13 Not-Sucky Vegetarian Recipes to Feed Your Veggie-Friendly Friends

Dinner without meat is not dinner at all, according to my mother. If I suggest that we have an herby frittata with salad and crusty bread for dinner, she'll retort, “But what else are we going to eat?” It was always this way growing up. Nearly every meal and snack (cue salami rolls with cream cheese) of my childhood contained a carnivorous component, which set back my dabbling in vegetarian living by two decades until I went away to college. 

In a seemingly sadistic act, I tried to be a vegetarian when I lived abroad in Italy, where cured meats are as prevalent of a storefront ornament as hanging plants are. This lifestyle change lasted until I realized that the next opportunity to eat fresh prosciutto and drink red wine under the proverbial Tuscan sun would be in my next lifetime when my student loans were finally paid off. Had I stuck with it, being a vegetarian in Italy would have been simpler than I imagined it might have been based on the uninformed perception I constructed of the Italian culture as it exists in the greater New York-New Jersey area. Families in Italy of modest means historically subsisted on seasonal produce and grains to avoid breaking the bank. This is why we have hearty, humble dishes like pasta pomodoro, potato gnocchi, stewed artichokes, and ribollita.

Think of these dishes when you're faced with the formidable task of cooking for vegetarian friends or family for the first time. As a host, produce is your friend, and bending your menu to accommodate the veggie-friendly friends will round out your meal when all is said and done. I've listed my 13 favorite vegetarian recipes that I encourage you to try. Use the money you saved by omitting a filet mignon from your feast to treat guests to a decadent chocolate cake (or more wine) in its place. If you listen closely, you'll hear the sound of a dinner party home run. 

P.S. Mom ate and enjoyed the baked tofu with coconut and kale even though she despises tofu. Now I know what redemption tastes like.

13 Not-Sucky Vegetarian Recipes to Feed Your  Veggie Friends

Click the pic to get the recipe.

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Vegetarians Only: What is the saddest meal you've been forced at a picnic or dinner party due to a lack of veg options? I take full responsibility for it and deeply apologize.