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Oct 31, 2007 11:54 AM

Vegetarian dinner party menu that carnivores will love?

I have a few of the girls coming round for a dinner party soon and they are a horrendous mixture of vegetarians and picky eaters. What can I cook that they will all love? Any recommendations gratefully received!
I am ok with dessert (no meat there!) and starters (mini butternut squash and sage tartlets) but need a decent main course idea...

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  1. How about eggplant rollatini? has a delicious recipe for it.

    2 Replies
    1. re: diablo

      That's a great idea. Here are three more options--

      A roasted yam, marinated feta, leek, rosemary and bowtie pasta dish that is really good and pretty:

      peel and chop large yam into small pieces, toss with olive oil and salt and roast until tender

      combine with cooked bowtie pasta, all the contents of a glass jar of marinated feta (cut up the little chunks of feta into smaller bits), and chopped leeks that you have sauteed until soft and then added some fresh chopped rosemary to (cook rosemary with leeks until fragrant then remove from heat). Serve with fresh grated parmesan cheese. This dish is delicious.


      A veg lasagna. If you are time pressed this is a very quick very easy recipe that has always gone over well

      Super-Fast Spinach, Pesto and Cheese Lasagna:

      The above two recipes are suggestions for if you want to play it safe. What I would make with your starter is

      Polenta Gratin with Mushroom Bolognese

      Not everyone loves mushrooms and polenta but the people who don't are crazy! This dish is fantastic.

      1. re: abud

        I make a similar pasta recipe with butternut squash and pappardelle instead of the yam and bowties. It's awesome.

        Another possibility is a veggie tart - super easy if you use storebought puff pastry. You can cook the veggies ahead of time, but you don't have to if you slice them really thin. (I usually use whatever's in the fridge, but a good combo is tomato, onion, arugula and fontina cheese.)

    2. I just made mushroom lasagna (Ina Garten's recipe) for a girls night dinner and it was perfect. Not sure if anyone you're having over is anti-mushroom though. It's bechamel based without any red sauce so I think it seems more "dressed up" for a dinner party. I served it with roasted plum tomatoes and it made a very nice pairing.

      Another option is some type of risotto. I don't think I've met anyone who doesn't like risotto, and it always seems very special to have it at someone's house rather than at a restaurant. You could vary the flavors very easily - and I've even made it with just lemon and parmesean as the flavorings and it was great.

      1. There is an excellent article in this month's Gourmet about a Thanksgiving dinner for vegetarians that carnivores will love. As a total carnivore, much of it sounded good - particularly the pumpkin stuffed with vegetable stew (and it looks beautiful). You might find some good ideas there:

        I also find risotto to be a hearty meal that carnivores like and don't think 'Where's the meat?'

        1 Reply
        1. re: Tom P

          I saw that and was totally amazed. The stuffed pumpkin w/seitan veg stew looks delicious and makes a cool centerpiece. The total time to make it was about 4 hours! I don't have that kinda time, even on Thanksgiving. I am going to make a separate post about Thanksgiving veggie main dishes.
          As for every day, I agree with risotto, a great veg. lasagna, vegetarian chili w/ a bunch of fixin's, all accompanied by a great green salad w/ a homemade dressing and you are good to go. If anyone wants recipes I am happy to share my faves.

        2. I also really like the idea of a risotto. I would make it relatively simple (mabye Milanese?) and serve with a nice side of roasted vegetables or green salad. To me many of the above suggestions sound great, but unfortunately would be rejected by the anti-vegetable carnivores I know (eggplant and mushrooms would be the big problems) - hence the separation of vegetables and main dish. Spinach, cheese and pesto lasagna would probably be eaten by the picky people I know as well and sounds really good. Another option would be potato soup, salad and bread. I do not know anyone that does not like good potato soup.

          1 Reply
          1. re: LauraB

            If you make a risotto, make sure you use veg stock - not chicken, like the recipe probably says.

          2. Epicurious has a completely delicious artichoke & green pea lasagna that everyone i've ever served it to has raved over. Maybe a simple risotto w/ roasted veg on the side (green beans, romas?)? I would suggest a tart, but it looks like you have that covered. Good luck!