One of my favourite cookbooks is built around dinner party menus, complete with an appetizer, sides and dessert. It’s perfect for hosting impressive dinner parties.
Inspired by that recipe book, here are my favourite dinner party recipes organized into theme-based menus.
1. Kid-friendly Italian pizza party
Pizza is always a favourite, especially if your dinner party includes kids! I recommend offering a variety of toppings and letting the kids all decorate their own pizzas. Then turn it into an Italian-inspired 3-course meal for adults.
- Appetizer: Serve a cured meat and cheese platter with pickled giardiniera.
- Main: Pizza! I recommend making a classic sourdough crust.
- Side: A fresh and light salad is the perfect accompaniment.
- Dessert: Ice cream topped with sliced fruit and chocolate sauce.
2. Cosy and Comforting Winter Menu
I love cozy dinner party recipes. Candlelight and mellow vintage music. It’s perfect for catching up with old friends and making new friends.
- Appetizer: This simple kale and cranberry salad is made ahead of time for an easy dinner party dish.
- Main: A classic roast chicken dinner is comforting and delicious.
- Sides: For some prepare-ahead sides, serve Hasselback potatoes and garlic roasted winter vegetables.
- Dessert: A winter fruit cobbler served with custard is a simple and delicious treat.
3. Simple Spring Menu
Spring bursts forth with fresh greens and rhubarb. Bright and flavourful, here are dinner party recipes that celebrate the best of this season.
- Appetizer: Creamy nettle soup with Parmesan cheese crisps.
- Main: Socca crepes with spring greens can be made ahead of time, then heated in the oven to melt the cheese right before serving.
- Side: This light and fresh meal is made a bit more substantial by serving it with a hearty wild rice salad.
- Dessert: Honey vanilla frozen yogurt with seasonally-inspired rhubarb sauce.
4. A Mediterranean Summer Meal
With summer dinner party recipes, it’s tempting to turn to the barbecue. However, there are other options for a linen napkins and proper place-settings type of meal. This particular dinner party is centred around one of my favourite summer recipes for a Mediterranean-inspired meal.
- Appetizer: I love Caprese salad. And summer is the best time for fresh, ripe tomatoes and farmers’ market basil.
- Main Dish: Fasolakia is a Greek green bean and tomato stew. It is rich and delicious. Best of all it is made ahead, leaving you with more time to chat with your guests. For a slightly heartier meal, serve it with grilled chicken.
- Side: An amazing loaf of bread is required. It’s perfect for dipping in the delicious tomato juices. Even gluten-free bread can be crusty and delicious.
- Dessert: Torta di Mele is an Italian apple cake that is perfect for serving with whipped cream.