A problem that I hear a lot is the challenge of vegan cooking for a non-vegan family. In a perfect world, we’d be able to convince everyone around us to also go vegan and then Problem Solved! I hope it works out that way for you but there are some ways to make it easier if it doesn’t.
At my house, I’ve found a way that works for us. My husband is vegetarian and we have 3 kids ages 8-14. If we had been vegan/vegetarian when the kids were babies, we probably would have raised them that way. But we weren’t. My husband and I both cook dinners and we generally cook vegan meals but have additions of eggs or dairy products. When we eat out or get takeout or if they are getting a school lunch, the kids choose whatever they want to eat and it often contains meat. I might wish they didn’t eat any meat, but it’s up to them. I’m hopeful that they’ll eat plant-based when they grow up and realize all the benefits, but in the end it's their decision.
So a typical dinner at our house with both vegan and dairy options might look like this.
- Taco bar or DIY burritos with ground vegan meat, veggies, beans, and cheese. This is easy as I’ll just pass on the cheese.
- Spaghetti and veggies with parmesan cheese or a cheese sauce on the side.
- Breakfast for dinner with vegan pancakes and sausage, with regular scrambled eggs for those who want it.
- Veggie burgers and some will have cheese on theirs.
- Veggie fried rice and half will be made with egg in it.
You get the idea!
Typically, for cooking that needs milk (like mashed potatoes) we just use almond or soy milk. No one cares that we’re not using regular milk as none of them have a ton of flavor. The key is that we aren’t making separate dinners for everyone. We are making vegan meals that have options to add dairy or eggs to it depending on the meal. The meals are very “normal” and everyone is happy with them. Think about what meals you and your family typically enjoy and then just find substitutions to veganize them. The key at first is to keep it as simple as possible. I'll be posting soon about creating a list of meals to put into a rotation which will save a ton of time and energy!