Is it at all possible to please vegetarians during Easter? Jerri Green with a few helpful tips that will have both vegheads and carnivores asking for seconds.
Text And Photo By Jerri Green
Vegetarians often get accused of eating rabbit food. Funny, because this time of year when bunny images abound, few people know what to serve their vegetarian friends at Easter dinner. The short answer is don’t feed them ham, or lamb, or whatever main meat dish you have planned that is traditional in your family. And while everyone loves candy, no one can live on pastel colored chocolate eggs alone. But, what can you do? Well, it is really not that complicated.
Let’s start at the beginning. If you are having appetizers,venture beyond cocktail wieners or crab dip. Cheese and crackers quick crowd pleasers. Deviled eggs are great if you have been dying hard boiled eggs for the little ones anyway. You can also start with a spring salad of strawberries and spinach, but don’t stop there.
Side dishes can work for meat eaters and vegetarians alike – think gooey baked mac and cheese, fresh green peas, and creamy mashed potatoes. Just be sure not to use chicken stock or ham hock or any other meat product in your recipes. I live in the South and typically every green vegetable is made with meat. The recipes of our grandmothers even for green beans all start with, “add some bacon to the pan.” If you don’t believe me watch Cooking with the Neeley’s on the Food Network. They are fellow Memphians and it never fails they find a way to put meat in everything. Just don’t do it if you are having a vegetarian over. Save the bacon grease for another day and use other spices or vegetable stock (it is on the shelf right next to the chicken stock) to season your sides. Also, buttery rolls are a hit with carnivores and vegetarians alike.
But, what about the main dish? I know you are thinking your meal wouldn’t be complete without the meat. Most vegetarian won’t feel that way. First, realize if they have several sides to choose from, you may not need a main vegetarian dish. Secondly, you can always ask your veghead friend for their favorite recipe and try to make it. Or, you can even ask if they could bring it. We really don’t mind cooking if it means we will have something to eat. Some of my suggestions would include spinach patties (think crab cakes but with spinach instead) or a cheese quiche (this is great if you are doing brunch).
Finally, don’t forget dessert! A fresh peach pie or a strawberry layer cake would be a wonderful ending to a satisfying meal. And there is always that chocolate bunny.
In the end, remember not to stress yourself out about this. The point of the holiday is to share it together – it is not about what is on your plate. Happy Easter every bunny!
Jerri Green is a vegetarian that lives with and loves a self-proclaimed carnivore. She makes meals work for everyone while juggling the mounting demands of motherhood. Nothing fancy but always fresh, she draws on her southern heritage to bring satisfying food to the table each and everyday.