Vegan Challenge: Hosting Dinner

About once a week some friends and I take turns hosting each other for dinner.  We aptly call it “Monday Night Dinner.”  Some of our most stand-out dishes include Alaskan salmon, pho with thinly sliced beef, and most recently, steak and cheesy potatoes.  So when it was my turn to host during my vegan challenge, I was pretty nervous.  I almost hoped my friends would forget I was forsaking meat and cheese and I could just trick them into thinking this was just like any other meal.  They all came in with their vegan jokes, however, so I knew I wasn’t going to be pulling any wool over any eyes. 

Fortunately, I live in Boulder, CO: the land of dietary restrictions including veganism, gluten-free, and granola-loving hipsters.  It wasn’t hard to find some help.  A vegetarian co-worker, formerly a strict vegan, had a stash of favorite vegan recipes that he shared with me.  One of his favorites was a Rustic Bread and Eggplant Lasagna.  It has layers of tomato sauce, but instead of noodles in between, there’s sourdough bread, and instead of meat and cheese, you’ll find roasted eggplant.  Topped with breadcrumbs and fresh basil, it was a beautiful and tasty dish. 

Although it’s called lasagna, I’m not sure we really missed the noodles and meat because the dish was so unique and flavorful.  Still, for my non-vegan friends, and to settle my dinner-hosting nerves, I had the Parmesan cheese and seasonings prominently displayed. 

They dabbled in the cheese (who wouldn’t?), but overall, we all really enjoyed it. 

I will say, the sourdough bread added quite the sour element, almost overpowering to me.  If I make this again, I might try it with another hearty herbed loaf.  Or I’ll just wait a couple weeks and use noodles and hamburger meat…who am I kidding? 

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