ISO Menu Suggestions - Omnivores and Vegetarians

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Executive Chef
Apr 4, 2015
New Hampshire Seacoast
My brother and his wife are going to be visiting us for a few days. He eats a little meat, she is a vegetarian (eats eggs and dairy, though). My wife and I are omnivores. I'm trying to come up with some menu ideas to please everyone (especially me!) without going through a lot of extra work. I'm thinking some sides like beans and rice in the rice cooker, pasta salad with a lot of veggies, green salad with a lot of veggies, etc. I picked up a Moosewood cookbook at the library this morning to try to get some ideas.

They are stopping in on a bike vacation, and we'll all be riding together, so there will be some pretty good appetites. Any suggestions from members in mixed marriages :) would be appreciated.
This seems to satisfy all of the above.


6 tblsp olive oil
1 12-oz onion coarsely chopped (about 3 cups)
1 large yellow bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1-1/2 tblsp cumin seeds
4 tsp minced canned chipotle chilies
2-4 garlic cloves (to taste), chopped fine
3 15-oz cans black beans, well drained
2 14-1/2 oz cans diced tomatoes with roasted garlic
2 cups vegetable broth

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell
pepper, and cumin seeds. Saute until onion is soft and golden,
stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add chipotles and garlic and
stir 30 seconds. Add black beans, diced tomatoes with juices, and
vegetable broth. Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium. Simmer
uncovered until liquid is reduced by half, stirring occasionally,
about 30 minutes. Transfer 2 cups of chili to blender or processor.
Blend to coarse paste, return to pot. Simmer chili to thicken as
desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve with cornbread or corn cakes.
Fajitas, grilled peppers, onions, mushrooms for everybody and beef or chicken for the meat eaters. We did that for a friend that was practically a vegan once. Made a roasted red pepper sauce to take the place of sour cream for him.

Made the chili recipe above for him too. He loved both and asked for the recipes.
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Veggie and cheese frittata or quiche, cream of mushroom soup with a hint of sherry, meatless eggplant lasagna or eggplant parmesan, ratatouille, corn and potato chowder come to mind. The falafel recipe in the Moosewood cookbook is great.

Larry Stewart might have some good vegetarian ideas.
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You can offer grilled shrimp, chicken and/or beef for the omnivores and grilled portabells mushroom for the vegetarian to go with pasta salad and green salad. Canneloni or stuffed shells with ricotta and spinach filling and marinara sauce is pretty filling with a salad and bread.
Dawgluver reminded me of the roasted vege lasagna we made for our friend too. I roasted all the veges separately, mushrooms, zucchini, red pepper and then used them in separate layers. He was still eating cheese then so I could use ricotta and moz. Pretty and the omnivores were happy with it too.

Best thing about something like the lasagna and the chili is that they can be made ahead and taste even better over the next couple of days. Same thing with GG's stuffed shells, as well as the pasta salad mentioned previously.
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Eggplant Parm ( Don't forget the garlic bread)
Felafel ( Tabouleh, baba ganouj, hummus)
Any pasta recipe ( obviously without meat, or the option to put meat in after splitting the recipe)
Stuffed shells, manicotti, Baked ziti, Mac N Cheese ( toss some wine and mushrooms in)
Grilled vegetable past ( garlic and oil pasta with grilled zucchini, onions, tomatoes, shrooms..)
Quiche ( broccoli, spinach...)
Homemade Pizza ( With various toppings), or Calzone
Different kinds of Omelets ( Mushroom, spinach/ feta, spanish omelet)
Spinach Pie
Grilled cheese/ Tomato soup
Bean Burrito/ Guacamole Tacos, Cheese Quesadillas
Hoagies ( Provolone cheese for them/ Meat for whoever wants) in addition to the lettuce, peppers, pickles, tomatoes, onions..)
Panini ( broccoli, garlic and provolone)
Marinated portobello burgers with provolone and spinach/ garlic on a kaiser roll.

If they are "Health" vegetarians, than the moosewood book should be fine.
A problem I see with many meat eaters, who try to please vegetarians when they come over to eat, is that they load up on beans, and grains and all that other crap that they assume vegetarians love.

Simple rule is, if the recipe doesn't look good to you, then it probably won't look good to them either ( Unless they are health freaks, then they will love the idea that it is beans, grains, tofu, sprouts...)

My list above are meals that don't have meat, but are relatively typical to both meat/ and non meat eaters. Therefore, they will please everyone ( assuming they like the dish)
Once you cross into the "Vegetarian Recipes", thats when the meat eaters start to make faces.

As a vegetarian, just the fact tat you are going out of your way to make something for them to eat, will be completely appreciated. Ive spent the last 20 years making due , eating side dishes ...whatever. Vegetarians are used to making do with whats available.

Pasta primavera with either grilled or oven roasted or pan sauted' veggies and serve chicken strips on the side to add in for the meaters.

I found but have not yet made a mushroom ( mixed shrooms) stroganoff recipe that I hope to serve this Christmas time. and will make a separate traditional larger stroganoff. We will have this because this is Jr's favorite dish, so this is his mom's set menu. Last year a newly vegetarian niece just picked the meat out and had sauce/ and was ok with it. However, this year there will be a 2nd vegetarian convert so it's time to expand the menu a bit.

If your guests are going to stay overnight, you can make quiches or stratas easily vegetarian friendly for breakfast along with the usual things like fruit, yogurt, muffins, bagels.
Thanks for the suggestions. I’ll probably make a grilled or roasted veggie lasagna in advance. I didn’t think of the grilled veggie pasta, but there is a local shop that has really good fresh spinach pasta that I have used with grilled brussel sprouts and pesto. Some additional grilled veggies and meat on the side should be a good option. Fajitas sound good as well.

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