Party Planning Chelsea Clinton Style
This weekend the nation watched as former 1st daughter Chelsea Clinton married her longtime boyfriend Marc Mezvinsky. Not only was the wedding gorgeous and the bride beautiful, but the catering included vegan options and a gluten-free cake – how cool! If you admire the menu options and thoughtful way the bride and groom accomodated the diverse dietary needs of their guests, check out my Top 10 Tips For Planning a Vegan, Gluten-Free Party Menu…
1. Serve it Seasonal: Every season offers a cornucopia of veggies, especially in summer and early fall. Use locally grown produce to add a rainbow of colors and flavors that will create a visual feast.
2. Eat first, label later: Don’t worry about emphasizing that the party will be gluten-free and vegan. The food will speak for itself and the guests will be happily surprised to find out that their delicious meal was so healthy. If told beforehand, their preconceived notions might alter their experience.
3. Serve Salacious Salads: Offer a variety of salads with different ingredients and themes. Beans, pasta, potatoes, tofu, grains, tempeh, and lettuce salads can all be prepared with different dressings and herbs to create a truly stunning party buffet.
4. Fabulous Flavors: Place a wide variety of gluten-free, vegan condiments near the buffet or on the dinner table so that guests can add different flavors to their taste. Gluten-free soy sauce, lemon wedges, fancy sea salts in grey, black, and pink, mustards, non-dairy sour cream, vegan mayonnaise, fruit-juice sweetened ketchup, cornishons, caper berrys, relish, salsas, and hot sauces will give guests options for creating their favorite flavor profiles.
5. Devouring Dessert: Finish the meal with a decadent vegan, gluten-free dessert and your guests will rave about the amazing healthy meal they enjoyed. Whether chocolate, fruit, pudding, or cake based, vegan, gluten-free desserts can be delicious and inspiring to your guests.
6. Try a Theme: Decorate your party and choose recipes based on the time of year, holidays or special events. Summer barbeques with grilled vegetables, fruit, mushrooms and tofu spruce up any July 4th party. May 5th can inspire a Mexican themed buffet. The end of December can be a solstice celebration uniting Christmas and Hanukkah foods that are veganized and gluten-free.
7. Create a vegan drink list: Many alcoholic beverages are made using animal products to filter out impurities. Check with www.barnivore.com for a complete list of vegan and gluten-free wine, beer, and spirits.
8. Hot Potato: For a casual gathering, set up a baked potato bar. Using baked potatoes as a base guests can season with whatever toppings they desire. Shredded vegan cheese, tofu sour cream, steamed broccoli, vegan baked beans, cubed tofu, and chives can spruce up the lowly, delicious potato.
9. Mexican Madness: Celebrate May 5th with a burrito buffet. Corn tortillas and taco shells can be stuffed with beans, rice, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, avocado slices, guacamole, salsa, shredded vegan cheese, olives, sliced green onions, and jalapeños.
10. Eating Ethnic: Choosing a menu from an exotic world cuisine may offer more vegan and gluten-free options. Sushi rolls and miso soup using gluten-free soy sauce make for the beginnings of a fabulous Japanese dinner. Many Indian recipes can be easily veganized by replacing the butter with Earth Balance or coconut oil, and chickpea flour papadum are delicious and gluten-free. Italian menus can easily be put together using gluten-free pasta, fresh vegetables, and shredded vegan cheese or nutritional yeast flakes for added flavor.