Dinner Ideas for Meat Eaters and Vegetarians
10 Mar

Dinner Ideas for Meat Eaters and Vegetarians

Are you a meat eater with a vegetarian family member? Do you usually eat meat but invite vegetarian guests over to your home?

Whether yours is a plant-based diet or a carnivore's delight, you've probably had situations where you've needed to satisfy people from both groups at the same meal. Here are some ideas for a special occasion or weeknight dinner that will be a smash with meat eaters and vegetarians alike!

Swap Out the Meal's Protein

This simple solution requires you to cook two different proteins that can then be paired with the same vegetarian-friendly side dishes. This allows you all to enjoy mostly the same meal without either vegetarians feeling uncomfortable eating real meat or meat eaters potentially being dissatisfied with an entree that doesn't feature lots of meat.

For instance, you could serve grilled steak alongside grilled halloumi (goat and sheep's milk), both of which can be paired with the same side dishes you'd expect to find at a steak dinner (grilled corn, mashed potatoes, salad, roasted vegetables, etc.).

Meat substitutes can make the vegetarian(s) at the table happy while noshing alongside the meat eaters who are enjoying almost essentially the same meal. This technique works best when you have a meal with separate proteins and carbs, or when there is a clear vegetarian meal replacement for the protein centerpiece.

Awesome Recipe Ideas

Why not make a full English breakfast, complete with sausage links, bacon (or back bacon/Canadian bacon if you want to be really authentic), eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms, pan-fried toast, and warm beans? Simply cook up some halloumi or veggie sausages as a non-meat substitute for the bacon and sausage to keep your vegetarian diners happy.

Or grill some hamburgers with beef burgers in one cooking vessel (either the oven or the grill) and black bean burgers or other veggie burgers in the other. Serve with veggies and call it a night as you bask in the accolades from meat lovers and plant-based foodies!

Create an "Assembly Line"

A lot of at-home meals are already served "family style" or in an "assembly line" anyway, meaning you have different items served in an assortment of bowls and plates that your diners can draw from to create their meal.

Think of how you can assemble your fajita from a line of ingredients on a kitchen island or create your taco bowl from ingredients assembled in the center of the kitchen table.

This mixing and matching allows each person to serve themselves a meal that suits their tastes and preferences, which is a nice enough idea even when you're not trying to bridge the gap between meaty and meatless entrees! Because of the serve-yourself nature of this method, you don't even need to offer meat substitutes, making it a great vegetarian dinner idea!

Amazing Recipe Ideas

This could be the perfect opportunity if you've never had a mezze platter. A classic mezze-style dinner is a part of Middle Eastern cuisine that allows you to try an assortment of delicious appetizer-type items for dinner. You can serve hummus, falafel, feta dip, calamari, baba ghanoush, kibbeh, and more.

You could also offer a burrito station. Apart from a typical meat entree like ground beef, a vegetarian can enjoy all the typical sides that go into a burrito (rice, beans, tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, sour cream, and so on). That also works with taco meat and sides!

Cook an Omnivore-Friendly, Meatless Meal

Just because you're serving both dedicated meat eaters and vegetarians doesn't mean you have to serve a meat dish. There are plenty of yummy vegetarian recipes that can keep an entire family happy. Just be sure to whip up something hearty enough that no one feels bad about missing meat in their entree.

Fortunately, there are enough high-protein meals that you shouldn't have to worry about that! Chickpeas, eggs, beans, and legumes are all rich in protein and other nutrients while being easy to transform culinarily, making them well-suited for an omnivore-friendly meal fit for vegetarians.

Excellent Recipe Ideas

Casseroles and pasta bakes have a good way of filling people up, and they can be made without meat when the occasion calls for it. A bean-based chili and rice pasta bake can satisfy the hungriest meat fan while allowing vegetarians to stay true to their plant-based diet.

Curry is another popular meal that can be served without any meat. Rajima is a classic Indian dish that uses kidney beans and plenty of spices, all served over delicious steamed rice. Bunny chow is a South African take on curry that often features meat (such as mutton or chicken) but can be stuffed with a meatless bean curry.

Cook with Two Separate Dishes

Finally, this method lets you make two separate meals for about the same level of effort as it would take to create a single course. Prepare your recipe up until the point where you add meat, then separate them into two pots, pans, or other cooking dishes.

After that point, you can throw a veggie protein in one dish while cooking genuine meat in the other, allowing you to cook much of the same meal while satisfying both meat-friendly and meatless eaters. The best dishes for this method or those that are cooked slowly over low heat, such as stews, soups, roast dinners, or casseroles.

Hearty Recipe Ideas

For many people, Irish stew is the epitome of hearty family dinners. With the technique of using separate cooking vessels, you can prepare a heavy meal of onions, garlic, Irish stout, potatoes, carrots, and herbs that the whole family will love. Just use a protein suitable for a vegetarian dish in one roasting pot in place of the classic stew meat, and you'll be golden!

Spaghetti Bolognese is another hearty option that can be simmered for up to a couple of hours! Just use two skillets and cook your portion of meat (in this case, beef mince) in one vessel and a vegetarian mince (either store-bought or homemade) in the other.


And voila! That's how you cook a satisfying meal for two crowds: the plant-based eaters on the one hand and the diehard meat lovers on the other.

If you want some high-quality meats to add to these delicious recipes, check out the assortment of premium meats available at Essential Foods Direct!