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 Post subject: HELP! Cooking for an Omni...
PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 11:38 am 
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So I am new to the boards, but I know that you all will have great tips for me.. I am cooking for an omni (guy) friend that is very wary of vegan food... I want to cook something that isn't scary (kale, quinoa, and tofu, oh my!), but something a little different that will leave him regretting ever thinking that vegan food is just carrots and celery.. Any thoughts? Oh and he is kinda a meat and potatoes dude, but I don't wanna scare him with seitan.. Thanks!

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 Post subject: Re: HELP! Cooking for an Omni...
PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 11:43 am 
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The chickpea cutlets from Veganomicon are really good.


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 Post subject: Re: HELP! Cooking for an Omni...
PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 11:49 am 
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Which cookbooks d'you have? I'd probably go for the Leek & Bean Cassoulet with Biscuits from Veganomicon, I like to throw some vegan sausages in there.

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 Post subject: Re: HELP! Cooking for an Omni...
PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 11:58 am 
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I recently had omni houseguests for a week so I know what you are going through. One of my guests was a chef, and my sister. I made a ton of stuff since I was cooking 3 meals a day. The chickpea cutlets are my personal fave, but none of them liked it. I think it just wasn't close enough to meat for them. Their favorite was a pizza I made with a bit of daiya and the tempeh sausage crumbles from VWAV. They also loved gyros using the sietan o greatness recipe. Pancakes, cupcakes and cookies went over well. I found that staying as close to "normal" as possible really helped, something they could recognize.


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 Post subject: Re: HELP! Cooking for an Omni...
PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 12:08 pm 
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If you have Viva Vegan there is a great casserole (can't remember the name of the recipe) that has a pine nut crema on top that is very omni friendly.

I've made the Tofu Ricotta from VwaV and used it to stuff shells with marinara. I served this to my very meat eating and not always open minded family with great reviews. ETA - Actually if you don't tell people it's vegan, they can't tell the difference...honestly.

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 Post subject: Re: HELP! Cooking for an Omni...
PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 12:10 pm 
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I would steer away from anything in a cutlet shape--you already know you don't want to make seitan for example. Also I'd avoid fake sausage and cheeze. Probably pasta is your best bet, not lasagna or anything expected to be dripping in cheese. To up the wow factor have a soup as a first course, there are tons of normally vegan soups that could be quite elegant. And then a kick asparagus dessert where he won't miss the dairy.


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 Post subject: Re: HELP! Cooking for an Omni...
PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 12:18 pm 
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Veg-in-Training wrote:
If you have Viva Vegan there is a great casserole (can't remember the name of the recipe) that has a pine nut crema on top that is very omni friendly.


Ooooh talking of pine nut cream the Veganomicon Mousakka is something I often make for omni's & they love it. I've heard great things about the Veganimicon Pumpkin Baked Ziti too, I need to try that & I think it'd be pretty omni friendly.

Also cookies, cupcakes & pie (s'mlove!) are always winners!

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 Post subject: Re: HELP! Cooking for an Omni...
PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 12:33 pm 
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JillW wrote:
I would steer away from anything in a cutlet shape--you already know you don't want to make seitan for example. Also I'd avoid fake sausage and cheeze.
This. Stay clear of mock meats. You want to show how amazing vegan food is, not "well, it's kind of like the real thing, I guess".

I cooked for a few heathens non-vegans a few weeks ago and did a tomato and orange risotto, stuffed red onions, roasted vegetables, two salads, some bread, a few dips and whatnot. I also did a huge seitan wellington thing with home-made pastry, which was barely touched.

The risotto started off as stuffed tomatoes, but I wasn't paying attention and overcooked them, and a risotto was born out of panic. It turned out to be absolutely amazing, so I will make it again (if I can remember how...).

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Last edited by Gulliver on Thu Feb 10, 2011 12:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: HELP! Cooking for an Omni...
PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 12:36 pm 
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I made a crockpot full of TVP sloppy joes on Sunday for a bunch of omnis and most of it got eaten. Probably would've been completely gone if we didn't run out of buns! Lentils make good sloppy joes, too.

Enchiladas are great. You can fill 'em with sweet potato and black beans, or you could use a faux meat like Soyrizo. You don't even need "cheese", really and you can make homemade enchilada sauce for uber cheap.

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 Post subject: Re: HELP! Cooking for an Omni...
PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:52 pm 
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Seriously, although tempting, stay away from vegan cheese, seitan, anything meat shaped...because even if the omni likes it, you'll have to put up with "it would be better if it were actually [insert animal product]..." at least, that's been the case in my experience - especially with omni's first trying vegan food. Homey, familiar, and meals that are nearly already vegan are the way to go.

So my suggestions:

*Enchiladas: http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=12509.0 Omit the vegan cheese - you seriously don't need it. The filling is so rock and roll on its own (the beans make it creamy and the rice keeps it firm with good texture...and bell peppers are the best) - just pour a little bit extra of the enchilada sauce on top.

*Pasta: the secret is in the sauce - make it from scratch, put a whole bunch of veggies in it, put a little wine in it, go crazy with your spices, and simmer it for at least an hour - the mix of veggies will take on the spices and tomato so it would be overpoweringly zucchiniy or eggplanty or whatevery but will still have a hearty texture.

*Soup/stew: Minestrone and beer bread cannot be beat. Just like with your pasta, it's all about simmering it and playing with your spices. And beer bread is sooooooo easy and yums.

I was going to keep listing suggestions, but I'm realizing that everything that pops to mind is either Mexican or Italian food - Sopes with grilled veggies! Stuffed bell peppers!

Oh god, and shepherd's pie - he'll get his potatoes and talk about a hearty and killer meal.

Good luck, have fun!

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 Post subject: Re: HELP! Cooking for an Omni...
PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:53 pm 
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Thank you thank you thank you! You rock! I appreciate the suggestions! I am gonna look at some of ther recipes and see what I can do! I will report back.. AND if you have more suggestions, keep 'em coming!! Cooking for skeptical omnis is terrifying for me, I feel like I am the sole vegan representative that they will ever encounter!

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 Post subject: Re: HELP! Cooking for an Omni...
PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:56 pm 
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husband as on omni and he hates daiya but doesn't mind the fake sausage stuff if they are in a sauce. He loves chili and cornbread and soups with homemade rolls. can't go wrong with dessert either-that's usually where you can win people over.


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 Post subject: Re: HELP! Cooking for an Omni...
PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:56 pm 
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I made Mama Pea's stew the other day, and it was very flavorful and didn't have any 'fake' foods. I made it with the garlicky kale and mushrooms from Appetite for Reduction and served over some rice. Very heart, delicious, and also very very easy.

http://peasandthankyou.com/2011/02/03/tattooed/ for the recipe from Mama Peas' blog.

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 Post subject: Re: HELP! Cooking for an Omni...
PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 2:07 pm 
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If you have Vcon, the pumpkin baked ziti. I know it has tofu, but you would never know... and it's delicious. I think you also have to make an amazing dessert... cookies or pie.

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 Post subject: Re: HELP! Cooking for an Omni...
PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 2:22 pm 
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I don't know if this would work for your friend - not sure if "meat and potatoes" also means "standard American diet only" - but I've had great luck cooking cuisines for omnis that are naturally vegan. Indian food is the absolute best for this - you can make an entire incredibly filling, delicious meal consisting of dishes that are supposed to be animal-product-free. (I'd make saag aloo - spinach and potatoes - and a dal of some sort, with rice and maybe naan if I was feeling adventurous.) Thai curries are also terrific, as the coconut milk adds great richness and mouthfeel, plus having a few tofu cubes floating in a Thai curry with all the other stuff seems quite "normal."

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 Post subject: Re: HELP! Cooking for an Omni...
PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 2:52 pm 
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Almost everyone like fabulous Italian food, especially if you can make ravioli or tortellini. I have made the eggplant rollatini in the Veganomicon for people that feared vegetables and they loved it. A fabulous dessert will also help!

And don't be afraid! In my experience, people talk a lot of shiitake but they are always happy to have someone cook a nice dinner for them.

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 Post subject: Re: HELP! Cooking for an Omni...
PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 3:35 pm 
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My husband is an omni and hates "weird vegan food." Here are some things he loves though:

Bean chili
Enchiladas
Stir-fry
Leek & bean cassoulet from Vcon
Indian food (dals, curries, etc)
Even though he claims he didn't like it, he loved a vegan lasgna I made with the Vcon tofu ricotta

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 Post subject: Re: HELP! Cooking for an Omni...
PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 4:38 pm 
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I would make a rich mushroom ragout and serve it over polenta, add either a salad with vinaigrette or roasted asparagus with vinaigrette, and then maybe macerated oranges for dessert.


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 Post subject: Re: HELP! Cooking for an Omni...
PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 5:00 pm 
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jojo wrote:
I've heard great things about the Veganimicon Pumpkin Baked Ziti too, I need to try that & I think it'd be pretty omni friendly.

This is my go-to omni recipe. Honestly, I'm not as wild about it as everyone always seems to be, but it's a great crowd-pleaser for all sorts of people, and it's really filling. There is tofu in it, but no one ever notices/comments.

And for his potato-loving self, these potatoes blow my boyfriend's mind: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2008 ... -potatoes/


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 Post subject: Re: HELP! Cooking for an Omni...
PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 5:17 pm 
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Pasta. everyone likes pasta.


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 Post subject: Re: HELP! Cooking for an Omni...
PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 5:29 pm 
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Courico Tacos from VB with homemade tortillas from Vegan Explosion (blog)
I use the Morningstar Meal Starters for the tacos and they come out fantastic. Be wise in the amount of chipotles you add. It can and will turn your tacos into bites of pain. (I like spicy though so I get through it.) The homemade tortillas, taco "meat" and recommended salsa from VB will impress absolutely anyone, vegan or not.

D-E-F-I-N-I-T-E-L-Y one of my all time favorites.


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 Post subject: Re: HELP! Cooking for an Omni...
PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 5:30 pm 
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Veg-in-Training wrote:
If you have Viva Vegan there is a great casserole (can't remember the name of the recipe) that has a pine nut crema on top that is very omni friendly.

I've made the Tofu Ricotta from VwaV and used it to stuff shells with marinara. I served this to my very meat eating and not always open minded family with great reviews. ETA - Actually if you don't tell people it's vegan, they can't tell the difference...honestly.



Agreed. The tofu ricotta is a hit here. Also the cashew ricotta from V'Con (which I think is even better!)... I stuff shells with them with great reviews. I like the chickpeas romesco from V'Con for picky omnis, or the penne vodka. My husband started out picky but LOVED those.


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 Post subject: Re: HELP! Cooking for an Omni...
PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 6:22 pm 
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also like the mushroom ragout idea. with red wine in it. served with pasta!


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 Post subject: Re: HELP! Cooking for an Omni...
PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 6:33 pm 
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vijita wrote:

And for his potato-loving self, these potatoes blow my boyfriend's mind: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2008 ... -potatoes/



Those potatoes look so good! I will have to make those, even if it isn't for the omni! YUM

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 Post subject: Re: HELP! Cooking for an Omni...
PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2011 12:16 am 
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Veg-in-Training wrote:
If you have Viva Vegan there is a great casserole (can't remember the name of the recipe) that has a pine nut crema on top that is very omni friendly.

Actually, just close your eyes, open the book, and cook whatever you land on. Ok, there are a few very seitan, tofu, and tempeh dishes you might not want to start a suspicious omni on. But most of the bean, grain, salad, salsa, vegetable/side dishes, plus beverages and desserts would be perfect.

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