A hog roast can be a fun way to bring together family and friends to enjoy weather, conversation and good food. But every host and caterer should be aware that in our modern age many people are choosing a vegetarian diet, for a variety of reasons. Catering to every pallet and diet choice is a necessity for good entertaining. Steve at The Roasting Pig in Warwickshire talks us through how he prepares for vegetarians when catering for guests at weddings and special occasions.
Variety is the Spice of Life
The first thing to keep in mind when setting up a vegetarian friendly hog roast is, of course, vegetarian food options. Too often the unwitting host, in an honest if misguided effort to accommodate, will simply toss a vegetarian burger patty on the grill, hand it to the known vegetarian and then pat themselves on the back for being so accommodating. But this poses two problems.
First, it gives a real sense of otherness to the people who are eating vegetarian, leaving them to either feel bad that they inconvenienced you or annoyed that you didn’t care enough to make their dining experience positive.
Second, it’s boring. Just throwing a frozen, boxed patty on the grill is neither interesting nor special, and certainly it doesn’t compare to the special hog that everyone else is being served.
So what is a caring host to do? Instead of giving your vegetarian guests that sense of otherness, help them to feel included and treated. You can do this by creating a few delicious, unique, and satisfying vegetarian side dishes. In fact, why not ensure that all of the side dishes are vegetarian?
This might mean serving baked beans, without any ham or bacon in it. Maybe a hearty pasta salad with plenty of fresh cheese but no bacon or chicken. Caprese skewers are a big hit today, and are simple to make with fresh mozzarella cheese, tomatoes and a little olive oil. Twice baked potatoes make a hearty side dish that can be prepared in advance and kept warm; just remember to leave the bacon bits off or put them on the side. A nice pasta with marinara sauce is a crowd pleaser for herbivores and carnivores alike.
The point is, if you have a variety of hearty, delicious side dishes then you do not need to specifically make a vegetarian entrée. It’s a win-win, easier for you and more satisfying for your vegetarian guests.
Location, Location, Location
It’s also worth pointing out that most vegetarians do not sit around lamenting the fact that they don’t eat meat; they are happy with their decision. But often, they prefer not to see the meat. Thus, if possible, keep the roasting pig off to the side, so that people can grab their plates, utensils, side dishes and drinks without being forced to gaze upon the roasting pig if they don’t want to.