View Full Version : Need help planning a vegetarian-friendly buffet
06-15-2005, 05:19 PM
Menu planning is not one of my strengths, but I usually muddle through. However, this time I'm completely devoid of ideas, and I would really, really appreciate some help.
Here is the problem: 14 people have been invited for dinner this Saturday. I'm hoping 10 people would come, but I will not be surprised if we end up with 16. As we don't have enough space to seat this many people, the meal will have to be buffet-style, and given the people invited the least complicated arrangement will be to have a primarily vegetarian menu with one plain meat dish for non-veggies (sausages maybe). Fish and seafood are OK, but would probably be too expensive to get in such quantities. Oh, and to make matters more complicated, I don't have a microwave, so most of the dishes should be OK to serve at room temperature, and I only have a half-size oven which can cook 10 full main dish portions maximum. Last year I made a veggie lasagna (half portions) with two plain veggie sides, and I would like to do something different.
Any ideas? All vegetables, beans and grains are welcome. No chili powder if possible, though.
Thanks in advance!
06-15-2005, 05:29 PM
One of my favorite vegetarian dishes is the Barefoot Contessa's Orzo with Roasted Vegetables. It makes a very large bowl, would be perfect as a main dish for the vegetarians and great as a side for the meat eaters. I usually put grilled shrimp in with it but you don't need to. Plus, you can make it in advance because it's best at room temperature. You could serve a salad of sliced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese and fresh basil along with some good bread and be all set. Good luck!
Orzo with Roasted Vegetables
1 medium eggplant -- peeled and 3/4-inch diced
1 red -- orange and yellow bell pepper, 1-inch diced
1 red onion -- peeled and 1-inch diced
2 garlic cloves -- minced
1/3 cup good olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound orzo
For the dressing:
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 scallions -- minced (white and green parts)
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
3/4 pound good feta -- 1/2-inch diced (not crumbled)
15 fresh basil leaves -- cut into julienne
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Toss the eggplant, bell peppers, onion, and garlic with the olive oil,
salt, and pepper on a large sheet pan. Roast for 40 minutes, until
browned, turning once with a spatula.
Meanwhile, cook the orzo in boiling salted water for 7 to 9 minutes, until
tender. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the roasted
vegetables to the pasta, scraping all the liquid and seasonings from the
roasting pan into the pasta bowl.
For the dressing, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper and
pour on the pasta and vegetables. Let cool to room temperature, then add
the scallions, pine nuts, feta, and basil. Check the seasonings,
and serve at room temperature.
06-15-2005, 05:39 PM
You can't go wrong with a bean salad -- or a couple of different kinds of bean salads, i.e., one with beans and veggies, another with grains (rice, orzo, ditalini, couscous, bulgur, etc.) or potatoes. Once could be with a Mediterranean flavor (Italian or Greek), and the other with a curry flavor.
Or how about a lentil/rice pilaf? Vegetarian minestrone?
If eggs are okay, maybe a vegetable/potato frittata? Or an assortment of frittatas? These are good even at room temperature. You can make them ahead, refrigerate them, and then let them come to room temperature as the guests arrive.
Keep us posted on what you finally serve!
06-15-2005, 05:57 PM
If eggs are a go then this would be good! It is an awesome recipe! I would double it for as many people as you are having (especially since people WILL go back for seconds).
From Cooking Light
Because this dish contains no beaten egg whites, it is not a true soufflé the name is derived from its light airy texture. Similar in color and flavor to sweet potato casserole, it pairs well with ham or turkey.
7 cups chopped carrot (about 2 pounds)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup fat-free sour cream
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350°.
Cook carrot in boiling water 15 minutes or until very tender; drain. Place carrot in a food processor; process until smooth. Add granulated sugar and next 7 ingredients (granulated sugar through eggs); pulse to combine.
Spoon mixture into a 2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until puffed and set. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1/2 cup)
NUTRITION PER SERVING
CALORIES 187(25% from fat); FAT 5.1g (sat 2.5g,mono 1.6g,poly 0.5g); PROTEIN 4.2g; CHOLESTEROL 88mg; CALCIUM 86mg; SODIUM 233mg; FIBER 3.5g; IRON 1.1mg; CARBOHYDRATE 32.3g
Cooking Light, NOVEMBER 2002
06-15-2005, 06:58 PM
I'll suggest a nice fruit tray. I've also made the Eating Well sweet potato salad several times this year and enjoyed it. Would be good for a buffet as it is delicious at room temperature.
SWEET POTATO AND GINGER SALAD
(Everyday Food; June 2005)
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
1. Preheat oven to 425. On a nonstick rimmed baking sheetm toss 2-1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, cut into 3/4" chunks, with one Tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp. coarse salt, and 1/4 tsp ground pepper; roast until fork tender, about 35 minutes.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together 2 Tbsps. fresh orange juice, 1 Tbsp oil, 1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger, and 2 tsps. Dijon mustard.
3. Add 3 scallions, thinly sliced crosswise, and potatoes; toss to coat with dressing. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Serve warm, cold, or at room temperature.
PER SERVING: 315 calories; 7.2 grams fat; 4.9 grams protein; 59.3 grams carbohydrates; 8.9 grams fiber
NOTE: Only change I made was to be quite a bit more liberal with the ginger. Glad I did!
(the notes are Bobmark's)
Another buffet salad that I make often is tortellini salad with a balsamic vinagrette dressing. You could do it greek style (feta, olives and grape tomatoes) or antipasto.
06-15-2005, 09:00 PM
Do the Barefoot Contessa Orzo salad! Your guests will be raving over it--vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. I keep meaning to make this for my vegetarian Dad. This recipe is a favorite in my house.
You could probably get a decent piece of beef for cheap and do a roast--maybe an eye of round. Marinate it, roast it, and serve it sliced thin (and it doesn't have to be piping hot). You could serve it with rolls and mustards.
You could also do some quiches or vegetable tarts. Everyone seems to like these. If you're not great at pastry, buy the premade shells or dough. Most people can't tell the difference.
06-16-2005, 06:21 AM
I made this Vegetable Frittata this week, and you could make just a variation of the salad (minus the frittata). It was so good! See my review
Vegetable Frittata (Frittatina di Verdure)
From: Ciao Italia in Umbria by Mary Ann Esposito
(St. Martin's Press; November 2002; ISBN: 0312303297; HC)
Cookbook Heaven @ Recipelink.com
Pietro Cardoni's Umbrian garden had everything I needed to make is vegetable frittatina. The beauty of this "recipe" is that it allows you use a variety of your favorite vegetables, resulting in a tasty omelet whose flavor is lifted by a balsamic vinegar dressing. Instead of folding the vegetables into the egg mixture, they are cooked separately to retain their al dente texture and then placed on top of the frittata along with some aged ricotta cheese (ricotta salata) and peppery arugula. A great luncheon idea. Other vegetables could include small broccoli or cauliflower florets, asparagus, sweet peppers, summer squash, and sugar snap peas. Get inspired!
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
To make the dressing: Combine the vinegar, olive oil, and salt in a jar and set aside.
4 ounces chunk pancetta, cut into cubes
8 ounces green beans, julienned
2 small new potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 small carrots, peeled and cubed
2 small zucchini, cubed
1/4 cup minced parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 slightly green tomatoes, thinly sliced
1/2 cup shredded arugula
4 ounces ricotta salata cheese, cut from the wedge into small, chiplike pieces
Fill a plastic bag with ice cubes and 3 cups of water and set aside.
Cook the pancetta in a 10-inch nonstick saute pan until crispy. Drain the pancetta on paper towels and set aside.
Fill a 1-quart saucepan with 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil and add 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook the beans, uncovered, until al dente (just tender); they should retain their crunch. Remove the beans with a slotted spoon and transfer them to the bag with the ice water. (This stops the cooking process and allows the beans to retain their vibrant color.) Leave the beans in the bag for 3 or 4 minutes, then remove them with a slotted spoon and let them drain on paper towels. Add the potatoes to the boiling water and cook until al dente: remove the potatoes with a slotted spoon and set aside. Cook the carrots in the same water and drain them in the same way as the green beans.
Whisk the eggs in a bowl with the parsley and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a 10 inch nonstick skillet. Pour in the egg mixture and cook until it is set. Slide the frittatina onto a serving dish and cut into4 wedges. Arrange the tomato slices over the top of the frittatina, then the beans, potatoes, carrots, zucchini, arugula, and pancetta.
Pour the dressing over the top and sprinkle the cheese over the dressing. Serve immediately.
Variation: If you cannot have eggs in your diet, use Egg Beaters, substituting 1 cup for the 4 eggs.
06-16-2005, 08:23 PM
Thank you very much for your suggestions! I knew I'll hear some good ideas. I have to admit that the idea of serving frittatas at room temperature would have never occured to me, but it sounds good -- have to tell this to DH, the frittata expert in our household.
I have also received today as a birthday present "From Tapas to Meze" by Joanne Weir, which I'm hoping will also help (at the very least, looking at the pictures cannot fail to inspire me :)).
I'll let you know what I finally serve! Thanks again.
06-24-2005, 10:43 AM
Finally I re-assembled my computer, so I can post my menu :)
DH didn't like the idea of room-temperature frittata, but I'm working on him (especially since I found a recipe with three differently flavoured fritattas layered with grated cheese, rolled together jelly-roll style, and then sliced and served as an appetizer). Also we decided to go for a lot of cheese instead of beans. So here is the final spread:
Smoked-chicken pate (CL Make-it-ahead supplement) -- I'm not allowed to stop making this one; good thing it's very easy
Blue cheese and yoghurt dip
A number of different cheeses (goat feta, sheep feta, kefalotiri, kefalograviera, and swiss emmenthal)
Orzo with Roasted Vegetables (thanks sugaree!)
Sweet Potato and Ginger Salad (thanks rosie_one!)
Spiced Braised Carrots with Olives and Mint (CL recipe search) (thanks stacy for the carrot idea; I will try your recipe, I just didn't have the courage to make something with the word souffle in the title the first time for guests :o)
Halal sausages (they turned out to be like big, less spicy merguez sausages -- and they dry out very fast when cooking! )
And just in case anybody might leave hungry, we added canned stuffed grape leaves (we like Salima brand and only that) and frozen cheese and spinach pies.
Guests brought dessert.
The dish that got most compliments was the sweet potatoes salad. The dressing cut down on the candy-sweetness of the potatoes without taking over.
Thanks everybody for the great suggestions -- I am sure to use them all.
06-24-2005, 11:39 AM
I'm confused by the rosie_one's post. is this the EW sweet potato salad recipe or is there another? This one sounds great & I plan on making it tomorrow.
06-24-2005, 11:54 AM
Actually, she posted an Everyday Food recipe. She may have said EW by mistake.
06-24-2005, 04:45 PM
How about stuffed peppers? I've gotten an awsome recipe off these boards for stuffed peppers with feta cheese sauce from Moosewood. I don't have it in my computer anymore and would thus have to type it out. Maybe someone else here has this recipe handy. My meat-eater husband loved this dish!
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