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OT - Vegetarian Food (HELP!! :) )

Letti.R's picture

Do you have any great ideas or recipes for vegetarian food?

I have some friends coming over for meal on Saturday and 2 of the guest are vegetarian.
Would  you please share some ideas of winning dishes you make?
Any tips or do's and don't's are welcome too.
They have no food allergies - only the stipulation of vegetarian.
(Thankfully not vegan!)


Gimlet's picture

There are so many delicious vegetarian things to make! 

I love, love all the food on Deb Perelman's blog, Smitten Kitchen, and have made many of them.

I used to make a delicious butternut squash and carmelized onion lasagna, with a mornay sauce in place of the tomato sauce.  It was cobbled together from a couple of recipes, but here's a close one:

I'm used to cooking vegan food and looking at vegetarian options feels so luxurious Smile

Get good quality ingredients and make use of cheese and you can't go wrong - I bet Aniki will have some great ideas.

Letti.R's picture

Oh Wow!!
Thank you very much!!
The recipe links are fabulously heavenly  and look delicious!
It may even convince me to cook vegan / vegetarian more often!
Thank you so much for this share!
Its book marked now.

Vegan diet seems really hard.
I could be vegetarian, but I would really struggle to be vegan.
This is a bridge too far for me.

AshMar654's picture

spinach artichoke dip is always good!

Eggplant parmigiana

Also are the vegetarian as in like no meat at all. I know some say they are but they still eat fish!

Myss.Tique D'Off's picture

Vegetarians do not eat fish. If they do they are pescetarians, not vegetarians. :) 

Letti.R's picture

I love spinach and artichoke!
You have given me a great idea!
I already make a yummy-licious spinach,  mushroom, artichoke and blue cheese tart on phyllo pastry!!
It is vegetarian!!
Thank you so much for reminding and sorting out my first course. Smile

ProbablyAlreadyInsane's picture

I don't know how much time you're looking at for it.

Easiest dishes for vegetarians are pasta dishes. You could make a spinach artichoke alfredo Smile

Letti.R's picture

Thank you for the tip!
Yes a pasta dish I can bake would help take the pressure off!
Great idea.

I am going to use spinach and artichoke in the first course as I love both!

Myss.Tique D'Off's picture

If you have a mixed group, it is always easier to have an all vegetarian starter. That way you don't have to make multiple dishes in various courses.
Buy good quality fresh vegetables and most vegetarians enjoy cheese options. 

I would recommend you stay away from "meat substitute" type of products if it is the first time you are cooking for the two people. I am vegetarian and don't eat meat substitutes. I don't eat meat, why would I want to eat fake meat? So you have a split on meat substitutes with vegetarians, but to be on the safe side avoid it.

Another risky product is anything soya-based. It could be GMO soya and that messes with your hormones / endocrine system. Most vegetarians I know don't eat it, or choose organic non-GMO soya to be safe.

For things that need setting like a cheese cake, you  need to use a vegetarian gel or setting agent as most are not vegetarian.

Strangely, I pee'd off someone who cooked me a vegetarian dinner once. She made a lovely vegetarian lasagne. One bite in and stopped eating it. I asked her what she used in the sauce.  She was highly annoyed with me because she could NOT see why I would object to a bit of CHICKEN stock in the sauce. "It's chicken stock!! Not chicken!!!"

I sent you a PM with some fail safe recipes from my own kitchen. Good luck with your dinner Smile


Letti.R's picture

Thank you so much for these tips!
Especially because you are vegetarian yourself.
I see  the logic on the meat substitute and will not buy any Smile

I am definitely taking your advice and doing a vegetarian starter and vegetarian  sweet course.
This is a great idea because it cuts down on the amount of food I need to make.
Also, people get to eat dishes common to all.
I think that is great!

Thank you also for your recipes!
They are scrummy!
I will make a cheese cake for dessert as it is always a winner and yours looks great.
Again, it can be made in advance and left in the fridge. Smile


mro's picture

I'm not a vegetarian but I've got enough sense to know not to put meat stock, flavoring, pan drippings etc in something and call it vegetarian! I actually enjoy being able to produce vegetarian or vegan dishes when necessary.

Letti.R's picture

I guess some people dont see it Smile
It is no meat products or derivatives at all.

I should have you over to help me because  I have never had to cook for vegetarians. Smile

Booboobear's picture

do vegetarians eat cheese? butter? yogart?  

broccolii cooked in butter and garlic is good if butter is ok

cucumbers and plain greek yogart with dill if yougart is ok

zuchini lasagna if cheese is ok

Letti.R's picture

Some vegetarians eat dairy.
The two coming to my house do so I can use butter, cream, milk and the like  Smile .
Thank you for the ideas!

I love cucumbers, dill  in greek youghart - Tsatsiki - although I usually add a splash of garlic oil and coarse black pepper Smile
Definitely on my menu for great hors d'oeuvres or nibbles  on arrival

mro's picture

I make my own hummus frequently and it's super easy if you have a food processor. Chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and cumin. Serve with chips, Pita triangles, or vegetable sticks.

Letti.R's picture

I love hummus!!
Eat it quite often.

I got a fantastic tip from a friend to make super smooth hummus: peal the chick peas!
Don't use the skins.
Boil it, mash it, then put through a sieve.
Made such a huge difference I was stunned!
(Didn't know I was doing it wrong the whole time.)

Aniki's picture

Harvest Quinoa Salad

  • 1 cup uncooked tri-color quinoa
  • 1 cup cubed and roasted butternut squash
  • 1 apple, diced (I used a Gala apple)
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups baby kale or spinach, chopped
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons toasted slivered almonds
  • 2 tablespoons pepitas (raw or roasted and salted)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cider vinaigrette for dressing the salad
  1. In a medium sized saucepan bring 2 cups of salted water to a boil.
  2. Rinse and drain the quinoa then add it to the boiling water.
  3. Reduce the heat to low, cover and let the quinoa cook for about 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.
  4. Remove the quinoa from the heat and let it cool to room temperature.
  5. Prepare the cider vinaigrette and set aside.
  6. In a large bowl combine the cooled quinoa, roasted butternut squash, apple, green onion, baby kale, dried cranberries, almonds and pepitas.
  7. Mix in the desired amount of cider vinaigrette and season with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper as needed.
  8. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.


Cider Vinaigrette

  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (not pancake syrup)
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a small saucepan add the apple cider, vinegar, and shallots.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat.
  3. Let it cook for about 8 minutes or until it has reduced to a 1/2 cup.
  4. Remove from the heat and pour into a jar or glass measuring cup.
  5. Whisk in the remaining vinaigrette ingredients then serve with the salad.


Letti.R's picture

Oh this sounds divine!
Even I want to eat it!!

All the recipes you posted sound quite heavenly!!!
Thank you for posting this!!
I am so grateful  to be getting recipes from the Culinary Queen herself!
Thanks Aniki, food goddess amongst many talents!

(I am going to make the ginger beef kale stir fry for dinner tomorrow.
For me!
Vegetarians not allowed.
I have all the ingredients, except kale but I will use spinach!
My mouth is watering already!!)

Aniki's picture

Youre so welcome, hon. I'm certain it's obvious that I love to cook! Biggrin

I've made that Gingered Beef with spinach and it's just as good.

Aniki's picture

Garlic Roasted Carrots

  • 24 baby carrots, tops trimmed to 2 inches
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray.
  2. Place carrots in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet. Add olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic and thyme; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Gently toss to combine.
  3. Place into oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until tender.
  4. Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.

Aniki's picture

A vegetarian friend of mine subsitutes tofu pieces or soy crumbles for the beef.

Ginger Beef, Mushroom, and Kale Stir-Fry


  • 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium mushroom broth
  • 3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp corn starch
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp freshly-ground black pepper



  • 1 lb flank or sirloin steak, thin cut diagonally across the grain
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (more if the cloves are small)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 8 oz baby bella mushrooms, halved
  • 4 oz shiitake mushrooms, havled
  • 4 cups kale, stems removed and chopped



  1. Whisk together all marinade ingredients and add to a large bowl or ziplock bag, along with the sliced steak. Seal and gently toss to coat. Cover/seal and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
  2. Once steak has marinated, heat 1 Tbsp oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, remove steak from marinade with a slotted spoon, reserving the marinade, and add to saute pan with the garlic. Saute for about 4-5 minutes until browned, stirring occasionally. Remove steak with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  3. Add mushrooms, kale, and reserved marinade to saute pan, and stir to combine. Cook for 5-6 minutes, until the kale is wilted, the sauce has thickened, and the mushrooms have softened. Add in the steak, and toss to combine.
  4. Serve over cooked rice, quinoa, or noodles.

Letti.R's picture

On the menu for tomorrow night.
For me!
Too good to meddle with to please vegetarians.
They can wait to the weekend

Letti.R's picture

Ooh I love this!
Thank you for posting.
One of my favourite breakfasts is similar to this  - but not as good as this divine version!
Its  a scrambled egg variation with tomotoes mushroom, onions, pepper and garlic.
This one wins hands down!!

Thank you for this recipe.
I am definitely going to make it and I am sure it will become one of my own favourites as it contains everything I love!

Gimlet's picture

Shakshuka is one of my favorite things.  I still eat eggs at home from a neighbor's chickens, and I agree about the fresh eggs from pastured chickens. 

It's the best! 

Aniki's picture

Avocado Tomato Salad

  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes (I use red and orange/yellow)
  • 2 ripe avocados cubed
  • 1/4 small red onion sliced (less, if the onion is strong)
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup feta crumbles or cubed mozzarella
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  1. In a large salad bowl, place the tomatoes, avocado, and parsley.
  2. Drizzle with olive oil, lime juice, pepper flakes, feta crumbles, and salt & pepper to taste. Gently toss.
  3. Serve immediately or cover with plastic wrap in fridge for up to 2 hours.


This is SO popular, I usually make a double recipe. I have even taken some, halved the cherry tomatoes, and put it on a turkey sammich.

Letti.R's picture

Thank you for these recipes Aniki!
I am saving them.
There are lots of new things for me to try and I will be making the suggestions through the next week. Smile

Also, thanks to everyone who has given me recipes and ideas! It has opened up a new world of cooking.
I do love to experiment in the kitchen!
Outcomes are edible!!

Letti.R's picture

New world of possibilities opened up to me.
These ladies have given tasty recipes that even I can cook!!