By definition most North American people would consider that the main dish of a meal contains meat, and they
might often refer to it as the “meat course.” But even in a vegetarian meal the main dish may just be the heaviest or
most complex offering in an entire meal. Either way, North Americans might also refer to the main dish as the entrée
of the meal. In parts of Europe, the entrée might refer to a starter course.
Main Dish Recipes
So what is a main dish? The main dish is frequently the largest dish on the table and is served in larger portions
than the appetizer, salad or side dishes. It is the foundation or main focus of a meal and so it can have the most
impressive look or presentation than any other dish being served. When choosing a main dish, it is important to
consider the preferences of all of your guests. For example, if any of your guests do not like seafood I would not
serve seafood as the main course of that meal so that guest will not feel slighted or ignored. Other guest preferences
to consider would be vegetarianism, veganism, those with nut or other food allergies, etc.
An entire meal should be considered when you are building side dishes around a main dish. For instance, when I
make my Hot Chicken Salad , I know that my main dish will be a creamy casserole. So for that meal I will not make
my Green Bean Casserole because I know that also is a creamy casserole. I would choose instead a side dish which
had complementary colors and texture, not creamy, like my Roasted Vegetables.
As the centerpiece of the meal, the main dish is an opportunity for the cook to really show off! Choose the most
beautiful or flashy dish you can make so it will serve as the star of the show. Many of my Asian dishes can be served
as an impressive main dish, like my Thai Red Curry Recipe.
When is the main dish served? Again in North America, the main dish is usually served after an appetizer, soup
or salad but before dessert. Most European menus will offer the main dish before a salad course.
Some main dishes can be served as a one dish meal, like my tacos. For a vegetarian main dish, try my Thai Stir
All of the main dish recipes on this page have been tested by me personally and I use them all the time. You can
view any of my main dish recipes on the menu bar at the left side of this page.