A roasted butternut squash tarte or galette with herbed goat cheese, maybe with a ratatouille, a simple green salad w/ vinaigrette, rough bread - all served room temp. - or a roasted vegetable napoleon (eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, portobellas, onion, artichoke hearts, asparagus), vegies "sauced" with a spoonful of baked black pepper brie done 'til it's runny, served with a cold soup; pea/mint, spinach/yogurt, cucumber/dill/yogurt, tomato/basil.
Jamie Oliver does a Cauliflower and Broccoli Cannelloni - and every time I make them, for meat eaters or veggies, people wolf them down. You can make the stuffing in advance and the rest is just basic stirring and assembly.
I would also agree that a good vegetarian lasagne is fab. The Delia Smith one is delicious and uses unusual ingredients which add a lot of depth of flavour.
Otherwise, I would do a range of indian vegetarian dishes. I find them much more satisfying than western vegetarian food because I am not really a big cheese or mushroom fan.
As wonderful and inventive as pasta dishes and risotto can be, it's nice to have a change from those ubiquitous vegetarian options. Particularly unusual preparations, however, like smoked spaetzle, toasted absorption pasta, gnudi, sweet/spicy/savory ravioli & sauce pairings, giant ravioli with whole egg in the filling, are exceptions to that.
Have you ever made, or considered making seitan? If so, some nice options open up for you.
Galettes or savory tars/tartlettes - with buckwheat dough, phyllo, or homemade puff pastry using compound butters for an extra oomph
Savory tarte-tatin- with
Crepes, or a savory crepe cake
A range of vegetables stuffed with grains (farro, barley, quinoa, rice, etc.), and baked, grilled, or fried
I also completely agree about souffles!
Well, technically if they eat fish or seafood, they're not a vegetarian. They are just someone who doesn't eat meat, but who eats fish and seafood. With all due respect, I don't think a lot of people enjoy pasta, salad and bread for breakfast...those seem like they would get tired, fast. Unless of course there is a LOT of wine.
My husband is veggie, so I cook that way. We've had amazing successes with souffles. So easy, so immediately impressive. Also, on a more casual side of things, we had people over for homemade veggie burgers and served them with an impressive array of toppings, buns, etc. That was a phenomenal hit.
The January Bon Appetit had a recipe in their RSVP section for wild mushroom cakes with avocado pesto and red pepper coulis. The recipe was from Cuvee World Bistro in Tuscon. In terms of elegance, I would put them on par with something like crab cakes. I kept the recipe because I think it's nice to have a vegetarian entree for entertaining that doesn't either look like a side dish or a casserole. As the recipe was written, the mushroom cakes and coulis were delicious. The avocado pesto was a little bland and could use some tweaking.
What about this wild mushroom ragout, which i served on soft polenta? I think my guests were pretty impressed by this! I did a fat-free version of polenta, with no cream or cheese, but you could certainly make it more decadent. The ragout was delicious - albeit on the expensive side with all those wild mushrooms. You an see the photo here: http://whatwouldcathyeat.com/2010/02/...
Herbed Mushroom Ragout with Soft Polenta
½ oz. dried porcini mushrooms
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
2 pounds wild mushrooms (any combination of shiitake, oyster, hen of the woods and chanterelle), sliced
8 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced
4 shallots, minced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. chopped fresh sage
1 T. chopped fresh thyme
1 t. finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 c. red wine
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Put the dried porcinis in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Cover and let sit for about 25 minutes. Strain through cheesecloth, and reserve the liquid. Rinse and chop the porcinis.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet – or use two pans if necessary – over medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté until translucent, then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Raise the heat to medium high and add the fresh mushrooms along with a light sprinkling of salt, and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until they begin to brown. Add the porcinis, herbs and wine. Cook until wine is reduced by half. Add ½ cup of mushroom soaking liquid. Reduce heat and simmer gently until the liquid is again reduced by about half. Add salt & pepper to taste. Serve on soft polenta.
I second the gnocchi suggestion. I made this a few weeks ago:
It was one of the best things I've ever eaten. Since you pan-fry everything at the end, you don't really need to be careful about amounts or about what type of mushrooms you use. Mmmm. Make double the gnocchi so you can freeze the rest.
I think the problem with lasagne, and pasta in general, is that it's a dish that omnivores eat, even though it often has no meat in it. So, they think, "What do I know how to cook that doesn't have meat," and, voila, pasta.
I like some of those ideas out of Ottolenghi's new Vegetarian option you linked. Lots of really lovely ideas in there. (Which I will try as soon as my darn book arrives!)
Two particular things I've made -
Butternut squash lasagna or cannelloni - let me know if you want the recipe - it's really rich and decadent and yummy
Quinoa and goat cheese stuffed veggies (I used med. sized patty pan squash) - there isn't much of a recipe - but let me know... I'll put it together as much as possible. I was surprised that even the meat eaters gobbled these up.
After writing this out - I realize that it's probably not much help because I can't remember the flavor much beyond the quinoa and cumin - because I don't like cheese - so someone else was doing most of the tasting! - so sorry!
Ok, Let's see what I can remember -
The squash were medium sized - carved a hole out of the top and hollowed them out a bit - left most of the flesh though - keep the tops and the stuff you carved out
Make quinoa - make sure it's slightly (only a little) underdone -
squash (from the inside of the ones you carved out)
Any other veg you like.
maybe some toasted pine nuts too...
Mix with cumin, coriander, cayenne, salt & pepper to taste - I might have added a little cinnamon too -
Miix with goat cheese - actually, this might have been feta...
Salt and pepper the inside of the squash
pack the quinoa into the squash - drizzle with oil or rub with oil prior to stuffing - place the squash top on the squash - place all in a roasting pan and roast for about 30 minutes.