Vegetarian main dish for a party
I am desperate to find a very yummy vegetarian main dish for a party in a few weeks. The hostess has nixed lasagna and vegetarian chili. Any other ideas? Please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
First, how about an assortment of quesadillas? A quesadilla is essentially a sandwich, using tortillas instead of bread. The easiest version is a tortilla folded around cheese, warmed in the oven or microwave until the cheese melts. Additional ingredients expand the possibilities. You can assemble them in advance, and heat just before serving.
Cheese (shredded cheddar, Monterey Jack or Fontina; or crumbled feta or goat cheese)
Low-fat refried beans OR jarred bean dip OR canned black beans, drained
Tomatoes, cored, seeded and diced
Scallions, sliced OR red onion, sliced or diced and sautéed
Mushrooms, sliced and sautéed
Frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
Roasted red pepper
Pickled jalapeno pepper, sliced or minced
Black olives, sliced or chopped
Any leftover cooked vegetables
Roasted garlic or a sprinkle of garlic powder
A sprinkle of cumin
A dash of hot sauce
For a single serving, use two 6-inch (taco-size) tortillas, or one 9-inch (burrito size) tortilla folded in half.
Pile fillings on one flour tortilla (or half of a large one) and cover with another tortilla (or the bare half).
Place quesadilla on a lightly oiled baking sheet.
Bake quesadilla in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, or a 400 degree oven for 5-10 minutes, until cheese is melted.
Transfer the quesadilla to a cutting board and cut into wedges. Serve hot with desired garnishes.
(For a non-vegetarian quesadilla, add cooked shredded chicken, browned ground beef, or browned sausage.)
Totally different direction: spoon the gills out of Portobello mushroom caps, marinate in balsamic vinaigrette, grill and serve like burgers with buns and a variety of assorted add-ons, perhaps including caramelized onions, roasted red peppers, crumbled gorgonzola...
Going in yet another different direction, how about one or more veggie quiches? Here's my recipe:
Wendy's Spinach Quiche
1 10 oz. package frozen chopped spinach
3 large eggs
1 cup milk (I use 2 percent)
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese (about half of a 15-oz. tub)
2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (8 oz.)
Pinch of salt
A generous sprinkle of nutmeg
A generous sprinkle of ground black pepper
Optional: one shake of cayenne pepper
Unbaked crust for 9 inch pie (see note below)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Microwave spinach just until thawed, drain in colander. Squeeze to remove as much liquid as possible. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs with a whisk. Add milk, cheeses and seasonings. Stir in chopped spinach.
Pour mixture into unbaked pie shell(s). (See note below.)
Place quiche on rack in center of oven. Bake 5 minutes at 425 degrees, then reduce heat to 350 degrees.
Bake until quiche is rounded and golden on top, 30-40 more minutes, depending on your oven.
Remove quiche from oven and let cool about 10 minutes before slicing. (Top will sink back down.)
Serve warm. This is nice with bread or biscuits.
Variations: Broccoli with cheddar cheese, or sautéed mushrooms and onions with gruyere or Swiss.
Yield: 6 servings
Note about pie crust: I like the Pillsbury pie crusts that come rolled, two to a square red package in the refrigerator section of the supermarket, near the eggs and tubes of biscuits. When the crust reaches room temperature, unfold it and press it into a 9 inch pie plate. Use your thumbs and fingers to fold the extra crust under, and pinch it into a scalloped edge. If you prefer the convenience of frozen pie crusts already in aluminum tins, this recipe fills one *deep dish* crust, or two *regular 9 inch* crusts. If using the smaller crusts, reduce baking time.
Baked ricotta or ricotta pie is yummy! So many variations too. Also, I make a great spaghetti squash that my husband (a meat lover) loves!
Spaghetti squash casserole or stuffed eggplants. Mmmmm. Squash or pumpkin risotto would pay tribute to the season (but could be tricky unless you're the host or you can reign supreme in the host's kitchen)! Vegetarian tamale pie or chilaquiles would be great. Mushroom strudel in filo is one of my all-time favorites (also delicious with asparagus or broccoli), and it was *devoured* at Thanksgiving last year! I know you said main dish, but if you're looking for something lighter, grilled eggplant rollups with feta and mint accompanied by a hearty soup or imaginative fall salad would also be delicious.
Let me know if you would like recipes. I was a veg for eight years and have served all of these as awe-inspiring main dishes. If you own or can get your hands on The Original Moosewood Cookbook, or any of Mollie Katzen's cookbooks, you'll find a plethora of vegetarian delights.