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Jan 30, 2007 10:00 AM

Vegetarian Dinner - Menu Suggestions


I`m planning a dinner over at my house for some vegetarian friends.
I come from a family where a vegetarian concept simply doesn't exist, and a meal without any meat is not even considered a real meal, just a snack. That`s the reason why I have hard times thinking of a nice vegetarian dinner menu. I can think of billions vegetarian side dishes, but can`t think of a main vegetarian dish besides pasta.

Do you have any suggestion besides pasta and tofu dishes (one of my guests just hates tofu).

Thank You.

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  1. eggplant lasagnette (no noodles) Michael Chiarello's recipie,
    stir fry, chili or a rich soup, quesadillas or fajitas, falafel, mediterranean or ethiopian style lentils, stuffed tomatoes or zucchini, ratatouille, pizza...maybe this will bring some ideas...

    1. Do they eat cheese (as long as they are lacto-ovo vegetarian, not vegan, they will)? If so you can make saag paneer. You can do a lot of Indian dishes that are vegetarian (saag paneer, chana masala, garlic naan, cauliflower, zucchini and potato casserole (I have a good recipe I can get for you).
      If they don't like Indian food, you can do several different types of moroccan/spanish/middle eastern dishes - couscous with chickpeas, paella without the meat and seafood, dolmades, greek salad, hummus, fried eggplant.
      Speaking of eggplant, you could do a eggplant parmesan.

      2 Replies
      1. re: pescatarian

        Yes, they do eat cheese. Some of my guests don`t like Indian.
        I`m kind of leaning towards eggplant parmesan. I love that dish, and don`t know anybody who doesn`t like it.

        Cauliflower, zucchini and potato casserole sounds really good. May I get the recipe?

        1. re: IthacaSnow

          Sure, I'll get it at home tonight (it has indian inspired flavours - cumin, garlic, coriander, cardimon, etc). It's simple but it is delicious.

          Re the eggplant parmesan, if you think you and your guests would like it, try roasted fennel and garlic on the side - delish and I think it would be a nice side with the eggplant parm with a nice salad.

      2. I think that most of the suggestions above sound great. Another idea would be risotto - some of the recipes have some really interesting combinations of ingredients that make them seem more like main dishes. For example, I had recently had one with butternut squash and blue cheese that I really liked. Served with some sort of green vegetable and a dessert it would make a great vegetarian meal.

        1. Many vegetarians eat seafood - that'll give you tons of options if your guests do. Worth finding out.

          What's wrong with pasta? There are pletny of great veggie lasagna dishes out there and usually are pretty satisfying to meat-eaters.

          Otherwise, you might try pan fried blackbean cakes. Veggie wraps or tacos, while less fancy, are also good.

          2 Replies
          1. re: michael23

            yum fried black bean cakes? recipe?

            1. re: lollya

              I've used a variety of recipes - last one was roughly as follows:

              2 cans black beans (yes, canned beans) - well drained
              1/3 cup cooked corn (fresh or frozen is fine)
              1 tbls mayo
              1/2 tsp cumin
              black pepper, cayenne pepper to taste
              bread crumbs

              Mash 3/4 of black beans into a paste (i've used food processor or just chopped with knife)
              Mix well with mayo, add 1/4 of (non-mashed) beans and rest of ingredients - except bread crumbs
              Form into 3" patties and coat with bread crumbs

              Use enough oil to coat bottom of med-hot pan
              Cook patties a few minutes on each side until browned.

              Last time I served with shrimp and corn in a chipotle flavored demi-glace poured over top, garnished with chopped fresh cilantro.

          2. I used to do Indian for vegetarian when I had guests who wouldn't eat fish. But now I eat vegetarian every Friday so I've become more creative with menus.

            Roasted eggplant soup with goat cheese drizzle
            Eggplant tian
            Potato croquettes

            Chickpea-flour crepes with ratatouille
            Linguine with porcini sauce
            Angel hair frittata
            Roasted winter vegetables with mustard sauce
            Asparagus flan with fontina sauce

            I've done eggplant parm as an entree before, too. It's one of my faves, except kinda defeats the purpose of my eating healthily once a week.

            2 Replies
            1. re: JungMann

              Wow, how about recipes for the soup, eggplant tian and veggies with mustard sauce

              1. re: nance

                Roasted eggplant soup
                Oil 3 tomatoes (halved), 1 large eggplant (halved), 1 small onion (halved), 6 garlic cloves (peeled) and roast at 400 until they begin to brown. Let cool. Add insides of eggplant to pan and discard skins. Add other roasted vegetables and 3 sticks worth of thyme. Cover with vegetable stock, boil and simmer until vegetables are tender. Puree and return to the pot. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne. Add 1/2 pint whipping cream or full-fat yogurt. Reduce until thick and creamy. Garnish with goat cheese and paprika.

                Veggies with mustard sauce is a combo of new potatoes, onions, quartered fennel and baby carrots, 1 clove garlic (minced), 2 tsp. thyme, and equal parts oil and butter. Roast. Meanwhile water down 1/4 c. dijon mustard with some vegetable stock. About 4 Tbs. After roasting vegetables 25 min., add mustard sauce and combine with browned bits at the bottom of the pan. Roast until done.

                Eggplant tian I have to look for.