Hosting a Vegetarian Dinner Party?
Make a lasting impression with Lebanese cuisine
Vegetarian meals aren’t just about pasta and salads. Lebanese cuisine offers an abundance of vegetarian options. Whether you’re planning a Saturday night dinner party with friends or a Sunday afternoon gathering with family, make a lasting impression with your Lebanese cuisine. You could also brag about how it is ranked as the #1 healthiest food in the world. You can pull it off without having to carry all the weight. We can help.
With the growth of Ottawa’s middle-eastern population, Mid-East Foods has expanded the product lines and services it offers to help you eat well, relish in a world of taste, yet still take pride in your stress-free, homemade dinner feast. You don’t have to go it alone.
Setting your menu
A Lebanese dinner menu carries a variety of small dishes. It consists of salads, cold mezza, hot mezza, an entrée and of course a sweet treat. That makes up quite the large feast with plenty of leftovers that last the entire week.
For the host who’s juggling a busy career, a family, and evening or weekend activities, a dinner party of any sort means time you just don’t have, let alone a Lebanese vegetarian party. But family and friends are important to you and so you’re not entirely giving up on your social life. This is where we can help.
How to make vs what to buy
Let’s break down the menu and talk about what to make from scratch, what to buy off the shelf and what to make with some help from Mid-East.
Salads – Tabouli is the first thing that comes to mind and, for some of us, that alone is an undertaking. Parsley carries soil, dirt and insects and must be washed thoroughly. I just spent a good hour watching YouTube videos on how to wash parsley and what I found was that while videos on how to make tabouli skip that process entirely, others show how to wash it one leaf at a time, which is not scalable for a bowl of tabouli. After washing it, you need to dry the parsley well so that the water does not take away from the taste of the lemon juice and the spices you use in your mix. Mid-East offers washed and chopped parsley so that all you need to do is dice the tomatoes and onion.
Salads don’t imply just greens but a Lebanese salad often implies a clove of garlic, freshly squeezed lemon juice, olive oil, and a dash of salt and pepper. You can cook any dried beans, boil just about any vegetable like beats or dandelion, or use canned vegetables like artichoke, palmetto hearts and baby corn and mix in the dressing. You can also look through the list of ready-made salads that we offer.
Cold Mezza – Also great starters, cold mezza consists of dips and other nibbles. The most famous is of course hummus and eggplant (baba ghannouge) dips, both of which you can make at home. If you feel that you still don’t have enough, you could add to your cold apps a platter of the vegetarian stuffed grapevine leaves, which you would need that you order in advance.
Hot Mezza – an assortment of pies is a great warm starter. They also keep well in the fridge and make a great snack or even a lunch. A vegetarian assortment includes sambousik with cheese, mini pizzas, zaatar bread, spinach pies and labneh squares. And depending on the size of your party, you can also pick up ready-made pumpkin kibbeh balls!
Entrée – The thing with Lebanese mezza is that you can skip the main meal and still feel satisfied with the cold and hot dishes. You have to admit; it’s a pretty large spread. But if an entrée is important to you then we can help there too with 3 different options. Options 1 and 3 are better to order. Option 2 can be a mix.
Option 1: Our famous falafel are always made fresh and come with the toppings and a side tahini. Remember to pick up some pita bread too.
Option 2: Vegetarian green bean stew with a side of rice make for a great hot meal. You could easily make the rice at home but if you want to try the traditional Lebanese rice, the cost is fairly low. You could also have the bean stew cold, which make leftovers a great lunch.
Option 3: Fried whiting fish with all the traditional fixings - tahini sauce and fried pita bread. Superb.
Sweat Treat – If you love to bake, then you’re probably looking forward to making a sweet treat yourself. Choose something you’re comfortable making to keep preparation time and stress level under control. If you want to keep your party authentically Lebanese, then try the baklava or petit four that will surely tickle all palettes. Other options are available as well, depending on the time of year.
Prepare to entertain
Food is a great way to get family and friends together. Plan a stress-free dinner party where you can do less cooking and more entertaining, yet take pride in your (mostly) homemade dinner party feast. There’s no shame in asking for a little help. Don’t be the host that spends more time in the kitchen than with your guests. Lay out the spread and treat yourself like a guests at your own dinner party.