21 Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes That Will Make Your Mouth Water
I stopped eating meat about ten years ago, and I can tell you without question that holidays are one of the most annoying events to deal with. Not surprisingly, Thanksgiving is the hardest, because food (particularly meat) is the star — and finding good vegetarian recipes for Thanksgiving can be pretty tough. Even when my family isn't hosting Thanksgiving at my parents' house, I always prefer to make my own veggie options that I know are safe for me to eat. On top of the fact that bacon invades everything, even something you think would be veg-friendly, a shocking amount of people think that vegetarians can and will eat chicken broth (we do not), meaning they'll tell you something is vegetarian, either forgetting or dismissing the broth part. Plus, I always feel guilty asking someone to make something vegetarian for me.
The only problem with all of this? Finding veggie options for Thanksgiving isn't always super easy. Although it's becoming more popular, a lot of the veg-friendly holiday recipes out there are the same thing over and over again, which gets boring after a while. It can be hard to find a main course dish that rivals turkey, and sometimes it can feel like your Thanksgiving dinner is really just a plate of sides (which, personally, I'm fine with). So, this year I did a little bit of digging to find vegetarian recipes that are full of lots of different flavors, are a little bit different (no salads!), and will fill you up (hearty, comforting options are key). Check out these recipe ideas for options so delicious, even meat-eaters will want seconds.
1. Twice Baked Acorn Squash With Maple Butter and Pecans
Acorn squash is a great vegetarian option for Thanksgiving. Not only is it delicious and easy to make, but the giant acorn shape "shell" is perfect for a beautiful table presentation. This twice baked squash recipe from A Cozy Kitchen uses cream and butter for richness, a potato to make it more hearty, and maple syrup and pecans for sweetness.
2. Crispy Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Bourbon Maple Butter
If you're over sweet potato casserole, try something new — like these roasted and smashed sweet potatoes from Half-Baked Harvest. They're unique-looking, and they're so sweet and yummy that they're basically like eating dessert with dinner.
3. Smoked Gruyere Butternut Squash Soup with Spicy Chickpeas
Soup can make a great Thanksgiving starter, or an excellent main if you're vegetarian. Butternut squash soup is perfect for fall, and this recipe from How Sweet It Is uses cheese and spicy chickpeas to give it a ton of flavor and heat. The gruyere gives this an irresistible smokey taste.
4. Pumpkin and Cheesy Baked Potato Casserole
Take advantage of pumpkin for veggie recipes that are perfect for fall. This casserole from Averie Cooks uses sweet pumpkin and cheesy potatoes to create a side so filling, you might not need anything else.
5. Kale and Wild Rice Casserole
When you think of kale and casserole, your first thought might not be, "yum!" But this is different, because this kale and wild rice casserole was created by Half-Baked Harvest, who can make pretty much anything delicious. It's creamy, full of autumn flavors, and makes a great side dish - or maybe even a light main course.
6. Stuffed Butternut Squash with Farro, Chickpeas, and Kale
This couldn't look like a more perfect Thanksgiving meal, am I right? The recipe, from Kitchen Confidante, is an excellent vegetarian first course and offers a beautiful presentation. Farro is heartier and more nutty than brown rice (I personally prefer farro), and the addition of chickpeas and kale might fill you up so much you'll forget about the fact that you aren't eating turkey.
7. Creamy Polenta and Mushrooms
You rarely hear about people making polenta on Thanksgiving, but why not try it? This one from Love and Lemons is perfect for the fall holiday. An array of mushrooms give a rich flavor, while lots of herbs, spices, and asiago cheese round it out.
8. Sweet Potato Galette with Caramelized Shallots
If you're trying to impress everyone you're eating dinner with, make this sweet potato galette from How Sweet It Is. It looks Instagram-worthy, and the buttery crust, sweet onions, thinly sliced sweet potatoes, and delicious herb topping makes it taste even better than it looks.
9. Pumpkin, Butternut Squash, and Gorgonzola Bread Pudding
Bread pudding is typically a dish that's served as dessert, but this recipe from Climbing Grier Mountain is great for dinner. The mixture of sweet pumpkin and squash with salty Parmesan and gorgonzola cheese is a crowd pleaser.
10. Creamy Pumpkin and Cheddar Scalloped Potatoes
You might not think to pair pumpkins with cheese, but you should, because damn, it's a great combination. In this scalloped potato dish from Cooking For Keeps, pumpkin keeps it super creamy, while cheddar cheese gives a sharper flavor.
11. Pumpkin Soup with Crispy Sage
Hey, we might as well take advantage of pumpkin season while we can, right? This pumpkin soup recipe from Foodie Crush makes an excellent vegetarian first course. It's sweet and full of autumn flavors, and the sage offers something really unique.
12. Butternut Squash and Kale Quinoa Stuffing
As a vegetarian, I often find it difficult to find stuffing recipes that aren't made with sausage or inside of a turkey. Thi quinoa stuffing from Good Life Eats is full of great flavors and is, bonus, on the healthier side too.
13. Cauliflower Gratin
Cauliflower might not be your first vegetable choice, but honestly, it should be! It's so versatile and it's a pretty hearty vegetable. This cauliflower gratin from Jelly Toast is so delicious you'll forget you're even eating a veggie dish. The recipe calls for the addition of prosciutto, but you can leave that out and still be fine.
14. Vegan Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells
Looking for a killer veg main course? Don't rule out pasta, especially when it's stuffed with butternut squash and spinach, like this option from Love and Lemons. This is also a perfect Thanksgiving dish for vegans, as it's made with cashew cream instead of cheese.
15. Individual Pumpkin and Potato Gratins with Gruyere and Sage
Okay, it doesn't get much more impressive than these individual pumpkin and potato gratins from Cooking For Keeps. Creamy and cheesy and delicious, these make a great main course (or a filling side).
16. Radicchio Salad with Lentils and Roasted Acorn Squash
Lentils are a vegetarian staple ingredient, so why not incorporate them into your Thanksgiving meal? Made with acorn squash and radicchio, this recipe from Naturally Ella makes good use of fall flavors.
17. Roasted Carrots with Farro, Chickpeas, and Herbed Creme Fraiche
Carrots are a great vegetarian option when cooking for meat-eaters too, because almost everyone likes them. This dish from Cookie and Kate is particularly awesome. The farro and chickpeas make it filling, while the herbed creme fraiche plays well with the sweet roasted carrots.
18. Roasted Cauliflower Risotto with Truffle Oil
Risotto and truffle oil on their own are an irresistible mix. Add cauliflower and cheese in this recipe from Simply Delicious, and you've got a rich main course that you'll love way more than you ever liked turkey.
19. Ribollita Tuscan White Bean Soup
Ribollita is a personal favorite of mine, and I love the idea of serving it on Thanksgiving as a starter or a veg main course. You might think bread in soup is weird, but it's actually life-changing. This recipe from Love and Lemons uses kale and rosemary for a delicious wintery flavor.
20. Ginger Roasted Pumpkin and Quinoa Salad with Mint, Chili, and Lime
If you're looking for something simple and delicious, this pumpkin and quinoa dish from My Darling Lemon Thyme is for you. Full of fall flavors, it makes a great Thanksgiving dish.
21. Root Vegetable Hash Egg Skillet
I get it - vegetable hash isn't a traditional Thanksgiving dish. But not eating turkey isn't exactly traditional either! This egg skillet from Naturally Ella is a great vegetarian main course that won't make you feel like you're missing out on anything.
Image Source: How Sweet It Is