Need menu suggestions....


Joined Dec 14, 2006
for casual, sit-down New Year's Day dinner for 12 people.  Two people are vegetarians, one won't eat pasta or seafood, and one is deathly allergic to mushrooms.  /img/vbsmilies/smilies/eek.gif    I've already resigned myself to 2 different entrees and multiple sides but I would like to find things that can be prepared in advance so I don't have to do a lot of last-minute cooking, especially since my kitchen is open to the living area and I don't want to look like a stressed-out madwoman.  Other considerations are that it's too cold to grill, ingredients have to be available at an average supermarket, and I can ask guests to bring some things like salad.  I'm thinking a pork roast is going to figure into this but need a veg main dish too.    /img/vbsmilies/smilies/confused.gif    Any of your outstanding recipes would be appreciated.  TIA.
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Joined Feb 1, 2007
Wow! Quite an eclectic group.

Ideally, the effect of the total meal should be that you're not catering to specific idiocyncracies, but have just put together a meal that happens to appeal to everybody. This is not as difficult as it initially sounds.

Were it me, I'd start by thinking in terms of a vegetarian main dish that could also serve as a side dish for the meat eaters. Perhaps a variation of stuffed peppers, cabbage rolls, or filled zucchini boats, using grains and/or legumes as the filling? Example: Syrian Cabbage Rolls, which use rice and chickpeas as the filling.

I'd probably do a non-meat soup as the starter course as well.

Being as only one of the 12 doesn't do seafood, you could include one or more seafood appetizers, along with "vegetarian" dips such as baba ganouj and hummus. I think the appetizers is where you can really get creative, because there'd be something for everyone, no matter what their personal tastes and food restrictions. And if you stick with cold and room-temp apps they can all be done ahead of time. A lot depends, too, on how the two vegetarians define their cuisne. The broader the definition (lavo-octo rather than vegan, for instance) the easier it will be for you to create an appetizer spread with the broadest appeal.

Pork roast is a very good choice, for a dinner like this, because the things that go with pork are unlimited. F'rinstance, a winter squash dish would work as a veggie. And, again, something like Maple-Buttered Squash Rings doesn't look like you are catering to the vegetarians, but, rather, is a side you'd normally serve with roast pork. But the vegetarians will see it as an effort on your part to provide something more than twigs and leaves for them.

 The choice of green vegies is also unlimited; but I would go with something like Spicy Green Beans, so as to provide something with bold flavors for the vegetarians that doesn't conflict with the pork.

I don't do desserts, much. So will leave that category to others for suggestions.
Joined Aug 13, 2006
I have lots of experience cooking festive dinners for mixed vegetarians and carnivores. 

First don;t use substitutes for meat, they're pretty gross. 

I make one of two things as a main dish for vegetarians, which is great as a side for the others:

one is a savory pumpkin "pie" or large turnover, using an olive oil crust. 

For appetizers i make them long (as long as your baking tray) and thin (2-3 inches) and then slice them diagonally

For main dish, i line a deep pie dish or low casserole dish with olive oil crust and then fill with the pumkin mixture and bake.

use butternut squash, or mantovana, or acorn, any squash or pumpkin with a nice creamy and not stringy consistency.  Cut in large chunks and don;t peel.

Steam or bake, then let it cool.  scoop out pulp. 

Sautee several onions in butter, you can use some garlic and shallots if you like too.  A hint of sage works well, but really just a pinch.  Salt, pepper, then add an egg, a couple or three handfuls of grated parmigiano, the onions, and you can add raisins, pine nuts, pistachios, walnuts, whatever you like of that sort - even some rice to give more body. 

Wet edges of the crust and lay a second circle of olive oil crust dough on top, pinch edges. 

Brush with egg and bake till golden. 

You can find the crust recipe if you search this site for "pumpkin turnovers" or "olive oil crust"

I also sometimes make a ricotta and spinach "pie" (deep dish) using puff pastry.  (Sorry koukouvagia, this is a bastardization of a greek dish, whose name i forget - spinakopita or something???)  - use ricotta (sheep ricotta is best, but may be hard to find) - you can add some crumbled feta for flavor and consistency, and you should also add several handsful of grated parmigiano or parmigiano and romano.  Cook spinach, drain really well, squeeze really well and chop (or cheat and use chopped spinach, well defrosted and squeezed).  One egg.  (too many eggs will make it hard and dry, contrary to popular belief). 

this is quick to put together if you;ve prepared ths spinach and use frozen puff pastry dough.  Make a free-standing roll, or a deep dish pie, or whatever you want.  Make it fancy by cutting some leaves out of the scraps and glueing them on top with egg wash.  Wash all with egg and bake. 

Another i posted once, of a string bean pudding - bechamel, string beans, sauteed onion, lots of parmigiano, an egg, all baked in a souffle dish or casserole dish. 


Joined Dec 14, 2006
Thanks for the ideas.  Dinner is now up to 14 people, including someone who has a salmon phobia, and did I mention that one of the vegetarians won't eat onions, and one of the "normal people" eats enough for three?  /img/vbsmilies/smilies/crazy.gif   Nothing like a challenge.  The vegetarians are pretty liberal otherwise...they eat dairy and eggs, and a little chicken stock is OK.

So I'm thinking pork roast, with a separately baked bread-apple-sage stuffing.

Maybe a "pseudo-cassoulet" with beans, tomatoes, ?kale, and vegetarian sausage, which my vegetarian friends tell me is quite good, for the "other" entree.

Found a great-looking recipe for squash rings ( but baking/reheating squash rings for 14 people is going to take up a LOT of real estate in the oven.  Need to have a test run of roasting pans in the ovens.

I like siduri's savory pie idea...turnovers would be great...I'm wondering about something with broccoli and cheese vs. siduri's pumpkin recipe.  Need a green vegetable. Or the spinach ricotta roll.  Hmmm.

Green salad.

Pear bread.

Something for everyone.

Keep mushrooms off the dinner table, so I don't kill anyone.  Always a prudent goal for a dinner party.

Appetizers TBD at a later date.

And fortunately, KYH, I do desserts, pretty well, in fact.  Already have a request for Frangelico chocolate mousse, need something else too, but will have this covered.

Thanks again.  Feel free to add more.

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