How to wow your customers with plant-based catering options
With the popularity of meat-free dishes on the rise, it makes commercial sense to start including veggie and vegan options on your menus. That way, there’s something for every customer — whether they’re a long-term vegan or simply curious and keen to try something new. However, getting started in plant-based catering can seem daunting at first. Using meat is a great way to add depth and flavour to dishes, so what happens if you want to start offering plant-based dishes and suddenly traditional ingredients like mince and chicken stock aren’t an option?
It’s simpler than it seems to bring delicious veggie and vegan dishes to life. Gone are the days of soggy tofu and uninspiring salads — these days there are all sorts of tempting meat-free recipes out there that everybody will want to tuck into.
There are lots of direct swaps you can make when cutting out meat and dairy. Science has matched demand as it’s gradually grown over the years to create some pretty impressive vegan substitutes. For example, dairy can be easily swapped out for oat milk, almond milk, coconut milk or soya. Vegan cheese has come a long way, too — whether you need a mozzarella or a goat’s cheese substitute, you’ll be amazed by what’s on the market. If you’re looking to cut eggs out of some dishes too, there’s lots to choose from. Scrambled tofu works well as a scrambled eggs replacement, while bananas or applesauce (yes, really!) can work well as a binding element for baked goods.
Bringing flavour to meat-free dishes is largely to do with getting your spices right. As well as having the classics on hand — black pepper, garlic powder, paprika and oregano, for example — it’s worth adding a few more items to your cupboard. Nutritional yeast is an ingredient much loved by vegans — with a cheesy and nutty flavour, it’s a delicious (and healthy) addition to many savoury dishes. (It makes a great parmesan replacement, too.) Cumin is another essential — perfect for chillis. We’d also recommend having bouillon in your arsenal (that’s veggie broth). It brings a hearty richness to the simplest dishes and makes a great base for soups and stews.
Twists on the classics
If you need inspiration for dishes that are easy to serve as a plant-based alternative to classic outdoor catering dishes, there’s plenty to choose from. Opt for pizza loaded with vegan cheese, meat-free burritos packed with jackfruit and avocado and juicy vegan burgers (you’d be amazed by how close they taste to the real thing).
SO IN CONCLUSION......
This is a trend that looks like it’s here to stay, so why not offer a range of dishes — from meaty to meat-free on your menu next time you cater an event? Broadening your customer base and your culinary repertoire in one go is a great way to grow your catering business.