Partying While Vegan: What to Bring to Your Holiday Party
As we approach the end of the year, holiday party season is officially in full swing! Being a hopeless social butterfly (as well as a sucker for a good ugly Christmas sweater), I tend to make the rounds of my different friend groups, hitting up as many holiday parties as I can. And while I love it, being vegan does add a little extra stress to the festivities. Yes, there is the question of what to eat, but even more important, “What to bring?” If you’re like me, you want to bring a dish that fits your diet and lifestyle, yet one that everyone will be sure to enjoy. Luckily, I always have these five crowd pleasers to fall back on.
I could bring hummus – and a good vegan bread to dip in it – to just about any party, year round. And while this versatile dish might not sound very seasonal, you can certainly spruce it up. This time of year, I love to add the classic Christmas colors of red and green. My December hummus bowls might include such colorful add-ins as red peppers, paprika, pomegranates, pesto, and/or fresh mint (which also adds a little winter flavor!). Think of the hummus as your canvas: a silky, delicious canvas.
Since I have several Jewish friends, I often wind up at a Hannakuh party or two this time of year. And one of my favorite dishes to bring to said parties is the traditional potato pancake known as latke. While most recipes call for eggs as a binding agent, I like to use a little flour and cornstarch. The result is a classic vegan comfort food that tends to run out as soon as I set the plate down–not that I’m complaining.
If you live in New York, you will always associate this time of year with roasted nuts. The smell wafting from the vendors’ carts is, thankfully, omnipresent in Manhattan right now (it’s one of the few pleasant pervasive smells in this city). I like to bring that smell, and delicious taste, to my holiday parties. Sure, you can buy a bag of roasted nuts to bring, but roasting them yourself in a little bit of olive or avocado oil is a quick and easy process. If I’m feeling especially decadent, I will mix in some maple syrup and cinnamon. It’s a popular party snack that goes great with a nice Christmas Ale.
Vegan Cheese Ball
As we all know, it’s not a holiday party until someone brings a cheese ball. Seriously, I’ve never been to a holiday party where there were fewer than five cheese balls on display. Be different. Bring a vegan cheese ball. Of course, you’ll have to put “cheese” in quotation marks, but that’s OK. Nutritional yeast makes a fine substitute for the creamy cheese found in most cheese balls. File this one under the “Seriously, this is vegan?!” category. People are shocked everytime I tell them.
Carrots In a Blanket
When I was growing up, mini “pigs in a blanket” were a fixture at our family’s New Year’s Eve parties, along with my parents falling asleep promptly at 10 o’clock. I missed these end-the-year delicacies when I went vegan, until I found a fun, creative alternative: carrots in a blanket! And it’s such an easy substitute. Since many of the tubes of crescent roll dough found in stores are surprisingly vegan (including Pillsbury!) all you have to do is substitute the mini hot dogs for baby carrots. And since carrots are much healthier than “pigs,” you can get an early start on that New Year’s resolution.
Those are my go-tos, but I’ve got plenty of other plant-based tricks up my sleeve. But there is always room for more. I would love to hear what you all are bringing to the party!
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