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Would you please comment on this vegetarian Christmas menu?

  • c

I'm hosting a number of vegetarians for Christmas this year and figured I'd try to do a fully vegetarian holiday meal for the first time. What do you think of this menu? Is there enough protein and is it otherwise well balanced? Should I add another dish? I know it's not the most exciting menu, but there are a few non-adventurous eaters in the group and I don't want to scare them too much.

Pre-Dinner Noshing:
- spiced nuts
- olive medley
- white bean dip with harissa

Dinner:
- quiche (tomato, roasted red and green pepper, broccoli -- all made with gouda and white cheddar)
- mashed potatoes and mashed Brussels sprouts, swirled together
- potato gratin with chives (or maybe a sprinkle of red paprika)
- caprese salad
- oven roasted cauliflower and broccoli
[Possibly also a salad of roasted red beets, chevre and green lettuces, but I think maybe not necessary with the caprese salad]

Dessert:
- cheese plate (Cantal, Tomme de Savoie, Ubriaco) with homemade crackers, pears, apples
- yogurt panna cotta with strawberry / ginger compote, garnished with mint leaves

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  1. Everything sounds pretty good, but I think you need one big central dish. Maybe a vegetable lasagna (plus is it's a do-ahead, too.) Then you might want to lose the potatoes. I don't know where your located, but here in Boston I would hesitate to do a caprese salad at this time of year because it is hard to get quality tomatoes. I might to some sort of spinach salad instead. For a first course, you could do some sort of vegetable soup.

    2 Replies
    1. re: pemma

      The soup's a good suggestion, but given the number of people, I think I'm going to steer clear of courses. (It's turned out to be a bit hectic in the past with me and the SO scurrying around to clear the salad plates / soup bowls.)

      Also great point re: good tomatoes. I normally wouldn't serve it outside of summer time, but it's one of my SO and FIL's favorite dishes and they are both picky eaters, so I figured I'd make them this concession. (I do know a few places in my city that sell pretty nice hothouse tomatoes...)

      Do you think lasagna is more main coursey than quiche? I was kind of conceiving of quiche as the nominal main.

      1. re: cimui

        I would make the lasagna and the quiche. Or a baked pasta item and the quiche. You didn't say how many people you're having... so maybe serving both isn't too much food.

        Consider serving the beet salad too...especially since you're serving the caprese salad mainly for your SO and FIL

    2. Dairy items? Butter, milk/cream, eggs and cheeses okay for all attending? If so, I would opt for one dish a little more substantial, like Baked Pasta. Eggplant Prmigiana/Roasted Eggplant or Lasagna.....really boring stuff, but loved by most.

      3 Replies
      1. re: fourunder

        >>really boring stuff, but loved by most.

        =) yeah...

        Ok, two votes for a pasta dish. I will consider this...

        All the vegetarians are lacto ovo so all the dairy should be fine. Thanks, four!

        1. re: cimui

          You can get by the the Caprese Salad by using Cherry or Grape tomatoes.

          If you don't want to do a lasagna, try a roasted vegetable baked pasta. I've had dishes that included eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, peas/fava beans, broccoli, cauliflower.....I've also had things like spaghetti squash, acorn squash and root vegetables.

          http://images.google.com/imgres?imgur...

          http://images.google.com/imgres?imgur...

          1. re: cimui

            i agree with a baked pasta dish... and you could assemble that the day before. you could do a butternut squash/sage lasagna alongside the quiche

            and if you want to cut down on the starches, instead of a potato gratin, you could do cauliflower. I've done this and it is delicious. http://foodandstyle.wordpress.com/200...

        2. In my opinion, you shouldn't do two potato dishes, unless one was sweet potato (which would make a great starter soup, by the way) nor should the menu be dominated by cheese..If you want to do a quiche with cheese or a lasagna with cheese, you shouldn't offer a cheese plate as a dessert. You are also serving repetative vegetables, i.e. broccoli in your quiche, broccoli in your roasted veg and all of your veg is the same family.

          Also, if you want to go for the caprese salad, I'd roast the tomatoes instead of serving fresh to bring out the sugars, but a roasted beet salad is more seasonal and a little crumbling of goat cheese would be okay if you're having other dishes with cheese.

          You could do a veg lasagna with a bechamel & marinara sauce; you could make the bechamel with silken tofu if you're worried about not having enough protein. Add some other vegetables for texture and color like baby carrots, parsnips, squash, etc. If you're serving cheese, I assume that your vegetarians eat dairy, so why not just serve one dessert, with your panna cotta, add toasted sponge cake or use ladyfingers for crunch.

          I'm not trying to be hypocritical, just pointing out what I see.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Cherylptw

            +1 to all of this. better than i could have explained my same reservations.

            1. re: Cherylptw

              I think you're right about the two potato dishes. I was brainstorming white/red/green dish ideas and got a bit carried away. Rather than doing a broccoli quiche, I think I'll choose another green vegetable to include -- probably spinach.

              Unfortunately, a few of my vegetarians have a violent dislike of tofu, so none of that -- and bechamel might be too heavy for the diabetics / dieters. I'm really liking fourunder's roasted veggies baked pasta idea right now. Do you think that would fit in with the rest of the menu?

              You might be right that there's too much cheese...

              1. re: cimui

                The baked pasta is perfect, and I only threw in the tofu because of the protein thing but seriously no one can tell there's tofu in the bechamel because you're using silken; traditionally bechamel is not made with tofu...and I like lollya's salad suggestion, but you could improvise it with spinach, your roasted beets, the clementines, maybe some dried or fresh berries and a mandarin orange vinaigrette (mandarin oranges pureed with a balsamic vinaigrette) and perhaps the nuts and goat cheese; serve with toasted crostinis

            2. I would have a REAL vegetarian main dish (not quiche) -- such as Soupe au Pistou, Meatless Moussaka, a Rice and Beans dish or a Lentil dish. Vegetarians like to eat "meaty" type foods too, and most of them do so.... except when they dine with friends who aren't vegetarians.

              It's important that the dinner not be comprised only of side dishes.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ChefJune

                I think the variety of sides might work for this group, actually (a bit like thali / tapas style dining, which they're familiar with). Quiche isn't really my favorite idea, either. I'll look into some other alternatives and appreciate your suggestions.

              2. i would suggest adding in some greens; it's seems a little starch-heavy for my taste (been a vegetarian/vegan for almost 20 years). perhaps subbing out the potato dishes for something with kale or another seasonal green? something with a little acid? also, a lovely winter salad would be high on my list. lately, i've really been into this one served at mozza (it can be easily made vegetarian-friendly): http://tinyurl.com/ydt3hjw. unsolicited tip? i usually just find recipes/menus that work together and make them meatless. i am sure your guests will really love a meal where they can eat *everything!*

                4 Replies
                1. re: wowimadog

                  I have a couple thoughts...

                  If you were trying to do comfort foods, a nice macaroni and cheese with good gruyere and cheddars might be fabulous with a nice homemade butter-crouton'd topping (little smoked paprika), a seasonal salad with fresh berries and clementines, walnuts and goat cheese with a berry vinaigrette, your roasted cauliflower...all the apps sound great, i'd add in a cheese for the crackers to side along the bean dip...

                  sorry, i got carried away. :P

                  1. re: lollya

                    your ideas all sound fabulous, lollya! if i didn't have such picky eaters / eaters with restrictions on hand, i think i'd take them all. as it is there are a few anti-mac & cheese types there. i think i will have to sneak in that seasonal salad with greens tho... the berry vinaigrette would be pretty and add a nice, acidic touch. great idea!

                    1. re: cimui

                      :) glad to help! i usually use olive oil, a bit of strawberry jelly, touch of grainy mustard, some balsamic, and salt and pepper. good luck!

                  2. re: wowimadog

                    Things do tend towards the creamy on my menu, huh? (I usually do make my caprese salads with the non-traditional balsamic, but more variation in the flavor profiles would be nice, I agree.) I think I will sub out the potato gratin with something else. I personally love kale and acid, but I think it's too identifiable as a vegetable for my FIL. Hmm.... Maybe kale could go in a pasta dish....

                    Good ideas, wowimadog. And great handle. :)