Happy almost Friday!

Couldn’t be gladder that the weekend looms. Has anyone tried my Asian dressing yet?

I’m here today with a reader question, which comes from my pal Emily. She wrote:

Hi Gena!

I wonder whether you might write a post on how to eat raw (or vegan) when your partner does not? For example, creating two meals (and ideas for not succumbing to a quick bite off of their plate!).


xo Emily.

Great question, Em! It’s not easy to be a high-raw vegan in a world full of omnis. If I were to take a survey of three recent relationships, I’d have:

1) The private chef, who ordered in bulk from D’Artagnan and worshiped at the altar of French cheeses. Le sigh.

2) The takeout-aholic. Though a relatively healthy eater, Mr. Takoeout was a dial-and-dine kinda guy. I often conceded to this habit, but if I were to go back and do it again, I’d have tried to insist on more home cooking.

3) The foodie. Like many NYC fellows, he was a walking Zagats. This restaurant officianado loved nothing more than to scour the latest issue of New York for cool new restaurant tips; when he wasn’t doing that, he was phoning Magnolia to find out whether or not pumpkin cupcakes were available that day, or hunting down the Treat Truck. I suspect that, had we been together longer, the dining out vs. dining in discussion would have become a little tense. But I did get him to Pure Food and Wine a few times!

So you see, Em, I know from experience that it ain’t easy. Never fear, though: I have answered this very question for many a client. Usually, said client is asking me not only how to prepare simultaneous meals, but also how to prepare them both in a pinch. My tips for copacetic, quick, and tasty vegan/omni dinners include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Make a nice batch of hummus (I’ve got a cacaphony of hummus recipes) or nut pate, and serve his in a regular wrap with roasted or marinated veggies, and yours in a collard or romaine leaf with regular raw shredded veggies. You can do baked yams for you both on the side, and a bit of raw salad for you and cooked veggies for him.
  2. Make big batches of my raw marinara sauce or any raw pesto, and serve yours over spiralized noodles, and his over regular pasta (of course, whole wheat pasta is great for you, too, but zucchini pasta will be fun in the summer). Spiralizers can be had cheaply, such as this one.
  3. Taco night: get a jar of your fave organic salsa at the grocery store, and then whip up a giant batch of guacamole. If your partner is omnivorous, you can also have some fish or chicken strips at the table. Serve his tacos in corn tortillas or tacos, and yours in romaine or collard leaves, with a big salad on the side!
  4. Marinate portobello mushroom. At the last minute, grill or saute his, and leave yours raw. You can serve them with my raw mashed potatoes (I guarantee that omnivores love these!) or mashed sweet potatoes, cooked.
  5. Make some of my pizza cheese and marinara. Serve yours in layers of thinly sliced zucchini and tomato, for a lasagna effect, and his in layers of regular (or whole wheat) lasagna pasta.
  6. The obvious: make giant salads. Top his with whatever fish, meat, or cheese he might like, and load yours up with avocado, quinoa, nuts, and other sources of vegan density.
  7. Make spring rolls (all raw!) and serve them with brown rice and salad. Some raw, some cooked.
  8. Make homemade pizza: you can use a storebought crust for him and top it with goat cheese or regular cheese, marinara, and veggies. Put yours on an ezekiel wrap, and smother it with hummus, marinara, or another favorite topping (my pizza cheese will work) and lots of veggies. Serve with roast broccoli.
  9. Prepare any daal or curry dish, and serve it up with cooked veggies for him, and salad for you.
  10. Make a double serving of soba noodles (love, love, love these), and top with my Asian dressing. You an toss in some raw veggies, and serve it with whatever sides he and you prefer — raw for you, cooked for him!

A lot of varying a simultaneous raw/cooked dinner will be about the sides. You can prepare a raw or cooked entree for you both, but then the two of you can, as noted above, choose to serve up your fundamentals a bit differently. Grain dishes at night are great, and it’s easy for you to make a quinoa pilaf or brown rice dish and serve yours with raw salad, his with additional cooked food.

Also keep in mind these very simple ideas:

As I did with my miso glaze on Saturday night, try making a marinade, sauce, or glaze that’s equally tasty over grains and veggies, or on chicken or fish. I love to mix nama shoyu, maple syrup, and white wine vinegar and marinate a bit of tempeh; you could easily use the same marinate on fish (salmon would be great with this). Other fave marinades of mine are honey mustard (agave, dijon, apple cider vinegar, spices of choice), and balsamic vinaigrette. Marinate your proteins separately and cook them simultaneously; prepare a giant salad (raw, if your partner is willing) and enjoy it together as a way of rounding out the meal.

Also: summertime is here! This means many of you will be pulling out your grills. Grills make veggie/omni dinners easy as pie! Just grill up veggies, tofu, or sunshine burgers (or homemade veggie burgers of choice) as your partner is grilling up meat or fish (I would personally wrap my veggies or burgers in foil to avoid them touching a grill that’s been used for lots of meat). You’ll both have fast, smokey, delicious meals at the ready in no time! Ditto for setting up sandwich “bars” at home: put out sprouted bread, veggies, hummus, nut pate, pickles, guac, and whatever other vegan fillings you love. He can pull out his cheese or meats, and you can assemble your sammies together. Easy, relaxed, fun.

Hope this helps, Em! I imagine that, when two people respect each other’s choices, it’s quite easy to create delicious dinners that are both vegan friendly and omni-pleasing.

And for dessert? Well, everyone likes banana soft serve.

Now I want to hear from all of you. I know that many of my blogging friends prepare family meals for themselves and for partners who aren’t quite vegan (but may flirt with it at home). What are some of your favorite ideas for inclusive dinners?

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