Poultry, beef, seafood, and pork have been long-time staples on menus in restaurants worldwide. However, chefs today are receiving more and more requests for vegan or vegetarian menu items, and data shows this is no temporary trend. The number of vegetarians is steadily increasing. Those who prefer vegetarian options seem to have a hard time finding restaurants with more than one or two meatless menu items that aren’t laden with cheese, butter, or extremely hard to alter. It is time for restaurants to evolve their menus to suit.
At Today’s World Kitchen, we believe that accommodating your guests’ needs is an important part of being a successful chef. So, how can you incorporate tasty vegetarian options into your menu that won’t make your vegetarian guests feel like an afterthought?
Expand your entrée salad options
Michelin starred chefs believe that expanding your entrée salad options reflects a positive change in your menu. Not only does this provide fresh, healthy options for all guests, but you can give the option of adding a protein to those who prefer it. Salads generally consist of inexpensive ingredients, and a wide variety of salads can appeal to all guests. This is an easy fix to your menu; try introducing salads with various green bases and build from there.
An All-American restaurant might have a hard time incorporating meatless items, so Today’s World Kitchen’s chefs suggest incorporating a few international dishes. Mexican dishes are a great example of both easy and meat-free options for vegetarians to enjoy, since the most common dishes are burritos, tacos, and quesadillas traditionally filed with meatless ingredients like rice, beans, grilled vegetables, lettuce, cheese, sour cream, and guacamole.
Tofu is a great protein alternative, and despite having a reputation as being “bland”, it can be easily seasoned in a variety of ways to complement a meal. For example, try marinating tofu in a citrus garlic mix or try a garlic, soy sauce, onion powder, brown sugar and siracha blend for a delicious, Chinese-style tofu.
Educate Your Customers
You can promote your vegetarian dining options by simply talking with your guests. Let them know about your meatless menu options and that you can accommodate their personal preferences in more than just one or two ways. This will encourage them to come back to your restaurant and recommend it to others.
Accommodating vegetarian guests doesn’t mean that you are limited to a boring salad bar or a mix of steamed vegetables. Check out some of these examples from our online community for chefs:
- Asparagus Wild Rice Frittata
- Falafel with Cucumber Sauce
- Avocado Toast with Chives
- Berry Breakfast Couscous
- Apple Cheddar Muffins
- Noodles with Peanut Sauce
- Spinach, Artichoke, and Kale Lasagna
- Sweet Potato and White Bean Soup
- Spinach Lasagna
- Butternut Squash Apple Burgers
- Tahini Curried Carrot Salad
- Quinoa Chili Fries
With the number of vegetarians continuously increasing, it’s time for chefs around the world to start incorporating more than one or two meat-free dishes in their menus. Try implementing these easy changes into your restaurant to encourage vegetarians or vegans to feel comfortable spending their time and money on your dining experience.