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Veggie recipe help

Our neighbour very sadly passed away last week, and we are rallying round as a street by cooking meals for them. I have volunteered for one shift on the rota but haven't a clue what to make. They're an extended family of seven - four adults, three children (two of them quite young), and all are vegetarian. The food needs to be easily transportable. I have no idea as to their preferences, but their mother (who died) was Italian.

I have thought about veggie lasagne, but fear that they may have been overwhelmed by pasta. Any thoughts?

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  1. how sad. so sorry to hear this.

    initial thoughts:
    - potato gratin
    - frittata or strata
    - minestrone or lentil soup
    - vegetarian chili or bean stew
    - wild mushroom ragu with polenta
    - eggplant parm

    1 Reply
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      I love the idea of the chili or bean stew. Add to that some cheddar or garlic muffins and a side salad and maybe a dessert of cake in which you poke holes and fill with pudding or jello and then use whipped cream for the topping. Or a layer cake with pudding and sliced bananas as the filling and iced with a cream cheese or butter cream frosting.

    2. What about making a veggie lasagna with polenta instead of pasta?

      1. I think a strata or quiche, in which you could use whatever combo of cheese and seasonal veggies appeals, would be a good option. Easily portable, and fine to at at room temperature as well as warm. Add a salad and some fruit, and you will have a comforting, non-pasta meal.

        1. How nice of the neighborhood to help in such a generous way.

          A tray of stuffed peppers might be another option. I would send them over just about cooked so that it is easy to warm them in the oven. Filled with a combination of veggies, parmesian and rice or barley so that it is a complete meal. Some breadsticks on the side would give another texture and could be a nice accompaniment.

          1 Reply
          1. re: smtucker

            The idea of a tray of stuffed peppers is so appropriate as is, perhaps, an aubergine parmigiano type casserole if they eat dairy. Another possibility may be a giambotta... a mixed vegetable stew in tomato sauce. It's very hearty and you could incorporate a variety of different vegetables and a bit of short cut pasta. Fresh Italian bread and a super salad would complete the meal. How lovely that neighbors get together to sustain a grieving family. We do this in my neighborhood as well..

          2. I think the fritatta/strata/quiche idea is a good one. Some other ideas include veggie cabbage rolls, enchiladas, perogis, or stir-fry of some sort. Don't forget a fresh veg or salad to accompany your main!

            1 Reply
            1. re: enbell

              This is such a nice gesture by the neighborhood to make meals for the family. Macaroni and cheese is a great crowd pleaser, and you can make it upscale by adding frozen butternut squash or making an Italian spin with mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and fresh herbs, such as basil or rosemary.

              You could also make some kind of casserole. That way, you'd only have to make one dish.

              -http://www.elleats.com

            2. GG... I just remembered that Virginia Willis has a recipe for Funeral Grits in Bon Appetit Y'All.
              It's a classic take-to dish which keeps and reheats very well. I wonder if you can get course ground grits in London, though. Anyway, I found a recipe on-line...
              http://www.cookthink.com/recipe/11725...

              2 Replies
              1. re: Gio

                I brought some grits back from our trip to the South last year, but I'm not sure that I'd serve them to people that weren't foodies, tbh. They're not a familiar ingredient here at all.

                I'm still thinking - thanks for all the great suggestions so far.

                1. re: greedygirl

                  In regards to grits for the UK, call it (and use) polenta.

                  Pureed veg soups and good bread and cheese?
                  Roasted veg, farro, and chickpeas marinating in good dressing. With fresh rocket to toss in to assemble into salads when needed.
                  The weather in London is so fickle these days, so the possibility of something that doesnt need to be heated may be nice.

              2. A creamy herb & grilled veggie rice dish would be great...you could use an assortment of grilled veggies, i.e. eggplant, zucchini, squash, mushrooms, onions, peppers, etc. Cook the rice separately then mix it together with diced veggies and a simple cream sauce. Add some garlic, thyme, etc. You can undercook the rice by a bit and freeze, if you wish. Type out instructions for the family to reheat. Maybe accompany with a garden salad.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Cherylptw

                  Are you referring to my post about funeral grits? I spent 4 months cooking through the Bon Appetit Y'All book, along with other CHers, and posted all my reports as well as when BAY'A was chosen COTM. I started 2 threads for those reports.

                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/607868
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/607868

                  I'm still cooking from that book...not selling anything. If you read my earlier suggestion to greedygirl up thread you'd know I was only responding to GG's query..

                  1. re: Gio

                    No. Someone else posted a link to some type of organic veggie wash after your post. I replied to their post and then the mods deleted their post.

                2. i second the lentil soup. good protein.

                  crockpot stuff might be good too, as suggested, chilis soups stews, etc.

                  also, what about some black bean burgers?

                  eggplant meatballs http://www.theveggietable.com/recipes...

                  broccoli stuffed potatoes - whip flesh with cottage cheese for added protein

                  breakfast for dinner? waffles to reheat or oatmeal (for breakfasts

                  )

                  stuffed zucchini

                  bbqed tempeh or tofu

                  veggie and tofu kebabs

                  fried rice and veggie dumplings

                  quiche

                  my condolences, and my admiration to you for your compassion.

                  1. * Farro or israeli couscous salads - last a while and taste good
                    * Roasted cauliflower - use the fantastic method here: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?/...
                    * Broccolini or rapini (broccoli rabe) blanched with lots of salt and then sauteed with garlic, fresh red chili pepper, and lots of olive oil -- this will either reheat well or can be eaten cold
                    * Soups - I am a big fan of West African style peanut soup, which transports and freezes pretty well. Some good recipes if you search online. This goes well with cornbread and collards.

                    1. Many thanks for all your suggestions and condolences. It is very sad - I saw my neighbour fade from an elegant, vibrant woman to, quite literally, skin and bone over the last couple of years. Sometimes death is a blessing. Cancer is a terrible thing.

                      1. how very nice of you, so sad.

                        I see lots of great suggestions, maybe even a nice savory veg strudel - make one for their freezer for another day. or a nice veggie pizza, not sure the level of their vegitarianness (eggs?, cheese?)