How to get somebody to try vegan food

Edwards White - Kind Cafe Interior

How to get somebody to try vegan food

(without mentioning the ‘V’ word)

So, you’ve been doing the plant-based thing for a while and you’re loving it. It’s much easier than you thought, you feel healthy, and you know you’re doing good by animals and the earth. If only everyone knew how great it is!

Slow down, buddy! Because, unfortunately, they don’t. And despite plant-based becoming increasingly normalised, there’s still a lot of people who fear the dreaded ‘V’ word.

But don’t let it get you down. There are still ways to entice your loved ones into eating more consciously – and you can do it without living up to the preachy-vegan stereotype.

How? Take a dollop of stealth and stir in some local-vegan-restaurant-prowess, a few delicious recipes, and a sprinkle of patience, and you’ll be sharing lentil loaf in no time.

Need a little nudge? Check out our tips on how to get someone to try vegan food (without mentioning the ‘V’ word).

Invite them around for a home cooked vegan meal

This is one of the easier ways to get a loved one to try eating an all-vegan meal – you’re cooking, so you get to pick the ingredients! The odds are, if you’re vegan, you already have a couple of epic vegan meals up your sleeves (hopefully not literally) that are bound to impress your non-vegan guest.

Dealing with a staunch ‘meat-and-three-veg’-er? Try making a more classic dish – but with vegan substitutes. We’re talking vegan bolognese, vegan mac and cheese, jackfruit tacos, or Sunfed ‘chicken’ stew. It doesn’t need to be complicated: a stir-fry or roast vege salad are two one-dish wonders that are hearty enough to be served without meat. Your guests probably won’t notice the lack of animal protein. If they do notice, they’ll probably be too polite to say anything (and find themselves asking for seconds).

Or, go to their place for a meal

The last thing you want to do is to push a dietary choice on anyone – much less in their own home. This is more about showing people that eating consciously can be easy and delicious. Little by little is the best approach.

Luckily, in Kiwi culture it’s totally acceptable to bring a ‘plate’ of food when you go to someone’s house for dinner. We’re not suggesting you rock up to their house with an entire main course (unless it’s a potluck), but a salad, bread, home-made vegan cheese, or even a yummy vegan dessert is totally acceptable. 

If it’s your parents or grandparents who have invited you around, how about employing a bit of old-fashioned flattery? Remind them about that delicious vege soup they used to make and tell them you’d love to eat it again …Oh really? You remember that one? And, boom – you’re all sharing a vegan meal.

Try organising a plant-based potluck

Speaking of potlucks, how about suggesting the next group potluck is plant-based? Make it a fun challenge. There are millions of plant-based recipes online, for all skill levels. Not only will your friends be eating vegan food, they’ll be cooking it, too! And as an extra bonus, you’re bound to learn some new recipes.

Pop ‘round with some vegan baking

This is an excellent way to get your grandparents or even neighbour to try vegan treats. It’s also a chance for a lovely catch-up! There are so many online recipes for delicious vegan baking: banana bread, scones, muffins, cookies – you name it. Alternatively, you can pick some up treats from a vegan cafe or bakery. Both KIND and Tart have delicious vegan baking available. Drop your baked vegan treats off as a thank you or a random act of kindness – even better, stop and share it over a cuppa.

Vegan Takeaways

If you hear “I feel like takeaways” or you find yourself in a situation where no one feels like cooking, take the opportunity to sneak in some delicious vegan food. If you also hear “but I don’t know what I feel like”, you’re already halfway there. 

Auckland has an abundance of takeaway places that have either traditionally vegan meals or are incorporating vegan products into their menus. Thai and Japanese are fairly safe bets (watch out for fish sauce), or you can wrap your hands around a Wise Boys burger or a vegan pizza. Most takeaway pizza joints now offer vegan cheese and meat-substitutes like quorn. No one will suspect a thing … they’ll just be pleased someone finally made a decision!

Try a new cuisine or cultural experience

Date night? How about trying a new style of cuisine? There are loads of different cuisines with traditional vegan meals. Italian? Ratatouille! Indian? Dhal and naan! Japanese? Agedashi tofu! It’s hard to find a culture that doesn’t have a vegan speciality.

If your dinner-date doesn’t want to commit to a full vegan meal, share plates and tapas are a great compromise. And there’s no doubt that when you get your delicious vegan main course, they’ll want to try a bite, too!

If you’re keen to try something totally different, how about a Hare Krishna restaurant? It’s always a great experience, everyone is happy, and the food is incredibly filling.

Try a local vegan cafe or restaurant

There are so many great vegan restaurants in Auckland that you’ll be spoilt for choice. Either take them somewhere that is totally vegan (which kind of skips the ‘stealth’ part of the plan) or go to a mostly plant-based eatery.

A bit of a new concept, ‘mostly plant-based’ restaurants offer amazing vegan cuisine but keep a few animal-derived meals and sides on the menu to be more accommodating. It’s sort of like having animal-derived training wheels.

That’s our approach here at KIND: we offer meals that are entirely plant-based along with a couple that aren’t, and there’s always the option of adding non-vegan sides. We often find that people who order the non-vegan sides on their first visit leave them off on their second – the meal is enough as it is! Come in and let your non-vegan friend see for themselves.

Go to Bali

Yeah ok, it’s a tad extreme, but if you’re already thinking of a holiday and seriously want to convert someone to veganism, take them to Bali. The options are endless! And, if you find when you get there your non-vegan travel buddy is still not convinced, there’s plenty of ‘influencers’ around to help you out.

If you’re looking for a good place to start the journey with a friend or loved one, pop along to Kind café in Morningside. We would love to see you there.