Vegetarian main dish for a party
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.
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.
Here you go, btw the filling didn't sound too exciting to me (I added cilantro and scallions the second time I made them) but truly they taste great just as is! (She had 2 other types of enchilida type dishes on the table and everyone ate these!
here are 2 in case you are still deciding - all from suggestions on this site - the tart is delicious!!
TOMATO ONION TART
Pâte Brisée (tart dough) for one 10-inch tart (used Ina’s Pie Crust)
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1 and 1/2 Lb yellow onions, sliced
1 and 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp balsamic vinegar (optional)
6 oz gruyère, grated
1 Lb cherry tomatoes, halved
1.Roll out the dough 1/8 inch thick. Fit into tart pan, trim, and chill 30 minutes while preparing the onions and preheating the oven.
2.Preheat the oven to 425F with racks in the bottom third and upper third of the oven. If you have a pizza stone, place it on the bottom rack.
3.Set a large, heavy pot oven medium heat. Add oil and butter. When butter is melted, add onions and salt. Cook stirring occasionally until onions are tender, about 12 minutes. Turn down the heat to medium-low and cook stirring occasionally until onions are medium brown, about 45 minutes. Add balsamic vinegar (optional), and cook stirring occasionally until onions are dark nutty brown, about 15 minutes. Take off heat and set aside.
4.Place the tart pan on a cookie sheet. Line the tart shell with parchment paper or foil and dry beans (or some other weigh) and bake in the bottom third of the oven for 18 minutes. Remove parchment paper with beans, lightly poke dough with a fork at 1/4 inch intervals to prevent it from puffing up, and return to the bottom third of the oven for 5 more minutes.
5.Turn down the oven to 375F.
6.Fill the tart shell with caramelized onions. Sprinkle with a layer of gruyère. Arrange cherry tomatoes cut side down in concentric circles starting with the outer circle and working your way in towards the center of the tart. Bake tart on the bottom rack for 15 minutes. Move tart to the top rack and bake until tomatoes are just starting to brown, 15 more minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving.
Perfect Pie Crust: - Barefoot Contessa
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) very cold unsalted butter
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/3 cup very cold vegetable shortening
6 to 8 tablespoons (about 1/2 cup) ice water
Dice the butter and return it to the refrigerator while you prepare the flour mixture. Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse a few times to mix. Add the butter and shortening. Pulse 8 to 12 times, until the butter is the size of peas. With the machine running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse the machine until the dough begins to form a ball. Dump out on a floured board and roll into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Cut the dough in half. Roll each piece on a well-floured board into a circle, rolling from the center to the edge, turning and flouring the dough to make sure it doesn't stick to the board. Fold the dough in half, place in a pie pan, and unfold to fit the pan. Repeat with the top crust.
Yield: 2 (10-inch) crusts
Macaroni with Eggplant Meatballs
3 tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 eggplant (about 12 ounces), peeled and diced
1 to 2 tbsp. water
1 1/4 cups fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup minced fresh Italian parsley leaves
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 cups tomato and basil sauce kept hot
1 pound macaroni
Tomato and Basil Sauce:
5 pounds ripe plum tomatoes or three 28-ounce cans crushed plum tomatoes with their liquid
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2/3 cup diced onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups dry red wine
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp. fine sea salt or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
6 to 8 large sprigs fresh basil
How to make meatballs:
1) Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet or saucepan, and slowly cook the garlic over medium heat until golden.
2) Add the eggplant and 1 tablespoon of the water, cover and steam the eggplant over low heat until very soft, about 10 minutes.
3) Add the remaining water only if the eggplant begins to stick to the skillet. Stir the eggplant occasionally while it cooks.
4) Set the eggplant aside and let cool.
5) Combine the bread crumbs, parsley, salt, oregano, eggs and cheese in a large bowl. Stir in the eggplant, mix well and let stand for 20 minutes.
6) Scoop small amounts of the mixture into your hands and form meatballs the size of a small egg. There should be enough to make about 18.
7) Heat the vegetable oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, then fry the meatballs, turning them occasionally so they brown evenly, or bake them in an oiled casserole dish in a preheated 350Â°F oven until browned, 10 to 25 minutes. Transfer the meatballs to the tomato sauce and keep hot.
8) Cook the macaroni according to the directions. Drain and place in a serving dish.
9) Mix macaroni with some of the tomato sauce, then arrange the meatballs and sauce on top of the pasta, and serve immediately. Pass additional cheese for sprinkling on top.
How to make tomato and basil sauce:
1) If using fresh tomatoes, core them, cut them into coarse chunks, and purée them in a food processor, blender or food mill until smooth.
2) Strain the fresh or canned tomatoes through a fine sieve to remove the skins and seeds. Set aside.
3) Heat the olive oil in a large pot, and cook the onion over medium heat, stirring, until soft.
4) Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft.
5) Do not let the garlic brown or an acrid taste will be imparted to the sauce.
6) Pour in the tomatoes and wine, and stir to combine.
7) Add the remaining ingredients, reduce heat to low and simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes.
When forming the meatballs, wet your hands occasionally to prevent the mixture from sticking.