Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Feeding Vegetarians and Omnivores for $50

Last weekend, my friend Zack expressed interest in making another affordable meal for The EE. Knowing there were vegetarians and omnivores in the house that evening (Z let us use his kitchen, and we had a couple of friends over), Zack decided to make two separate meals using a lot of the same ingredients – one for the omnivores, one for the vegetarians. The main ingredients throughout included carrots, white wine, shallots, butter, olive oil, and salt and pepper. The two dishes these ingredients created: Cod atop roasted tomatoes and a fennel-carrot puree, as well as zucchini and carrot pasta with a mushroom and white wine sauce.

The best part? We got to drink wine while we (ahem, Zack) cooked - and the wine was on sale.

Single ladies: he's available! ;)

The pasta sauce for the vegetarian dish was made with mushrooms, celery, carrots, shallots, garlic, white wine, and five drops of light cream.

The fish sauce was made with butter, minced shallots, white wine, grapefruit juice and a tablespoon of Dijon mustard.

Peeling the carrots and zucchini for the "pasta" was...interesting. Make sure to have a sharp peeler on hand! The best part about this vegetarian dish is that it's really versatile - I'm sure it would be great made with cucumbers in the summertime for a twist on pasta salad.

Zack prepared the cod simply with salt, pepper and some fresh lemon juice. 

To cook the cod, Zack browned each side of the fish in a frying pan with some olive oil, fresh thyme sprigs, butter, and lemon juice - and "basted" the fish while it cooked, like this: 

The cod was served atop roasted tomatoes (they were cooked for about 40 minutes at 250 degrees), as well as a fennel and carrot puree.

The vegetable pasta was cooked for a few minutes in boiling salted water, and then tossed with the mushroom sauce. 

Who knew vegetables replacing carbs could be so good? I even commented as I was eating this dish that I forgot I wasn't eating actual pasta - the flavorful sauce and slightly al dente veggies made this one satisfying "pasta" dish. I also tried a bit of the cod, which was flaky, slightly buttery, and almost like a sponge for the luxurious sauce poured over it. The fennel and carrot puree also added a nice sweetness to help cut any heaviness from the buttery sauce.

Besides the wine being such a steal, the total cost for both of these meals was just over $50 - and they both fed about 6 people total. That's about $8 per person, for a pretty "formal" Sunday night dinner (more formal than I'd normally cook, anyway). 

Have you ever had to cook a meal for omnivores and vegetarians? If so, what did you prepare? 


  1. I think the one time I had to host for a mix was a superbowl party! Hummus and spinach artichoke dip for vegetarians, buffalo chicken dip among other things for the omnivores!

    This meal looks fantastic!

  2. You can never go wrong with hummus or spinach artichoke dip!

  3. As a vegetarian I took particular interest in this post. I used to make zucchini noodles and toss them with peanut sauce.