Thankfully Chowgirls Catering in northeast Minneapolis offers lots of vegan options and was the go-to caterer for several of our friends' weddings. After a few consultations, we went in for the tasting to seal the deal. To make sure the food wasn't just appealing to our foodie/vegan appetites, we brought along my parents and maid of honor to confirm crowd-pleasing options. Chowgirls' tagline and reputation described perfectly what we were looking for: "extraordinary, approachable food."
It turns out catering gets expensive fast, and we were on a tight budget. With vegan being a newish concept to some of our friends and family, it seemed like a big gamble to go with an entree style meal. What if they didn't like the eggplant torte or tofu steak? For that reason, we decided to go the route of a myriad of "appetizer" options to make a light meal. In the end, we didn't really save on the budget, but it does mean more options.
|Simple salad with creamy green goddess dressing and rye croutons|
|Carrots, mushrooms, asparagus, red bell peppers and broccoli |
roasted to perfection and served with a side of balsamic reduction.
Veggies meet heat in oven until browned = simple elegance and crazy good.
|Trio of vegan pates: ginger-sesame edamame; Indian-flavored cauliflower; and earthy mushroom|
There was no way I was going to have hummus, guacamole or salsa at the wedding (even though I love all of them.) They're the go-to "vegan" foods at most restaurants these days. Come on, people, we can do better. These are definitely more on the foodie side, but should be fun for people to try new flavors. I know I had fun at the tasting with them.
Not pictured: These dishes made the cut too: quinoa pilaf with fall vegetables and a brown "butter" sauce and polenta bites with roasted tomatoes and a fried sage leaf. Yum!
SORRY, YOU'VE BEEN CUT
|Mushroom and wild rice "meatballs" with marinara|
You could tell these were meant to be vegetarian with cheese or something to hold them together. We had to cut something from the tasting, and this was a no-brainer. If you want a good vegan "meatball", I highly recommend Gardein's meatless meatballs.
|Bruschetta with sun-dried tomatoes, olives and pine nuts|
Holy flavor explosion, batman! The flavors were bold and delightful, but the price per toast didn't work with our budget. Too bad because they were really tasty, but I'm happy with our final menu.
|Vegan macaroni and cheese|
|Hoppin John- black eyed peas, rice and vegetables|
I've had really delightful versions of this dish at New Year's celebrations, but this one was a little too basic for our menu.
|Chili lime macadamias; herbed almonds and pecans|
Curses! The almonds had honey which spooked my fiance. Otherwise, these delightful little tidbits of fun flavors and protein would have made it on the menu budget be damned.
Mmm...these photos (and the love of my life) are making me excited for my wedding day!