The Meal Planner

I'm back with a vegetable vengeance!

Lindsey, the only member of the Secret-Secret Geography Club who is a vegetarian, is constantly butting heads with certain members of the group on her choice to eat and prepare only meat-free dishes (*ahem, cough, cough...Steve and Dan). We were brainstorming upcoming dinner party ideas for the Geography Club one night when Dan and Lindsey got into a rift about the presence of meat in our food when Lindsey said "I'd love to prepare an entirely vegetarian meal for you and have you eat your words when you can see how delicious and satisfying an entirely vegetarian meal can be!"

That's when the brain child for our next dinner party was born.

Just to set the stage for you, we live in the middle of what is called "Feedlot Alley"; an area 500km x 500km with the highest concentration of cattle, pigs and chickens in North America. Needless to say, there is no shortage of meat around here.

Dan plotted all the livestock, hog and chicken barns in the area just to give you an idea. Dan's house is marked in blue.

Since we were planning this dinner anyway, it was a nice little added bonus that Foodbuzz wanted to sponsor the dinner and feature it in their 24 Meals, 24 Blogs, 24 Hours event.

We of course had all the Secret-Secret Geography Club members there, which consisted of my husband Steve and myself, Dan & Lisa who hosted and Joel & Lindsey who did the cooking. My good friends Shanna, Tara and her husband Jon drove down for a surprise visit and so ended up joining us for the meatless festivities. Tara and Shanna almost peed their pants they were so excited to be a part of our infamous geography club :)

Lindsey prepped and slaved over her meal and recruited us ladies as her sous chefs for some last minute preparation while the guys talked in the other room about MEAT.

I kid you not, I kept overhearing a drawn out 20 minute conversation about what kind of meat products they could consume as soon as our dinner was over.

"Let's go out and order chicken wings!"

"Yeah like 5lbs of chicken wings each."

"We should have brought pre-dinner sausages wrapped in bacon or something."

While the men discussed animal flesh, we ladies were chopping shitake mushrooms, heating up a tomatillo-green chile enchilada sauce and combining sweet potatoes and black beans.

The ladies of the evening were absolutely fine with consuming a vegetarian meal, in fact, both Lisa and Tara WERE vegetarians at one time. The men on the other hand were a different story. Jon kept talking about bacon, while Steve and Dan thought our dinner was a waste of time. "I plan on being hungry an hour later" Dan said.

Yeesh. Tough crowd.

Lindsey took it all in stride and quietly but confidently prepared our first course. A lovely green Spinach Coconut Soup.

This soup was rich with coconut milk, spinach and hits of fresh ginger and lemon grass. Sauteed shitake mushrooms were served over top as a garnish and added body to the soup (recipe to come later this week).

Everyone's reaction to the soup: pleasantly surprising.

The general consensus as everyone slurped and gulped was that the soup was delicious. The lemongrass and ginger added a nice freshness, while the shitakes provided the sense of "meatiness". Yes, even the men were pleased (although Dan's face would suggest otherwise in this photo).

For the main course, Lindsey had prepared Sweet Potato & Black Bean Enchiladas with Spicy Avocado Salad. This my friends was freakin' incredible.

The enchiladas were hearty and yet creamy at the same time with the combination of the black beans and sweet potatoes. The avocado salad was the perfect compliment. I loved the cool, creamy avocado with the spicy dressing. Praises went around the table as we heard exclaims of "WOW" and "Oh my gosh, this is REALLY good."

People went back for seconds and licked both their fingers and their plates clean.

The combination of flavors in this meal were outstanding and perfectly paired.

We moved onto dessert and had a nice refreshing lemon sorbet topped with a raspberry sauce.

As we finished up our vegetarian meal and looked around the table at all the satisfied faces, Lindsey and I thought it was time to let the group in on a little secret:

Our entire meal had been vegan.

And gluten-free.

The men blinked back with stunned looks on their faces. "For real?"

"Yep. And you LIKED it!"

Dan, probably the most skeptical of the night, said it was the best vegetarian food he'd ever had, but of course modified his statement by saying it was "moderately freaking epic." Steve piped up and said a few times that he never knew vegetarian food could be this good and Jon thought the night was incredible and an eye-opening experience into vegetarian food.

Lindsey's mission was a success!

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15 Responses
  1. Marisa Says:

    Awesome post! I myself was a vegetarian for a few years, but was a bit skeptical about vegan and gluten-free foods - but this! This looks super. So fresh and flavourful.

    Kudos for making all the doubters eat their words.

  2. Simply Life Says:

    Oh everything looks delicious and I'm sure you won them over to not even miss the meat!

  3. Trish Says:

    I LOVE convincing someone that they actually like something that they are sure they do not. It might be the Mom in me. LOL

    I'll be watching for recipes! We try to go veggie 3 or 4 nights per week.

  4. Divina Pe Says:

    I could just imagine the men and their hungry craving for meat. That's a great way to spend dinner with friends. I wanted to invite myself over there. Great dishes and great post. Vegetarian doesn't have to be boring. Thank you.

  5. Diana Bauman Says:

    I want to join your geography club! Looks like so much fun. What's hilarious is I can just hear my husband right along with the other guys! I usually make 3 meatless meals a week and every time, my husband chimes in, You know I'm not a vegetarian, lol! Great post!

  6. Unknown Says:

    Surely, no one had chicken wings when this was over! It all looks and sounds really great, especially the sweet potato enchiladas. Mmmm.

  7. Amazing dinner! I would never have guessed that carnivores like your friends would enjoy vegan food! Great job!!!

  8. How awesome. Will you post recipes? I so want to make those enchiladas.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    How awesome! As an almost vegitarian (I eat fish but no dairy.. go figure!), it's ALWAYS nice to see non-vegs like a veg meal! Thanks for sharing.


  10. emiglia Says:

    Wow... what a cool idea! And an awesome meal... those guys don't know how much they lucked out!

  11. Tifeyes8 Says:

    I love theamed dinner parties. I want to make those Sweet Potato & Black Bean Enchiladas soon I hope you post the recipe. This is one I really want to try

  12. Your blog is beautiful! And I have to say that as a vegan I LOVE that you showed everyone how wonderfully satisfying a vegan (and gluten-free!) meal can be! Bravo. :)

  13. The Woman - It was all Lindsay! I was honestly one of the doubters along with them ;) I really am glad she wowed us.

    Simply Life - Yep, I'm pretty sure we did ;)

    Trish - FINGERS CROSSED I'll get the recipes out this week!

    Divina Pe - Agreed...vegetarian definitely doesn't have to be boring.

    Diana - Thanks so much! Whenever I try to bust out a meatless meal my husband ALWAYS says " was OKAY but it would have been better with meat". I'm glad that he was finally proved wrong!

    Chrystal - I'm not gonna lie, my husband is in a band and played a show at one of the local pubs after supper. The boys went with them and they all ordered a plate of wings! Although I'm sure it had nothing to do with husband would have ordered wings whether he had eaten a steak dinner wrapped in bacon. He's a chicken wing fanatic.

    Krissy - Thanks!

    Tasty Eats at Home - Hopefully I'll post the recipes this week.

    Violet - I'm glad you liked it!

    Emiglia - I think they realized afterwards how much they lucked out :)

    Tifeyes 8 - Yep those sweet potato enchiladas are incredible. I'll try posting the recipe this week.

    Lindsey - Thanks so much!

  14. Mindy Says:

    What an awesome dinner! The soup sounded and looked mouth watering. And the avocado salad was so pretty... I LOVE avocados! And the sorbet was beautiful, too. Your presentation looked fantastic.

  15. Thanks Mindy! I loved Lindsey's idea of serving a half avocado as the salad with a cherry tomato in the little pit divet. So pretty!