If you’re hosting a dinner or other celebration, you may be wondering how to accommodate vegetarian guests. Although incorporating vegetarian dinner party menu ideas may seem like a daunting task to many people, most side dishes and desserts are already vegetarian friendly or can be modified easily. If you are accommodating vegans (which means cutting out dairy too) it may present a bit more of a challenge, but there are quite a few vegetarian dinner party options that will please everyone at the table.
8 popular dinner party foods that require little to no modification include:
- Bruschetta with variations of vegetable toppings
- Salsa and chips or guacamole
- Vegetable platters
- Fruit platters and fruit salads
- Marinara pasta recipes
- Grilled or sautéed vegetable sides
- Veggie kabobs
- Bean salads
A few simple modifications and ingredients to help convert recipes to vegetarian include:
- Use vegetable broth in place of beef of chicken stock. It’s easy to find in any regular grocery store and it adds just as much flavor.
- There are non-diary butters, cheeses, sour cream, whipped cream and mayonnaise options that you can pick up at a local health food store for vegans.
- If you’re having a barbecue, pick up some veggie burgers, veggie hot dogs or veggie chicken patties. Most regular grocery stores now stock a decent selection of vegetarian meats.
- You can use dark chocolate or cocoa powder instead of milk chocolate for vegan desserts.
These recipes are delicious vegetarian dinner menu options if you need a little inspiration:
1/2 cup diced jarred roasted red bell peppers
1/4 cup diced pitted green olives
1/4 cup diced pitted black olives
1/2 cup grated pecorino Romano (can substitute vegan mozzarella or provolone)
2 scallions, diced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound white button mushrooms, cleaned and stemmed
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
In a medium bowl mix together the roasted red bell peppers, olives, cheese, scallions, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
On a parchment paper-lined baking sheet place the mushrooms, cavity side up. Spoon the filling into the cavity of the mushrooms. Bake until the mushrooms are tender, about 20 minutes.
Transfer the mushrooms to a serving platter, sprinkle with chopped basil, and serve.
Source: Adapted from Food Network
SUN DRIED TOMATO HUMMUS
1 (15.5 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained (reserve liquid) and rinsed
3/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes (not oil-packed)
3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves (optional)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (omit for vegans)
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Grind the garbanzo beans, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, basil, and Parmesan cheese together in a food processor for 15 seconds.
Add about 1/4 of the reserved liquid; grind another 15 seconds. Pour in enough additional reserved liquid, a small amount at a time, and grind; repeat until the consistency is like chunky peanut butter.
Pour in the olive oil; grind for an additional 15 seconds. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve with pita chips and sliced veggies such as red peppers, celery and carrots.
Source: Adapted from All Recipes
DENA’S KALE SALAD
1 head kale, any variety, stemmed and chopped
1 carrot, shredded
1/2 cup currant
1/4 cup sunflower seed, raw
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, raw
1 lemon, divided
Drizzle of olive oil
2 -3 teaspoons olive oil, to taste
1 tablespoon agave syrup (or more if you prefer sweeter)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste
In large serving bowl, add the kale, juice of one half of a lemon, a drizzle of oil and a little kosher salt.
Massage until the kale starts to soften and wilt, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the currants, carrots, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds and anything else you want to put on it.
Prepare the dressing by combining the 2-3 t. olive oil, agave syrup, lime juice, 1 T. lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.
Whisk together until emulsified.
Pour over the salad.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
ROAST CARROT AND BEAN SALAD WITH FETA
2 lbs. baby carrots
Lemon thyme sprigs (optional)
2 tbsp. olive oil
6 oz. green beans, topped and halved
15-16 oz. can butter or cannellini beans , drained and rinsed
1 small red onion, halved and finely sliced
7-8 oz. package feta cheese, crumbled (can substitute vegan feta)
Small bunch mint
Heat oven to 425
Put the carrots into a large roasting tin, toss with the lemon thyme (if using) and half the oil, then season well. Roast for about 30 mins until golden, turning halfway through cooking.
Meanwhile, cook the green beans in boiling water for 2 mins. Drain, cool under cold running water, then drain again.
Mix together the green beans, cannellini or butter beans, remaining oil, onion and feta, then season to taste. Toss with the hot carrots, then tear in the mint just before serving.
Source: Adapted from BBC Good Food
STUFFED POBLANO PEPPERS
1 (28 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes in juice
1 jalapeno chile, ribs and seeds removed, minced
2 small or 1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, 2 crushed, 1 minced
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
1 (19 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
2-3 Tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
1 cup shredded Pepperjack Cheese (can substitute vegan pepperjack or provolone)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 cup water or broth (use vegetarian broth)
4 poblano peppers, halved lengthwise, ribs and seeds removed
Preheat the oven to 425.
Combine the tomatoes, jalapeno, 1 onion, and 2 cloves of garlic in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process until smooth, and season with salt and pepper. Pour into a 9 x 13 inch baking dish, spreading to cover evenly.
In a medium bowl, combine the beans, cornmeal, 1/2 cup cheese, remaining onion, garlic, cumin, cilantro, and the water. Stir to combine, and season with salt and pepper.
Evenly divide the stuffing among the peppers, and lay in a single layer in the baking dish. Top with remaining cheese, and cover with aluminum foil.
Bake 45 minutes, or until poblanos are tender. Remove foil and bake an additional 10-15 minutes, or until cheese is browned. Allow to cool 10 minutes before serving.
Source: Pink Parsley
ROASTED POTATO TACOS WITH CREAMY CILANTRO, JALAPENO, GARLIC DRESSING
6-8 fingerling potatoes or 2-3 russet potatoes, coarse chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, coarse chopped
1/2 medium sized onion, coarse chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried Mexican basil (also called cinnamon basil)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Corn or Flour tortillas
Cilantro (for garnish)
Lime wedges (for garnish)
Preheat your oven to 420 degrees. Combine everything in a bowl except the tortillas, cilantro, and lime wedges, and toss until potatoes and other vegetables are well coated in oil and spices. Spread the mixture out on a cookie sheet, roasting pan, or casserole dish, and place on the middle rack in the oven. Cook for 30-40 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Spread the mixture on tortillas and top with a spoonful of dressing (recipe below), cheese or salsa. Serve with fresh cilantro and lime wedges.
2 tablespoons sour cream (can substitute vegan sour cream)
1 tablespoon mayonnaise (can substitute vegan mayonnaise)
1 tablespoon fresh goat cheese (omit for vegans)
1 teaspoon fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon diced jalepeno
1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth.
STRAWBERRY AND HONEY SORBET
2 pints (32 ounces) strawberries, hulled and quartered
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoon vodka (or flavored liqueur of choice), optional
Juice from one lemon
Place the strawberries in a blender and puree until very smooth. Push the puree through a fine mesh sieve to remove some of the seeds. Whisk in the honey, vodka, and lemon juice. (You want this to be on the sweet side since freezing will dull the flavor.) Cover and chill the mixture.
Once the strawberry mixture is completely chilled, pour into the ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Return the sorbet to the freezer for a couple more hours to continue firming up.
Garnish with sliced strawberries.
VEGAN CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
2 packages silken tofu
1 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (can substitute carob chips)
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tbsp water
Combine the water and chocolate chips on top of a double boiler to melt.
Stir until melted and the chocolate is smooth. Set aside.
Meanwhile drain the water from the tofu and drop it in a blender. Puree until smooth.
Add the melted chocolate to the pureed tofu and blend until well combined.
Refrigerate for at least 2.5 hours to allow flavors to mingle.
Spoon or use piping bag to fill ramekin cups.
Garnish with a sprinkle of cocoa powder and a few fresh berries.
Source: Adapted from Chef In You
If all else fails and you’re out of time or don’t have the desire to experiment with some vegetarian dinner party menu ideas, you can always pick up a few prepared vegetarian items from the deli section at your local health food grocery store.
Helpful Tips For Accommodating Vegetarians and Vegans
- You shouldn’t feel like you need to walk on egg shells or make a huge production out of hosting a vegetarian, but here are a few tips that will help make them feel comfortable:
- Bear in mind that most vegetarians may have an issue with sharing utensils, dishes or pans that have been in contact with meat juices, so it is advisable to use different ones entirely for both preparation and serving of vegetarian or vegan dishes.
- If you question vegetarians or vegans at the table about why they don’t eat meat, it can be both embarrassing and annoying for them to be put in the spotlight. Although a vegetarian lifestyle is becoming more common, the majority of your carnivorous guests will not agree with your vegetarian guest. So instead of bringing up a divisive topic that singles them out, you can avoid asking and graciously redirect the conversation should it come up.
- Vegetarian or vegan guests might also be embarrassed if you make a totally separate meal just for them. You should simply try to include dishes that they can eat into your overall dinner menu presentation and pull them aside to let them know which foods meet their dietary restrictions.