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Vegan dinner for 6

Need a meat-eater friendly menu for six adults! The guest of honor is the only vegan but everyone else is an open minded eater. More veggie centric than tofu or the like, any ideas?

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  1. Ratatouille or Caponata Stuffed Grilled Portobellos are a favorite of many of my vegetarian clients. Grill the mushrooms (after taking out the black gills) with a little butter and Worchestershire Sauce or Balsamic vinegar. You can "super size" the entree by putting the first grilled mushroom gill side up; adding the stuffing, then putting another grilled mushroom gill side down on top. I call that my Inside Out Mushroom Burger.

    8 Replies
    1. re: KiltedCook

      OP, while KC's mushrooms sound delicious, be advised that many veggies dislike mushrooms in general, due to them having such a similar texture to meat.

      1. re: invinotheresverde

        @ invinotheresverde: I sure haven't met any vegans who dislike mushrooms, at least not cos they remind them of meat. There are tons of 'meat substitutes made especially for vegans, and they sell like...hotcakes!! Like, tofurky, like veggie hot dogs, veggie sausage, etc. etc. Personally, I don't eat those things, but I DO love mushrooms. I don't want fake meat, but mushrooms aren't.

        1. re: FibroLady


          Myself, my mother, sister, husband, uncle, three cousins and countless friends have been hardcore veg for years. Strangely, none of us likes mushrooms, especially portobellas, because of the steak-like texture.

          I didn't say ALL vegans/vegetarians don't like mushrooms, I said many.

      2. re: KiltedCook

        Just one note: I'm pretty sure butter is not considered vegan, as it's a dairy product. I'm sure olive oil would be a fine substitute. :-)

        1. re: kpzoo

          Another note: Worcestershire sauce has anchovies and so isn't even vegetarian! (KC likely knows this but many carnivores cooking for vegetarians might not)

          1. re: Mr. Eaty

            just fyi, there are several brands of vegetarian Worcestershire sauce (no anchovies).

          2. re: kpzoo

            There is also vegan 'butter', well, margarine. And yes, for vegans, or vegetarians of any kind, one would have to use the balsamic vinegar instead of the Worcestershire sauce. That being said, I far prefer good olive oil to butter substitutes, and I LOVE balsamic vinegar. This dish is definitely on my menu soon. It's not even breakfast time and I'm sitting here drooling away.

          3. re: KiltedCook

            WOW!! That sounds SO very good! I just might try that this weekend. I love eggplant and I love mushrooms, so this HAS to be a winning combo. Thanks for the suggestion...even though I'm not the original poster.

          4. Depending on how your friend is with cheese, you have a great deal of options. Wholefoods and Trader Joes even have a nice selection of renetless, soy and riced based cheeses.

            Enchiladas with Soyrizo and soy cheese or Chile Relenos. GArnish with Avocados and fresh salsa.
            For everyone you could offer:

            You could do a Risotto with wild mushrooms and asparagus. Use vegi stock instead of chicken or fish stock.

            Lasagna on the natural can be vegan. I recently made a meatless marinara using MORNINGSTAR Crumbles. My kids could not tell the difference.

            You can even do a pesto.

            Good Luck, let us know what you choose.

            1 Reply
            1. re: normalheightsfoodie

              Most fake cheese is NOT casein-free and therefore not vegan.

            2. I saw a declicios looking vegan asparagus tart on veganyumyum.com. You can make that and serve it with a fancy salad, roasted vegetables, and a nut or lentil based dish.

              Some of the other posters mentioned soy 'meat' products- a lot of vegans don't love these products because they're kind of a copout. Some faux cheeses are based on other ingredients but actually contain dairy, so if you're using those make sure to read the labels.

              I would look at some menus from vegan restaurants to see what they serve, and maybe base your menu off of that. I can think of two upscale ones- Blossom and Candle 79. (both in NYC)

              1. I love Moroccan eggplant and chickpea stew. This is a general recipe but you can be creative on the vegetables you use (and what's in season). I like it with sweet potatoes.


                Serve with good crusty bread. Even my husband who loves meat likes this as a meal. It's so hearty and healthy. My husband doesn't like any of the fake soy products.

                1. I'd also think about other indian dishes. I've done eggplant curry and channa masala for crowds from the candle cafe cookbook. Everyone has raved about them.

                  Moosewood also has some great recipes. Their vegan chocolate cake is delicious.

                  1. Add veggies (onions, mushrooms, whatever) to any of the following:

                    Cold soba noodles with a peanut sauce, julienne cucumber, and cubes of fried tempeh.
                    Kasha (and/or brown rice; about 1/4 amaranth is amazing) w/ toasted sesame oil, garlic, ginger. Maybe add tempeh, sea vegetables (arame or hiziki work well.). For more like kasha varnishka add bow tie pasta. Traditionally made with eggs and chicken stock, EVOO adds flavor and helps keeps it fluffy.

                    Tip: Toast grains and add, while really hot, to boiling liquid for fluffier grains. Use a big pot.

                    Nuts, seeds, to any of the above.
                    Either of the above work well with cilantro.

                    A veggie paella or rissoto - asparagus works well - especially with a corn stock".
                    A hot or chilled corn soup w/ a little cilantro, mint, or shiso.

                    Succotash, either with lima beans or edamame.

                    Indian dishes. Pasta primavera. The list goes on and on...

                    1. Polenta stacks are pleasant looking and delish (similar to this one although I believe I used eggplant and a tube of polenta):

                      I also clipped a recent recipe for roasted veg. gratin with polenta as the base - looked excellent but can't find an online recipe. Let me know ifyou want it.

                      1. Bi Bim Bap. Very colorful and pretty. Also very easy to customize. So the meat eaters can add some beef and egg to theirs if they would like. I'd serve it with some miso soup and seaweed salad.

                        I also like the Indian suggestion. Tons of stuff there -- samosas, palak with tofu, dals, dosas, etc. If a recipe calls for ghee, you can substitute oil.

                        1. Vegetable couscous is easy and appetizing. Look for a basic recipe on epicurious or wherever, but realize you can use whatever vegetables sound good to you. This time of year I base mine around butternut squash, which is really hearty and certainly makes it feel "main dish" enough for those used to eating meat. Depending on your friend's motivations for being vegan, s/he will probably appreciate the use of local produce, and the farmer's markets in our area are full of squash right now. Lead with a salad, I continue to see lots of fresh salad greens like arugula at the market, and finish with desert and that's a simple delightful meal. Maybe baked apples for dessert, just leave out the butter.

                          1. We had stuffed acorn squash as the main for our vegan Thanksgiving. Delicious, and beautiful presentation. We had 1 vegan, 2 vegetarians, 3 omnivores, and everyone was satisfied.

                            1. Individual multi-grain pizzas w/ artichoke heart, chick pea and roasted red peppers
                              Roasted Almonds
                              Herb-Infused Olive Assortment

                              Spicy Tomato-Carrot "Bisque" w/ Basil Chiffonade

                              Golden Winter Squash medallions w/ Sweet & Sour Onions
                              Wild Rice Crepes topped w/ Winter Green Melange
                              Moroccan Bulgur & Lentil Pilau w/ Cinnamon Roasted Garlic

                              Arugula, Fennel & Red Oak Leaf Lettuce
                              Red Currant Vinaigrette
                              Pomegranate Seeds

                              Caramelized Pineapple w/ Orange Mousse
                              Chambord-Poached Pears

                              Bread Assortment to be served, including: sun-dried tomato boules, walnut pain de compagne, sesame batons, etc. Herbed Olive Oil Dipping Sauce

                              Pour appropriate wines throughout and you will have a meal that will appeal to all.

                              1. WOW! These are awesome ideas, everything sounds filling and tasty! I think I am going to have to think, I'll let everyone know what I decide. I think even meat and potato folks would be happy with these great ideas.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: richmondfoodie

                                  I recently made dinner for six - one vegan, one veggie, four omnis - and served cold noodles with sesame/peanut sauce and bean sprouts; eggrolls with cabbage, shitakes and carrots; a stir fry of tofu and mushrooms; tofu based chocolate mousse. Everyone was happy, the omnivores just fine with the absence of meat and dairy.

                                  1. re: janeh

                                    I have a recipe for a baked polenta dish with roasted vegetables, makes a great main dish, I cannot find it on line let me know if you are interested in it. it has goat cheese, but you can easily skip that, and sub the butter for vegan alternative.

                                    also consider the grain quinoa, it is similar to a couscous, but a very healthy, high protein alternative, makes a great salad or stuffing (In squash or something), or side dish.

                                    here is also a link to a hearty lentil soup that I make in the slow cooker, a real favorite, even my hubby likes it.

                                      1. re: richmondfoodie

                                        Alison & Rick’s Famous Roasted Veg Baked Polenta

                                        Need a large baking dish like 9 x 13 inches.

                                        Roasted Vegetable ingredients
                                        2 Tbsp olive oil
                                        1 med red pepper, quartered
                                        1 med yellow pepper, quartered
                                        1 med orange pepper, quartered
                                        2 small zucchini, sliced lengthwise about ¼ inch thick
                                        1 med red onion, Sliced in three huge rings
                                        2 small garlic bulbs
                                        2 oz goat cheese, broken into small pieces (may try parmesan if desired)
                                        balsamic vinegar
                                        fresh ground pepper & sea salt

                                        Polenta ingredients
                                        6 cups chicken or veg stock
                                        2 cups yellow cornmeal
                                        1 cup butter
                                        2 cloves garlic, minced
                                        1 med white onion, diced
                                        ½ cup fresh basil, thinly sliced
                                        2 oz goat cheese, broken into small pieces (may try parmesan if desired)

                                        Roasted Veg Prep
                                        In a large bowl combine the cut veg and garlic bulbs.
                                        Toss with olive oil, transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast veg at 400 F for approx 45 min., or till veg begin to brown. (Or, grill them on the BBQ) Remove from heat, let stand 10 min. Slice all veg into bite size pieces. Transfer to a large bowl and squeeze garlic out of paper bulbs. Add goat cheese.
                                        Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and toss thoroughly. Season to taste with fresh ground pepper and sea salt.

                                        Polenta Prep
                                        Grease baking dish. In a deep saucepan over med heat, melt butter and sauté garlic and onion. Add stock and bring to a boil, reduce heat to low.

                                        Gradually whisk in cornmeal, cook approx 5 min., stirring constantly. Add fresh basil. Add all veg from bowl into polenta. Pour all into baking dish.

                                        Crumble the goat cheese over top.
                                        At this point, it may be covered and refrigerated overnight.

                                        Bake covered, at 350 F for 30 min. Then uncover and bake an additional 20-30 min, until cheese has melted and top has slightly browned.

                                2. check out the wealth of recipes on ppk. veganomicon is a great cookbook too.


                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: soupkitten

                                    ppk has awesome recipes. I also like fatfreevegan

                                  2. One thing to keep in mind is that there a ton of different veggie stocks. For some reason a lot of people seem think they're all based on a moire poix. (sp?)

                                    I love more focused stocks, such mushroom, corn, cilantro stems, carrot, etc. Picking a more general stock sometimes works well, but you can be more specific.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Richard 16

                                      This winter veg couscous is absolutely delicious. It is really filling because of all the root veg so you would need quite a light starter.


                                    2. Sushi is based on the rice, not the fish - there are *a lot* of recipes for vegan sushi. Sweet potato, burdock, umeboshi paste, carrot, etc. For a very pretty appearance and easier assembly try a pressed sushi (oshizushi). You don't need the special box - you can line a bread or casserole pan with plastic wrap for easier removal.