(Image credit: Yunhee Kim)

For some people, the words "vegetarian dinner party" bring to mind all the foods they are going to have to go without, but for cookbook author Sarah Copeland, planning a dinner party without meat means focusing on variety, beauty and generosity in the food you serve.

Here is her best advice for planning easy vegetarian dinner parties, plus her favorite dinner party recipe, which works with most menus and comes together "in the time it takes a friend to open and pour the wine."

What is your best piece of advice for planning a vegetarian dinner party?

When I plan a vegetarian dinner party, I always try to have a nice variety — and different touchstones of "delicious" for all different kinds of eaters. For me, that means I always start with great bread and olive oil, some meaty olives, and smoky or roasted almonds, and cap the meal with cheese and dessert. These are all easy things that you can buy and dress up with very little work, and they take the pressure off any courses in-between.

Any potential pitfalls to watch out for?

People have all kinds of definitions of vegetarian these days, so I always try to have a couple of things that are vegan (no cheese, eggs or dairy) and on the other end of the spectrum, some heartier things even non-vegetarians will enjoy. (If you know there are some die-hard meat eaters coming, one lovely saucisson or another dried sausage, for slicing, is a perfect fix).

What is your favorite foolproof dinner party recipe?

This Roasted Kale, Broccolini and Chickpea Salad with fresh ricotta is my go-to. It's so delicious, super colorful and beautiful; plus, it really works in any season and with most menus. Best of all, it's so fast — you can practically make it in the time it takes a friend to open and pour the wine.

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