26 Deceptively Easy Dishes to Serve at Your Fancy Adult Dinner Party

Hello and welcome to this thing we’re doing where we help you figure out what you’re gonna put in your mouth this week. Some of these are recipes we’ve tried, some of these are recipes we’re looking forward to trying, all of them are fucking delicious. Tell us what you want to put in your piehole or suggest your own recipes, and we’ll talk about which things we made, which things we loved, and which things have changed us irreversibly as people.

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Nothing says “level up adulting” like throwing a dinner party for your friends. Put on some mood-setting music. Throw some fresh cut flowers in a vase. Don your apron and get to it!

So what are you gonna serve? This isn’t a potluck. It isn’t a picnic. This is a dinner party, goddammit.

If you’re like me, you’re really good at cooking the same 10 okayish meals over and over. But none of your staple meals really show off your (somewhat limited) culinary skills or, at the very least, need to be rounded out with some tasty sides and a kick-ass dessert. If you’re like me, you’re also not a particularly talented or patient cook and you don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen working on a single dish. (So like the opposite of Soggy Bottoms, basically.) I’ve got you.

Here are some ideas for a five-course dinner party menu that 1) will be appropriately impressive to your dinner guests, 2) use ingredients you can actually find at your grocery store, and 3) are suitable for an everyday regular amateur chef with an everyday regular kitchen!


Appetizers

Vegan Arancini


Cranberry and Feta Pinwheels


Chicken Lettuce Wraps


Three Color Hummus


Garlicky-Pepper Tofu Bites with Chili Dipping Sauce


Soups and Salads

Vegan Chickpea Soup


Asparagus, Tomato and Feta Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette


Crowd-Pleasing Vegan Caesar Salad


Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup


Spinach & Strawberry Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing


Entrees

Slow Cooker Lamb Shanks with Lemon, Dill and Feta


Spinach Lasagna Roll Ups


Vegan Paella

Add the vegan protein of your choice to this to make it even entree-er.


Perfect Pot Roast


One-Pan Chicken with Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Sauce


Sides

Zucchini Ribbons with Parmesan, Lemon and Mint


Bacon Wrapped Asparagus


Parmesan Spinach Orzo


Honey Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts


Sweet Corn Spoonbread


Desserts

Dessert Tulipes (Add Your Own Ice Cream, Sorbet, or Non-Dairy Treat)

via Delish

via Delish


Mini Vegan No Bake Chocolate Mocha Fudge and Coconut Tarts


The Easiest Cappucino Souffle


Salted Caramel Strawberries


Tortilla Nutella “Crepe” Cake

via Delish

via Delish


Rainbow Cake Trifle

Tada!

KaeLyn is a 35-year-old (femme)nist activist, word nerd, and queer mama. You can typically find her binge-watching TV, over-caffeinating herself, standing somewhere with a mic or a sign in her hand, eating carbs, or just generally doing too many things at once. She lives in Rochester, NY with her spouse, a baby T. rex, a xenophobic cat, and a rascally rabbit. You can buy her debut book, Girls Resist! A Guide to Activism, Leadership, and Starting a Revolution if you want to, if you feel like it, if that's a thing that interests you or whatever.

KaeLyn has written 201 articles for us.

7 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for this KaeLyn, I now really want to host a dinner party rather than just attend them. As always, thanks for the vegan inclusions (some clearly marked, others vegan when I go on them, others still easy to veganise). Cruelty free dinner party here I come!

  2. I love this! Thanks for the mix of options for all kinds of dietary situations! Dinner parties are my favorite way to hang out with friends when winter arrives. Can’t wait to bust out some of these recipes and some games.

  3. I love to cook but with a newborn of my own I have limited time and often lack ideas so this is perfect.

    Also, my girlfriend always talks about how she wants to host dinner parties even though the closest we get is my sister coming over in her pjs so this is great timing for summer in Australia.

  4. I adore this! A debt of gratitude is in order for the blend of alternatives for a wide range of dietary circumstances! Supper gatherings are my most loved approach to hang out with companions when winter arrives. Can hardly wait to break out some of these formulas with bead cutlery and a few amusements.

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