We've all been there: that awkward moment at a dinner party when a guest has to graciously reject a slice of shepherds pie, a fillet of salmon, or even a slice of homemade cake. It's sad, it's cruel, and it's totally preventable.

Cooking for friends with dietary restrictions is a fun way to expand one's culinary repertoire. As my friend group has often included more than one vegan, I thought it was time to publish a guide to a five-course vegan dinner. Here are five stand-out, plant-based recipes that will delight even the most devoted carnivores.

Hors d'Œuvres: Avocado Bruschetta 

avocado, guacamole, bread
Allison Mark
A proper five-course meal begins with an amuse bouche. Try a cool, creamy take on classic tomato Bruschetta. The healthy plant fats in the avocado complement the crisp bread underneath. If you're feeling fancy, add a drizzle of truffle oil. Olive oil and lemon juice work as well (just omit the cheese). 

Soup: Cuban White Bean Soup 

soup, vegetable, legume, parsley, meat, pea, broth, split peas
Savannah Carter
This wholesome vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free creation will happily serve guests of all dietary restrictions. The combination of veggies and beans add critical nutrients and fiber.

Entrée: Butternut Squash Lasagna with Tofu Ricotta

A variant of this standard vegan lasagna recipe, this is a seasonal, plant-based twist on a comforting classic. Layer creamy, puréed butternut squash and silken tofu "cheese" between lasagna noodles, and finish with a zesty marinara.

Salad Course: Israeli Salad

vegetable, tomato, salad, pepper, cucumber, oil, onion, parsley
Steven Shaltiel

A light and refreshing bowl of veggies to cleanse your palate before dessert.

Dessert: Fruit Tart

berry, tart, strawberry, sweet, cheesecake, blueberry, cake, chocolate
Natalie Van Brunt

This fresh tart highlights tangy, seasonal berries and rich cashew cream. Your non-vegan guests will never guess that this dish is dairy-free. 

Dinner parties are a great way to bond with friends, extend your social network, and sharpen your culinary and hospitality skills. Ensuring that all guests can enjoy your home-cooked fare eliminates any potential awkwardness, and allows everyone to focus on enjoying each other's company.