First off, my philosophy on food is to eat healthily, locally if you can (but don’t you dare try to take my coffee away from me!), be an omnivore but, most importantly, don’t be obsessive. Turning down a meal invitation is generally a bad idea because it is rude; even if it “throws you off your diet”, you can compensate later on.
As an omnivore, I still have vegetarian friends, some of whom are vegan. You can imagine I’m not going to be very close to anybody who turns a meal, which should be a celebration of life and love, into a political event, but I want to be able to entertain friends even if they have different dietary standards than I.
The following is my favorite “go to” recipe for entertaining vegans. It is a vegan curry. Omnivores, you’ll still enjoy this even without the meat and dairy:
2 tbsp vegetable oil (preferably peanut oil or something with a high smoke point. I LOVE olive oil, but it tends to burn and scorch in this recipe because of its low smoke point)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp turmeric
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 onions, diced
4 tomatoes, chopped or one 12 oz can diced tomatoes
3 carrots, sliced
1 cup peas or lentils
2 potatoes, chopped into one inch pieces
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup water
Heat the oil over medium heat. Add garlic and all the spices and reduce heat to low. Cook for just one minute, stirring once or twice.
Add onions and sautee for 3 minutes, or until onions turn clear. Add tomatoes, carrots, peas, potatoes, salt and water. Cover your pan and allow to cook for about 20 minutes, or until potatoes are done, stirring occasionally. Serve over rice if desired, and enjoy!
The original recipe called for half the amount of vegetable oil and replaced the remainder with margarine. Try it that way if you like, but I’m not keen on the transfats and other aspects of margarine and how they affect your health.