Tofu, zucchini, pasta…Choosing a vegetarian meal option can be difficult. Dee Haddad, Design Director & Event Designer for Thomas Caterers of Distinction, offers insight on how to work with your caterer to create vegetarian options your entire guest list can enjoy. Diversify your next event menu with ease.

Q: How do you select a vegetarian friendly caterer?

A: I always consider food items that can omit the meat portion, and still stand on their own for taste, quality and design. For instance, you may have a pasta that can be served without the meat. Think about your entire menu and find the areas where you can go veg!

Q: What is the toughest part about creating a vegetarian menu for events?

A: The toughest part of an all-vegetarian menu is that you will have guests who will look at this as disappointment since they have no “meat” on their menu—regardless of how amazing the vegetarian selections would be.

I see people using the wide variety of vegetables. Really anything that is in season. Green beans are really making a comeback. I’ve seen them in salad, as garnishes and as the side dish for which they are commonly known. Adding herbs into salads as a component, not just a garnish is also a great trend. The key to great vegetarian cooking is the natural flavor and herbs.

Q: Once a caterer is selected, is it up to the caterer to create a vegetarian friendly menu or does the event host do this traditionally?

The caterer should always provide the host options about the vegetarian selections. The host can then guide the caterer to the best option for their guests since they know the guests best and their personal preferences.

Q: What are the top trends in vegetarian small bites or appetizers right now?

Fresh and local. When it comes to vegetarian lifestyle, fresh is always trendy.

Q: What are the top trends in vegetarian entrees?

The goal for main course dishes is to be an entrée not just a plate of side items. The complete thoughtful entrée is what it’s about. Proteins like Lentils, Tofu (Soy Bean Curd) and Seitan (wheat meat) are really popular. They all give the entrees different textures and a variety of flavors.

About the Author:

Dee Haddad is the Design Director and Event Designer for Thomas Caters of Distinction. She is a current member of IMPI Indiana Meeting Professionals International and ISES International Special Events Society. Haddad is an expert in creating memorable special event culinary experiences. She’s also a proud vegan.