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Apr 29, 2014 12:03 AM

Shabbat dinner menus for meat-eaters and vegetarians

What do you make for shabbat dinner when you have some meat-eating guests and some vegetarian guests?

I like to make something a little special for shabbat, but most of my special meals are meat. I have plenty of dairy/vegan weeknight meals, but none of them feel special enough for shabbos. (Things like lentil salad with cheese, pasta with veggies, eggs for dinner).

I'm having some guests for shabbos dinner in two weeks and have one pescatarian and one true vegetarian. I'm not opposed to serving a milchig meal instead of fleshig although in that case I would probably want to serve fish, which gets expensive, but I just don't have any special meals which are either all vegetarian, or where there are enough vegetarian parts for a vegetarian to have a full meal and not just a side or two.

I guess that's the real problem. I have lots of vegetarian sides, but how do I make it feel like a real shabbos meal for my vegetarian guests?

There are a lot of vegetarians in my community, so I run into this problem frequently when hosting for shabbos, and it holds me back from hosting as often as I would like.

What do you serve vegetarians for shabbos dinner? Or if you are vegetarian, what do you like to eat for shabbos dinner?

(Note, we can eat small amounts of soy, but can't do large amounts, so any dish which has as it's centerpiece large quantities of tofu is a no-go). Thanks.

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  1. Risotto with a vegetable (asparagus, mushroom) always works for me as a side dish for carnivores/main dish for vegetarians. Also, having lots of dips/salads always helps.

    1. I think that the thing that makes a vegan or milchig dish into Shabbat main course is presentation. A vegan tagine piled high on a handsome dish, surrounded by a ring of rice and garnished with something pretty, like chopped parsley. Stuffed grape leaves, sweet peppers, or other vegetables are vegan dishes with the gravitas to sit at the center of the Shabbat table. You can even stuff something really big, like a sugar pumpkin.

      If your guests eat dairy and eggs, life gets easier because you can offer them goodies like a really special quiche (or feta cheese spanikopita) as a main course. Or serve a cream soup with real cream for a first course, or real cheesecake or pastry made with real butter for dessert.

      Here's a thread about vegan dishes that work as main dishes for the vegans at Shabbat meat meals

      If there is a vegetarian coming to a meat meal, my rule is that only the meat dish is fleishig. All appetizers, side dishes, and desserts will be parve. Then I make one of the side dishes a protein-rich main course and large enough to offer to everyone at table.

      1 Reply
      1. re: AdinaA

        I have a vegetarian relative who comes often for Shabbat. Anything stuffed is always a hit. I've also made seitan/tofu piccata.

        Like Adina, I also keep everything else on the table vegetarian. The basic rule is if you can't see the meat, there isn't any.

        1. How about something like this? More of a fall-winter vibe than springtime, but still a great dish:

          1 Reply
          1. re: ferret

            ive done this recipe

            its AMAZING

          2. I wonder if part of your concern is not having a centerpiece dish, the way people always worry I'll starve at Thanksgiving because I can't eat the turkey. While having "a protein" with a starch and a vegetable can be helpful for planning, it really isn't necessary.

            I have been vegetarian for half my life and tend to pick fancier dishes for shabbat but I definitely don't have a set meal. If I have the time and energy, I pick a cuisine and cook dishes from that theme.

            I'm quite fond of this soup ( that can be a meal in itself so it could be served as part of the main course or as a soup course before a lighter meal.

            This response might not seem helpful but it seems like you're looking to have a dish to replace chicken/brisket/etc from your usual shabbat menu but I don't know any vegetarians who plan meals that way.

            2 Replies
            1. re: CloggieGirl

              My mother in law plans that way. She makes a main dish and then a vegetarian version. (Pulled beef/pulled seitan. Roasted chicken over veggies/baked tofu over veggies)

              1. re: cheesecake17

                There's nothing intrinsically wrong with that. However, it seems to be causing the OP stress when she probably has a meal's worth of dishes with which the OP is already familiar.