Your wedding day is supposed to be the happiest day of your life. Planning the wedding, however, can be filled with stress and frustration especially for the vegan couple. When it’s time to decide the menu, friends and family tend to polarize and get adamant about what food will and won’t be served. Suddenly, this event which is supposed to be about love and commitment is all about this one meal. If you are planning a vegan wedding, the food has to be amazing so your guests will all see how delicious vegan food can be. Whether you want an elegant dinner or just a big spread of your favorite foods, your wedding reception menu can be spectacular from the hors d’ouvres to the wedding cake. Whether you are cooking the food yourself or need ideas to give to your caterer, here are some incredible vegan recipes that will make your wedding reception a meal to remember.
1. Hors d’Ouvres
My favorite food part of a wedding reception is the cocktail hour when the giant spread of hors d’ouvres is put out. Your appetizers can be fun and casual, elegant and refined or ethnic delicacies consistent with your heritage or favorite foods. Whatever your theme, choose hors d’ouvres that are small and take no more than two bites to eat. Given that your guests will be dressed up, serve appetizers that neat and not drippy or messy.
Fun finger food can include Vegan Mozzarella Sticks, Baked Jalapeno Poppers, Smoky Avocado Fries, Mini-Stuffed Potato Skins, and Cauliflower Buffalo Bites. More elegant choices for hors d’ouvres include these Lentil Mushroom Walnut Balls, Vegan Cream Cheese Filled Tomatoes with Spices and Green Onions, Russet Potato Croquettes with Roasted Tomato Salsa and Cheater Vegan Cheese, Sweet Potato Bruschetta, Vegan Pigs in Plums, Mini Quinoa Chickpea Cakes and Veggies and Mushrooms Mini Bites. For a sit-down hors d’ouvres option, serve this Beet Carpaccio.
Everyone loves ethnic foods. You can stick to the delicacies of one ethnic cuisine or have a smorgasbord of different cuisines. Spice up the menu with these adorable Pickled Beet Mini Tacos, Chili Coated Plantain Chips with Lime Ketchup, Vegan Greek Keftedes, and Savory Stuffed Pepper Poppers. Indian appetizers could include this Chicken-Free Satay with Peanut Dipping Sauce, Sticky Peanut Cauliflower Wings, Healthy Baked Pakora and Indian Sweet Potato and Tapioca Cakes. You can’t go wrong with Asian hors d’ouvres because who doesn’t love spring rolls and dumplings? Serve these beautiful Red Cabbage and Jicama Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce, Sweet Potato Spring Rolls, Butternut Squash Potstickers, Tempeh and Kale Steamed Gyoza, and Vegan California and Teriyaki Tofu Sushi.
Impress your guests by serving an artisanal cheese plate that just happens to be vegan. Fill a platter with Vegan Cashew Dill Cheese, Vegan Baked Nut Cheese, Kick Ass Extra Sharp Raw Vegan Cheddar Cheese Ball, Vegan Macadamia Nut Brie en Croute, and an Herb and Nut-Encrusted Cheese Log.
2. Soups and Salads
Wedding receptions can get warm between all the people and the dancing. If you want to serve soup, stick to chilled soups. Serve the soup in shot glasses or wine tasting glasses for easy drinking. Try these Healthy Pea Soup Shooters, Chilled Cucumber Dill and Creamy Carrot Bisque, Watermelon Gazpacho and this Minty Zucchini and Strawberry Chilled Soup.
If the dinner is buffet-style, you can have several types of salads whereas if the dinner is a sit-down event, you would choose one type of salad. Elegant and light options include Butter Lettuce Wedges with Sunflower Seed Dressing, Pears and Tempeh Bacon, Spring Greens with Creamy Walnut Pesto and Sunflower Sprouts over Pasta, Cinnamon Spiced Apple and Grape Salad, Buttery Spinach Salad with Crumbled Tempeh and Crispy Shallots, Kale Salad with Almonds and Apricots, Spring Salad with Edible Flowers and Dandelion Greens and this refreshing Summer Watermelon Salad. Along with the salads, offer these Gluten-Free Multi-Grain Rolls and Homemade Vegan Butter.
3. Casual Entrees
The entrees are divided into casual and formal because some couples want a dinner that is buffet-style and/or filled with fun and familiar casual foods while others want a more formal sit-down menu. A casual dinner can include popular options such as sliders and other small dishes which are fun, easy to eat and because they are small, everyone can sample several types. Consider these Sriracha Tempeh Sliders with Ranch Dressing, Potato Fritter Sliders with Chipotle Aioli and Walnut Falafel Sliders with Pickled Beet and Lemon Mayo. Other familiar favorites could include these Mini Tempeh Meat Loaves, Beer Battered Avocado Tacos, “Crab” Cakes with Green Tartar Sauce, Grilled Seitan Kebabs with Creole Coconut Sauce, “Chicken-Fried” Tofu Steaks with White Gravy and Creamy Mashed Potatoes, and Spinach Artichoke Lasagna Rollups.
4. Formal Entrees
Formal entrees are elegant plates designed for a sit-down dinner. There should be choices for the guests in case anyone prefers not to eat certain foods or has dietary restrictions. There should be options that are gluten-free, soy-free and nut-free. It would also be helpful to find out if any of your guests have any special needs in advance so you can design a menu that accommodates everyone.
Beautiful entrees that use tofu can include Pan-Fried Tofu Steaks with Coriander Cream and Asparagus Spears, Baked Tofu with Red Wine Mushroom Sauce, Pistachio Crusted Tofu with Prickly Pear Sauce, Moroccan Tofu with Lemon-Olive Sauce over Spaghetti, and Vegan Tofu Scallops served in a Vegan Scampi Sauce. For tempeh dishes, serve this lovely Slow Cooker Tempeh Braised with Figs and Port Wine, Tempeh Piccata or Sweet and Spicy Tempeh. Meat-lovers won’t complain when they get an amazing, hearty seitan dinner like this Seitan Steak in Beurre Blanc Sauce, Seitan and Mushroom Bourguignon, Lemon Seitan with Creamy Polenta and Seitan Wellington in a Creamy Spinach Sauce.
Vegetable entrees can be elegant too. For your guests who would prefer a veggie-centric dinner, wow them with this Vegan Mushroom Bourguignon, Rustic Creamy Portobello Stroganoff, Saffron Risotto with Roasted Vegetables, Portobello Wellington, and Cauliflower Piccata.
Pasta lovers will fall head over heels for this Creamy Lemon Ziti with Roasted Asparagus, Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Burst Cherry Tomato Spaghetti, Vegan Gnocchi with Thyme Vinaigrette and Cashew Cream, Fried Artichokes over Lemon Butter Pasta, Succulent Tortellini with Nut Cream and Wild Mushroom Sauce, Pasta Puttanesca, Spaghetti with Vegan Bolognese Sauce, Eggplant Cannelloni, and Potatoes and Porcini Mushroom Ravioli in Broccoli Cream Sauce. Don’t forget to offer a raw option like this beautiful Raw Zucchini Pasta with Creamy Avocado-Cucumber Sauce.
5. Side Dishes
Every dinner plate should come with at least two side dishes – one that is a starch such as potatoes or rice and one that is pure vegetables. Of course, if you are having a buffet-style dinner, you can offer more than two choices. For potato sides, choose these Fried Smashed Potatoes with Lemon Vinaigrette, Insanely Good Baked Sweet Potatoes with Cashew Cauliflower Cream, Coconut and Turmeric Roasted Potatoes, Dijon Grilled Potato Salad with Arugula, and Baked to Perfection Fingerling Potato Rounds. Rice and rice-like sides can include this Fiddlehead Fern Risotto, Mushroom Biryani, Green Chickpea Pulao, Cheesy Sprouted Brown Rice with Mushrooms and Baby Spinach, Rice Pilaf with Kale, Cashews and Veggies and Seasonal Quinoa Pilaf with Ramps, Artichokes and Peas.
You can’t have a vegan wedding dinner without veggies. Well, you can but you don’t want miss out on these amazing side dishes that will show your guests how delicious veggies are. Serve these Lemon Tarragon Asparagus, Rosemary Roasted Carrots with Creamy Thyme and Rosemary Sauce, Lemon Sauteed Broccolini, Garlic and Thyme Pan-Seared Mushrooms, Curried Carrots with Pistachio, Early Summer Light Veggie Saute, and Sauteed Spinach in Tomato Fennel Sauce.
Besides the wedding cake, wedding receptions offer other desserts. My favorite weddings have dessert buffets with lots of different mini-sized desserts and pastries. Mini-desserts are small, individually portioned and usually beautifully decorated. Small desserts also mean that your guests won’t be too weighed down to dance! Adorable but decadent choices include these Raw Mini Chocolate Cream Cakes, Lemon Coconut Curd Cupcakes, Mini Vanilla Bean Pavlovas With Coconut Whip and Raspberries, Mini Doughnut Balls With Caramel Dipping Sauce, Lime Poppyseed Mini Cheesecakes and Mini Lemon Lavender Bundt Cakes.
If you would like to have sorbet, ice cream or pudding, serve it in small shot glasses or small ramekins for individual portions. Try this Banana Chai Ice Cream with Gingerbread Crumble, Berry Mango Sorbet with Banana and Pineapple, Pistachio Crème Brulee and Coconut Panna Cotta. Small bites are fun and great for guests who only want a small taste of something sweet. Put out an impressive array of vegan truffles in all different flavors because believe it or not, everyone (me included) doesn’t like chocolate. Try these Orange Pecan Truffles, Warming Cardamom Chocolate Truffles, Dark Chocolate Coated Peanut Butter, Marmalade and Single-Malt Scotch Truffles with Sea Salt Flakes, Baileys White Chocolate Truffles, Raw Strawberry Creme Chocolate Truffles, Whiskey Truffles with Almond Praline, and Raw Raspberry and Banana-Peanut Truffles. Put out a platter of pretty and delicate cookies such as these Raw Lemon Macaroons, Vegan Russian Tea Cakes, Vegan Italian Anise Cookies, Thin Mint Sandwich Cookies, and of course, some heart-shaped Ginger Cookies with Pink Frosting.
7. Wedding Cake
Of course, the most important thing on the wedding reception menu is the wedding cake. There are more specialty vegan bakeries than ever and even non-vegan bakeries are becoming more familiar with baking vegan, dairy-free and egg-free products. If you are getting your wedding cake from a bakery, make sure you give them the entire list of ingredients that are unacceptable to you. Offer suggestions for vegan substitutions for eggs, dairy, sugar, honey and other ingredients that may contain animal products such as food coloring.
If you or a friend is baking your wedding cake from scratch, we have lots of amazing cake recipes that can be adapted to become your wedding cake. I wasn’t vegan when I got married but I did make my own tiered wedding cake out of 3 different sized bakery carrot cakes that I stacked and then decorated myself. My husband and I even made our own wedding topper. If you would like a chocolate wedding cake, try this Salted Caramel and Chocolate Cake, Triple Layer German Chocolate Cake, or this Chocolate Lovers Cake. For those who prefer cakes that are lighter and fruiter, make a wedding cake out of this Stealthy Lemon Birthday Cake, Blueberry Coconut Cake, Coconut Vanilla Cake, Vanilla Cake with Buttercream Icing, Banana Cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting or this Vanellie Cake with both blackberry and strawberry cashew creams. Cheesecake lovers will be happy to cut into this Hazelnut Pumpkin Cheesecake, Blueberry Cheesecake, Raw Lemon and Fig Cheesecake, Raw Cherry Cheesecake and this Raw Chocolate Chunk Cheesecake with Peanut Butter and Coconut.
Weddings are all about declaring your love to another person in front of friends and family who want to share in what will be one of the happiest moments of your life. With any of these dishes in your wedding reception menu, people will be taking so many pictures of the food, you’ll have to remind them to snap a few of the happy couple.
Lead Image Photo: Lemon Seitan with Creamy Polenta