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Jan 2, 2013 05:23 PM

Seeking: Vegetarian main dish for 18 people that can be made ahead

I'm hosting a dinner for about 16 people next week, and I'm looking for some ideas. I want the meal to be all vegetarian (doesn't necessarily have to be vegan, though).

I'm thinking about making a big pot of soup — either a middle-eastern style lentil soup or an east asian miso-vegetable-noodle soup, so both of those would probably be vegan and pretty hearty. But I want to have another dish to go along with this. The dinner is on a Tuesday night, so if I can do most of the prep/cooking on Sunday, that would be ideal...will only have about 1.5 hours before the meal on Tuesday to get everything ready.

Any ideas for good main dishes to accompany either of those soups? Thanks in advance!

Dave MP

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  1. How about a nice coconut-curried chickpea stew with red (and some hot if you like) peppers, onions and kale? Serve over your favorite grain with a cilantro garnish. Can easily be made ahead and heated prior to serving.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Science Chick

      Hmm, interesting idea. But might this be a bit too soup/stew if I also served a noodle soup? I suppose I could skip the soup, though. But thanks for this idea, definitely something to ponder!

      Dave MP

      1. re: Dave MP

        ok, how about a layered bean/cheese/corn tortilla enchilada thingy?

    2. How about a lasagna or other baked pasta dish?

      5 Replies
      1. re: firecooked

        I was initially thinking lasagna, but I wasn't sure how well this would go with a big soup. But I suppose I could make some sort of vegetable soup that would complement an Italian baked pasta dish a bit better. Any ideas? I have a good vegetarian cheese lasagna recipe, but other creative lasagna variations could be cool too.

        1. re: Dave MP

          Since you're going to be 18 people, I'd suggest making two pans of different lasagnas. Maybe a cheese lasagna and a vegetable lasagna. Others have made butternut squash lasagna, and I often make spinach and wild mushroom lasagna.

          For the soup, what about a vegetable lentil soup? Or white bean and kale? Both Italian skewed and colorful.

          And a big salad. My favorite lately is arugula, pomegranate seeds, and shaved fennel.

          1. re: cheesecake17

            I like the white bean and kale soup idea, though I've never made a vegetarian version of this. Any tips? Also, can I make it one or two days ahead?

            Agree on the big salad...I was actually thinking of doing a big kale salad, but probably won't go that route if I am also serving kale soup.

            1. re: Dave MP

              The soup recipe I use is pretty simple. I wouldn't prepare it a few days in advance... It would taste ok but might get murky looking. It's got a base of onion, leek, garlic and has canned diced tomatoes, broth, white beans and ribbons of kale. The ingredients can all be prepped in advance, but I'd put the soup together the night of.

              1. re: Dave MP

                I would do the soup ahead, but wait to add the kale... Just add when you reheat.

        2. How about a baked egg casserole? I don't just use them for breakfast. Something along the lines of this spinach mushroom egg dish with something other than salsa. Ibet you could make it compliment the lentil soup seasonings.

          I have not tried this.

          1. Spanakopita to go with the middle-eastern theme? (Assuming you go lentil soup.)

            1. I'd make the lentil soup and a roasted root vegetable whole wheat couscous , do the soup on sunday as well as prepping all the veggies for the couscous, throw them into roast while making the couscous, all done in less than 45 minutes and a pleasant change from ubiquitous lasagne, toasted walnuts and a Dollop of greek yogurt on top.
              We often do this for a crowd with whatever vegetables are seasonal, always a hit.