Vegetarian, vegan, meat-free, plant-based….however you refer to it, the number of Americans that are eating more vegetables has been on the rise for some time. Some do it for health reasons, some religious convictions, and others do it for concerns over animal welfare and the environment.
The best New Orleans caterers have been on the leading edge of this meatless revolution for nearly a decade.
Sure, there’s always the vegetarian option that guests can choose at an event. But the trend is to create vegetarian dishes that taste so incredible, the non-vegetarians in the room don’t even miss the meat!
Whether you choose to go with a full vegetarian menu, or just offer some meat-free, or plant-forward options, it’s a great direction to go!
Start At the Top with The Apps
Hors d’oeuvres set the mood for any event and vegetable
Because guests tend to graze during this meal period, small bites allow them to try a few different kinds. So, it’s easy to slip plenty of meatless options into this course. Here are some of our most popular vegetarian appetizers:
- Smoked white cheddar bruschetta topped with pesto and pine nuts
- Fig and goat cheese flatbread
- Parmesan artichoke hearts
- Truffle mac n cheese cups
- Bruschetta of cherry tomato & mini buffalo mozzarella
- Smoked mozzarella canape with sun-dried tomato pesto
- Parmesan artichoke hearts
- Spring rolls
- Tomato basil caprese skewers
- Tapenade station with hummus, tabbouleh, baba ghanoush, white bean dip, roasted red pepper tapenade, sun-dried tomatoes, ripe olives, served with pita, crostini and toasted bagel bites
A new trend, called Jarcuterie, includes anything that can be eaten from a jar with your fingers. So how about fresh, individually portioned crudité and beautifully layered fruits.
Now that the hors d’oeuvres have been consumed, it’s time for a first course of soup and salad. Meatless dishes really shine during this course because guests already anticipate a soup or salad, so it’s easy for them to not miss the meat here as well. Here are some options to consider from our catering menus:
- Spinach, strawberry, toasted pecan and feta salad tossed with balsamic vinaigrette
- Watermelon and feta with balsamic vinaigrette
- Creamy roasted butternut squash soup
The Main Event
This is where guests begin to expect some meat or seafood. So, unless you are going for a full vegetarian menu, this could be where you sprinkle in a few meat and fish options to satisfy the carnivores at your event. But for the vegetarian options, consider these options below:
- Mushroom wellington
- Stuffed poblano pepper with quinoa, queso and a spicy tomato ragu
- Grilled tofu with stir-fried vegetables on steamed white rice
- Mushroom ragu with fresh herbs served atop pasta
- Penne with roasted asparagus and balsamic
Pasta is a great dish that focuses heavily on vegetables. Consider a pasta station with lots of plant-based sauces and toppings. Chef-attended action stations can help bring extra flair to an event, and allow guests to customize their dishes. Plant-based pasta toppings abound like mushrooms, spinach, olives, tomatoes, basil, and artichokes. There are plenty of vegetable-forward sauces such as pesto, marinara, and vodka sauce.
Since vegetarians (not vegans) can consume dairy, vegetarian dessert options are limitless! Most dessert menus don’t need to be modified for vegetarians. Consider options like:
- Bananas foster flambé
- New Orleans Beignets
- Banana bread cake donuts drizzled with caramel and pecans
- Fresh fruit sorbets made with coconut milk – a great intermezzo between dinner and dessert.
- Strawberry shortcake spoons
Vegetarians Love a Good Late-Night Snack
Don’t leave vegetarians out of this late-night treat! Skip the typical mini cheeseburgers or pulled pork sliders and consider instead some vegetarian options that are decadent and filling…just without the meat. Here are a couple of our most satisfying vegetarian options to wind down the evening:
- Gourmet grilled cheese squares with tomato bisque shooters
- Decadent three-cheese fries
- Coffee/hot chocolate and a donut wall
- Soft pretzels with mustard and cheese sauces
- Gourmet popcorns
- Potato bar with baked/mashed potatoes, fries and a variety of toppings
Planning Is Key
As you can see, providing vegetarian options at a catering event doesn’t have to mean serving tofu, steamed broccoli, and pasta. Vegetables, when seasoned and prepared properly, and with creativity, can pack the same “wow-factor” as delicious and well-prepared meat dishes. It just takes creativity and a skilled caterer like Messina’s Catering and Events.
We have been providing full-service catering to the New Orleans area for six decades. We have a great deal of experience in implementing trends in our food and drink menus. Check out our article on Gluten Free Catering Menus for more ideas! To learn more, visit www.messinascatering.com.