When you are a vegetarian, being invited to parties can be difficult. The desire to socialize with friends is high, but the food options for those that go meatless are generally sparse and sometimes even non-existent.
It is even worse for those summer backyard barbecues when meat is the star of the grill. Fear not though. I have got some great tips for surviving a barbecue when you are a vegetarian.
1. Ask your hosts what they will be serving
Knowing is half the battle. While hosts are under no obligation to pander to everyone’s dietary needs, it is certainly polite of them to offer food that everyone can enjoy.
That being said though, take the initiative and find out what other foods they will be serving. Are there salads and fruit platters? Great! Then you have got at least something to eat.
2. Bring your own meatless grilling options
Don’t want to feel left out? Bring a meatless patty or tofu-based hot dog and grill it yourself. Or marinate some veggies to grill and share like eggplant, zucchini, and potatoes. Prior to doing so, ask your hosts if this would be a problem. It should not be, but good manners are always appreciated.
3. Offer to bring a vegetarian side dish
Whether you are vegetarian or not, offering to bring something to a barbecue is the proper thing to do when you accept an invitation. So offer to bring your famous potato salad or whatever it is you think will make a lovely addition to the offerings.
4. Avoid being preachy
You might be passionate about not eating meat, but a barbecue is supposed to be a carefree event. Furthermore, you are not the host. So keep the peace and save the crusade to end meat-eating for another time.
5. Politely decline meat samples
Barbecues are not typically events that center around herbivores. Try not to be offended when you are approached by other guests as they feast on the meats. If anyone asks you if you have tried the burgers or ribs and gushes about how great they are, be as polite as possible.
You can skirt the issue by saying that the side dishes all looked so fabulous, or if you do not want to launch into a diatribe, you can say you are on a diet.
If you must reveal you are a vegetarian, do so without chastising the other guests. A simple, “I do not eat meat, but I am happy to hear you’re enjoying the food. The side dishes are divine too, but I think this music is the best!”
Remember, when you are someone else’s guest, you are going to have to go by the rules of their roost. If meat eating bothers you so extensively you can’t cope, then politely refuse the invitation.
You can also host your own vegetarian barbecue on another day. Are you a vegetarian? How have you handled meat-eating events? Tell us!