How to Cook a Shabbat Dinner When You Are a Vegetarian But Your Guests Are Not

A friend recently reached out because she decided to slowly introduce meat back into her diet after being a vegetarian for over 20 years. But, she had never cooked meat – where should she start??

And another reader recently wrote: I am a vegetarian, but all my guests are not. What can I cook for Shabbat dinner to make everyone happy? Help!

Whether you are vegetarian, or you are just not as comfortable cooking meat, I think there are a few very forgiving, foolproof dishes you can make to please a carnivorous crowd.

Cooking things like steak, hamburgers, grilled chicken and roasts require keeping a close eye on the meat, understanding what ideal temperature the meat should be and sometimes even relying on touch to assess the done-ness. So instead of starting with something like steak, I suggest going with straightforward recipes like a roast chicken you throw in the oven for an hour, a braised dish that stays moist and flavorful no matter what, brisket that just cooks low and slow or stew, another forgiving dish.

I suggest choosing 1 or 2 main dishes from below and serving with a chicken soup (also below) or hearty vegan soup like this one, a kugel like one of these, a big seasonal salad and some fruit and dessert for a sweet ending. Shabbat dinner shouldn’t be complicated or stressful — I always believe simple is best and often most delicious. For more on buying and cooking kosher meat read this.


Citrus and herb roasted chicken

Roasted chicken with fresh pineapple

Honey horseradish chicken

Roast ChickenBraised chicken


Beef or lamb stew

Best chicken soup

One-pot chicken soup with seasonal vegetables

Lemony chicken soup with rice

lemony chicken soup main

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