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Easy group meal ideas with vegetarians & meat eaters

I am travelling with a group of 7 for a bike trip. Will be responsible for 2 or more dinners. There are 2 vegetarians in the group and one lactose intolerant. I do not plan to make strictly vegetarian dishes or 2 separate dishes or casseroles. I would ideally like to make something where we can just remove the meat. Not sure this will be possible. We will have access to full kitchen, plus bbq. I will bring some condiments at home if I have my meals planned in advance, but obviously don't want to spend a fortune in spices/condiments. I don't need to make anything in advance and bring it, but I can bring some things, however I am crossing the border so there are some restrictions. Nothing fancy required, just yummy, fairly easy as we will be tired.

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  1. Not knowing what kind of border restrictions you will encounter: spaghetti; grilled hamburgers & portabello mushrooms; assemble your own tacos (chicken, beans, slaw, onions, etc.). I think if you get away from the idea of having meat as a must you might find it easier to plan.

    5 Replies
    1. re: gourmanda

      Tacos or burritos are a great idea. I was thinking of burgers, not hard to make a veggie burger on top of meat ones. And the cheese can be left off all of those for the lactose intolerant.

      I am totally fine with vegetarian, my DH not so much, he hates legumes and tofu. Really decreases what you can cook vegetarian. Plus he feels it is not a meal without meat.

      1. re: cleopatra999

        second the burger idea, just make the veggie for the lactose intolerant person first, then veggie for the regular (or use a side) before "meating" up the whole grill.
        also skewers could be a good idea? make ahead and grill on site.
        lasagna or any type of pasta would be along the same lines of spaghetti.
        rice is fairly easy to do and dress up simply.

        1. re: pie22

          skewers are a great idea too, just with hunks of marinated tofu?

          I will have to check how strict the vegetarians are WRT meat on grill. I think they are veg for health not religious or ethical reasons, so prob not a big deal.

      2. re: gourmanda

        Assemble your own salad too, if you have access to fresh veggies. Grill some chicken or fish for the meat-eaters. Bread and cheese on the side.

        1. re: Pia

          That is a nice idea. Even just a nice big quinoa salad meat on side.

      3. Burritos ~~ vegetarians can have beans, and condiments ~~ others can add chicken or meat

        Vegetarian Chili ~~ and cornbread and condiments

        Macaroni and Cheese ~~ and a big green salad

        2 Replies
        1. re: laliz

          I'm not sure the lactose inolerant person would handle that cheese. Though the OP might want to ask if they are taking any medication for it such that they can now eat dairy.

          1. re: gourmanda

            They will take meds if necessary but it is nice to have some options where cheese can be left out.

        2. Like others have mentioned, foods that can be "add your own," such as tacos/burritos, baked potatoes, pasta, salad. Make the base, and have a variety of toppings/fillings available. Skewers, too, with a variety of meat, veggies, marinated tofu chunks, fruit. Then grill or broil/bake.

          1. Vegetable pasta salad could be made ahead and dressed just before serving.

            1 Reply
            1. re: gourmanda

              Some great ideas everyone, I think I will only need to cook 2 meals. I am bringing my metal skewers for kebabs one night and tacos/burritos are a certain one.

              Have some other good ideas for nights I am not cooking that I can pass on.

            2. Pasta with a good tomato and mushroom sauce is delicious, especially with a mixture of dried and fresh sauteed mushrooms. I find that meat-eaters (which I am myself, part-time) don't even miss meat with this meal although, if you are really attached to having meat, you could just fry up some sliced Italian sausage or something for people to add to their own bowls. Another virtue is that it's easy to cook for a group. A sauce like this is also really delicious finished with cream--you can set some aside for your lactose intolerant friend before adding it if you decide to do this.