What to Make When a Vegetarian Comes to Dinner

We've all been there: a vegetarian is coming to dinner, and the old standbys are out. So, what the heck should you make? Before you find yourself in a panic, read below for a few tips, as well as some foolproof recipes, to refer to before a vegetarian sits down at your table.


The dictionary defines a vegetarian as someone who abstains from meat, poultry, and fish, but eats dairy products and eggs. Many vegetarians abstain from meat but still eat fish though, and some "flexitarians" have a plant-based diet, but occasionally eat meat products. If you have a vegan dinner guest, who doesn't eat animal products of any kind, you'll have an even more complicated meal to make. Therefore, it's essential to ask guests what their dietary restrictions are well in advance of your dinner.


No guest wants to feel like a burden. So when you invitie a vegetarian to dinner, or any guest dietary restrictions, make the same meal for everyone. We recommend serving several dishes that your guests can pick and choose from. You might serve steak or chicken alongside a pasta, salad, and/or soup that vegetarians can enjoy, but make sure each side dish is vegetarian-friendly. We also suggest serving an assortment of appetizers which are vegetarian-friendly, as well as one hors d'oeuvre for your meat- and seafood-loving friends.


If you're using commercial food products, you may not realize that they've been produced with a meat-, poultry-, or fish-based product, such as chicken broth in a soup or anchovies in Worcestershire sauce. Unless you're using all fresh produce, be mindful of what ingredients you're using and carefully read every label. You should also beware of reusing any pots or pans used with animal products when you're cooking.

Read on for a few tried-and-true recipes for a vegetarian-friendly dinner party. Except for the three meat, poultry, and seafood options, which will complement other dish options, all of these recipes are vegetarian.


marconaalmonds Thyme-Roasted Marcona Almonds
peachpestocrostini Peach Pesto Crostini
whitebeandip White Bean Dip With Homemade Pita Chips


carrotsalad Carrot Salad With Tahini and Crisped Chickpeas
sweetcornsalad Sweet Corn Salad With Buttermilk Herb Dressing
farmersmarketsalad Farmers Market Salad


springvareniki Spring Vareniki
rusticmushroompasta Rustic Mushroom, White Wine, and Cream Cheesy Spaghetti
tomatobasilpasta One-Pot Tomato Basil Pasta


thymegarlicroastedchicken Thyme and Garlic Roasted Chicken
flanksteak Grilled Ginger-Marinated Flank Steak
clamscilantrochillioil Clams in Cilantro Chilli Oil


chocolate-salted-caramel-tarts Chocolate and Salted Caramel Tarts
blackcherrysorbet Black Cherry Sorbet
strawberrycrumble Strawberry Elderflower Crumble
Photographs: 1. Quentin Bacon for Barefoot Contessa, 2. Love and Lemons, 3. PBS, 4. Smitten Kitchen, 5. Five and Spice, 6. Kate Gibbs, 7. Golubka, 8. What Katie Ate, 9. Apron Strings, 10. Ture Lillegraven for Bon Appetit, 11. Ingalls Photography for Saveur, 12. Tartine and Apron Strings, 13. Kate Gibbs, 14. Epicurean Mom, 15. Cannelle et Vanille