questionscan you help me make a vegetarian dinner?

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@eraten: What a great host you are. I suppose if you have any Muslim or Jewish friends you'd expect them to eat pork chops if that's what you served?

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@eraten: reguardless of how ignorant your post is I'll give you and everyone else a bit of information. MY WIFE IS ALSO A VEGETARIAN AND HAS BEEN SINCE SHE WAS FOUR YEARS OLD. We INVITED them into our home they did not invite themselves as I'm sure your friends don't either. I do not eat red meat. Please leave my thread.

Thanks to the other suggestions! That pasta looks good, I'll keep it in mind!

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i am against making vegetarians dinner. they are probably tough and stringy, and besides they would probably object to being cooked and eaten.

//waits for flurry of negative votes

it's a joke! geez.

no1 no1
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I am not a vegetarian, but left to my own devices I rarely eat meat. When I do I mostly season with it. like my southern grandma used to do. Here's one recipe everyone seems to like:

Caribbean Black Beans

Long way: Wash and boil 1lb dried black beans for 1hr with some salt. Wash again well and add to crock pot with apple juice to cover by at least 1". Cook on low overnight. Clean and slice a fresh pineapple, broil slices in oven or toaster oven. Chop into bite sized pieces, add to beans about 1hr before eating. At the same time add 2 chopped colored bell peppers and (if you like spicy food) fresh hot red pepper to taste. Use dried chipotle if fresh hot red pepper is not available. Green chile is not a good substitute.

Short way: Wash 2 cans black beans well. Add to pan with one can pineapple tidbits with juice. Add 1 chopped, colored bell pepper (halves of 2 different colors is best), and fresh red chile or chipotle to taste. Simmer covered for one hour.

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A good side dish is one I made for Thanksgiving this year. Brussels sprouts, various mini potatoes (I got the ones that were multicolored), and sweet potatoes. Cut brussels sprouts and mini potatoes in half, peel and cube sweet potatoes. Toss in a roasting pan with olive oil, fresh garlic, salt, and pepper. Bake into done, about 45 minutes, depending on how small your potato cubes are. After done, sprinkle with parlsey. It's a very colorful dish.

Eggplant and brussels sprouts dish are very easy to prep ahead of time so that you can just pop them into the oven about an hour before you want to eat.

Have a great time at your dinner!

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A fondue party is always fun. I have an amazing recipe for hard cider fondue that I turned vegetarian with a couple substitutions, and there are lots and lots of non-meat dippers that work great with it.

I've also got an awesome recipe for eggplant parmesan. Speaking as a vegetarian, eggplant is great because it provides a sort of "meat" in a lot of recipes. You can serve it with some spaghetti or bake up some red and/or golden potatoes with rosemary and thyme as a side.

Or as already stated, vegetable stir fry is a good option, or pizza, or baked potatoes. I've had vegetarian chili in a baked potato with sour cream and sharp cheddar that was just great. I could give you my recipe for vegetarian chili, which is hearty and a meal on its own. Or, if they like mushrooms, do a wild mushroom pizza with smoked cheese and garlic olive oil on the crust.

For appetizers, an easy one is to bake goat cheese in phyllo dough with melted butter and drizzle the top with honey and sea salt.

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I cook vegetarian meals a lot. One quick favorite that you could use for appetizers is sort of a Greek pizza. I use flour tortillas, spread a layer of hummus, then top with roasted red peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, and feta. Bake.

If I'm doing a more complicated main meal for guests, I usually make stuffed eggplant. This is a hearty dish, and can be great for winter, depending on what veggies you use. Slice eggplant in half longways, cut/scoop out inside, leaving about 3/4 inch on the skin. Brush with oil and bake eggplant until about 1/2 done. While it's baking, cook your stuffing. I've use various fresh cooked veggies (want to cook them first so that more of the water is removed or your stuffing could get watery) - onions, mushrooms, corn, potatoes, etc, sometimes adding rice or tofu or veggie meat crumbles. Sometime I add or top with a great cheese. Stuff the eggplant and put back in the oven until the eggplant is fully cooked.

cont...

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If you want a traditional looking entree, grilled portabello mushroom caps are a great idea. They can be as big as a steak, and you can fill them with cheese, chopped veggies and seasonings as as you desire. I like them best when they have been simmered in balsamic vinegar a bit before broiling or roasting.

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we really like this recipe (just substitute veggie stock for the chicken stock...but don't use low sodium):
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ellie-krieger/fettuccine-with-creamy-red-pepper-feta-sauce-recipe/index.html

we also use regular pasta instead of whole wheat. combine it with a nice salad and some fresh garlic bread (roast a couple heads of garlic and use that on the bread instead of garlic powder).

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@sunnyx0r: I think I might try to stay away from pasta for this meal just because it's an easy go to for vegetarians when you don't know what to cook. The fondue party would make a great app! plus I'm sure my wife would love that hard cider fondue recipe.

I've also considered a good tartin or quiche (they do eat eggs) as well.

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@nmchapma: If you don't have a fondue pot you should be able to do the cooking on the stove, but serving will be tricky.

1 (12-ounce) bottle hard cider
3/4 cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 pound Fontina, grated
1/2 pound sharp yellow cheddar, grated
3 tablespoons corn starch
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Salt to taste

Dippers:
Baguette, radishes, roasted shallots, roasted mushrooms, baby potatoes, pears, apples, pretzels.

Heat cider, broth, Worcestershire, and garlic in fondue pot over medium-high heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Toss cheeses together in a bowl. Sift corn starch over the cheese, and toss to coat lightly.

Turn the fondue pot down to medium heat. Using a wooden spoon, sprinkle some cheese mixture into the liquid. Stir in small amounts of cheese until all is incorporated and fondue is smooth and melted, about 15 minutes. Stir in cayenne and salt.

Serve with desired dippers.

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I went on the same trek last year, to make a vegetarian meal for the GF's friends, I went the easy route, veggie stir fry, but had not yet perfected my method for cooking tofu, so I folded and bought the pre-seasoned vegan chicken look a like pieces, it was a slightly expensive, but the fastest and easiest way to make the meal for everyone. If I repeat it now, I've gotten much better at my culinary skills for preparing tofu and vegetarian dishes.

I applaud your willingness to make a meal for your guests, it's a courtesy much forgotten now a days when you invite someone into your home.

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I'm a vegetarian so I can tell you some of the things I eat.

1. Vegetable stir fry.
2. Bean Soup (with rice to soak up the water).
3. Pasta/Pizza
4. Baked potato fully loaded with vegetables and cheese (Cheese is okay for vegetarians -- not for vegans).

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@moondrake: Grilled mushroom caps sound really yummy!

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@raijen: The stuffed eggplant idea intrigues me. My wife loves eggplant so I'll keep that on the list.

Do you think I could get away with a small pot of fondue and some kind of flatbread pizza like that for apps/ pre dinner discussion food?

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@nmchapma: I think you definitely could do that for apps! Until to hold them over if they're starving, but not enough to fill up. They need to save room for dinner!

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My fallback is to make a quinoa pilaf. Easy to cook, and healthy. Serve with grilled or roasted vegetables.
Cook the quinoa, 2 cups water (or vegetable stock) to one of quinoa, bring to boil, simmer 15-20 minutes until liquid is absorbed. Saute' chopped onion in a little olive oil until golden, add to quinoa. Slice and either grill or roast zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, portobellos, and/or peppers and serve with quinoa. (Optionally add chickpeas or cooked lentils to quinoa with a dash of cumin.)

Appetizers could be humus and pita wedges, falafel, or salads.

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It seems that a lot of times when people try to cook vegetarian the menu goes light (stir fry). I say put in some buttermilk mashed potatoes, pretzel rolls, cornbread, nice hearty warm items. Then you can contrast it with a cold spinach salad with jicama and apple. Make an interesting dressing with some Greek yogurt and you don't need a main protein. A good meal has a wide variety of color, temperature and texture. Finish off with a nice frozen chocolate mousse pie in an oreo crust.

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@nmchapma: If you want a small pot of the fondue for an appetizer, I would suggest halving everything. The recipe above made about enough for four adults for an entire dinner. Even at half, I think you might have some left over.

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@nmchapma: If you don't have a fondue pot, once you warm the fondue you can put it a dish set on top of another dish containing hot water. Like restaurants do to keep food hot. Maintains overall heat while not creating hot spots like sterno or candles do. Try out some nice serving bowls on top of a small saucepan or the like to find one that sits securely and looks nice.

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Roasted red pepper soup! I love this:
http://tbrandonlane.blogspot.com/2008/12/roasted-red-pepper-bisque.html

There's other varieties with gouda cheese. I just love the flavor of red bell peppers.

@sunnyx0r Real (good) Worcestershire sauce is not vegetarian. It has anchovy.

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If you have a small crockpot, that works really well for keeping fondue warm at the table.

And now I want to go cook all the recipes posted already!

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Eggplant lasagna is always amazing, and would go great with roasted brussel sprouts (and if you just happen to have some of the balsamic vinegar from wine.woot, it's PERFECT on brussel sprouts).

If you have a favorite ground beef recipe, the vegetarian crumbles translate pretty well in most dishes, or people have been too kind to me. I love it in shepard's pies or for tacos.

If you're more of a griller- grilled portabellos as a "steak" or in a burger are awesome. Grill up some asparagus too!

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I don't get a lot of time to cook (busy college student) so my recipe arsenal is a little limited. My girlfriend and I aren't vegetarians, but we skip meat when we can, and we love a lot of vegetarian foods, like tofu. A few of my favorite vegetarian dishes:

* Tofu & Vegetable Stir Fry - I'm a big fan of Asian cuisine and tofu so I love this. Just make sure that if you cook tofu, that you do it right. The first time I cooked it, it ended being to moist and soggy on the inside after cooking it. I find it works best to dry off the pieces with paper towels after cutting, then dry fry (no oil) until they start to get golden on the outside before putting the tofu in with anything else.

* Eggplant parmesan - Delicious and can be really easy to make, especially if you just use store-bought spaghetti sauce.

* Tofu tacos or fajitas - Like I said, I like tofu. Basically like a regular fajita or taco, but using tofu.

* Edamame (soybeans) makes a quick easy appetizer

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Since you've all been so good about sharing your recipes with me I thought I'd share one of our regular favorites with you. Its a black bean and sweet potato taco. The recipe doesn't really dress the tacos with anything but we put lettuce, tomatos, sour cream, and avocado on them. The lime is a must for these!

http://www.cooksmarts.com/cs-blog/2012/12/superfood-challenge-sweet-potato-tacos-recipe/

Once cooked you can also mash the beans and potatos together, that sometimes works better for burritos or enchilladas.

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@omnichad: Good catch. You might be able to find a vegetarian version though, they do exist.

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@sunnyx0r: we have something that we use to substitute for worcestershire. no worries :-)

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@dmmutti: thank you for your honesty. your reply points will be rewarded shortly :-)

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I plan on sniping some of these recipes and using them as they are, or adding meat. Thanks guys!

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If you want an impressive entree, this will do it. http://aveggiegoodday.com/flaky-vegetable-squares-or-vegetables-en-croute/ I do the roast veggie puree the day or evening before and stick it in the fridge until I'm ready to start. I get it & the puff pastry out at the same time. It really isn't hard to make and really looks and tastes great!

Also, Tamari sauce is an excellent substitution for Worcestershire sauce.

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@agent019: Thanks for the concern but I've been with my wife for almost 8 years, I'm positive she nor her family are vegan :-)

@klutzyruth: I do like the looks of that one. I may have to try it myself first :-) Thanks!

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Best to make sure they are Vegetarian and not Vegan. That could ruin your whole night.

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So @nmchapma you should let us know how it went!

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It's probably not the best if you're leaning towards something a bit nicer, but one of my favorite vegetarian go-to dishes (especially on cold days) is an adjusted version of this West African Sweet Potato & Peanut Stew: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/african_chicken_peanut_stew/

Leave out the chicken, use veggie or "no-chicken" vegetarian stock, and go a bit heavy on the sweet potatoes. I also add some kidney beans and double the tomatoes. I like it with a lot of brown rice; aside from the fat in the peanuts/peanut-butter it's very healthy, and is awesome fuel if you're an active person.

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@eraten: That's funny, you have a good point, but when it's your in-laws, it's not quite the same as your friends. Clearly he is looking to impress them...

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In my opinion, unless they have a legitimate food allergy they shouldn't be requesting that you make food to THEIR standard in YOUR house. I've always hated this about vegetarians and especially vegans. I have a few friends and relatives who are vegetarian, whenever we go to their house for dinner we eat what they prepare for us, I don't make special requests for a meaty entree. And we have an agreement that they don't make requests when they come over to my house. It won't kill them to eat meat a few days out of the year.

If they're that worked up about it, tell them to bring over their own food while you enjoy a nice, juicy USDA Prime steak.

The only exception to this rule is when we have grillouts and people bring their own food to grill, bring over a tofu burger or brats if you must, I'll grill them to your standard.