HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Unexpected Vegetarian

I have this dinner planned out for tommorow and everthing for it bought, but an unexpected vegetarian showed up and I don't know what I can replace the meat for that will go with the rest of the meal. I'm starting with an apple salad with white cheddar fritters, then as a main I have a puree of beets flavoured with cream and rasberry vin, potato gratan and braised short ribs with a jus reduction. What could I replace for the short ribs?
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated :)

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. don't alter anything, just do a grilled or braised marinated tofu steak!

    or, you could also add a quinoa and lentil salad to the table, and let the meat eaters have quinoa and ribs, and the quinoa is a complete protein for the veggies

    1 Reply
    1. re: Emme

      I think the quinoa salad is an excellent suggestion. It's a side that is substantial enough to serve as a main course for those abstaining from meat.

    2. depends on the vegetarian....if they are vegan, they won't eat the cheddar fitters, the beets with cream or the potato gratin.

      However, i would think that the veg would otherwise be happy with the sides. You're not feeding them day in and day out,so there's no need to find a replacement protein for the meal.

      1. I've been a veggie dinner guest many times, and I hate to make my hosts fuss - for some reason they don't get it that I'm happy as can be eating everything on the table *except* the obligatory meat at the center!

        Really, two or three decent sides are fine. Thanks for the concern, but please don't worry - do, however, find out if your guest is a vegan, as mentioned above.

        1. If they're not vegan... just make a few extra fritters and salad. They'll be fine with all the sides.

          1. I agree w/ the others, keep the ribs. It sounds like there's enough for the vegetarian but if you wanted, you could add a good crusty bread. It would be great for the meat eaters with the short ribs.

            1. For the vegetarian, perhaps a cream of mushroom soup or other veg. soup? It would be a nice gesture.

              2 Replies
              1. re: ceekskat

                Made with vegetable stock, of course. Although some vegetarians may be embarrassed to ask if there's meat stock in the soup and may just pass it up. (Not your problem if they do.)

                1. re: Kinnexa

                  Of course :) In this case, I assume the kind and thoughtful host would inform the guest. BTW, I've substituted veg. stock many a times including in stuffing for Thanksgiving. The expected vegetarians...Indians!

              2. i'm with the posters who say that you don't really need to make anything extra (i always felt a bit embarrassed when i was a vegetarian and hosts went to a lot of trouble to do that). but... if you really would like to, legumes and rice in some form, i.e. a french lentil stew made with lots of bay leaves and celery, served over rice, would make a great protein source and more or less fit in with the theme of the rest of the dinner. you could even serve the lentils as a 'bed' for the braised short ribs, for all guests. lentils with braised meat is a common and well loved combination.

                thanks for being so thoughtful to your guest.

                1 Reply
                1. re: cimui

                  Agree -- the OP was very thoughtful. Just be aware in your suggestion that many vegetarians would not eat the lentil "bed" because it had meat on it... a better idea would be to have a separate dish of lentils.

                  When I do make something vegetarian, I point out quietly (no fuss) that there is no meat stock or broth in the vegetarian entree -- and if I'm making food for a buffet I label it (or sometimes, because sometimes I cook for mixed groups of vegetarians, meatatarians and vegans) I just label the ingredients.

                2. Easy peezy - tempeh. Good with a little bar-b-que sauce; there are tons of real quick tempeh recipes.

                  1. All your suggestions were helpful, my mind was drawing a blank.
                    Just a standard vegetarian so they were fine with the dairy. I substituted the ribs for a stuffed red bell pepper that I filled with a mixture of Basmati rice, diced roasted yellow peppers; which I roasted off in the oven and then tossed with a little balsamic. It was really tasty :) Thanks again for the input