Chelsea Clinton’s wedding reception featuring vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free dishes has certainly caused a stir among the fooderati. Everyone from caterers to food columnists are speculating on the Clinton-Mezvinsky wedding menu and what it will do to mainstream American cooking.
Funny that vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free dishes are the rage all because of a power wedding.
If we thumb through our family cookbooks, we’ll probably find more vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free dishes that we anticipated. Our grannies instinctively cooked vegan and vegetarian because that’s what they had: fresh locally-grown veggies. They just didn’t label it. Back then, more vegetables were cooked and served than meat products. Meals were more filling and consisted of mostly vegetables and some breads. If meat was served, it accented the mostly vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free dishes (not accounting for any biscuits on the table).
Let’s take a look at what these terms vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free really mean:
Vegan – One who avoids foods derived from any kind of animal (land or sea) or animal-originated products (honey, butter, gelatin, eggs, milk, cheese, or other dairy). Sometimes being a vegan is a dietary vs. political choice.
Vegetarian – One who doesn’t eat meat, poultry or fish, but will eat dairy and eggs.
Gluten free – Cooking without the gluten protein found in wheat, rye, barley and oat products. Good substitutes (even for wedding cakes) are a combination of white rice flour with potato starch flour, sugar and cornstarch. (Cooking vegan and gluten-free can be very challenging because the absence of texture or taste added by many animal products can help the taste be more “normal.”)
Try your own Chelsea Clinton Mezvinsky – style vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free meal. There are many satisfying and easy choices using fresh ingredients:
Starters (Choose 2)
- Crudités with dips like eggplant caponata, white bean puree, kalamata olive or sun-dried tomato tapenade or Baba Ganoush (mashed eggplant and spices)
- Fresh fruit skewers
- Sweet potato puree piped on fennel leaves
- Mushroom and leek tacos on tiny corn tortillas
- Guacamole, corn tortilla chips with salsa
Salads (Choose 1)
- Spicy green beans with walnuts and Dijon mustard vinaigrette
- Greens with sliced peaches, jicama, pistachios with sweet vinaigrette
- Three- or four-bean salad
Soups (Choose 1)
- Miso soup with tofu and portabello mushrooms
- Garlic split pea soup
- Tomato dill soup
Entrees (Choose 1)
- Tofu and squash casserole with broccoli and cashews
- Roasted bell peppers stuffed with rice, herbs, artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, and toasted pine-nuts
- Refried black beans and chunky tomato rice
- Angel hair gluten-free pasta with vegetables and mushrooms
- Spicy curry with chickpeas on brown rice
- Garlic mashed potatoes
- Herb roasted vegetables
Gluten Free Dessert
- Carrot cake with whipped sugar frosting
- Pineapple cake (mixes available)
For all of Chelsea Clinton’s wedding preparations and hoopla about her menu of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free dishes, I hope she remembers to do one thing: Save all her recipes in a family cookbook.