What To Make At Your Next Dinner Party Without Spending Hours In The Kitchen
Inviting friends over for dinner doesn’t have to mean hours spent prepping in the kitchen and a scary load of dishes to clean. You can make a kick-ass dinner fit for all of your picky friends with just a few kitchen essentials and ingredients. We’re here to help you plan your next stress-free classy get-together with recipes that are yummy yet not too labor-intensive. We’ve got ideas for all three courses, right up to the delicious dessert. You’ll find gluten-free and vegan recipe options for each category, as well as regular-eater options — we’ve got you, meat lovers.
For The Appetizer
Appetizers at a dinner party should be portable and easy to eat with one hand because the other hand of your guests will likely be occupied by a drink. If you want to go the classic dip-and-chips route, kick things up a notch by nixing the store-bought dip and making your own. Consider choosing this shrimp dip recipe from Simply Recipes. The seafood makes it seem like a classy dish in it but it’ll take you only 10 minutes to prep. Pair it with your guests’ favorite chips and veggies for the health nuts.
If you’ve got strict plant-eaters coming to your get-together, include them in the pre-dinner fun by making these vegan oven fried parmesan zucchini crisps from Veganosity. All you’ll need are two medium-sized zucchini, flour, milk, breadcrumbs, vegan parmesan, almond milk and (of course) salt. Serve with a side of marinara sauce or your favorite dip. For your gluten-free friends, opt to make these bacon-wrapped figs (recipe from The Spruce Eats). They’ll take you a total of 20 minutes to prep and cook. The saltiness of the bacon contrasts with the sweetness of the figs deliciously.
For The Main Course
For the main, you’ll want to choose a dish that’s relatively quick and easy to make, but serves up big portions, depending on how many people you’re planning on inviting. Lasagna is always a good choice when you’re trying to feed a relatively large group of friends. Most people like it and it doesn’t usually require a bunch of dishes to make. This skillet lasagna recipe from Food52 serves six and enables you to use just one pot to make it. It’ll take you 20 minutes of prep time and 30 minutes of cook time to make this dish.
For the vegan-eaters in the house, we have this hummus quesadillas recipe from Cookie And Kate. It’s a great dish to make if your dinner party is more of a standing up event. It substitutes the cheese in classic quesadillas with creamy homemade hummus made with chickpeas and tahini. Feel free to swap in store-bought hummus to cut down on the prep time.
When feeding your gluten-free guests, consider making breakfast for dinner. Namely this Shakshuka recipe from one of our own editors that’s filled with protein-rich eggs and a bunch of colorful veggies. Serve it with gluten-free bread or crackers for a mouthwatering meal that all your friends will enjoy.
For The Dessert
Cookies are always a good dessert to serve at a dinner party. They’re easy to eat and not too difficult to make. For this gluten-free kitchen sink cookies recipe from Naturally Ella, you can use whatever types of nuts, seeds, chocolate chips, and/or dried fruit you have lying around in your cupboard.
For an alternative after-dinner delight, try making these vegan fruit cheesecake sugar cookie cups from Life Love Sugar. These chewy, ooey gooey sugar cookies are filled with no-bake cheesecake filling and topped with fresh fruit. It’ll take you 35 minutes tops to make about 16 of these cookie cups.