Solla Eiríksdóttir. Photography by Hildur, Solla's daughter

Solla's sneaky guide to parties as a Vegan at Home

Overcome the problem of animal-product finger foods (and other perils) with Solla Eiríksdóttir, author of Vegan at Home

Some people have some pretty fixed ideas about dietary choices, whether they’re advocates of intermittent fasting, or sceptical about the benefits of paleo meals. One of the easiest parts of becoming vegan is cooking simple meals at home for yourself. And you’ll find lots of assistance with that task in Solla Eiríksdóttir’s new book, Vegan at Home. Solla is a cookbook author, restaurateur, and one of Iceland’s best-known celebrity chefs, having appeared on national breakfast TV for decades. In her new book, she describes how she managed to go vegan in a country better known for its cod fishing than for its fresh vegetables, and helps first-timers get over a few simple problems too.

She understands that social occasions can prove difficult for vegans, especially if they don’t want to impose difficult dietary requirements on their host. However, rather than view a party as a threat, she, rather sneakily, sees it as a vegan opportunity. In the introduction to her section on small bites, she explains that whenever she’s invited to a party she offers to help out with the catering.

Small, shareable, social dishes are “my favourite type of food to make because it is an easy way to sneak vegan bites into a menu without people questioning it,” she confesses. “A perfect bite just needs to be full of flavour, delicious, and comforting. I like to create a menu of 6–8 different small bites, where 80–100 percent of them are vegan. In my restaurants, too, I would always offer a small bites food menu that was 100 percent vegan and it became very popular. My mission was, and still is, to create a great-tasting bite that invites no speculation as to whether it is vegan or not, it is just devoured and enjoyed.”

Solla's sneaky guide to parties as a Vegan at Home

Carrot fries with cilantro mayo

Sound implausible? Well, try her recipe for carrot fries with cilantro mayo. It takes about half an hour and tastes great. To make it you’ll need four large carrots; two tablespoons of avocado oil; two tablespoons of tapioca flour; two tablespoons of nutritional yeast flakes; a teaspoon of garlic powder; a teaspoon of onion powder; a teaspoon of sea salt flakes; as well as half a teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper; and a few cilantro (coriander) sprigs, to garnish.

For the cilantro mayo, meanwhile, it’s a ⅓ of a cup plus one tablespoon (3½ oz/100 g) of vegan mayonnaise of your choice, as well as a ¼ cup (1/3 oz/10 g) of cilantro (coriander), very finely chopped; a tablespoon of lemon juice; a clove of garlic, grated; and half a teaspoon of sea salt flakes.

Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C/Gas Mark 6. Line a large baking sheet with parchment (baking) paper. Cut the carrots into sticks about half an inch (1 cm) thick, and put into a large bowl. Add the oil, tapioca flour, nutritional yeast flakes, garlic powder, onion powder, sea salt, and black pepper and toss until the carrots are coated. Spread the carrots out in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and roast in the oven for 25 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking.

Meanwhile, make the cilantro mayo. Put all the ingredients into a bowl and mix together until combined. Set aside. The carrot fries are most delicious when served warm, almost straight from the oven, garnished with sprigs of cilantro (coriander) and with the mayo on the side. Then prepare to party.

Solla's sneaky guide to parties as a Vegan at Home

Vegan at Home

For a slightly fuller recipe, as well as many more great vegan dishes, order a copy of Vegan at Home here.