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Classic Adventist Vegetarian Potluck Recipes

TechyGran is a veteran vegan who enjoys passing along healthy, tasty recipes.

Seventh-day Adventist Potluck Dinner at the Port Alberni, BC Church

Seventh-day Adventist Potluck Dinner at the Port Alberni, BC Church

The Potluck as Cultural

You need to understand that potlucks (or "fellowship meals") are to Adventist Christians what a catwalk is to the fashionista. This is the place where we gather to catch up on our lives, to mingle with visitors (Adventist Christians from elsewhere) and guests (former- or non-Adventists who either dropped in on their own or were brought as a guest of a member), and to nosh down on great vegetarian and/or vegan chow. After the meal people depart to a nature walk, an afternoon service in a nursing home, a video about witnessing or a personal ministries committee meeting, etc.

About 35% of Adventists worldwide are reported to be vegetarian, some eating eggs and/or dairy products (ovo-lacto vegetarian) and some a more strict vegan (no animal flesh or by-products). I don't have figures, but today there are also a number of advocates of the "high raw vegan" lifestyle, which generally means a diet made up of about 50-70% raw fruits and vegetables.

The Adventist Church perceives health and wellness as a positive support for spiritual growth and along with not eating "unclean" foods as described in the Bible (i.e., pork, other mammals who don't chew their cuds or have split hooves, birds and animals of prey, fish without scales) a vegetarian/vegan diet is promoted as optimally healthy. While 35% of Adventists DO practice vegetarianism in some form, it is clear that the vast majority of Adventist Christians (65%) do not. However, a Sabbath community meal is generally at least ovo-lacto vegetarian in most of the churches we have visited.

The Potluck Recipes

The potluck (or fellowship meal) itself is an important part of Adventist "culture." We have eaten at Adventist potlucks Coast to Coast in Canada, in continental United States, Philippines and Hong Kong. While there were slight cultural or traditional differences (in Philippines they had fish on their potluck table) every one of the potlucks was similar in that there was at least one baked bean dish, one vegetarian casserole, lots of salads and an abundance of dazzling desserts.

I have also included one item by request (See Corn Dogs with Pathfinders' Dip) that might not turn up in fellowship dinners, but was a favorite among some at Pathfinder camp-outs and Adventist academy boarding school lunches.

I hope you enjoy the following traditional recipes. Since I wrote this article I have received requests from people who wanted direction to additional healthy "Adventist" recipes. While there are numerous blogs and other sites that carry Adventist vegan recipes, I suggest that the well-loved recipe book, The Ten Talents Cookbook, is likely the best source of a compendium of traditional Adventist recipes.

The Haystack Salad

The one common and delicious North American potluck item that we have come across is something called "Haystacks" that is basically a combination of baked beans, corn chips, salsa, various salad veggies, and cheese (dairy or non-dairy).

The one common and delicious North American potluck item that we have come across is something called "Haystacks" that is basically a combination of baked beans, corn chips, salsa, various salad veggies, and cheese (dairy or non-dairy).

Special K Roast

Special K Roast

When I became an Adventist in the 1990s, Special K Roast appeared at most of the church potlucks. I was a little shocked, as a newly minted vegetarian, at the eggs and cottage cheese-- and butter in some of the recipes-- for this favourite casserole.

Fast forward a couple of decades and you will find that healthier vegan variations of this recipe have been developed. The recipe here is shown in the video above. If you do not have access to the Chicken-like seasoning brand (McKay's) they use, I have provided a recipe for making that following this recipe below.

As you can see from this video, small children enjoy helping out with food preparation. The benefits of bringing them in to the enjoyment of cooking include the long-term ability to prepare nutritious meals for themselves and others.

Ingredients for Special K Roast, Vegan-ized Recipe

1 yellow onion, chopped

2 pounds, tofu, medium firm, drained

1/2 cup olive oil

2 cup walnuts and/or pecans, chopped fine

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1 tablespoon chicken-like seasoning (see DIY chicken-like seasoning below)

1 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk, soy milk or rice milk

1 teaspoon vegetable herb/salt blend (like Mrs. Dash)

7 cups Special K cereal

Method for Making Special K Roast

  1. Stir fry up chopped onion in 1 inch of water until translucent and softened. Set aside.
  2. Fit parchment paper into baking pan and set aside. (optional)
  3. Using a large bowl, mash tofu well (original recipe used cottage cheese, so that could be an overall idea of what you are aiming for with the tofu)
  4. Add in other ingredients and mix well for an even consistency
  5. Spoon into a baking pan and press down evenly.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees F./180 degrees C. for about 45 - 60 minutes
Free Pixabay image of colorful bulk spices

Free Pixabay image of colorful bulk spices

Do-It-Yourself Chicken-Like Seasoning

Mix together:

1 tablespoon corn starch

1 1/2 tablespoons onion powder

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon coriander powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon parsley flakes

Store in a container with tight-fitting lid in cool dry place.

Corn Muffins

  • 2 cups soaked soybeans (or 2 cups tofu)
  • 2 cups water or coconut water
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup steel cut oats
  • 2 cups corn meal (not corn starch).
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F/205°C.
  2. Blend the soybeans (or tofu), water, honey, salt and oats.
  3. Pour the above into corn meal and mix well.
  4. Fill the muffin cups.
  5. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes
  6. Serve warm or cold.

Millet or Quinoa Patties

Millet or Quinoa Patties are generally served with a vegetarian gravy in a cake pan.  They are generally a hit

Millet or Quinoa Patties are generally served with a vegetarian gravy in a cake pan. They are generally a hit

Millet or Quinoa Patties

  • 4 C. cooked millet or quinoa
  • 1/4 C. nut butter (not peanut)
  • 2 t. onion powder
  • 1 t. celery salt

Form into patties and brown in the oven at 350F. for about 35 minutes. Serves 6.

Wheat Gluten Meat, or Seitan

Seitan, or home-made wheat gluten meat, is often served at Adventist potlucks.

Seitan, or home-made wheat gluten meat, is often served at Adventist potlucks.

Vegan Turkey Recipes for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter Potlucks

Here are three vegan turkey recipes that can be made up and taken to special occasions potlucks during the Seventh-day Adventist Church calendar, or enjoyed by a gathering of family or friends. One recipe is made with wheat gluten (seitan), another with tofu and a third is a raw vegan almond-vegetable recipe. They are all on one page here on Hubpages. Bon Appetit!

Vegan Baked Beans

Pathfinders Corn Dog Dip Recipe

Pathfinders' Corn Dog Dip

Pathfinders' Corn Dog Dip

This corn dog dip recipe was requested by a reader who remembered it as part of her diet at an Adventist academy. I imagine that it is also a favourite at Pathfinders camp-outs (Pathfinders are a group like Scouts). The recipe involves blending together:

2 oz. jar pimentos

1 cup mayonnaise*

4 green onions

1/4 large red bell pepper

1 pint cottage cheese*

3 tablespoons dill pickle relish

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce*

A dash of each of the following: garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne.

Use to dip veggie corn dogs, or put on burgers and regular veggie hotdogs.

Store in a mason jar in the fridge.

*Please note that this is not a vegan recipe.


Cynthia Zirkwitz (author) from Vancouver Island, Canada on March 12, 2020:

C. E. Clark,

Nice to hear about your positive impressions of Adventist food and Adventist cooks you have known. I hope you enjoy trying some more vegan recipes-- there are a lot more around these days than there were even 10 years ago. Thanks also for promoting the article on social media.

C E Clark from North Texas on March 12, 2020:

Going to have to try a couple of these recipes. I joined the Adventist Church about 40 years ago and as Evangelist Millet said, Adventists are the best cooks in the world. The potlucks were always scrumptious. Now, for some 35 years, I am what is referred to as a "back slider." :)

I have some recipes from back then that have been very popular with non vegetarians when I made them, because they really do seem like meat and someone who doesn't know differently usually imagines that they really are meat.

Always enjoyed the potlucks during my membership. Thank you for sharing your recipes. Going to post this article on AH & FB.

Cynthia Zirkwitz (author) from Vancouver Island, Canada on January 17, 2020:

Hello Dell,

Thanks for dropping by and bringing up the question of whether the oatmeal in a recipe for oatmeal-mushroom vegan steaks would be cooked or uncooked. My experience has been to use uncooked "quick" oat "flakes" vs. groats in this very tasty recipe. I found a full recipe listing the uncooked oatmeal ingredient by seaching for oatmeal-mushroom steaks. All the best!

Dell on January 15, 2020:

I have come across a recipe I would love to try. I have eaten it before but I would love to make it myself. It is called Donna's mushroom steaks recipe. It is made with oatmeal and my question is do you cook the oatmeal first or not? I hope you have the answers to this :-). And whether you do or not I thank you.

Cynthia Zirkwitz (author) from Vancouver Island, Canada on January 10, 2020:

My pleasure Glo-- I appreciate the information from a time when I was not part of the Adventist foodie culture! All the best, Cynthia

Gloria Lynn Najera on January 10, 2020:

Good morning Cynthia,

I think this may be it!! Thank you for posting the recipe. It has been a very long time preparing vege recipes for my family. As my Mom worked at Loma Linda Foods in the 80's she was the one who invented the Vege Chorizo and Taco Filling. I am trying to get back to my roots by preparing more vegetarian meals that I enjoy for my family. Thank you again. Glo

Cynthia Zirkwitz (author) from Vancouver Island, Canada on January 08, 2020:

Hello again Glo,

Please note that I added a recipe for Pathfinders Corn Dog Dip to the bottom of the article. I hope this is what you were looking for!

glolynn on January 07, 2020:

Just came across your post and hopefully you or someone can help me find a recipe.

Back in the 80's I went to school at an academy, we had "pronto pups" aka corn dogs, and there was a sauce, yellow in color (turmeric?) that we dipped the pp into. I am in search of that sauce. I think it had mayo and relish in it... hope I can get it! Thank you in advance. Glo

Cynthia Zirkwitz (author) from Vancouver Island, Canada on October 09, 2019:

That is splendid Charlotte! I hope you have fun checking out the recipes on here. I just completed an update on my previous article for Vegan Turkey Recipes with the wheat gluten recipe first of the 3 (one is tofu and one is raw vegan). The wheat gluten recipe is a quick and simplified version of the old-time Adventist gluten recipes. Anyhow, thank you for coming by and leaving your nice message! God bless!

Charlotte on October 09, 2019:

I was also brought up SDA, and also loved the potlucks. I have never eaten flesh. But I never learned to cook, so all my favorite recipes were lost when my parents and other female relatives passed away. So here I am, a grandmother, looking for good vegitarian recipes. I am so glad I found your page! I am looking forward to more recipes. Thank you.

Cynthia Zirkwitz (author) from Vancouver Island, Canada on October 09, 2019:

Nice of you to drop by Sarah... I love SDA vegetarian potlucks as well, and the fellowship that goes with the eating. I am currently preparing an article on gluten meat recipes that are still turning up at the potlucks. If you come back in about a week there will be one of those recipes on here. In the meantime, thanks for your kind words, and God bless you!

Sarah on October 09, 2019:

I grew up SDA and was vegetarian until I was 12. Potluck was my favorite part of church, I was luck to be a member of the Norfolk SDA church, we had a lot of military members and was was a filipino Navy cook, oh I can still remember the yummy food!!

Cynthia Zirkwitz (author) from Vancouver Island, Canada on April 14, 2019:

Hi Emma-- Welcome! The recipes above are a small sample of many of my other vegan recipes here on Hubpages that you can find listed at my profile page (click on "Cynthia" above the article). I have also sent you an email with other suggested sources for vegan recipes. I hope that your daughter finds the recipes helpful. Thank you for reaching out!

Emma Steiger Johnston on April 02, 2019:

I just joined Hub to get your Vegetarian Recipes. Can you tell me how to obtain them, Please. My daughter was just told by her Doctor that she has heart disease.

Thank you so much, Emma

Cynthia Zirkwitz (author) from Vancouver Island, Canada on May 14, 2018:

Hi Pamela-- Happy to help you out with some new ideas for vegan fare! Congratulztions, too, for following a vegan lifestle for 17+ years! To continued wisdom and health, Cynthia

Pamella Spence on May 13, 2018:

Good night. I have been vegan since 2001. Sometimes I run out of ideas for a menu. Thanks for this link which has given me new ideas.

Cynthia Zirkwitz (author) from Vancouver Island, Canada on October 09, 2012:

thank you for your sweet comments James A. Watkins... the recipes here are a pretty paltry representation of the breadth of international vegan input there is within this organization... I love traveling to churches in different parts of the world and eating from the diversity (although there does generally seem to be a number of American dishes :p).

James A Watkins from Chicago on October 09, 2012:

Thank you for these excellent recipes and this wonderfully made Hub. I was once a SDA. I love the Church and the people in it. In Orlando, Florida Hospital is SDA and its cafeteria does not serve meat but the food is so good that business people go there for lunch! :-)

Cynthia Zirkwitz (author) from Vancouver Island, Canada on July 08, 2012:

thank you movielardatadare- I appreciate your kind comments! Hope you do try a little cooking because there is great potential pleasure in creating a yummy, healthy meal for yourself and others! All the best, Cynthia

movielardatadare from Texas on July 05, 2012:

Very informative piece. Refreshing to read about SDA recipes. Makes me want to start cooking a little bit myself.

Cynthia Zirkwitz (author) from Vancouver Island, Canada on February 27, 2011:

Yes, Stephanie, would seem so! I suppose the 'vegan' label is in reference to the fact that in the old days people associated PORK with Baked Beans (at least the canned variety) as in 'pork 'n' beans'... but you are right that it is a little silly to make that distinction these days!

stephanie on January 06, 2011:

I didn't know you had to make modifications to make it "vegan" but, hey ;)

Cynthia Zirkwitz (author) from Vancouver Island, Canada on October 18, 2010:

thank you Mary-- I hope that "deceivingly" healthy is a good thing for a Church potluck hehehe... this is a pretty basic line-up but there are hundreds of variations of the above and a LOT of rich desserts that don't even pretend to be healthy. I haven't included them here. I'm proud of you for choosing to go more 'plant-based'-- it's a healthy move, but changes are always a challenge. Good for you! :-) ~Cynthia

Mary Dicerni on October 17, 2010:

Useful, delicious and all in one place. I have vegetarian grandchildren, and am almost there too. The recipes are also deceivingly healthy. What a wonderful pot luck.

Cynthia Zirkwitz (author) from Vancouver Island, Canada on October 04, 2010:

thanks Angel.. can't really beat useful and delicious! lol

Angel Ward from Galveston, TX on October 04, 2010:

this sounds very useful, and delicious!