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help - need meatless meal ideas

I have family who will be visiting us for 6 days. One guest is a vegetarian (no meat, but does eat dairy). I need ideas for meals we can ALL eat. I can't be serving mac & cheese for 6 days straight.

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  1. Hi Lois.
    Eggplant parm springs to mind.
    Vegetarian stuffed zucchini (decent recipe here: http://healthyeats.casaveneracion.com...
    )A big Greek salad with plenty of good olives and Feta, feta feta
    Take out Chinese one night...I love salt-and-pepper tofu and kung pao tofu
    Chiles rellenos
    Veggie topped pizza

    1. I made roasted eggplant stuffed portobellos last week that were so good we're having them again this week. If that sounds interesting to you I'll write out what I did.

      4 Replies
        1. re: i_am_Lois

          We're both meat eaters and we found it filling and satisfying. This is what I wrote in the WFD thread after I did it: You could use any seasonings and a number of different cheeses depending on your own tastes. It would have been pretty on a puddle off tomato sauce with fresh chopped herbs over it, too.

          The eggplant (Ichiban, not that it matters,) was poked with a skewer and baked on a sheet pan in a 400 degree oven until very soft, deeply browned and a little smoky. Onions were caramelized on very low heat and just before done had chopped garlic and za 'atar added as well as a grind of salt. Chopped dehydrated black cherry tomatoes from my freezer stash were added with the chopped up eggplant flesh (no skins,) and the whole thing was cooked over low heat until a good amount of the liquid was absorbed. Once cooled a few minutes some feta was stirred through.

          In the mean time, the portobellos were cleaned of the stem and gills and cooked in the 400 degree oven for a few minutes (just so they would release liquid and wouldn't require much more cooking time. They were well drained and blotted dry before filling with the eggplant mixture. The oven was cranked up to broil and the mushrooms, topped with the eggplant mixture and a good sprinkle of feta (so it would get those pretty browned edges on the crumbles,) went back in for a few short minutes. An extra sprinkle of sumac over the stuffed mushrooms and the asparagus that cooked along side them when broiled. It was greater than the sum of it's simple parts.

          1. re: weezieduzzit

            Thanks Weezie. I gotta save and try this one. Sounds sooo good!

          1. Is it possible to make a lot of side dishes to go with a meat dish? That way, the vegetarian won't feel slighted, but the meat eaters will also get what they like.

            For instance, with a roast chicken, you can make mashed potatoes with sour cream and chives, roasted vegetables (or grilled, depending on your locale) comprised of zucchini, yellow squash, asparagus, green beans, carrots, etc., and a side salad with a vinaigrette. Dinner rolls alongside, and it gives everyone a lot to choose from.

            I do like the idea of takeout Chinese for one night as well as veggie-topped pizza. Perhaps a make-your-own pizza night, where everyone gets to choose their own toppings?

            2 Replies
            1. re: LindaWhit

              You'd need to add another non-meat protein for it to be a complete meal for the vegetarians.

              1. re: weezieduzzit

                A salad, perhaps one with chickpeas or kidney beans, mashed potatoes and roasted assorted vegetables, and rolls wouldn't be deemed enough by vegetarians?

                Perhaps a pasta?

            2. Take it from my decidedly carnivorous family - lentil tacos are great (I like this recipe - http://allrecipes.com/recipe/tasty-le... - use vegetable broth of course! - but I don't use low fat anything). I also prefer to make fry bread instead of tortillas or taco shells.

              Potato-leek soup is always a winner, too.

              Double-check if maybe they're lacto-ovo vegetarians, if so, that opens up egg dishes, as well. (And also double-check their preferences on fish.)

              2 Replies
              1. re: shanagain

                Or a taco/fajita bar where everyone can add what they like.

              2. Spaghetti, baked ziti or lasagna
                Tortilla soup made with vegetable stock; shredded chicken and other add-ins in bowls
                Soups of all kinds
                Bean chili (easy to make one w/ and one w/o meat if the meat eaters think they can't live without for a few days
                Does the vegetarian eat eggs? Then frittata, quiche or souffle.
                Cheese enchiladas
                Pasta with sauteed leeks, kale and cream
                Pierogies or noodles with cabbage and onions
                Stuffed baked potatoes

                1. I just thought of another dish I make that's vegetarian and nobody in my family bats an eye - I like to do a big clean-out-the-crisper-drawer (rotter) stir fry from time to time, and usually add firm (usually pressed while I prep everything) tofu and cashews into the mix.

                  1. Pasta, risotto, couscous salad, chick pea salad, lentil salad, bean salad. All are pretty flexible as blank slates for a variety of flavors.

                    1. And don't forget to check the Vegetarian and Vegan Board for more ideas!


                      1. I love veggie sandwiches. Even more if the veg is grilled over smoke. Just cook until tender crisp: yellow or green squash, onions, mushrooms, bell pepper. Cut a loaf of french bread in half, smear on a little pesto or olive paste, line both sides with cheese, wrap tightly in foil and bake. Deli meats could go on the rest for the meat eaters.

                        Goes great with tomato soup.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: thymetobake

                          I make panini for my family and everyone can have a different type. I usually keep some Trader Joe's chicken breast (cooked) in the freezer. My husband likes that with cheese. My son likes turkey pepperoni with cheese. My daughter likes a variety of fillings and I usually go for a vegetarian version...roasted red pepper, cheese and whatever else I have on hand. The only drawback is that I have 1 panini maker that can make 2 sandwiches at once so we sometimes don't all start eating at the same time.

                        2. I love matzo brei, I know somewhere on the world wide web there will be a recipe instructing how to make it for many people. I like mine with sourcream and hot sauce.

                          1. Fresh ravioli with ricotta & Romano filling & a mushroom & sage butter sauce . Making this right now, in fact.

                            1. Pasta Primavera
                              Penne Alla Vodka
                              Mushroom Stroganoff (Alton Brown's recipe is excellent)
                              Eggplant Rollatini

                              1. Thanks everyone. I feel comfortable now about my ability to please everyone's palate. Many wonderful ideas here.

                                1. There are a lot of Indian dishes. I make Chana Masala often for my veg. daughter.

                                  1. Stuffed peppers: lentils, brown basmati rice, onions, tomatoes.

                                    1. Butternut squash cubes roasted with a decent amount of cumin, chili powder, and a pinch of cayenne. Throw some black beans on top near the end, maybe with a little moisture if needed (veggie stock or water). Serve over rice or quinoa.

                                      1. This one should be a good fit if you like Mexican food. It is Corn and Poblano Lasagna http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ma...

                                        A couple of other ideas - Spaghetti with Mizithra and brown butter

                                        Linguini with clam sauce

                                        Pasta with roasted red pepper cream sauce

                                        As someone else mentioned, penne' a la vodka

                                        Butternut squash soup

                                        Minestrone soup

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: boyzoma

                                          I made Marcela's Corn and Poblano Lasagna this summer when the veggies were at their peak. It was delicious. The only change I would make would be to make about twice as much filling. Really yummy. I've made the veggie mix as a side dish a couple of times and it's really delicious. I also think it would be delicious with out of season veggies.

                                            1. re: gourmanda

                                              Sorry. Guess I wasn't thinking in that vein. Oh, well.

                                          1. Bean and Cheese Burritos. I recommend using canned (La Costena brand) refried black beans ~~ add some sour cream as topping w/salsa
                                            A big platter of nachos w/guacamole
                                            Cheese enchiladas (use corn tortilas, please)
                                            Pasta aoli w/peas
                                            Make a salad everyone will like ~~ canned black beans (rinsed and drained), can corn (use equal amounts) toss w/Ranch Dressing (not too much) and add a big handful of sunflower kernels (or to taste ~~ I use a lot)
                                            Lentil pasta ~~ combine a can of lentils with your favorite jarred pasta sauce and serve over pasta or bake w/pasta
                                            Pasta w/pesto
                                            Cheese stuffed jumbo shells
                                            Cheese & Spinach Lasagna

                                            1. Even more great ideas. Thanks everyone!

                                              1. We make this dish quite a bit: http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/...

                                                Also, pasta with a red sauce made of roasted eggplant, mushrooms, canned crushed tomatoes (lots of garlic and crushed red pepper) and then I melt fresh mozzarella into the sauce before serving.

                                                1. faux feijoada (leave out meat, cook black beans adding some orange juice and maybe some canned tomatoes to your regular recipe) with rice, stir fried kale, orange slices, and pico de gallo


                                                  bolognese made with chopped mushrooms instead of beef

                                                  vegetable bibimbap (if you get kimchi check the ingredient list to make sure no fish products are listed)

                                                  grain salads (good as make aheads)

                                                  1. Succotash (use celery and butter and plenty of black pepper. you'll swear you added bacon!)
                                                    Persian Lentils and Carrots

                                                    1. My all-time favorite meatless dish is spanikopita. A delicious Greek layered dish with phyllo dough, and a savory, herby, creamy, spinach mixture. Much of the main flavors come from scallions, dill and feta. It is so delicious and satisfying.Let me know if you'd like my recipe! I'm not a vegetarian, and I could eat this every night of the week!

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: athina

                                                        Athina, I'd love the recipe, if it's not too much trouble.

                                                      2. How about a frittata? Or a spanish tortilla? These are egg-based, and both are flavorful, and could include many different vegetables. potatoes, etc....Also economical and very, very tasty! Assorted Quiches with a nice salad could also work!

                                                        1. This mushroom ragu was wonderful, i served it over polenta- the money you save from not buying meat makes it easier to buy good mushrooms:

                                                          A vegetable coconut milk curry with chickpeas over rice is great

                                                          Roasted acorn squash, fill the center with a wild rice blend mixed with lentils, sauteed mushrooms and sliced almonds, green salad on the side

                                                          Sweet potato black bean enchiladas or tacos

                                                          A platter of raw veggies with hummus,and baba ganoush. Use the fantastic foods mix and make baked falafel-serve in pitas with tomato, lettuce, hummus and hot sauce, sides of a shredded carrot cilantro salad and tabouli

                                                          Make "fancy" grilled cheese one night with carmelized onions, or thin apple slices, or spicy mustard inside on good bread. Served with big mugs of tomato soup

                                                          Veggie/bean/potato pot pie- imagine foods makes a great mushroom gravy, mix all together and just do a top crust with puff pastry

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: Ttrockwood

                                                            The mushroom ragu reminded me of this mushroom bourguignon. I've never made it since nobody in my house likes mushrooms but I always think it sounds great.


                                                            1. re: valerie

                                                              Oh i love her blog! And mushrooms :) thanks!

                                                          2. i just posted this on the green pepper thread. essentially i propose using the peppers with my beloved eggplant, which is a wonderful meaty-feeling substitute, which is also very flexible as to flavors and saucing. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9231...

                                                            1. Eggs are your friend. Souffles, frittatas, omelets, stratas, stir-fries, soups: You could not not exhaust the possibilities in 6 days.

                                                              1. Here is a family favorite, my teenage son likes this he requests it all the time, now that is an endorsement
                                                                Not too many ingredients and quick to make.
                                                                Fettuccine piccata
                                                                Fettuccine noodles, pesto, cottage cheese, lemon, olive oil, olives and parmesan cheese, capers and garlic.


                                                                1. Lois - I eat meat but do enjoy an occasion veggie dish - this chili from Engine 2 cookbook I've served to meat eaters and they had no idea it did not have meat in it. I skip the mushrooms and apple. Do not leave out the molasses and mustard. I have and it does not taste near as good, and I detest mustard. Once all the cutting is done it is quick and easy to make. I add things to the left over portions to vary it - you could even have a bowl of meat on the side to throw in - sausage, crumbled hamburger, etc - this may sound odd - but I love peanut butter in it.


                                                                  1. One more thing - google a cauliflower crusted pizza - I know, it sounds disgusting, but it is actually very good. Then add fake meat (fake pepperoni) to it and veggies. If I had access to cauliflower this might be a weekly treat, it was that good. I live in rural Haiti and no cauliflower. Good luck.

                                                                    Sorry vegans, as you can see, I'm not one. I like my meat, but also want to be healthy.

                                                                    Ask the vegetarian what they do and don't eat - some don't do milk product or eggs. Some might do fish? Don't try to change all your meals for the one person, but have things with the meat for him or her. Keep things on hand to make salads.

                                                                    1. Just looking at all the replies you got - you better ask your guests to stay longer :)

                                                                      1. I love smitten kitchen's mushroom bourguignon. You could serve it with egg noodles and if you want you can braise some beef as an option as we. It is the best of both worlds. Ottolenghi's plenty has amazing vegetarian recipes.
                                                                        Butternut squash lasagna
                                                                        Stuffed peppers with cheese and rice
                                                                        Fried eggplant and chicken/veal