do you always need a vegetable side dish?

having a dinner party for 8 and serving charcuterie/burrata for apps; orrecchiette with sausage and broccoli rabe pesto as a first; then roasted chicken and grilled fish for main. Should I have a veg side dish as well? If so, what would work with this menu?

  • Posted by: lcast
  • January 26, 2016


Kristen W. January 26, 2016
Also, if you're not planning on it already, it might be nice to serve some pickled veg on the side with the charcuterie to help balance both the dish and the meal. I would also include some veg later in the meal. You certainly don't have to, but I agree with many above who feel it would be more balanced that way. But the dinner party police won't come and throw you in dinner party jail if you don't, so...
Exbruxelles January 26, 2016
I think if you toss in some broccoli rabe stalks/heads with the pasta course then you can easily get away without a veg side dish. You're serving a lot of food, after all.

I'd just finish with a salad: Greens, supremed Cara Cara oranges, fennel and avocado with some feta (and maybe pomegranate seeds) on top, tossed in a sweetish vinaigrette.
sexyLAMBCHOPx January 26, 2016
Not always, e.g. Beef Stew. However based on your menu, I would add a bright salad such as April Bloomfield's salad with lemon caper dressing or similar. Three mains is heavy & unbalanced.
caninechef January 26, 2016
I think at least a salad would be a welcome counterpoint.
Ben M. January 26, 2016
I would say yes you need something to cut the fat and weight of your mains. I think for what would work best would depends on the flavors for your chicken and fish. I saw last night cooks country did a brussles sprouts slaw with lemon juice, mustard, and olive oil that looked really good and was easy to make ahead of time.
Nancy January 26, 2016
Agree with Ben.
Menu ok, especially if some or all of you are paleo or close to that diet.
It sounds like it may be an Italian-structured meal, perhaps with small servings of each course, which is lovely.
If it's American-style portions, it may be too much.
Can't tell from your description.
Either way, the meal is mostly protein, with a little orrecchiette on the side.
No NEED to have vegetables at every meal, especially if you have a good chunk in your weekly rotation.
If you DO decide to go for vegetable(s) consider adding one green and one orange or red (for eye appeal & various nutrients they carry).
Maybe serve the broccoli rabe in pieces, not buzzed up as pesto. As some lovely winter squash, in roasted chunks or cooked and mashed.
702551 January 26, 2016
Offering a vegetable side dish is entirely your choice. It's your dinner party and you know your guests (we don't know them at all).

Personally, I find vegetables to bring a much welcomed counterpoint and provide balance to other dishes on the table. In some cultures, vegetables are often missing at meals whereas in other cultures, they may be the most abundant offering (Japanese cuisine is notably heavily vegetable focused).

There are a bazillion vegetable dishes. Think about who your dinner guests are and pick some vegetable dish that you like to cook.

Good luck.
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