by Pamela Coyle

The cheese issue often stumps me. Humble or highbrow, the cheese platter is one of this host’s party must-haves. It is easy. It dresses up nicely. And guests dive right in

Vegans don’t eat any food that comes from animals, including dairy, eggs and cheese. So how would a party look?

The affair would not have a scarlet “V” on the entryway door. Visitors would find people having a great time and a range of creative and tasty dishes. The offerings might even include “cheese.”

I did some Googling and easily found great websites with recipes such as Pepper-Crusted Cashew Goat Cheese, Marinated Cheeze, Vegan “Sharp Cheddar Cheese” and even vegan Smoked Cheese. Often cashews and nutritional yeast form the base. Yes, nuts contain fat but have you looked at the fat ratio in the standard wedge of Brie?

Yvonne Smith, who had a show on local cable called “The Traveling Vegetarian,” has been vegan for seven years and her parties are typically potluck. She likes to challenge people to make vegan food. “I sometimes suggest people make a vegan version of something they think they’d miss,” Yvonne says.


At one event, a guest (who is a chef) brought vegan Egg McMuffins and response was a uniform, “Wow.” Cheese is another such item people think they can’t live without, she says. Daiya, a line of vegan cheeses, makes trying an un-cheese easy, but the recipes for vegan cheeses are not complicated.

“Veganizing” traditional holiday recipes is simple. The green bean casserole is a great candidate. Sweet potatoes are awesome and healthy and don’t really need butter and cream. Some spices and even dried fruit elevate mashed sweet potatoes to holiday fare. Regular mashed potatoes taste great with soymilk.

Holiday dinner hosts who want a vegan centerpiece dish have options, too. The Celebration Roast is grain-based; the stuffing blends butternut squash, apples and mushrooms. Tofurkey is a standard. And this year, one chef countered the Turducken craze with a recipe for Veggieducken. This missile starts with a massive banana squash, then stuffing, then leeks, then stuffing, then yams in the center. The stuffing includes orange, cranberries, pears, crystalized ginger and toasted almonds.

Leave room for dessert. Another friend recently made Yvonne a vegan cheesecake for her birthday.

“I didn’t even like cheesecake when I ate dairy but this was amazing,” she says.

Q & A: Vegan Holiday Options!

Expert Cathleen Woods answers your questions