If you choose not to eat meat, I can imagine that all of the turkey worship that goes at this time of year might pose somewhat of a challenge for you. After all, you don't have to stuff your face with poultry to fully participate in what I've always understood to be the real spirit of the Thanksgiving season: thankfulness. So while I can't lobby TV networks to drop all the ads featuring turkeys on a spit, I'll try to be an ally to vegetarians everywhere (personally, I love a good turkey dinner) by suggesting 18 unique vegetarian side dish recipe ideas for Thanksgiving 2017. I'm quite confident that you'll be just as able to mull over the long list of things you're grateful for as you dig into any of these dishes as you would be if you were eating, well, turkey.
From breads and grains to starchy veggie bakes and creative salads, there are so many interesting options for those of us who just say "no!" to meat, even on a day that's anticipated largely because of the opportunity it offers to feast on a bird with unbridled enthusiasm. Add a few of these recipes to your holiday rotation, though, and your guests might forget about the turkey forever.
Parmesan Zucchini And Corn
Corn is a pretty traditional Thanksgiving ingredient, but tossing in some zucchini and parmesan cheese for a simple salad will make for a fresh, crisp side dish. This recipe from Damn Delicious will take you less than 10 minutes to make — and you won't even have to turn on the oven.
Get a little funky with your carrots this Thanksgiving by adding a splash of of bourbon, per this recipe from The Kitchn. You may not get a specific bourbon taste, but you probably will get a little sweetness and subtle smoke.
Cheesy Vegetable Bake
Pour a little cheese sauce over anything (like, even cardboard) and it's going to be appetizing, but this comfort dish from Simply Delicious actually is simply delicious. Slice up this bake — which consists of cauliflower, mushrooms, pepper, and onion — and serve it up around your Thanksgiving table.
Vegetarian Root Vegetable Pot Pie
Who needs chicken pot pie? Not you! The Kitchn has this amazing recipe for a vegetarian pot pie that will be the perfect complement to your Thanksgiving menu.
Scalloped Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes slathered in cheese? I'll take 12 (that's 12 full trays of The Kitchn's Scalloped Sweet Potatoes, not 12 slices — just to be clear).
Roasted Carrots With Farro, Chickpeas, And Herbed Crème Fraîche
If you want fall colors, look no further than this recipe from Cookie and Kate. Roasted heirloom carrots on a bed of farro and chickpeas, all topped off with a crème fraîche sauce and toasted pumpkin seeds... it might look complicated, but the process is actually pretty simple, and it can easily be made vegan too.
Moroccan-Style Vegetable Couscous
Thanksgiving may be an American tradition, but I've never heard any rules against introducing fun, bright flavors from around the world to your November feast. Tori Avey offers this recipe for Moroccan-Style Vegetable Couscous, which features everything from apricots to cabbage to chickpeas to ginger.
Mixed Mushroom And Goat Cheese Popover Bake
I know it's hard to imagine that you'd ever volunteer to kiss a basket of classic dinner rolls goodbye, but these popovers from The Kitchn might be just the thing to make sure you don't even miss them. You'll get a nice bite of bread, plus the added earthy deliciousness of mushrooms and goat cheese.
Colorful Beet Salad With Carrot, Quinoa, And Spinach
Anything this colorful should be more than welcome on your Thanksgiving table. And if you don't like to make your menu decisions based simply on what looks good, you'll be glad to know that Cookie and Kate's beet salad is also full of healthy, energizing ingredients.
Cheesy Broccoli Rice Stuffed Peppers
Imagine a bowl of broccoli and cheese soup made even thicker with some hearty brown rice, then stuffed into a fresh pepper and baked to indulgent goodness. Sound up your alley? Check out all the details over at A Spicy Perspective.
Almond, Lemon, And Parsley Pilaf Rice
The toasted almonds in this rice pilaf from Simply Delicious will give you nutty fall vibes, but the unexpected parsley and citrus notes kick the dish into a more creative gear.
Broccoli Rabe And White Bean Gratin
There's more to gratin than just potatoes! Check out The Kitchn's recipe, which incorporates broccoli rabe, white beans, and plenty of parmesan cheese. A few shakes of breadcrumbs or panko will give you a toasty crust.
Cranberry-Maple Skillet Cornbread
Cranberry-Maple Skillet Cornbread may sound more like a dessert than a side dish, but if Cookie and Kate calls it a side, I'm more than willing to oblige.
Green Beans With Balsamic Date Reduction, Feta, And Pine Nuts
Green beans get a bad rap, but this version from Tori Avey might change your opinion of them. The recipe may look simple, but everything's better with fruity date flavors and some rich balsamic.
Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad With Apples, Hazelnuts, And Brown Butter Dressing
Brown butter, you say? Consider me sold. Head on over to The Kitchn for full details on this harvesty dish of yum.
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
I'm a big fan of soup anywhere and anytime I can get it, so I'm a firm believer in the fact that this category of food is woefully overlooked as a side dish. Serve up helpings of this Roasted Butternut Squash Soup from Cookie and Kate in your favorite fancy bowls (which I'm willing to bet you almost never use) and you've got yourself a new vegetarian side.
Herby Farro Salad With Olives, Cherry Tomatoes, And Zucchini Ribbons
I have just one word for this hearty salad from Vikalinka: beautiful.
Herbed Olive Oil Fantail Rolls
File this recipe from The Kitchn under "how to spice up the bread basket this year." Don't you just love when something that sounds delicious also looks really cool?