take the form of a jam or a chutney.
sweet + crunchy
There is nothing quite as rewarding as alternating fresh and cooked bites. Add fresh fruit to your platter for a burst of colour as well as a sweet palate cleanser. Grapes or sliced apples are great classic choices. If you’d like to get more creative, consider strawberries and figs as a guaranteed crown pleaser.
Fresh fruit brings bright and sweet flavours to your cheese-less cheese platter.
Make sure the platter is always served with a generous amount of bread: a simple baguette, a tangy sourdough and a rich-seeded whole wheat loaf are some of my favourites.
It’s important to note that if you purchase store-bought dips these might contain dairy and eggs, so make sure to check the labels.
Happy host, happy guest!