{summer wedding} Vegan Party Food

My son is getting married in a month and, since our caterer is a barbecued chicken joint, I am charged with making one or two supplemental dishes for the vegans to eat.

The Wedding Invitation

I am perfectly comfortable with vegetarian food since I am a semi-vegetarian, that is, a social meat eater, but I tend to rely on eggs, milk and butter for much of my meat-free cooking. So my kitchen has turned into a test kitchen, with two or three possibilities floated per weekend. I think I have two winners. The criteria are as follows:

  1. Must be made the day ahead.
  2. Must be served at room temperature.
  3. Must taste good.
  4. Must be relatively easy to make since I will be really busy.
  5. Must not be a disgusting vegan loaf or contain ingredients that are “meat replacements.” Absolutely no tofurky.

I have scoured my vegan and vegetarian cookbooks and the web and in the end have relied, as ever, on variations of Mark Bittman recipes. These recipes are tweaked from “The Food Matters Cook Book” to conform to my personal preferences. I did allow celery into one of the recipes, but banned it from the other one since two celery dishes are more than I can bear. I also made them spicier because I dislike bland food. I like the contrast in flavors between the lemon of the tabbouleh and the sesame oil of the tofu dish. For both recipes, you can substitute other vegetables freely – it is summer, after all, explore your garden! -but the radishes provide nice crunch in these dishes.  Don’t forget the crunch if you swap vegetables.

So here are the two contenders. Feel free to send me suggestions! I still have time!

Colorful and lemon-y tabbouleh
Colorful and lemon-y tabbouleh



  • ½ cup quinoa, rinsed
  • salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice
  • pepper
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 cup chopped mint
  • ¾ cup cooked or canned pink beans (rinsed and drained if canned)
  • 7 chopped radishes
  • ½ cup chopped green onions
  • 2 chopped ripe tomatoes
  • ¼ cup pitted and chopped black olives
  • ¾ cup roughly chopped almonds or other nuts


Place quinoa in small saucepan, add ¾ cup water and a pinch of salt. Bring to boil, lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool for a few minutes. Place into a bowl and toss with olive oil, lemon juice and a liberal dose of pepper.

Hand chop, rather than food process, the vegetables so that the chunks maintain integrity and don’t just turn into grated mush.

Just before serving add the rest of the ingredients to the quinoa and toss gently. Add more lemon juice, oil, salt or pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature

No-cook tofu salad
No-cook tofu salad



  • 8 ounces of pressed extra firm tofu
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 teaspoons minced fresh Serrano (hotter) or Jalapeno (milder) chile
  • ½ cup sesame oil
  • 4 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • grated fresh ginger to taste (optional)
  • 2 grated celery stalks
  • 1 de-seeded and grated cucumber
  • 1 grated daikon radish
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced and cut into two inch segments
  • sesame seeds


Cut the tofu cake into half lengthwise and wrap each half in a clean tea towel. Place on a flat plate, top with a plate and weigh down with a heavy object like a big cast iron pan or a brick or two. Let it sit for half an hour or longer.


An improvised tofu press
An improvised tofu press


Remove the seeds and membranes from the chile peppers before mincing.

Mix the soy sauce, chiles, sesame oil and rice vinegar together in a large bowl. Add some finely grated ginger if you want extra flavor.

Cut the tofu into matchsticks around 2 inches long. Gently toss into the marinade.

Add the vegetables, toss together and marinate in the refrigerator for two hours. Toss again before serving and sprinkle with sesame seeds.




14 Comments Add yours

  1. Sarah says:

    They look great! I might consider only putting radish in one, since people have strong feelings about radishes, and using gluten-free soy sauce if you think anyone there might be gluten free.

    1. Dianna says:

      yes, there are gluten free people, thanks. I think of daikon and radish as being different with different flavors, but can you think of anything else crunchy in its place?

  2. Yummy, Dianna! You might also consider Lily’s Caponata. Chop carrots, eggplant, onion, garlic, red pepper and roast them in pans. Then mix them all together with some olives, vinegar, salt and pepper. You can throw in pine nuts and it’s great for a week in the fridge.

    Out other new fun book is Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero.

    1. Dianna says:

      that sounds great, i will definitely test it

    2. Made the quinoa Tabbouleh last night – YUM!

      1. Dianna says:

        It’s really good, isn’t it? I don’t think the tofu dish is as good and am trying a Thai baked tofu instead.

  3. YUM! Those both look great. I made this Israeli couscous with mint and lemon a few weeks back and it went over very well amongst our vegan crew! http://farmincityfolk.com/2014/07/08/verily-a-new-couscous/
    Worked very well day-after as well. For the gluten-free (it gets so complicated, doesn’t it?) you could definitely replace the couscous with quinoa.

    1. Dianna says:

      it gets very complicated, but I have found quinoa to be a great substitute for lots of wheat-y foods. I just worry that I am taking it out of the mouths of Peruvian babies.

  4. toozesty says:

    First off, good luck with your son’s upcoming wedding! Both options look delicious. Don’t knock yourself out with fussy recipes so you can spend the big day and the days leading up to it capturing memories. Lots of dips are vegan (gauc, salsa, hummus or baba ghanoush) and make good party food.

  5. Jade Eldridge says:

    My older sister is a semi-vegeterian too (she goes through various stages), but I think she’ll love this!

  6. abdageschmack says:

    Reblogged this on abdageschmack and commented:
    elegant & healthy blog

  7. These look delicious. My husband is very much a carnivore, but when I can make something that’s really satisfying, he is all about it. I’m going to have to try these! I also love your concept of made from scratch. Very cool!


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