08/20/2012 04:18 pm ET Updated Sep 06, 2012

Vegetarian Recipes: Dishes For The Herbivore In Your Life (PHOTOS)

Stephanie Foley/Food & Wine

We all have friends with dietary preferences, food allergies and those who we lovingly, but with a shudder, call "picky." Someday, one of these kinds of friends is going to come to your house to eat dinner. As always, our mantra when planning a dinner party is this: don't panic.

We've seen the idea of cooking for a vegetarian stop capable home-cooks in their tracks. With the constant flow of information linking increased meat consumption to health problems and environmental distress, more and more Americans are giving Meatless Mondays a shot. The truth is that you probably end up eating vegetarian meals sometimes without even realizing it. Here's what we want to avoid: there is nothing sadder than feeding a vegetarian guest a plate of sauteed vegetables while everyone else eats a steak.

Here are some ways to get creative with your vegetarian menu that include plenty of protein, different textures and lots of flavor. Imagine if, at your upcoming Labor Day barbecue, you were to serve a vegetarian guest a homemade veggie burger. Now, imagine that said veggie burger is so good, even the omnivores at the party will want to indulge.

So, again, don't panic and never, ever forget that cheese is usually vegetarian (some vegetarians avoid some cheeses because they use animal rennet in production -- before you go cheese crazy, make sure to check with your guests).

What To Eat When A Vegetarian Comes Over

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