Do you have someone in your family to cook for that doesn’t eat meat? Maybe you are recently vegetarian and aren’t sure what you would like to consume during a Holiday meal with others? This is something my significant other, Nick, and I experienced last year. Below you will find some of our favourite vegetarian Main dish suggestions. We are sharing some delicious recipes for use as a main dish. These are dishes a number of other people eating with you will be interested in trying as well. When we decided not to eat meat any longer, we realized instantly that we would need to make a plan for family dinners.
While we both love sides, we don’t want to miss out on the protein that often comes with the main part of the meal. The solution is to make a dish ahead that can be warmed up in the oven once we are at the host’s house. Some of our favorite main dish recipes are below. As a bit of a disclaimer, you won’t find any “fake meat” here. For the most part, we do not enjoy the taste of products imitating meat. One exception is the Beyond Meat Burger that you can get at A&W (well until they sold out, but I’m told that should return soon). Our tastebuds’ feelings on the Burger can be found here if you are interested. The dishes below are not just for big family dinners, but holidays are occasions in which these dishes work perfectly.
First of the Vegetarian Main Dish Suggestions: classic mushroom lentil loaf.
It looks a lot like traditional meatloaf but tastes different and you do not miss the meat at all. This takes a bit of time to make but is pretty simple and well worth it.
If we serve lentil loaf at home, it usually has Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes and Mushroom Gravy from the Oh She Glows collection. The Minimalist Baker has a post up with the recipe. If you want a vegetarian gravy to serve with your mains heading into the Holiday Season this year, click the link to The Minimalist Baker above.
Second of the Vegetarian Main Dish Suggestions: Lentil Wellington.
For anyone unfamiliar, Wellington is traditionally a flaky pastry covering beef. I have never had the real thing but can tell you this lentil version is so good. The first time we made it, we could not get enough. The filling uses similar ingredients to the lentil loaf, above. For the crust, we kept it simple and used frozen puff pastry from the grocery store. I do not usually enjoy walnuts. It has, however, recently become clear how healthy they are. Instead of throwing in giant chunks of walnut, we grind them up in the blender. The only way you know they are there is the slightly crunchy texture they add. The crunch is a very nice touch.
Third of the Vegetarian Main Dish Suggestions: Butter Paneer.
If you haven’t tried paneer yet, it is sort of cubed cottage cheese. That sounds weird, but it is delicious when covered in sauce. The first time I tried it was as takeout. I am hooked.
Paneer has lots of protein in it, but also lots of fat. It isn’t exactly bad for you, from what I have read, but you probably don’t want to have too much at one time.
After we tried the Karahi Paneer dish from Bombay Bhel, we realized paneer would be delightful in a regular butter chicken sauce with naan, or over rice (or quinoa if you want to add even more protein).
The recipe linked above will walk you through step by step, but when we make it, we tend to use the much easier butter chicken sauce linked here. To make it vegetarian, simply omit the parts that involve chicken and make the sauce. As the sauce is warming up and delicious flavours are combining, cut a block of paneer into cubes. Briefly fry the cubes to brown the edges while the onion and garlic caramelize.
Once the sauce is ready, toss the sauce into the pan with the fried paneer. Let it simmer on low heat for a few minutes before serving with naan, rice or even quinoa.
Fourth of the Vegetarian Main Dish Suggestions: Leek, Potato and Cheese Pie.
Nick’s Mom made a version for us at Easter Dinner last year and it was mouthwatering. This Leek and Potato pie is so flavourful, it needs mentioning. It can be a main, or as a side if you already have a main dish planned.
Hopefully, this helps you on your quest to find vegetarian main dishes. Thanksgiving is coming up in a couple of weeks in Canada. I assure you that we will be enjoying at least a couple of these dishes at different family gatherings. What suggestions do you have for vegetarian dishes for larger crowds? I would love to add to this list! Have you tried any of the dishes above? If so, what did you think?