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Jan 17, 2007 11:01 AM

Life After Lasagna: Veggie Suggestions for Easy, Make-Ahead Dishes for a Crowd?

I've made a lot of different lasagnas in my life, and somehow, even my brain keeps defaulting to it, and I can't think of what else to make that's relatively simple to serve for a sit-down dinner for 8-10 people. I've made vegetarian pastistio and moussaka. I like them, but they're both really heavy, and I can't get too motivated for them, either.

Got any vegetarian (or adaptable) no-brainers?

Cheese is fine. It just needs to be something I'm not fussing with -- something I can cook in advance and warm up for dinner. I'll also serve soup, salad, maybe some home-made breads and spreads, and dessert. I just need a centerpiece!



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  1. http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recip...

    Jacques Pepin's cheese souffle is delicious and easy. No egg separating or white beating. He says you can prepare it hours or even a day ahead up to the point of baking. I've made it several times and it is not as airy as a typical souffle, which suits me as it seems more substantial that way, and is really delicious. We love it.

    Glad you asked this, I know what you mean about getting a few ideas stuck in your head and needing something fresh. I'm looking forward to the responses.

    1. Why not make the soup the centerpiece? Make something really hearty, like a vegetarian minestrone. Or make a vegetarian stew instead of soup.
      Or make the salad the centerpiece by doing a composed version with beans, feta, olives, artichoke hearts, roasted peppers.... A nice frittata would be a good option.

      1. I make spanakopita fairly often. It looks impressive, people who haven't ever worked with filo think you're a master chef and it tastes good. It can be made in advance and reheated, though the pastry loses some of its crispness. I eat leftovers for breakfast.

        Don't know if vegetarian chile is too casual, but there's a great recipe in the revised Joy of Cooking (1997) for Wild Caribbean Chile. It has wonderful flavors including orange zest, lots of cumin and chili and different beans.

        I love soups in winter. There's an excellent butternut squash soup in Cook's Illustrated which is the best I know for pure squash flavor. I made it for a big dinner, together with a non-vegetarian soup but this one was cleaned out. You can find the recipe online, I believe, but you have to register on the site - registration is free.

        If your guests are interested in ethnic foods, look up Indian vegetarian recipes. Channa masala which is curried chickpeas, is a big favorite in our non-vegetarian household. There are also tasty dals made with lentils, rajma (kidney beans) as well as a big variety of vegetable and cheese dishes.

        1. Why not a vegetarian curry - Indian or Thai? You could make a couple of different accompaniments, too (spring rolls, soup, rice/noodle dish). I find when I make a curry and then let it sit, the flavours meld wonderfully!

          1. I have posted my recipe for vegetarian moussaka on this board before. It's fabulous - I actually prefer it to the meat version (and I'm no vegetarian). Either search for it here or let me know and I'll post it again.