Summer Sanders is the plant-based author and blogger behind Radiantly Raw, a lifestyle brand that is helping so many to incorporate more plant-based living foods into their diets. Summer is a raw foods expert and cleansing specialist, but, surprisingly, she’s not too strict about her raw-slash-vegan ways. Her advice on health and nutrition is always spot-on and 100% attainable – she’s one of our favorite Instagramers to follow for constant and practical inspiration (find her at @rawfoodlove).
Since Summer’s own plant-based lifestyle is so flexible, she’s the hostess with the mostest for vegan soirees that will please all shapes and sizes. Looking to throw an all-vegan dinner party but want to make sure your omnivore guests go back for seconds? Take a few of Summer’s best tips, then whip up her raw cheesecake worth every little berry-filled bite!
Dinner parties are one of my favorite ways to celebrate life and connect with my friends and family. I love bringing people together and bonding with the people who mean the most to me over great food and wine!
The challenging thing when planning dinner parties (as a vegan) is putting together a spread of food that is beautiful and interesting to all guests. Not everyone is a vegetarian, not every one is vegan, and a large number of my friends enjoy meats in their diet.
My goal when preparing foods for a plant-based dinner party is to make delicious dishes that will satisfy even the pickiest meat eater. Below are some great tips that have helped me feed a variety of diet types with success!
The most important tip is to prepare the food with love. The time and heart that goes into preparing the food will be obvious when your guests take a bite! Don’t stress yourself, keep it simple and clean, buy local and keep it fun for you!
6 tips for vegan dinner parties
Your Guest List
Consider who is coming and what their typically diet is like. If you have someone who is prone to eat a heavy steak and potato style diet, make sure to have a dish that will satisfy this palate. I love doing sweet potato, quinoa or bean based dishes that are a bit heavier for these folks.
Is is spring? summer? I prepare my dishes for dinner parties with the seasons in mind. Springtime is great for sugar snap peas! Smashed peas on a crustini, fabulous and gorgeous! Summertime, I love apricots and cherries. By eating with the seasons you’ll keep the costs down and you’ll delight your diners with a beautiful spread of healthy nutrient-rich foods.
Don’t try and throw it together in one day. Consider the dishes and how long they will take you to make. Prepare the fresh dishes the day of to keep fresh, but it’s fine to cook your quinoa, rice or other starches ahead of time.
In the details
The food is important, but the little details can really make the dinner party special. I love getting into it! Flowers, decor, vintage plates with color, music… It all matters.
What is a dinner party without some fabulous wine? Choose organic and biodynamic when possible.
Whenever I throw parities, I like to send the guests home with a recipe. I choose the recipe that I think will be the biggest hit and I write it out on some lovely paper and make sure each guest gets one. Here’s my recipe for raw cheesecake – one I’ve sent home many recipe cards for!
Perfect Raw Berry Cheesecake
For the crust:
2 cups raw almonds, dry
5 to 7 dates, pitted
1 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
For the filling:
3 cups cashews, soaked for 2 hours
1 cup young coconut meat
3/4 cup lemon juice
2/3 cup coconut oil
3/4 to 1 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup (optional)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 to 1 tsp salt
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup raspberries
1/2 cup strawberries
Place almonds, dates, coconut oil, vanilla and salt in a food processor and blend until a dough like consistency forms.
Press the dough into the bottom of a 9-inch spring-form pan. The crust does not need to be thick, a thin curst is fine. Once prepared, place the crust in the freezer to set while preparing filling.
In your blender combine, cashews, coconut meat, lemon juice, coconut oil, coconut sugar, maple syrup, vanilla extract and salt. Blend well. You may find that you need a little water to make sure the mixture blends well. Be conservative with the water or the cheesecake may not set up right.
Pour the filling into your springform pan. Top with berries and transfer to the refrigerator for two hours or more.