From food allergies to dietary restrictions to conscious decisions to avoid certain foods for ethical reasons, peoples’ diets tend to be as unique as they are. That can make it tricky when hosting a crowd and preparing a menu.

Variety is the spice to life, and having a go-to selection of recipes at the ready can make everything from sit-down dinners to impromptu backyard barbecues that much easier.

Vegans eschew all animal products such as dairy, eggs and meats. Vegans must carefully read the labels of foods that seemingly are animal-free, as even certain dairy-free cheeses may contain casein or other animal-derived products.

When grilling for family and friends, mushroom and tofu burgers can be prepared specifically for vegan guests, but a versatile salad can be enjoyed by all and make for a delicious side dish. This recipe for “Chickpea Salad” from “Vegan Cooking for Beginners” (Publications International) by the Editors of Publications International is sure to please vegans and non-vegans alike.

Chickpea Salad

Makes 4 servings

1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 stalk celery, chopped

1 dill pickle, chopped (about 1⁄2 cup)

1⁄4 cup finely chopped red or yellow onion

1⁄3 cup vegan mayonnaise

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1⁄4 teaspoon salt

Black pepper

Whole grain bread

Lettuce and tomato slices

Place chickpeas in a medium bowl. Coarsely mash with a potato masher, leaving some beans whole.

Add celery, pickle and onion; stir to mix. Add mayonnaise and lemon juice; mix well. Taste and add 1⁄4 teaspoon salt or more, if desired. Sprinkle with pepper, if desired; mix well. Serve on bread with lettuce and tomato, if desired.

Story courtesy of Metro Creative Connection

Keep vegan guests in mind | Food and Dining

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