Top meatless recipes for entertaining

Published on May 03 2011 - 3:58 PM
Top meatless recipes for entertaining

It happens every time I decide to cut back on meat: My husband is supportive. I’ve got an arsenal of delicious meatless recipes to cook to keep us inspired and satisfied. Things are going smoothly. Until. 1) We decide to go out to a restaurant for dinner. 2) We are invited to a dinner party. 3) We are hosting a dinner party. (And this month, when I’m taking EatingWell’s Meatless May Challenge, I’ll surely be faced with this dilemma when my dining companions aren’t eating meatlessly. Are you vegetarian, vegan or just interested in cooking without meat? Take our Meatless Challenge!)

What’s a veggie-loving girl to do? Luckily many restaurants are smartening up and have at least one meatless entree on the menu (if not, ask your server about vegetarian options). I think some chefs see meatless meals as a creative challenge, resulting in really interesting, tasty dishes!

So at home (and at someone else’s home), I take a cue from those forward-thinking chefs. When I host a dinner, I focus my menu on interesting ingredients or themes rather than on what’s missing. If you serve a group of hungry guests a meatless meal, will they really even notice? In my experience, they don’t (or they have the good manners to keep it to themselves and be grateful for the meal). If I’m a guest at someone else’s dinner, I like to casually mention my meatless bent beforehand and offer to bring a dish to contribute.

Whether you’re a host or guest, these 5 popular meatless recipes from the new EatingWell Fast & Flavorful Meatless Meals cookbook will wow your crowd deliciously!

More Amazing Meatless Recipes to Try:
10 Tasty Veggie Burger Recipes for Grilling Season
Spicy Vegetarian Mexican Recipes
Black Bean Quesadillas and More 5-Ingredient Dinners

Mediterranean Couscous Cabbage Rolls

We love the subtle flavor of cinnamon with fresh mint in these vegetarian cabbage rolls stuffed with couscous, olives and feta cheese. Don’t worry if your cabbage leaves tear a little when you pull them off the head; they will wrap up just fine. As a precaution you can cook a couple extra leaves and roll two partly overlapping if needed. Serve with roasted butternut squash tossed with olive oil, cinnamon and garlic. To double this recipe, use 2 large skillets and prepare one 4-serving recipe in each.

blog post photo 

Tomato & Spinach Dinner Strata

This yummy lasagna-inspired casserole has cheese, vegetables, eggs and marinara sauce but uses sturdy whole-grain bread instead of noodles, which makes it even easier to make. Its hearty look hides the fact that it’s made with all low-fat, healthful ingredients. Of course, it makes a great brunch entree as well—don’t let the name fool you.

blog post photo 

Cheese Enchiladas with Red Chile Sauce

Intense, earthy and absolutely addictive, New Mexico’s cheese enchiladas showcase red chile sauce at its most elemental, thickly blanketing tortillas and melted Cheddar. We’ve added some extra creaminess and body with locally popular pinto beans, to cut down on the classic’s load of saturated fat. Top with shredded lettuce and minced onion.

blog post photo

Rustic Mushroom Tart

Don’t let phyllo dough’s fussy reputation put you off: our method of brushing olive oil and sprinkling breadcrumbs between the layers makes this tart actually quite simple to assemble, and helps keep it healthy. It can be served as a main course or cut into smaller pieces and enjoyed as an appetizer.

blog post photo

Grilled Pizza with Pesto, Tomatoes & Feta

Dazzle your guests, and keep the kitchen cool, by baking pizza on the backyard grill. For convenience, this recipe uses prepared pizza dough, found in most supermarkets, and pesto from a jar.

Would you host a meatless dinner party?

More from EatingWell:

Penelope is a web producer and writer for EatingWell.com. When she's not busy geeking out at the computer, she loves cooking and trying new recipes on her friends. Some of her favorite foods are dark chocolate, coffee, apples, sweet potatoes and cheese.