Faux Fare – Trending Plant Based Foods & Mocktails

Veganism, vegetarian, plant based, flexitarian, pescatarian, gluten-free, nut-free, keto, paleo…

Dietary alternatives, industry trends and customer feedback have influenced us to shift toward focusing on exploring plant-based alternatives to conventional meats and utilizing vegetable and fruit-based recipes to offer naturally vegetarian or vegan options. 

Ten years ago, we started to feel pressure from a small group to offer more healthy options, but now the market has provided us with multiple chef friendly products to make this task easier. We can now order a crumbled beef alternative or vegan cheese to replace a traditional ingredient on a menu item. Some of our plant-based features have included favorites like Caulilini street tacos, vegetarian Beyond Burger Chili, and pizza featuring plant-based Italian sausage and vegan mozzarella on a cauliflower crust.

When it comes to alcohol alternatives, there are a wide range of mocktail recipes that are refreshing, sweet, and absolutely delicious. Warm summer days are the perfect time to serve up a Watermelon Fizz, with watermelon, lime, mint and sparkling water. A Ginger Beer mocktail is another option that’s vegan and gluten-free and contains ginger juice, lime juice, coconut sugar, and sparking mineral water.

What is the best way to incorporate these trends into your event? Our advice is to keep it simple and know your group.

Using an alternative that represents the traditional recipe like we do in the vegetarian chili is a simple option, and using a couple of replacements that will take guests outside their comfort zone to try something new — like vegan cheese or plant-based milk products—is another.

Listen to your guests and talk to your event venues, there are great options available.

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Mark Wessel, Executive Chef | Rush Creek Golf Club

Mark has been at Rush Creek since 1999, starting as the Sous Chef and has been the Executive Chef for the last 15 years. He started in the food service industry in 1983 and has enjoyed watching the industry grow and change over the years. Watching the trends change, learning new things and teaching those around Mark are highlights for him. Outside of the kitchen he enjoys the outdoors.

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