I've been a vegetarian my entire adult life, so when it comes to cooking, that's all I really know. And while I love the challenge of a complicated dish, I mostly stick to simple, crowd-pleasing recipes when I entertain.
When you're used to cooking meals that involve animal protein, cooking for a vegetarian can be daunting. But these 15 recipes — a mix of dinners, sides, and brunch ideas — are sure to please anyone sitting at your table.
- Roasted Carrot Soup from Food52: Most recently I served this as an alternative to tomato soup at a grilled cheese party I hosted. During the winter I make this soup at least once a month.
- Brussels Sprouts Pizza with Balsamic Red Onions from Cookie & Kate: The balsamic caramelized red onions on this pizza are magical. I've taken to just keeping them in the fridge to add to other dishes.
- Lacinato Kale & Ricotta Salata Salad from Epicurious: Even if you're on the fence about kale (yes, it can be overhyped), try this salad. It's so simple to make, but always gets rave reviews at potlucks or dinner parties. Pro tip: Make it at least a day in advance so the kale has ample time to marinate in the dressing.
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Butternut Squash from Shutterbean: This is another staple in my winter cooking routine. I've brought it to Friendsgiving parties and book clubs, and just made it to have for easy lunches and dinners during busy weeks. The brown sugar and curry in the glaze make this dish.
- Baked Egg Boats from Spoon Fork Bacon: While you certainly don't have to make these vegetarian, they are delicious when you do. I tend to make several different kinds, and then slice them up so each person can try each boat.
- Asparagus & Gruyere Tart from Martha Stewart: I've been making this tart since college, and it never disappoints. (Except for the one time I burned it!) You can cut it into small pieces as an appetizer, or serve with a side dish for a main course.
- Butternut Squash with Cumin Couscous from Real Simple: This recipe is from a story on vegetarian Thanksgiving from years ago, and it has been a staple of my family's holiday ever since.
- Baked Eggs with Greens from Brooklyn Supper: I first made this egg bake when trying to use up an abundance of greens from a CSA box. I was expecting it to be good, but the lemon on the greens combined with the eggs took it to the next level.
- Kale, White Bean, and Potato Stew from Martha Stewart: This is one of the healthiest soups you can make. It was part of a January detox story back when Whole Living still existed. But far from feeling like a diet recipe, it's one of my favorite healthy and hearty cold-weather dinners. Of course, I also like to serve it with some homemade bread.
- Eggs en Cocotte from The Kitchn: Another brunch favorite, these baked eggs seem more complicated than they actually are, which makes them perfect for entertaining.
- Baked Mushroom Risotto from The Kitchn: I love, love, love risotto. But what I love even more is not having to hover over the stove for what feels like hours stirring until my arms wear out. Thus, this baked risotto is my favorite.
- Zucchini Linguine with Fava Bean Pesto & Shrimp from goop: I am actually a pescatarian, so I did serve this recipe with shrimp, but it's just as easy to leave it off and find another source of protein. The best part was that my friends' four-year-old son helped me cook by turning the crank on my spiralizer. It was a great activity for both of us!
- Celery and Fennel Salad from Bon Appetit: The first time I made this recipe was to test out my mandoline, and it was absolutely perfect. It's a great update on a traditional slaw, and it always reminds me just how much I love fennel.
- Creamy Polenta Bowl with Oven-Roasted Tomatoes & Zucchini from The Kitchn: For whatever reason, it took me a long time to master making polenta. But now that I have, it's one of my favorite things to whip up for an impromptu dinner. You can put almost any sautéed vegetable or green on top of it, and adding a poached egg and some Parmesan will always be a good thing.
- Mushroom & Herb Strata from Real Simple: Sometimes you can't go wrong with a strata. This dish is versatile enough to be served for any meal of the day, and you can always add in extra ingredients if you want.