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Vegetarian Dinner Party

I am trying to plan a menu for 8 people and one is a vegetarian. I am looking for an entree that doesn't scream vegetarian. Can anyone suggest a main course that will respect the vege. without calling attention to her? I don't want it to be lasagne or another type of pasta. TIA

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  1. What about cheese enchiladas? Those go over with many types of eaters. Another idea is risotto.

    4 Replies
    1. re: milklady

      I particularly like the risotto idea but I don't want to be standing in the kitchen stirring for 30 minutes. Have you ever tried the make in advance risotto method?

      1. re: beanodc

        I have tried various advance risotto methods (ready when the guests arrive, not days in advance). They aren't as perfectly creamy as just served, but if you stir in some butter before plating it's a-okay for my standards.

      2. re: milklady

        I agree that a Mexican theme may be a good way to go. Cheese Enchiladas, vegetarian refried beans, Spanish/Mexican-style rice. In fact, I have a wonderful cheese-stuffed Poblano pepper recipe that is perfect for a vegetarian Mexican meal:


        6 – 8 fresh green poblano peppers (depending on their size and your appetite), &
        1 brown paper bag, food-safe plastic bag, or bowl with plastic wrap to cover that will comfortably hold peppers. Keep in mind that Poblano peppers can vary widely in their heat level – some are just a little bit spicier than bell peppers, others can be almost as hot as Jalapenos. There’s really no way to tell other than a taste test.

        3 – 4 tablespoons of grated cheese PER PEPPER, such as cheddar, Monterey Jack, or – if you like extra heat – one of the “hot pepper” cheeses now on the market. The recently available preshredded Mexican-cheese mixtures also work very well here. A standard-size block of any two of the above, or 1-2 bags of preshredded cheese mix should give you more than enough cheese to stuff 6 – 8 peppers.

        One 10-oz. can of red Enchilada Sauce.

        Preheat broiler for approximately ten minutes. Lightly coat a rimmed baking sheet with oil and place peppers on it with space between them. Broil for 5-6 minutes, turn peppers over & broil for another 5-6 minutes, or until skin is black & blistered. Place peppers in paper or plastic bag, or in plastic-wrap covered bowl and allow to sit for approximately 15 - 20 minutes or until cool enough to handle comfortably. One by one, gently peel blistered skin off of peppers (this may be done under a GENTLE stream of cold running water). Leaving the stem intact, gently cut a lengthwise slit in each pepper and carefully remove seeds***.

        Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using any baking dish that will comfortably hold the peppers in a single layer (an 8” x 8” or 10” x 10” works well for me, coat the bottom with half the enchilada sauce. Carefully stuff approx. 3 to 4 tablespoons of grated cheese into each pepper and place in sauced dish. Top with drizzles of the remaining sauce.

        Bake uncovered for 20 – 25 minutes, or until peppers are heated through and cheese is melted. Remove from oven & allow to stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.

        Served with or on top of your favorite Spanish/Mexican/yellow rice with a green salad & perhaps some refried beans on the side. This makes a nice, lively vegetarian entrée.

        ***This is sometimes easier said than done. Don’t have a heart attack if your peppers tear a bit here and there. Once they are stuffed with cheese and everything is melted and oozing together – no one will know the difference.

        1. re: Breezychow

          An alternative to lasagna (which I know you stated you don't want) would be a vegetarian moussaka with eggplant, zucchini, etc. Could work if you wanted something you could prepare in advance, and esp. if you wanted a Mediterranean-type theme...

      3. You need to find out/let us know if the veg eats any animal products and if so, which ones (milk, eggs, cheese, fish etc.).

        1 Reply
        1. re: PotatoHouse

          The person is NOT a vegan. She eats milk, eggs, cheese and occasionally salmon. Thanks for your interest and help.

        2. mushroom bourguignon from smitten kitchen is fabulous and great for anyone. If you don't want to serve it over pasta it is wonderful on farro, wild rice or wheatberries.

          1 Reply
          1. re: magiesmom

            oh yes. this is a great suggestion. no one will miss the meat at all

          2. Eggplant Parmesan !!!--We have this at Thanksgiving and even the big meat eaters cannot resist the taste of EGGPLANT

            1. Roasted veggie pot pie.

              1. Eggplant Parm is great, but as a veg myself, it is often one of my only options and can get old after a while. If you think Mexican is a good theme, this Bittman recipe is fantastic.


                If you don't go the Mexican route, maybe a vegetable tagine (FYI, unless you love lemon I would halve the amount in the recipe for starters



                1. I often make zucchini stuffed with a mixture of Italian sausage, sweet red pepper, breadcrumbs, Romano cheese, white wine, and some oregano. I had a vegetarian friend coming for dinner, so I tried the stuffing with mushrooms instead of sausage, and it was just as good. You could do something like that where it would be easy to prepare a bit of the stuffing in a separate pan but with mushrooms in place of the meat.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: writergeek313

                    Special occassion dinners at my house frequently seem like a sampling of every possible diet: vegan, vegatarian, no red meat, etc. A popular dish has been similar to writergeek's suggestion. Red and green peppers stuffed with fake sausage, mushrooms, rice, onions, garlic, tomato sauce, and various herbs and spices of the moment. The fake sausage works in this dish if you brown it in a dry pan before adding the sauteed veggies (like amny people I find most fake meat to be repulsive). This dish takes care of everyone except the guy who is alergic to soy - fortunately he eats fish and poultry.

                  2. With so many vegetarians and all of us eating more vegetables, I'm kind of surprised that having a meal without meat is a big deal. Pasta without meat doesn't scream vegetarian, but just wonderful, the same for risottos. A Greek platter could be totally or at least mainly vegetarian, as would an Italian antipasto platter....just serve the salami and sausages on a separate and who will even notice. (For the veg platter, roasted peppers, fried eggplant/zucchini, sauteed rabi, fresh tomatoes, arugula salad, fresh mozzarella, provolone, oil cured olives.) Add some rosemary foccacia and I think you have a full meal.

                    1. maybe fall theme soup with lots of yummy cheesey crusty bread? Hearty and filling. You could also do a fake meat shepards pie. Very filling and delicous. You could do spanish rice, baked enchiladas and refried beans with fun drinks. Good luck!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: danionavenue

                        What about a curry - butternut squash, chickpea and spinach. They are great made well ahead as well so you don't need to worry standing over a hot stove when you can be hosting. Serve with rice and naan bread and maybe some chutneys. Non veges will love it as well

                      2. These are all great ideas. I didn't explain that I also have a mushroom hater(my husband), and 1 person who prefers plain, not spicy food. This is also a group who don't know each other so I am trying to make everyone comfortable. Keep the ideas coming.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: beanodc

                          Artichoke tart. You can use purchased puff pastry dough (preferably one made with butter) and make the filling a day or 2 ahead of time. The one I make uses fresh artichokes cleaned and steamed and the hearts cut up into small bites, sauteed with minced onions, carrots, garlic, some lemon zest, lemon juice, herbs and seasonings and dusted with parmesan or your choice of cheese (chevre would work) right before baking.

                          Home made butternut squash stuffed tortelloni with brown butter, fried sage and parmesan cheese sauce (the tortelloni can be made well in advance and frozen the sauce is easy and last minute). This just screams fall and don't forget the amaretto cookies in the stuffing ;-). Serve with a side salad of mixed greens, shaved fennel, cut up pears, maybe some red peppers julienne and a shallot, chive, champagne and balsamic vinegar vinaigrette.

                        2. Favorites from our dinner parties:
                          - Yellow pea soup with spiced yogurt, spinach and rice (I serve without unless it's a big group)
                          - Vegetable terrines (I choose vegetables based on the season)
                          - Eggplant (or squash?) Tian
                          - Chili
                          - Broccoli, cheddar and beer risotto
                          - Souffles

                          1. If you can manage to make it for 8 people, I highly recommend Steamy Kitchen's Pan-Fried Lemon-Ricotta Gnocchi. They are ridiculously easy to make since they are cheese-based. I've made it for 6 without problems, but you have to serve them fresh. Double the recipe and serve with a side salad of sorts.

                            Not really pasta per se.. so much more elegant. :)

                            I just noticed your vegetarian also eats salmon. Salmon teriyaki (with a mirin, sake and soy sauce glaze) has always been a hit at my parties and is easy to make, too. Wrapping salmon in phyllo dough with some herbs and white wine thrown in is also a simple, yet decadent supper.


                            1. How about a vegetarian cassoulet? You could even cook up an assortment of sausage, like brats and lamb sausage, and serve them on a platter for meat eaters to enjoy with the beans.

                              1. Bearing in mind I don't know how it'll match the rest of your dishes, I've been mulling this one over for a couple of weeks: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                Or.. stew that I can definitely vouch for because for once I decided to (basically) follow a recipe: http://www.theppk.com/2010/12/rustic-...

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: megjp

                                  Hi there, I recently showed this simple recipe on TV.Its called PANEER KATHI ROLL- very simple wrap and easy to make.
                                  1. Buy Paneer cheese (It is an Indian cheese, available in ethnic or sometimes in regular grocery stores) cut into thick cubes and slice- red onions, 2 different color bell peppers and tomatoes.
                                  2. Heat the oil in a pan - 2 tbsp, and add cumin seeds - 1/2 tspn. Once crackles then add onion and bell peppers, saute until they get soft then add tomatoes and continue sauteing for 3-4 minutes. Now add salt, cayenne pepper and INDIAN SPICE- garam masala. Mix well and add Paneer cheese cubes and stir well. Your filling is ready. Now move to the next step.
                                  preparation for mint and cilantro chutney- you can make it day before as well. Ingredients:
                                  1 bunch of fresh cilantro, 1 bunch of mint, , 1 tspn of lemon juice, salt to taste, and 1 green chili de seeded. If you like spicy chutney then add 2 chilies and do not deseed. Put all the ingredients in a blender and 1/4 cup of water and make puree. Your chutney is ready. Please adjust salt and lemon juice in chutney, it won't be good if these to spices are not well balanced.
                                  Step 3: SALAD : Juliene cucumber, carrot and spring onions and cilantro and add very little salt and lemon juice. Keep it aside.
                                  Now buy readymade chapatis from the store.
                                  Assembly time: Slightly heat the chapati and smear with chutney and fill it with paneer filling and cucumber and carrot salad and roll and cut into half and serve. Remember if the chutney is too watery then chapati will be soggy so while making the chutney do not add too much water.
                                  I hope you will enjoy this recipe. Good Luck and Happy cooking!!!!.

                                2. Hi I just replied to ur vegetarian dinner party idea and I guess I hit the wrong button while replying so please scroll down and you will find my recipe .