One of the challenges of adopting a raw vegan diet is that it is very unlikely that everyone is embracing your diet in exactly the same way. When making family meals we want everyone to be healthy and happy, but also know they are accepted for their diet choices. When everyone has different tastes though, it can be easy to want to give up entirely and get carry-out.
Over the weekend I visited my sister, her husband, and their adorable newborn son. Along with my husband and son we were all vegan, but even so it can be difficult planning meals. My son is a fussy eater and only my husband and I try to eat raw. With so many different appetites to satiate I decided the best course of action was to set up build-your-own bars. While this does mean a lot of chopping, it also means that everyone can have their food exactly the way they want it!
Here are some meal ideas for big families where everyone should be able to find something to be happy about!
-Noodles. Zucchini noodles are a great raw replacement for pasta, but what if your kids won't touch them? Spiralizers are also great for making noodles from carrots, cucumbers, and beets. Set up stations for each kind of "noodle". Give sauce options like raw marinara, nut-based alfredo, or pesto. Have add-ins available like peas, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, olives, spinach, or basil. Another raw option is kelp noodles. Have some quinoa pasta set off to the side for the kids, if you want to ave something cooked.
-Tacos. Set up some large romaine leaves to use for taco shells. Make fresh salsa and guacamole. Chop bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, and olives. If you are feeling adventurous make a nut-based nacho cheese or sour cream. Make "re-fried beans" out of black sesame seeds. Another raw option is dehydrated coconut wraps. If anyone wants cooked food along with this meal it is easy to warm some beans or throw some tortillas on the side.
-Pitas. Set up dehydrated coconut wraps or large collard leaves. Make carrot falafel balls and marinated portobello mushrooms. Chop up cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, and olives. Tahini or a nut-based dill sauce are great for topping. Easy non-raw additions are pita bread (explore the healthier brands available) or baked falafels.
-Salad. It is SO EASY to set up a great salad bar, and also a great way to use up scrap produce. Chop up lettuce and kale. Set up all the leftover veggies in your fridge. Make a few different raw dressings, such as hemp ranch, lemon tahini, spicy mango, or just oil and vinegar.
-Breakfast bowls. Sometimes I am even a fan of these for dinner! You can use sprouted buckwheat, chia seeds, or bananas for a base. Pour in your favorite nut milk. Add-in foods like raisins, apples, goji berries, blue berries, strawberries, cacao nibs, coconut flakes, mulberries, or golden berries. If your kids don't like these raw cereal options, help them pick a healthy packaged cereal to go along with your choices.
-Pizza. Everyone loves pizza, but let's be honest. Not everyone loves raw pizza. Dehydrate some raw crusts (made from flax, zucchini, apples, buckwheat, etc.), but if the kids won't go for that set aside a sprouted frozen crust or some pita bread. Top with raw marina. Have a selection of bell peppers, mushrooms, olives, tomatoes, and pineapple chunks to top with. Make a nut cheese or sprinkle with nutritional yeast. If the kids won't go for that there are still good vegan options like Chao cheese or Daiya they could add. If you choose, they could even warm these up in the oven.