Vegetarian Ideas

Joined Jul 31, 2000
I am almost done with all my fall menus,

I am thinking of offering 2 vegetarian options for both lunch and dinner service,plus to have them available on all private functions.

Over the past five years I have seen the amount of vegetatian request more than triple.
I want my vegetarian guest to have the same dining expereaince as everyone else.


all are welcome and appreciated.
Joined May 26, 2001
How about the recipes people have given in answer to the Cranberry Bean question? They look pretty yummy to me!


Joined Apr 4, 2000
I'm not sure if you want to go ethnic or not or how complex you want the recipes to be so I'll just throw you some ideas with the help of a a book or to of course. ;)

Eggplant napoleon from Think Like A Chef. This is a spectacular dish. Eggplant puree sandwich between 2 or 3 or more if you'd like slices of bread crumb coated fries egg plant slices. You could do it with different many vegetables even using puff pastry as they do for the classic napoleon

Flan or mousse au zucchini or custard or creme. Another fantastic looking recipe. Use a creme caramel mould to bake the custard. Served, if desire, with a smoked salmon creme. To go completely vegetarian but in keeping with the colour scheme why not use a red pepper creme. Asparagus flan is so good. I had it somewhere not too long ago and it was so good. For a different presentation shaped the mousse into quenelles.

Don’t forget soup. A hearty soup either a creme or more of a minestrone style. Vegetarian onion soup. I’m having trouble with this one it never taste as good as when it’s made with beef broth. Not far from soups are aspic, might want to wait for spring for cold menu.

Quiche, tart or pies when well done can be so heavenly and you can use so many different veggies. Among my favourite are leeks, onions and potatoes. Talking about tart you could do pizza for lunch at least. Might not be elegant enough for your dinner menu.

There is always pasta. Pasta with a lemon cream sauce. Trust me it taste better than it sounds. Risotto with all kind of different veggies is always nice when it’s cold outside. Ravioli are great. Mushrooms ravioli in a herb sauce. Cannelloni could also be stuffed with a blend of nice vegetables and cheese. Don’t forget squash. A blend of different one might work as a stuffing. You could even use veggies as pasta. If cut on the mandoline they do look like angel hair pasta add a tomato concasse and you’re all set.

Crepes can be stuffed with a million of different things. So can profiteroles or gougeres. How about a gougere stuffed with a celery puree or celeriac.

Ratatouille is one of my favourite autumn dish. I make big batches of it and freeze it for the winter. Brandade made with potatoes and celeriac and spices. It might not be enough for a meal on it’s own though

Vegetarian stuffed cabbage is really good. Add some chestnuts for flavour and even the meat eater will like it. You can make a big stuffed cabbage or do delicate aumoniere. That is my favourite, always look so elegant. Italian stuffed zucchini or onions are great on a cold day.

Endives stuffed with mushrooms and gruyere. A play on the classic endives au jambon.

Terrine done with different vegetable mousses. You can work with contrast. Or try your hand at a mushroom terrine. Shroom could help you on that one.

I recently saw, must have been on the French food show a potato pancake with truffle and served with a type of beurre blanc sauce. Too expensive? Corn pancake is another alternative but call them beignets it will look nicer on your menu.

Eggs! I almost forgot them Omelets and souffes. With cheese or with vegetables they are always great.

Lentilles du Puy are the top of the lentille family. How about some French style dahl. I’m sure it can be done.

Don’t forget gratin. You can do them with so many different vegetables.

That’s all that I can think of for now. Hope it will help you.
Joined Apr 30, 2001
Wow, Iza has some great sounding ideas! I ate vegetarian for several years and have a Mexican casserole that even my dad felt satisfied with. I could see it being a side dish also.

Contains corn, black beans, tomatoes with chiles, picante sauce, cheddar cheese, rice, and sour cream; baked and then topped with chopped green onions, sliced ripe olives, and shredded pepper jack.
Joined Jul 31, 2000
As I "Digest"your ideas..
I want to thank you for posting such a thoughtful and detailed post.
I love all your ideas...I need to step it up a bit though.

taking the classic and pushing it to the modern.
Lets say we remove eggs from the senario


Joined Apr 4, 2000
That sounds good Nancy. Could you please post the recipe?

Joined Mar 13, 2001
I don't know if you were planning a cheese course...this is a very elegant one!

Whipped Brie de Meaux en Feuilleté with Tellicherry Pepper and Baby Mâche

The following quantities are for a test drive.

12 ounces ripe Brie de Meaux, chilled
Extra Virgin olive oil
12 ultra thin slices baguette

Balsamic Glaze or Port Wine Glaze (recipe follows) in a squeeze bottle
Freshly ground Tellicherry pepper

1 cup baby mâche
Fleur de sel

Remove the rind from the Brie; you will have about 8ounces of trimmed Brie. Put the cold cheese in a mixer with the paddle attachment and beat at medium speed, scraping down the sides from time to time, for about 10 minutes, until the cheese is very white and creamy.

Make the croûtons. Place a film of oil in a large skillet and rub each side of bread on both sides in the oil. Place over medium heat and cook on each side until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Squeeze the balsamic or port glaze in a very light X or other design on one side of each plate. Form a quenelle of the Brie (about 1 tablespoon) and place it in the center of one plate. Sprinkle with pepper and angle a crouton on top. Angle another quenelle of Brie over the crouton, sprinkle with pepper, and top with a second crouton. Repeat with the remaining Brie and croutons.

Toss the mâche with a small amount of olive oil. Place a small pile of mâche at the side of each serving of cheese and sprinkle the greens with fleur de sel.

(6 servings)
Balsamic Glaze or Port Wine Glaze

2 cups balsamic vinegar or port wine

Reduce it slowly, almost as if you were letting it evaporate. If you boil it too hard, the acid will remain and make the glaze too sharp. Reducing it slowly an gently results in a much softer tasting glaze. It's easiest to control the heat with the aid of a heat diffuser.

Method: Heat the vinegar or port in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until steam rises from the liquid. Place the saucepan on a heat diffuser and let the liquid reduce very slowly (it shouldn't simmer) for 2 to 3 hours, until it has reduced and thickened to a syrupy glaze. There should be approximately ½ cup balsamic glaze or 1/4 cup of port glaze. Keep the glaze in a squeeze bottle at room temperature for garnishing plates; if the glaze is too thick, warm the bottle in hot water to loosen the glaze.

Just be sure to use a very good, ripe, creamy Brie in this dish.


Joined Apr 4, 2000
You are most welcome CC, glad it helps you.

There is one thing about your post CC. Maybe it’s because it is late and my brain is not digesting English at this late time. Maybe tomorrow it will make sense to me but in case my brain isn't bilingual tomorrow morning I need some enlightenment. I don't understand the following comment:

As in no egg dishes or no dishes that contain egg ?
Joined Jul 18, 2000
i like to look at vegetarian/vegan cuisine as something that has the tendency to be neglected, and when done well, has the potential to generate a reputation for any chef.

for instance, a good example would be the lebanese dish "Shawarma" - the only non vegan thing in this dish would be the veal. So replace it with mushroom, cook as usual and maybe present on top of fried lebanese bread pieces, shredded romaine lettuce and drizzled with tahini sauce.

Another example, maybe a vegetable tartare with some alterations to the original concept

Could be perhaps a tagine of vegetables, embellished with either tofu or TVP, cous cous cooked out with vege/shroom stock.

Mushroom moussaka, soy milk bechamel, soy cheese (if possible, i dont know enough about soy cheeses)

Pumpkin and assorted veges thai style

My main angle at vegetarian/vegan foods is to take the well known,(and not so well known) and alter them to suit the eating habits of the diner. Some work OK and some dont. I link this up with some other ideas i get (i.e; people are always putting this sauce on burgers, so why not put them into the mix, etc) and away i go. Its all about altering your surrounds to suit you, and ultimately others around you.
Joined Mar 13, 2001
  • Cauliflower Panna Cotta
  • Yukon gold potato blini with roasted sweet peppers and eggplant caviar
  • Vine-ripe tomato tartare and basil oil
  • Heirloom tomato tart w/niçoise olive tapenade, mixed field greens and basil vinaigrette
  • Salad of black missoin figs w/roasted sweet peppers and shaved fennel
  • Fava bean agnolotti w/curry emulsion
  • Carnaroli risotto w/shaved white truffle
  • Potato gnocci w/pesto sauce


Joined Apr 4, 2000
I realised I haven't mention beans and salad among other things...

Now I wonder why is it that I can have many ideas of what to make for dinner on a late Saturday evening but not on Monday at dinner time??
Joined Apr 30, 2001
Here you are, Iza. This is not a really sophisticated dish, but we like it. I think it might be even better with fresh ingredients instead of canned.

Mexican Vegetarian Casserole

15 oz can whole kernel corn, drained
15 oz can black beans, drained
10 oz can whole tomatoes with green chiles
8 oz container sour cream
8 oz jar picante sauce
8 oz shredded chedddar cheese
2 cups cooked rick
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients, spoon lightly into greased 13x9 baking dish.

Sprinkle on:

1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 1/2 oz can sliced black olives
8 oz shredded pepper jack

Bake at 350F for 50 minutes. As a main dish, serves 6.

Thanks to my cat, who has been helping me type this. Any typos I haven't caught can be attributed to her!
Joined Nov 19, 1999
Nice vegan lunch that I could use at the sorority, Nancya. How did you manage to type with your cat on the keyboard and make no mistakes. Mine stays right on the mouse, and I have to push it around, wearing Priscilla for a glove :)
Joined Aug 11, 2000
King Louie's did an incredible high end vegetarian meal for Aug. Farmer-Chef dinner...check out restaurant reviews for the menu. If you go to Saucecafe and look in the archives of 2000 Farmer-Chef dinners Harvest did a total vegen meal down to the beet sweetened chocolate cake...(pretty darn good).

Cardwells meal last year Oct of 2000 had a great vegetarian meal.

Winter....porcini ragout with roots over pappardelle
Smoked tempe with a Calvados glaze, butternut squash, sweet potato with still thinking on the herbs thyme and sage....
Butternut squash puree soup with saute of shrooms on top (water for liquid!!! It works)

Charred peeled peppers stuffed with caponata and a drizzle of balsamic (with or without french sheep feta) dab of tapanade

mushrooms stuffed with wind shroom duxelle serve hot ( one of my standards)

One of the main things vegens look for in an entree is a decent protein source.

I'm thinking work on a roulade of tofu and fill it with great things...sauce it with a veggie cream (puree of corn or peppers or squash) Pretty presentation....

Artichokes with israeli couscous and minced veg.....sauce????
Stuffed eggplants with fragrant rice and roasted veg... needs more thought.
Deep fried eggplant with sweet hot dip
Veggie Tempura with interesting dips...maybe stuff the veg before frying.
Hmmmmm not seen this done too much wonder why.
Okra with a spicy bean filling (Indian)

Do the fun napolean with fillo and puree of chestnuts, parsnips, carrots.....herbs for color and more flavor

Acouple of my friends went to the *** Parisian vegetarian restaurant a couple monthes ago, I never did get good descriptions....I'll go ask in detail, see if anything sounds worth recreating.
Joined Mar 13, 2001

I found Charlie Trotter's upscale vegetarian menu quite inspiring. Here's a sample:

Terrine of Tiny Corn & Oven-Dried Heirloom Tomatoes with Arugula & Basil Sorbet

Grilled Speckled Corn Soup with Crispy Semolina Gnocchi Galette, Spicy Radishes & Kalamata Olive Puree

Ragout of Onions, Garlic Confit, Porcini Mushrooms & Cumin Infused Sweet Corn Emulsion

"Lasagna" of Kolrabi, Chanterelle Mushrooms and Huitlacoche with Red Wine Braised Heirloom Corn Sauce

Chilled White Corn Soup with Cilantro-Yogurt Sorbet

Corn & Brazil Nut Sponge Cake with Sweet Corn Pudding & Brown Butter Sauce

Also, anything with pumpkins and squashes would make nice fillings for agnolotti or ravioli.

And Plums Five Ways : Sorbet, Chip, Sauce, Salad & Gelée

I find all this way too :cool: !

[ September 10, 2001: Message edited by: Kimmie ]
Joined Jul 31, 2000
Outstanding,I love those menus..Very creative
And kimmie,thank you also for sharing those ideas with me.I do have trotters vegetable book and find it useful.
Thank you all for taking the time to share your creativity with me.
Keep em coming
And much thanks


Joined Apr 4, 2000
A few more days of this and CC will have the best vegetarian menu. ;)

By the way CC have you thought of checking out the moosewood cookbooks?
Joined Jun 1, 2001
Hi, cape chef -

I'm not a chef - but I have been vegetarian, and eaten in restaurants, for, lessee, thirteen years now.

Some of my thoughts on the subject... things I have thought time and time again when gazing at a menu looking for vegetarian options:
Oh Gods, not pasta again.
Oh Gods and Devils, not bloody vegetarian lasagna a-bloody-gain.
Stir-fry. Yawn.
Cheese. Cheese. Cheese and more cheese. I wonder if this would look like anything at all without the cheese?
Is there anything healthy, or reasonably low-fat, on this menu apart from the salad?
Is there anything that isn't entirely carbs and cheese? I could really use a nice protein source.

The Moosewood Cookbooks are okay, but the older ones are very granola veg - lots of cheese, lots of heedless high-fat stuff.

For more contemporary ideas, I highly recommend The Millennium Cookbook, from the chefs at San Francisco's restaurant of the same name. This is vegan, healthy cooking which could stand proudly by the side of any dish I've ever eaten in any fancy bistro. Delicious and original.

I'd also suggest Mollie Katzen's Vegetable Heaven, which is, again, a bit lighter and more creative.

It's also dead easy, as other people have pointed out, to adapt meat recipes to vegetarian, using beans, or portobello mushrooms, or meat analogues such as seitan or tofu or TVP.... I do it all the time.

Honestly, pasta is nice, but it's what every omni in the world reaches for first when asked to feed "one of us." It's also what WE reach for first when looking for dinner in a hurry. Every veg*n I've ever known is **** sick of ordering pasta every time we eat out.

As for cheese and eggs and milk, they are high in fat, hence offputting to many who are vegetarian for health reasons, and, obviously, they're off-limits to those who eat no animal products at all - and there's just no knowing, some eat milk but no eggs, some eat eggs but have dairy sensitivities... I usually ask for cheese either left off or on the side, myself, as does my husband, because restaurant portions of cheese are usually so ridiculous.

And let me say how absolutely WONDERFUL it is to hear someone say, "I want my vegetarian guests to have the same dining experience as everyone else." Yay, cape chef!
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