We follow the Satter Division of Responsibility in Feeding approach.
The Division of Responsibility for toddlers through adolescents
- The parent is responsible for what, when, where.
- The child is responsible for how much and whether.
Fundamental to parents’ jobs is trusting children to determine how much and whether to eat from what parents provide. When parents do their jobs with feeding, children do their jobs with eating.
While it's straightforward to say "I pick what to serve, you pick whether to eat it," in practice it's a bit more complicated sometimes. You note that you aren't always able to include something that the child will like in a particular meal; this is particularly true with new foods, or something they haven't had in a while (tastes change over time!).
In order to still meet basic nutritional needs, I will allow my kids to make an "alternate" meal if they really dislike everything that is being served. The go-to option is a peanut butter sandwich: not terribly exciting, but reasonably nutritious and something they can easily/quickly make themselves.
The main requirement that must be met before they can make a backup sandwich is that they have tasted at least one bite of everything on the plate. Just glancing at a new recipe and declaring "BLEAH" will simply default to "you are welcome to choose not to eat" -- I'm not going to force them to clean their plate or even take that single bite.
There are a couple of tangentially related things we do to minimize rejection of the provided meal, which I wanted to mention -- not directly an answer to your question, but based on comments and other answers I thought it was worth expanding on my answer.
Foremost is meal planning: each weekend we sit down, all five of us, and decide what will be served when. My spouse and I need this to shop for the week, but it's also important for the kids to be included -- this is their chance to declare they absolutely hate those meatballs, reminding their parents that would be a poor choice. As they've gotten older, preparing a family meal themselves has become part of the repertoire as well (providing valuable skills training in addition to "buy in").
Secondarily, we try to plan balanced meals that are somewhat compartmentalized. A "one pot" dinner may be simple, but unless every child likes every component of it, the whole stew may end up being rejected just because it happens to have carrot pieces in it. Keeping the protein, starch, and vegetables moderately separate means that they can reject part of the meal but eat (and be full/nourished from) the rest.
Finally, we try to keep in mind what objections we remember when looking at new recipes. Particularly spicy or salty dishes are a no-go with the middle child, the youngest doesn't like greens, the oldest is a pescatarian and lactose intolerant -- this ends up limiting us, sometimes significantly, but keeping those restrictions in mind reduces the likelihood of a meal being completely rejected.