Making Vegan Dishes for Non-Vegans

Vegan or not, if it’s delicious, they’ll love it.

Chris Rios swore by this when he decided to open The Vegan Nom. One of his personal goals was to make vegan dishes approachable, even for non-vegans. By re-creating Tex-Mex classics from his childhood with a vegan twist, he hoped to show people in his community how you can eat healthier and still enjoy what you love.

Many of his friends and now-loyal customers were skeptical at first. But after their first bite of his food, their misconceptions about veganism and vegan dishes started to melt away. For Rios, that’s one of his favorite parts about running The Vegan Nom. And he hopes his story encourages more people to keep an open mind about veganism and the difference it can make for public health and sustainability.

If you’re feeling inspired and ready to try adding some vegan dishes to your repertoire, check out our tips to creating food everyone will love, vegan or not:

Do your homework before creating your own recipes: Before Rios developed his own vegan dishes, he did a lot of research on veganism. From reading up on the lifestyle and cooking tips to testing out other vegans’ recipes, this base of knowledge helped prepare Rios to make his own dishes and develop his own unique style.

Get creative with your ingredients: Like Rios, don’t be afraid to experiment. It may take a few tries to nail a dish, but it’ll pay off. Rather than relying solely on meat substitutes, try cooking with new vegetables. There are a lot out there that can offer that meaty texture and flavor, like mushrooms, jackfruit, heart of palm and artichoke.

Eat seasonally: Fresh fruits and vegetables not only taste better when they’re in season, they also tend to be cheaper. Using what’s in season can help you create dishes that are not only delicious, but affordable.

Spice things up: If you’re trying to “veganize” your favorite dish like Rios did, using the same herbs and spices can help recreate some of that flavor and make a dish feel more familiar. Spices are also a great way to add flavor to a dish without loading up on butter or oil.


Craft a cocktail to pair with your dish

Camarena Margarita

2 oz. Camarena Silver
.75 oz. Agave Nectar
.75 oz. Lime Juice
.5 oz. Triple Sec

Add ingredients into a shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a glass filled with ice. Garnish with lime wedge.

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