Seven-Course Meal Ideas

Updated March 23, 2017

A seven-course meal is not a typical everyday dinner event, but it can be a perfect way to entertain guests. When serving a meal with seven full courses, the meal should be the central focus and typically takes two hours to enjoy fully. While there are no set rules about what to serve in a seven-course dinner, there is a particular way in which to serve the courses that makes the experience enjoyable for your guests.


Start with an appetizer. Something light is best. The appetizer should whet the appetite for the food to follow. Appetizer portions should be small, since you don't want guests filling up on it. A bread bowl with dip and finger foods are appropriate for this course of the meal. If you want to get fancy, consider serving a shrimp cocktail.


Serve a soup that compliments the meal. Avoid hearty soups that will be too filling. Stews are not a good idea. Keep the portions small. Potato soup, chicken, bean, or a vegetable soup are appropriate.


The third course should be a light salad. Serve something with a mix of lettuce varieties, a little hard-boiled egg and homemade croutons. Go with a light vinagrette dressing and serve chilled, on a small plate.


A palate cleansing sorbet should be served as the fourth course. Sorbet is a fruity, finely crushed ice served in a small bowl. A half cup of sorbet per guest is acceptable, preferably lemon, lime or other citrus flavour. This course cleanses your guests' palates and allows them time to reflect on the food already eaten as well as to prepare for the main entrées.

First Main Dish

Serve the main meat dish as the fifth course. Any type of meat dish will do, including poultry or seafoods. Consider a special meat dish, such as chicken Marsala, as opposed to a straight meat dish. Prepare with mushrooms and cheeses.

Second Main Dish

This course can include meat as well, but something with a different preparation approach than the first. If your first meat dish was baked, the second may feature a meat dish that is broiled. You can also serve a pasta dish or a vegetable dish (such as eggplant Parmesan) in place of meat.


The last course is dessert. Serve something memorable that rounds out your seven-course meal. A triple chocolate cake, Key lime pie, pastries, or homemade ice cream with a variety of toppings are suitable. Go for a fancy presentation for your dessert. .

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About the Author

Carl Hose is the author of the anthology "Dead Horizon" and the the zombie novella "Dead Rising." His work has appeared in "Cold Storage," "Butcher Knives and Body Counts," "Writer's Journal," and "Lighthouse Digest.". He is editor of the "Dark Light" anthology to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities.