What’s the best way to someone’s heart? A home-cooked meal and a fancy bottle of merlot I say.
But what if your loved one’s idea of a tasty meal is far away from the chicken kebab starter and beef burger entrée you dream of. What if, (imagine it!), their perfect meal consists of a stuffed peppers starter followed by a delicious Quorn spag bol for main course?
Well, believe me, I’ve been there, done it, smelled it, tasted it, and have a shelf full of vegetarian cookbooks to prove it. And, you know what? Dating a vegetarian isn’t even close to the nightmare a lot of meat-lovers imagine it to be (past me included). In fact, it can actually be an eye-opening and rewarding experience. One that serves you up a surprisingly delicious amount of super tasty veggie meals on your plate too.
So how do you go about ensuring you’re BOTH satisfied and content in the relationship when you yourself love meat so much?
Well, whether your first date with a veggie is looming or you’ve been in a long-term relationship with a veggie for a while now, just remember that it’s all about being open-minded and accepting of their choice. See them for the person that’s sat opposite you at the dinner table, not the food that’s sitting on their plate.
To help you look past their dietary requirements, we’ve created a meat-lover’s ultimate guidebook to dating a vegetarian. It’s a guide for not just tolerating the veggie lifestyle, but growing to love it too.
The best possible outcome of the next few minutes would be you ditching the meat aisle for good, or at least cutting down the amount of meat in your diet.
So let’s see if you’re up for the challenge, shall we?
Table of Contents
The Pros and Cons
We shall start with weighing up the good and the bad, and you’ll soon realise there’s a lot more positives than negatives to dating a veggie. And if you are finding it particularly hard work, maybe the problem doesn’t lie with the Linda McCartney sausages sitting in the freezer. Maybe the issue lies somewhere else.
Here’s 9 huge pros of why dating a veggie is so totally rad.
1. Veggie meals are cheaper
Splitting the bill with a date who ordered Minestrone soup is surely cheaper than splitting with someone who ordered the 25oz Ribeye Steak, right?
2. You can become healthier too
Perhaps a vegetarian can teach you a thing or two about your beige, colourless diet?
3. Vegetarians are compassionate people
Never trust a person who’s not an animal lover. Vegetarians are the type of gold-star animal lover you want to bring home to your parents.
4. They also live longer
5. They’re happier people
No one wants to wake up to a grumpy frown every SINGLE morning. An optimistic outlook on life is the key to a brighter future together.
6. They’re smarter
One study shows children with higher IQs are up to 48% more likely to grow up a vegetarian. So if you’re unfazed by being the dumb one in the relationship, you can boast about how clever your veggie other half is instead.
7. They’re open-minded souls
8. They’re better in bed
9. They also smell better
I’m not here to blow smoke up all vegetarians’ celery sticks. But there’s just one major con to dating a veggie and that is…
1. You can’t share food
But oh well, you’ll just have to eat the entire charcuterie board yourself then.
The do’s and don’ts
Next, let’s have a lesson on the right and wrong behaviour of dating a veggie. There’s certainly a few things any meat-eater needs to learn.
It’s important every one of us makes the effort by considering the other person’s feelings in any kind of relationship, but navigating the vegetarian dating scene as a meat-eater comes with its own specific obstacles.
Don’t worry too much, dating a veggie is pretty simple really. There’s just a few rules you need to follow to avoid any clashes, upsets, or blocked numbers arising.
Here’s the most important do’s and don’ts.
A meat-lover doesn’t need to sacrifice their love for a mixed grill. All it takes is good communication and a little understanding:
Compromise wherever and whenever possible when dinner time comes around. And remember that fair compromise doesn’t mean banishing all meat products from your own fridge. This is a two-way street!
Just be conscious of the meals that are an absolute no-no and don’t book the places to eat that probably aren’t the most veggie-friendly. Patience and consideration are key when finding a flexible middle ground.
Do keep asking for a taste
Open up your mind and see if you can make meat less of a priority in your diet. No ones pressuring you, just try it out. And if you realize that you simply love meat too much, that’s okay too.
What you should be doing, though, is always giving new veggie foods a try. So when they’re cooking their spicy mixed bean burger, ask for a sample bite. You’ll probably love it anyway. And if not, you never have to eat it again. Just be adventurous and forget about what you think you don’t like.
Do establish boundaries
Both of you need to be open and honest at all times. You shouldn’t have any expectations of them, and vice versa. Just don’t be selfish and defensive when it comes to kitchen etiquette. A vegetarian may well be uncomfortable with the ways meat is handled and stored in the kitchen, and you should respect these boundaries. So learn what your partner is comfortable with and don’t cross any lines.
There’s no need to walk on eggshells, it’s just about showing some respect and having an open mind:
Don’t keep questioning the whys
It’s good to be curious and ask questions, but don’t keep pestering them about why they’re a veggie. Whether it’s for religious reasons, an eco-conscious thing, or something else, respect their decision and let it go. Unconstructive comments like, “Don’t you miss bacon?” or “A vegetarian eating fake meat is hypocritical” are simply annoying too.
The importance of respecting each others’ views also goes both ways. You shouldn’t belittle them or question their integrity, and likewise, they shouldn’t make you feel guilty for wanting to order a KFC on a Friday night.
Don’t book a table at a chicken shop
Eating out with a veggie is often the hardest thing to get right. Thankfully most restaurants are becoming increasingly accommodating for vegetarians, but it’s still not particularly easy to find a place that’s super veggie-friendly either. So just take them somewhere with plenty to choose from. Read up on reviews, look at menus beforehand, and compromise if you need to. You want to impress them and make them happy, right?
Just as an FYI, Asian restaurants are the perfect hotspots for veggies. Their menus are usually full of gorgeous veggie dishes that you can share.
Don’t force meat upon them (ever!)
No vegetarian should ever stand for someone forcing meat upon them. Whether the torment is intentional or not, it’s wrong to keep bothering them about a choice they have the right to stand by.
This torment might be the constant hounding of “Come on just try it” or even the disgusting act of secretly adding meat ‘just to see if they notice’. Be aware that the consequences can be traumatising.
Great chains for veggies
These chain restaurants are a selection of our staple favourites that actually serve up a surprising amount of great veggie options. You can’t go wrong here.
The Pizza Express menu is perfect for a cheap and cheerful veggie pizza or pasta dish. Italian cuisine is packed full of wonderfully fresh Mediterranean vegetables (tomatoes, courgettes, mixed roasted peppers), so rest assured there’s plenty of variety for vegetarians.
Wagamamas pride themselves on being especially accommodating for the vegetarian masses, and you can clearly see why with their menu. Pretty much all of the most popular dishes have a veggie version (like the tofu ramen or the vegatsu), so trust and believe any veggie will find something to tickle their appetite.
The South American fusion of Las Iguanas offers up a gorgeous assortment of veggie meals, including tapas starters, veggie curries, and mouth watering veggie burgers (Bean and Beetroot or Bahian Jackfruit). This is the perfect place for big and bold vegetarian flavours.
A+ veggie restaurants you must book now!
For an extra special occasion, book a table at one of these gold-star veggie restaurants. They’ll guarantee you a few extra brownie points.
Bundonbust in Manchester
The street food-style restaurant Bundobust is the place to eat if the aromatic smells and tastes of Indian cuisine is your idea of heaven. It’s made up of entirely vegetarian and vegan dishes, and one thing’s for sure: you will not miss the meat! Some of their best finds include the tarka dahl and bhaji butty.
Quince & Medlar in Cockermouth
Quince and Medlar combines home-cooked comforts with a fine dining experience. Owners Colin and Louisa Le Voi have developed a glorious menu of plant-based dishes using only the best fresh ingredients. They themselves state that “everything we serve is made by us, from nibbles and breads to puds and chocs”, so expect a meal full of heart and soul.
Rudy’s Dinner in London
Often referred to as ‘London’s first vegan butcher’, the 1950’s style American-diner joint Rudy’s Dinner offers up a selection of meat-free alternatives that twist your staple American favourites (hot dogs, dirty burgers, American subs, and so much more). This is an absolute must-try for all vegans and vegetarians, just make sure it’s a cheat day!
Kitchen cupboard essentials
Whether you already share a home or you want to make sure you’ve got backup ingredients stocked at your own place, these are kitchen cupboard essentials that every vegetarian-dater needs:
Now, we’re not talking Heinz baked beans, we’re talking about a variety of hearty beans and pulses (lentils, chickpeas, cannellini beans, etc). Either dried or canned is perfectly fine too, just make sure there’s a wide selection so your veggie stews, curries, casseroles, and other comfort dishes can be packed full of added protein and fibre.
Having a variety of nuts in your cupboard is super handy. Not only are they great as go-to snacks, but they’re also perfect for filling out pasta dishes like lasagnes or sprinkling over summer salads to add crunch. There’s nothing more versatile than a packet of mixed nuts, just ask any vegetarian!
The plant-based protein of tofu is another super versatile kitchen staple, whether it’s baked, fried, or added to a broth or soup. There really are endless possibilities for tasty tofu dishes, just make sure you’re buying the right kind, from soft tofu to extra-firm tofu, and silken tofu (for making dips and puddings).
Selection of spices
Forget the stupid misconception that veggie dishes are just boring salads and plates of boiled up broccoli. Vegetarians are super gifted in the kitchen, and a shelf full of herbs, spices, seasonings, and marinades is exactly what any veggie needs to add colour, spice, and depth to prove us meat-lovers wrong.
Must-have kitchen tools
Make your veggie meal prep a breeze with these must-have kitchen tools and appliances.
Veggetti is a quick and easy way to make vegetable spaghetti, spirals, and ribbons. It’s a great solution for when you’re preparing a romantic dinner and you want to surprise your veggie partner with an italian dinner without the pasta carbs!
This is the ideal tool for preparing a delicious orange juice freshly squeezed in the morning, or a delightful smoothie following a yoga session… Just choose the ideal time to surprise your better half! Simple pulp collecting with no messes or trouble.
With a food processor, you can produce new and delicious dishes at home using fresh, whole foods that are free of additives and preservatives… We’re confident that your vegetable partner will definitely appreciate it!
Extra pro tips!
These extra pro tips will come in handy if you’re still unsure of how to approach your veggie date in the best, most respectful way possible:
Just don’t make it a big deal
Your life as a vegetarian’s other half will become much easier if you simply stop going on about it. Accept that you have different interests when it comes to food, and simply agree to disagree if you both have strong views.
First-time daters should have the discussion of why just the once too. Ask the question then let it go. Remain positive and be thoughtful of their feelings because you never know what kind of a**hole meat-lovers they’ve been on dates with before.
Find the midweek meals you both love
If your relationship has gone from strength to strength, chances are you’re now sharing a few (if not all) of your midweek meals together. So perhaps it’s time to shift your weekly meal plan towards the veggie side of life. Or at least do all that you can to find the vegetarian dishes that you both love to cook and eat together.
Remember that sitting down to eat as a couple is vital for remaining connected, so don’t skimp out with separate dinners!
Use veggie food as the base of all your meals
Whatever you cook up, be considerate and use a veggie base for all your dishes. You can simply add any meats you fancy after. You’ll be surprised at how many meals are easy to cook this way too. Think about it: There’s endless types of curries, pastas, stews, soups, and rice dishes that you can start cooking as vegetarian and then add meat to once you’re plating up.
Also don’t forget to use veggie stock instead of chicken or beef too!
The #1 rule...prioritise your relationship!
Let’s end with a joke: A meat-lover and a vegetarian walk into a bar on their first date. And you know what? They both lived happily ever after because they decided to put their dietary preferences aside and realise their relationship was more important than any opposing bacon sandwich or falafel wrap they choose to put on their plates.
The key to a happy future together is to not take things personally. Rifts can easily occur if the differences between you are seen as frustrating. So learn to coexist in a supportive and understanding way that prioritizes the love between you and not the food that separates you.