Low-effort vegetarian main course for 10, with dairy on the side?
February 15, 2020 6:35 PM   Subscribe

I'm having people over tomorrow and am just now back to normal after an exhausting head cold. Although I'm healthy, I am still low energy and need to spend tomorrow actually cleaning my place, not cooking for hours. What is a comforting, EASY, vegetarian main dish for a crowd that I can serve, with dairy on the side that folks can add if they so choose?

Carbs welcome, and I love cheese/dairy, but one of the attendees does not eat it so it needs to be on the side. Bonus points for something that makes a lot of leftovers for the next week!
posted by rogerroger to Food & Drink (14 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: My go-to is sweet potato and black bean chili. It's easily scalable and you can make it pretty non spicy and have hot sauces on the side. I always include chipotle powder (or smoked paprika if I'm making it for my kids). I like that recipe because I think the coffee adds something, you can sub another kind of sweetener for the honey if you need it vegan. Serve with chopped onion, sour cream, shredded cheese, etc. Don't forget the cornbread!
posted by cabingirl at 6:46 PM on February 15, 2020 [6 favorites]

I love this recipe for coconut curry lentils, it’s my go-to for potlucks and many people have asked me for the recipe. Very easy to make, just some chopping then throw it in the slow cooker (I think I’ve also made it on the stove top?).

coconut curry lentils
posted by masters2010 at 6:48 PM on February 15, 2020 [2 favorites]

It's not exactly fast, but it's intermittent effort: make The BEST Vegan Lasagna using jarred dairy-free pasta sauce, a bag or two of frozen beeflike crumbles, and layer in a bag or two of microwave-steamer-bag frozen vegetables - I like green beans, yellow/zucchini/butternut squash, and if I've got access to Trader Joe's I get their frozen mushrooms.

To bulk it up some, I use rotini instead of lasagna noodles, and soak them for about 20 minutes in warm water. The sauce and heat will carry them the rest of the way to al dente.

The chili posted above is my alternate go-to, and you can serve it with Fritos and tortilla chips, real or fake sour cream, and real or fake shreddar. You can bulk that up with frozen beeflike crumbles as well, and the TJ's mushrooms.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:49 PM on February 15, 2020

This roasted garlic butternut squash cassoulet minus the pancetta (you won’t miss it) and with the Parmesan on the side would be perfect, especially if you can buy pre chopped butternut squash (my Whole Foods usually has it this time of year).

Or this warm butternut squash and chickpea salad, maybe with just bread and cheese on the side.

Both are delightful and warm and comforting and easy and (if you scale the recipe) make plenty of leftovers that keep well.
posted by bananacabana at 7:02 PM on February 15, 2020

Maybe this is cheating, but I might buy fresh ravioli- it looks like you're in the Bay Area, so maybe go to the Pasta Shop in Rockridge if that's convenient. They have some ravioli that are vegan, so no dairy. (Personally as a guest if I knew you were getting over illness I might be relieved to know that you didn't cook everything...).
posted by pinochiette at 7:07 PM on February 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

Veg chili, with lots of beans and veggies. Easy to make it vegan and it doesn’t take long to assemble. Tortilla chips, avocados, cheese or sour cream if people want it.
posted by centrifugal at 7:11 PM on February 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

I’d make pasta with tomatoes, olives and basil. Serve with garlic bread, salad and cheese on the side. Super easy.
posted by Jubey at 7:17 PM on February 15, 2020 [4 favorites]

Pesto pasta dish - either make the pesto yourself or buy a vegan pesto. Mozzarella on the side. Big bottles of red wine. Chocolate vegan cake for dessert.
posted by Toddles at 9:20 PM on February 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

A triple batch of this Bengali red lentil dal. Make it with vegetable oil instead of ghee. Chop the onions and tomatoes in a food processor to reduce effort. Don't fret if you don't have all of the ingredients (eg curry leaves, or all the ingredients in the panch phanon) - just go with what you have. Let people stir in a big knob of butter or some yoghurt. If you've got an instant pot or pressure cooker make it in that. Serve with rice and/or flat bread, maybe some pickle.
posted by some little punk in a rocket at 11:03 PM on February 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

In that situation, I often make a minestrone. The link is to a recipe by Kenji at Serious Eats. Like he says, it's more a method than a recipe, so don't be stressed out at the insane amount of ingredients he has, or the beans made from scratch. I just use whatever I can find and beans from a can, and it is still delicious and really easy to make. Serve with plenty of grated parmesan or pecorino and some crusty bread.
posted by mumimor at 12:20 AM on February 16, 2020

For a group of vegetarian/vegan friends I like to make a big pot of aloo gobi and chana masala. Each is a one-pot dish, there aren't many steps to prepare them, and you can multiply the recipes easily.
posted by Arctic Circle at 3:08 AM on February 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

I would just make spaghetti with either homemade sauce or jarred sauce is totally fine if you really have no energy. Make sure the pasta is al dente, not overcooked. Serve with grated cheese on the side, a simple salad, and garlic bread. Make the garlic bread by making garlic butter using a dairy free marge (here in the UK I'd use Flora) and crushed garlic, slather inside a big baguette, wrap in foil and bake.

For dessert I'd serve Ben and Jerry's - the vegan versions are great!
posted by hazyjane at 3:44 AM on February 16, 2020 [2 favorites]

Taco bar. Cook beans with spices, then have lots of chopped things to put on top - onions, peppers, cheese, tortillas, lettuce, tomatoes, salsa. You can buy most of these things at the grocery store salad bar.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 8:25 AM on February 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: The black bean and sweet potato chili was amazing and soooo easy. So quick (and affordable) to put out various toppings in bowls and have people serve themselves. I should have made more, it was snarfed up immediately. Many thanks.
posted by rogerroger at 7:27 PM on February 17, 2020 [2 favorites]

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