Heat up a First Date with Vegan Food: #2 For the Non-Vegans

By Tess Challis
Author of Food Love: Nourishing Yourself, Your Family, and the Planet

So, you’re feeling hopeful about someone new, and looking for ways to spice up your first date? Sweet! As a long-time vegan, I can tell you that we veg*ns (vegans and vegetarians) are pretty much food-obsessed. Incorporating food into just about anything makes it more fun and memorable—and when it’s a first date, food can be a great way to enjoy a shared activity, flirt, and learn something new about the person you’re getting to know.Enter this blog series: ten ways to get creative and make your first date a little more flavorful and frisky with vegan food!

#2: Not vegan, but going out with one? Impress the shiitakes out of her (or him)

First of all, if you’re not already vegan or vegetarian, kudos to you for reading this article, and for wanting to make the date special for your potential partner who’s veggie—way to go!

However, I’ve found that you really have an opportunity to stand out, for better or for worse here. For example, I can tell you about two polar opposite first dates I had this past year.

One was with someone who lived out of town and I was driving through his city (which happened to be the home of one of my all-time favorite vegan restaurants). Despite this restaurant having great comfort food that plenty of omnivores enjoy, his response to my suggestion we meet there was: “I’d like to go somewhere we can both eat.” Um, dude. You can’t eat vegan for one meal? Wow, not good. But hey, I rolled with it and suggested we go somewhere else, where he promptly ordered lamb (without asking me if I minded). Sure, he was a nice enough guy, but it didn’t exactly say “hey, I want to impress you and I’m willing to be giving and thoughtful in our relationship.” So, yeah. Buh-bye.

The other date was with someone who said “Let’s go anywhere you like—where can you get a great vegan meal?” Since no vegan restaurants were open at the time, we went to a sushi bar that was vegan-friendly. He asked me if I minded him ordering fish, and I said (quite sincerely): “No, that’s fine! Get whatever you like.”

However, some sort of wild intelligence came over him and he said: “You know what? Let’s just get all vegan food. I’m going to be vegan with you tonight.” And so we did. He ordered all the vegan sushi on the menu (hey, big spender!) and even made sure the dessert was vegan. So, yeah. Be that guy. Don’t be the “I can’t eat one vegan meal even on a first date” guy. That guy has plenty of good qualities of course, and was actually pretty fun to talk to, but it certainly wasn’t a set-up for a long-term relationship (or even a second date).

So, in a nutshell, here’s what you’ll want to do: Go somewhere your veg*n date is excited about, and if you think you must eat something non-vegan, ask them first if they mind. (And of course, if you really want to be a superhero, eat vegan right along with them—you’ll definitely stand out in a really great way!)

vegan first date coffee
Check back for 9 more entries upcoming in this blog series on heating up your vegan first date!Tess Challis is a vegan chef, wellness coach, and five-time cookbook author and can be found on tesschallis.com. She’s a big fan of Veg Speed Date as well, and hopes to host an event soon!