Dinner Party for Meat Eaters & Vegetarians

jojopops70

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Hello everyone!

I'm after some advice, tips, help, suggestions please, on a menu for a dinner party for a mix of meat eaters and vegetarians.

So I'm planning on a surprise Murder Mystery Dinner Party evening for my Mums 60th Birthday. There will be 12 people. It's mostly family but also a few of her friends. Myself and my family are all meat eaters so I am fairly comfortable with meat options, however 2 of her friends are vegetarians.

I would really like to make sure that I can cook the vegetarians something special and interesting but embarrassingly that's where I'm struggling.

It might also be worth mentioning one of the meat eaters (my mother of all people) doesn't like cheese which is making it harder on my imagination.....

I'm more than happy to do both meat and vegetarian options for the starter and main, I'm just lacking inspiration on exciting vegetarian options. I've been looking through local restaurant menus under their vegetarian choices but nothing is jumping out.

Please can anyone help or give me some ideas?

Thank you so much
 

morning glory

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Well firstly, what a great idea to hold a Murder Mystery Dinner Party for your Mum's birthday. I'd say your biggest challenge will be catering for 12 people rather than the vegetarian options! For me its dead easy as I cooked vegan all the time for ages (due to vegan son) and still cook vegetarian a lot.

But first I have some questions:

How many courses?
  • Are you planning to serve vegetarian options for each course? I'd advise not. Vegetarian starters and desserts are easy peasy and no-one will notice they are eating vegetarian.
  • Are you hoping to 'cook ahead' and re-heat?
  • Are some courses to be served cold?
  • What are you planning as the main course for non-vegetarians? It may be possible to do what I have often done and start off cooking the same dish and then divide it and add meat for meat eaters and other ingredients for vegetarians.
 

epicuric

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Had a similar situation a few years ago when holding a New Years Eve party for around 20 guests. We ended up making some large steak and ale pies, port and Stilton gravy, and an exquisite vegetable tray bake that served as a side dish for the pie, but was good enough to stand on its own as a vegetarian main course. We baked a load of root veg with garlic and herbs, transferred it to baking dishes and topped it with bechamel sauce then browned in the oven. We also did mini baked potatoes, topped with sour cream and chives. Good rustic fare!
 

jojopops70

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Well firstly, what a great idea to hold a Murder Mystery Dinner Party for your Mum's birthday. I'd say your biggest challenge will be catering for 12 people rather than the vegetarian options! For me its dead easy as I cooked vegan all the time for ages (due to vegan son) and still cook vegetarian a lot.

But first I have some questions:

How many courses?
  • Are you planning to serve vegetarian options for each course? I'd advise not. Vegetarian starters and desserts are easy peasy and no-one will notice they are eating vegetarian.
  • Are you hoping to 'cook ahead' and re-heat?
  • Are some courses to be served cold?
  • What are you planning as the main course for non-vegetarians? It may be possible to do what I have often done and start off cooking the same dish and then divide it and add meat for meat eaters and other ingredients for vegetarians.
Thanks for your reply Hopefully it'll be a good evening.

I would like to do 3 courses.

To make it easier id like to have a vegetarian starter for everyone like you say, will make it much simpler, and dessert should be straight forward.

Hot or cold starter, either would be fine. Preferably a hot main. If I can prepare ahead, that would definitely help with cooking for a number of us, I will have help on the day/evening so if we have to prepare there and then I should hopefully be able to cope lol.

I haven't even decided yet what to do for the main for meat eaters, keeping my options open at the moment lol, I would definitely like to do do a meat main though, not a complete vegetarian dinner.

I like your idea of starting off cooking the same for all and then dividing up, finishing with meat for some and then something else vegetarian for non meat eaters.

So last night I spoke to my mums two vegetarian friends. One idea I had was a goats cheese and caramelised onion tart, (obviously not for my mum who doesn't like cheese) but they HATE goats cheese Back to the drawing board !

Something else I probably should have mentioned, it'll be late spring/beginning of summer, so I feel I shouldn't really serve a hearty stew or anything too wintery.
 

morning glory

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it'll be late spring/beginning of summer, so I feel I shouldn't really serve a hearty stew or anything too wintery.
Ah - I was going to suggest this recipe which has been tried and tested by a number of other people. It can be made as vegetarian and with meat. But I think its probably too 'wintery': Mushroom and Chestnut Bourguignon.

I'll carry on thinking about it and hopefully have more suggestions later. You have plenty of time to plan for it I note. Very wise...
 

SatNavSaysStraightOn

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One idea I had was a goats cheese and caramelised onion tart, (obviously not for my mum who doesn't like cheese) but they HATE goats cheese
I have a similar dish that is caramelized onion (half of one per serving) in a balsamic dressing, topped off with brie wrapped in puff pastry if that's any help? There's thyme in there as well. It's really easy to do and very tasty. Just miss out the brie for your mother.
 

SatNavSaysStraightOn

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Another option for main is to go down a pasta route such as lasagne. I've got several really nice vegetables ones and you could really do mini vegetable ones on an individual portion scale for the vegetarians. Just ensure if you do roast veg to use oil not lard.

Also have you confirmed thay both vegetarians are vegetarians and not vegans? There's a considerable difference and in my case I wouldn't actually be able to ready vegetarian even if I was as flexible with my diet as some (for instance my hubby will eat vegetarian if nothing else is available whereas I actually can't dairy to a dairy allergy that causes anaphylactic shock)
 

jojopops70

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Ah - I was going to suggest this recipe which has been tried and tested by a number of other people. It can be made as vegetarian and with meat. But I think its probably too 'wintery': Mushroom and Chestnut Bourguignon.

I'll carry on thinking about it and hopefully have more suggestions later. You have plenty of time to plan for it I note. Very wise...
The recipe looks wonderful, thank you, I think I'll give it a try anyway
Sorry I should have said at the beginning it's not until end of May/beginning June next year. I like to be organised wherever possible, less stressful lol.
 

jojopops70

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I have a similar dish that is caramelized onion (half of one per serving) in a balsamic dressing, topped off with brie wrapped in puff pastry if that's any help? There's thyme in there as well. It's really easy to do and very tasty. Just miss out the brie for your mother.
I really like the sound of that, great idea thank you!
 
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