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Jewishy- Italiany Vegetarian Holiday menu feedback please!

This year, for the first time ever, we will be hosting my parents, brother and sister in law for Christmas luncheon. Since dear hubby and I are a couple of hippie pagans, this is a pretty big deal. As is my family's tradition, we will have at late lunch then spend the evening with relatives for Dom Deluise (remember the commercial with the giant antipasto? "Do you think it's enough?") inspired cocktails. Since that will be a cured pork products feast, I think a vegetarian dinner will be a good balance.

This is the menu so far
App: Potato Pancakes with Sour Cream and Applesauce (nod to hubby's Jewish heritage)

Salad: Mesclun with Clementines, Walnuts and Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Main
Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie
(kale, celeriac, carrot, leeks, fennel hash with butternut squash puree)
Fresh Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower with garlic, romano and pine nuts

or

Vegetarian Lasagna with winter veg
Roasted Cauliflower

Dessert: Fig and Walnut Tart, Cookies

I'm pretty nervous about this. Any and all suggestions are welcome!

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  1. i'm not seeing very much protein in that lineup.

    normally, if i'm serving vegetarian food to non-vegetarians, i make sure that several of the dishes are cheese-centric so that they get that 'full" feeling that they are used to getting when they eat meat.

    3 Replies
    1. re: westsidegal

      Kale, squash, and "winter veg" all have plenty of protein.

      1. re: westsidegal

        The absence of protein and the high sugar/starch load jumped out at me, too. I'd make an effort to fill that lasagna with some protein rich cheeses for a little more balance. Or you could consider making the shepherd's pie with some Eden black soybeans and/or tempeh, perhaps? The soybeans are virtually all fiber and protein.

        Sounds tasty, though!

        1. re: mcf

          Thanks for the suggestions re protein. I'm not worried about lack of nutrition so much as the sense of something missing. Soy products are not popular with this crowd. Hopefully the lasagna will be substatial enough.

      2. Instead of the Clementines......substitute Blood Oranges which are very much entrenched in Italian/Sicilian cooking

        Also consider Roasted Green Asparagus with Parmigiano Reggiano and Roasted Spaghetti Squash

        1 Reply
        1. re: fourunder

          Blood Oranges! Perfect!

          Yum, on the asparagus, but not all that available at the farmer's market this time of year.

        2. Your menu sounds fabulous...the lasagna might be more filling, but the shepherd's pie and the cauli pasta sounds divine to me.

          1 Reply
          1. re: cheeseisheaven

            Thanks! the recipe for the Shepherd's pie is here:

            http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipe...

            I use winter squash instead of sweet potatoes because that is generally more available at the farmer's market. I think it is a bit "weird" for this crowd, but it is a favorite in our household.

          2. Thanks for your suggestions! Here is the updated menu:

            Fried Artichoke Hearts with Sour Cream & Horseradish
            Arugula with Blood Oranges, Walnuts and Pomegranate Vinaigrette
            Butternut Squash Lasagna
            Roasted Cauliflower and Broccoli Rabe with Garlic and Pine Nuts
            Assorted Cookies and Bishop's Bread (fruitcake with cherries, nuts, dates, chocolates)

            1 Reply
            1. re: shindiganna

              the chow butternut squash lasagna is so good, and I don't think meat eaters will find themselves hungry. I used hazelnuts instead of chestnuts.

            2. Italians have lots of non-meat dishes that are holdovers from meatless Fridays. If you really want something traditional, consider these:

              Canneloni or Manicotti or Large Shells stuffed with ricotta cheese (classic holiday food with red or pink sauce)

              Linguine with cauliflower in a thin red sauce (clear red, thinned out and seasoned with basil)

              Pasta fagioli or Escarole with white beans -- a thick hearty soup for a winter night

              Are you deliberately ignoring seafood and fish? You can easily make a light appetizer of shrimp scampi under the broiler or stove top with garlic, oil, red pepper, lemon juice and oregano. You can serve that over pasta alia oglie (oil and garlic) if you wish.

              I have the Jewish - Italian thing going on too, and I can tell you that if you are pulling meat off the menu, compensate with pasta, veggies and cheese. That will be accepted by all.

              1 Reply
              1. re: RGC1982

                Great suggestions.
                Christmas Eve is a major fish feast. My mother hosts a buffet for 16 that includes a seafood lasagna, zuppa di pesce, baccala salad, another salad with octopus, scugille, calamari and shrimp, broiled shrimp...etc. Trying to add a bit of variety to the 48 hours of Christmas feasting.....

              2. I suggest a nice Italian farro soup, reminicient of Jewish mushroom barley soup

                1 Reply
                1. re: donali

                  great idea. we just had cuccia (farro soup) on Dec 13: it is very much like mushroom barley soup.

                2. Ok, the menu has morphed yet again

                  Fried Artichoke Hearts with Sour Cream & Horseradish
                  Arugula with Roasted Beets, Oranges and Pecans
                  Mushroom Lasagna
                  Seafood Lasagna
                  Roasted Cauliflower and Broccoli Rabe with Garlic and Pine Nuts
                  Assorted Cookies and Bishop's Bread (fruitcake with cherries, nuts, dates, chocolates)
                  and Paula Deen's Gingerbread Trifle....

                  1 Reply
                  1. Although you're not concerned about protein, some of these posts are absolutely wrong. The menu you've described is very high in protein and nutrients. Plant proteins contain the same 22 amino acids as animal proteins -- the highest protein carriers amongst veg: the leafy greens, i.e. spinach (remember Popeye), chard, kale, as well as broccoli. Sounds delicious! Good luck and enjoy!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: devixena

                      thanks Lala, devixena et al

                      The final menu:
                      assorted hot hors d'oevres (frozen Kosher assortment chosen by dear hubby)
                      Arugula with Roasted Beets, Cara Cara Oranges, Fennel and Pecans
                      Mushroom Lasagna (with 3 kinds of mushrooms and fontina)
                      Seafood Lasagna ala Mom (with shrimp and crab)
                      Sauteed Broccoli Rabe
                      Fig and Walnut Tart, cookies
                      Paula Deen's Gingerbread Trifle (ala Mom)

                      It went smoothly....

                      thanks so much for your feedback