20 Fabulous Vegetarian Main Course and Side Dish Recipes for Entertaining

Spaghetti and Eggplant "Meatballs" recipe
Chris Simpson

If you're hosting an upcoming dinner party or holiday feast—or maybe you just want to impress loved ones with a home-cooked meal for the first-time post-pandemic—we have a feeling that these extra-special recipes will come in handy. From appetizers and side dishes to all-star main courses, they're just right for hosting company. Better yet, all of our recipes here are vegetarian, which means that nearly everyone at your gathering will be able to indulge. And in some cases, they can be prepared to suit a vegan diet, too.

Start with the Spaghetti and Eggplant "Meatballs", pictured here. They're totally meat-free and get their heft from roasted eggplant and white beans, plus breadcrumbs, garlic, and oregano. The mixture is formed into meatballs and cooked in a skillet until they're evenly browned. Serve with spaghetti—or any other pasta shape that you love—and a homemade tomato sauce for a vegetarian-friendly twist on a classic dinner.

We also have plenty of vegetable-forward side dishes, including a few variations on a cheesy potato gratin, mashed potatoes, and stuffed vegetables (no peppers here!). Our main courses run the gamut from a silky mushroom pasta to a summer corn risotto to a southern baked macaroni and cheese. Some are perfect for serving on their own, but feel free to mix-and-match mains and sides for a complete dinner for a crowd.

Next time you're entertaining, these vegetarian dishes are sure to impress your loved ones and prompt them to ask, "Can I have the recipe for that?"

01 of 19

White-Cheddar Scalloped Potatoes

White-Cheddar Scalloped Potatoes
Chris Simpson

This family-friendly side dish is plenty indulgent thanks to a rich and silky combination of whole milk, heavy cream, and sharp white cheddar cheese.

02 of 19

Vegetarian Bolognese with Bucatini

vegetarian bolognese with bucatini
Con Poulos

If you're looking for a crowd-pleasing pasta dish that will wow when you're entertaining, try this hearty Bolognese sauce. Instead of the usual blend of beef, pork, and veal, our meat-free sauce is made with cremini mushrooms.

03 of 19

Winter Cobb Salad

winter cobb salad with tofu and shiitakes
Con Poulos

A typical Cobb salad features bacon, but not this vegetarian version. We serve it with shiitake mushrooms and baked tofu for heartiness, and you'll find that the colorful display will win over any crowd.

04 of 19

Tagliatelle with Porcini Butter Sauce

tagliatelle with porcini butter sauce
David Malosh

Next time you're entertaining, try your hand at making homemade pasta from scratch, then toss the wide noodles with an umami-packed butter sauce made with garlic and an entire pound of porcini mushrooms.

05 of 19

Whole Roasted Maitake Steaks with Japanese Sweets-and-Leeks Mash

whole roasted maitake steaks with japanese sweets-and-leeks mash
David Malosh

Ready for guests to ooh and ahh at this entrée? Clusters of maitake mushrooms—known as hen-of-the-woods—are roasted with soy sauce and the juice and zest of a lime. They're then served over a combination of Japanese sweet potatoes, turnips, and leeks.

06 of 19

Sweet-Potato-and-Sage Tian

sweet-potato-and- sage tian served in a white dish
Paola + Murray

If you're hosting a festive fall gathering, serve this vegetarian side dish that features stunning shingles of thinly sliced sweet potatoes. They cook with sage-infused half-and-half and plenty of finely grated Parmesan cheese.

07 of 19

Red Onions Stuffed with Parsley Breadcrumbs

red onions stuffed with parsley breadcrumbs
Paola + Murray

This special occasion side dish only requires a handful of basic ingredients: Stuff red onions with an aromatic combination of herby breadcrumbs with three cups of fresh parsley, then watch your guests gobble them up.

08 of 19

Sweet Corn-Brown Rice Risotto

sweet corn-brown rice risotto garnished with basil
Kate Sears

Come summer, we're all about utilizing fresh corn on the cob and this crowd-pleasing risotto recipe is perfect for when you're entertaining. Two cups of fresh corn kernels—plus a homemade corn stock—bring sweet, juicy flavor to this creamy rice dish.

09 of 19

Leek-and-Goat-Cheese Tart with Rye Crust

leek-and-goat-cheese tart sliced
Paola + Murray

Between the golden-brown crust, pale yellow cheese filling, and vibrant green leeks, this vegetarian appetizer is the most beautiful tart we've ever laid eyes on.

10 of 19

Cheesy Spinach-Potato Egg Casserole

Cheesy Spinach-Potato Egg Casserole
Con Poulos

Inviting a crowd over for brunch this weekend? Try serving this meatless casserole—even without breakfast staples like bacon or sausages, it's plenty hearty thanks to a combination of an entire pound of spinach, fontina cheese, and Yukon gold potatoes.

11 of 19

Gooey Gouda Puff-Pastry Bites

Gooey Gouda Puff-Pastry Bites recipe
Con Poulos

Start the party with this three-ingredient appetizer—store-bought puff pastry is portioned and placed in a mini muffin tin. Next, they're filled with Dijon mustard and single cubes of Gouda cheese and baked until the cheese has melted and pastry is golden brown.

12 of 19

Pimiento Mac and Cheese

pimiento mac and cheese served in a white casserole dish
Con Poulos

Upgrade classic baked macaroni and cheese inspired by the traditional southern condiment using a flavor-packed combination of Worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper, ground nutmeg, and red bell pepper.

13 of 19

Rutabaga-Sweet Potato Mash with Garlic and Sage

Rutabaga–Sweet Potato Mash with Garlic and Sage
Lennart Weibull

Try this genius duo of root vegetables—rutabagas and sweet potatoes—together they make the ultimate vegetarian mash to can accompany a roast turkey or beef, braised chicken, or a tofurky.

14 of 19

Twice-Baked Potato-and-Raclette Casserole

twice-baked potato and raclette casserole
Paola + Murray

This is no ordinary potato gratin. Potatoes are sliced into wedges and baked; once they're cooked, the soft potato center is scooped out and mixed with butter, sour cream, cream cheese, grated raclette cheese, and milk. The mixture is transferred to a gratin dish and topped with more raclette and the potato skins.

15 of 19

Mushroom-Eggplant Lasagna

Mushroom and Eggplant Lasagna
Bryan Gardner

Skip the traditional meat filling and make this hearty vegetarian lasagna. It features layers of chopped cremini mushrooms and eggplant, and a three-cheese blend of ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmigiano-Reggiano.

16 of 19

Stuffed Artichokes with Capers and Cornichons

artichokes stuffed with caper and cornichons
Lennart Weibull

Serve this stunning vegetarian spring appetizer the next time you're entertaining, and we have a feeling you'll be asked to host again and again.

17 of 19

Honeynut Squash, Leek, and Brie Gratin

squash gratin
Johnny Fogg

A petite main course or side dish that packs a punch, honeynut or butternut squash is tossed with broken lasagna noodles, thinly sliced leeks, chopped Brie cheese, and heavy cream.

18 of 19

Creamed-Spinach Gratin

creamed spinach gratin
Ngoc Minh Ngo

Anyone who is suspicious of spinach will be a convert when they taste this crunchy, creamy, and super cheesy side dish at your next dinner party.

19 of 19

Potato-Crusted Herb Quiche

potato-crusted herb quiche
Ryan Liebe

Skip the usual pie dough in favor of an incredible potato crust for this brunch quiche. It serves as a crunchy, silky vessel for an aromatic egg custard.

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