Thought a "vegan feast" meant faux meat, tofu ten ways, and a plate of sad-looking celery sticks? Think again. We're re-branding "rabbit food" with robust curries, life-changing bread and tequila-spiked popsicles. These top 12 picks – many gluten- and dairy-free – are destined for the dinner party scene. So call your vegan pals, or yet-to-be-converted carnivores, and prepare for your popularity levels to soar.
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11 Sep 2014 - 4:42 PM  UPDATED 23 Sep 2014 - 5:18 PM

1. Break the ice

Popsicles are a clever way to build your vegan buddy base in warmer months. Lace the treats with tequila and you’ll be revered! Try the food dept.’s blood orange margarita variety, and serve with lime salt and fresh citrus segments.

2. Smash the scepticism

Hassan M’Souli’s smashed green olive and ruby grapefruit salad is like a smart supermodel: stunning, well-dressed and layered with complexity. Quick and easy to assemble, the colourful dish – adorned with roasted hazelnuts and pomegranate seeds – is ideal as a main or side.

3. Treat your guests to life-changing possibilities

The word is out: vegan, gluten-free bread is a thing of sheer beauty! This wildly popular recipe from My New Roots blogger Sarah Britton features nuts, seeds, maple syrup and flour substitute, psyllium seed husks. Let us all break bread and give thanks.

4. Cut a fine form

Forget lamb cutlets, we’re going Gujarati-style with these diabetic and vegan-friendly banana ones, instead. Laced with cumin, crushed peanuts and raw mango powder, the crumbed cutlets are ideal with mint chutney

5. Play the vegan’s dal-ing

There's plenty more to "spicy stodge" than butter chicken, korma and a stack of garlic naan. Sydney blogger John Bek, of he needs food, prefers to get his fix in the form of masoor dal (red lentils). The North Indian classic is packed with spices, chillies and fresh coriander. Serve with rice or these chickpea pancakes

6. Nothin’ wrong with a nut or two

So what if hard core vegans are a little nutty? We’re cashew-crazy, too. This gluten-, dairy- and sugar-free granola from Sarah Wilson is a breakfast all-star. Team the mix of coconut flakes, chia seeds and activated nuts with your preferred milk or yoghurt, or use as a crumble topping for dessert.

7. You want more?

You won't be left hungry after spooning a bowl of Colombia’s sopa de verduras. Popular year-round, despite South America’s tropical weather, the soup features potatoes, carrots, green beans, along with lemon juice, coriander and a hint of saffron.

8. For when things get fiery

Mingle amongs guests with a spicy conversation starter: wasabi popcorn. Here, we’ve coated the cooked kernels with a nose-tingling combination of nori, icing sugar and crushed wasabi peas. Snack attack, anyone?

9. Have your cake, eat it too

Whatever diet your friends are on – vegan, sugarless or gluten-free – Tony Chiodo’s carrot, cardamom and coconut cake is guaranteed to gratify. Inspired by Indian carrot halva and possessing a rich chai scent, it’ll take tastebuds on an overseas holiday.

10. If they complain, send ‘em packing

A fast food sensation in the streets of Nepal, pakora is a hot snack similar to Japan’s tempura. Serve with the traditional tomato pickle and smile as dinner guests of vegan and non-vegan varieties unite over the deep-fried deliciousness.

11. Here’s a tip, from pea to you

Pigeon pea curry is a Gujarati specialty, infused with fresh spices, including garam masala and ground turmeric, along with jaggery and ginger. A hearty helping will satisfy even the most fastidious eater.

12. Swap good food for SUPER food

Ever heard of Lucuma? It’s a pulpy Peruvian fruit that tastes like caramel and is packed with antioxidants, minerals and other health benefits. Add the fruit (in powdered form) to smoothies, puddings or Sarah Britton’s nut butter cups. They’re vegan and very, very good.

 

For more vegan recipes, check out our collection of sweets and savouries here

 

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