Cobbling together a meal of veg-friendly side dishes used to be the humble mission of vegetarians during Thanksgiving. Although we don’t object to candied sweet potatoes, creamy green bean casserole, and roasted root vegetables, we’ve rounded up 12 vegetarian Thanksgiving dishes that will make any vegetarian guest give thanks (and fill hungry bellies).
Whether you serve them alongside the traditional turkey fare or create an all veg feast that brings together the flavors of fall and the spirit of family, friends, and togetherness, these savory and hearty vegetarian meals will answer for good the question your nosy Uncle Ted is bound to ask: “Exactly what do vegetarians eat?” How about butternut squash and spinach lasagna, cauliflower and kale pie with potato crust, or a portabello mushroom stuffed with sweet potato and stuffing? Just don’t be surprised if some of the non-vegetarian dinner guests sneak a second helping; maybe next year they’ll join the vegetarian club.
Everyone will be fighting to try your contribution to the table with this show-stopping vegetable tian. Thinly sliced apples, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and squash are layered in an eye-catching pinwheel pattern on a bed of sautéed leeks. Fresh thyme will give this heavenly dish an extra fragrant smell as it bakes.
stuffing and sweet potato stuffed portobello mushroom
We love this contained and tasty looking stuffed portbello mushroom as a plated main course or part of a holiday buffet. The recipe is simple, straightforward, and satisfying; the addition of stuffing and sweet potatoes makes this dish more filling than your average stuffed mushroom.
butternut squash and spinach lasagna
Yes, this butternut squash lasagna looks delicious. No, you don’t have to wait until Thanksgiving to try out this recipe. And yes, please invite us over should you have an extra place at the table. Creamy pureed butternut squash and a cheesy spinach filling give this kid-friendly favorite a sophisticated and seasonal makeover.
acorn squash stuffed with wild rice
Although this particular recipe isn’t vegetarian, it is easily made so by subbing in vegetable broth. Wild rice gives an earthy flavor to the roasted and stuffed squash; the usual Thanksgiving flavor suspects like celery, pecans, and cranberries are present too.
autumn vegetable galette
Pretty as a picture and bursting with seasonal veggies like Brussels sprouts, parsnips, beets, and onions, this hearty autumn vegetable galette will earn plenty of “oohs” and “ahhs” at serving time. A seasoned kale and cream cheese layer tucked inside the crust adds a surprising and delicious texture and taste.
butternut squash and lentil pot pie
This mini version of a regular pot pie is a gorgeous dish when you are having an intimate Thanksgiving for two (or you can multiply the ingredients and make it into a regular-sized pot pie). Although lentils and butternut squash are the main filling ingredients in this recipe, we also suggest trying other types of squash, sweet potatoes, or root vegetables and adding in some fresh or frozen peas for even more flavor.
creamy millet with roasted portobellos and kale
Millet is a sorely underused gluten-free grain as it can be somewhat dry. This recipe from Epicurious lets this protein-packed grain shine by cooking it into a soft, polenta-like texture with plenty of milk and cheese. Roasted kale and mushrooms are placed on top of the cheesy millet in this soothing vegetarian comfort food.
vegetable and cheese strudel
Phyllo (or filo) dough always seems to impart a sophisticated flare to a dish; we love that this vegetarian strudel recipe uses flavorful whole-wheat phyllo. The inside of the strudel is equally delicious: mushrooms, bell peppers, tofu, and two types of cheese make for a flavorful filling and contrast with the crunch of the phyllo.
creamy pumpkin quinoa risotto
Risotto is another fancy-feeling comfort food-it’s only downside is the near constant surveillance and stirring that takes place to ensure the rice is just the right texture. Quinoa risotto doesn’t require quite as much babysitting and is full of protein, making it an ideal meat alternative at the table. This version adds pumpkin puree to the quinoa and is topped with delectable mushrooms sautéed with butter, herbs, and white wine. If you’re not into mushrooms, you could add roasted tofu, a bed of sautéed greens, or both!
roasted cauliflower and kale pie with potato crust
This roasted cauliflower and kale pie reminds us of a fancy and festive take on quiche. Eggs, sour cream, and crumbled feta cheese bind the pie together and provide a creamy texture that contrasts with roasted cauliflower. A crust made of peeled and grated potatoes is an ingenious and tasty twist from the typical. We can imagine making the crust with a variety of other veggie fillings throughout the holiday season.
sweet potato and blue cheese filo pie
Phyllo again makes our list, this time for a beautiful pie. Cutting into the crisp phyllo will yield roasted sweet potatoes, sautéed mushrooms, and deliciously fragrant and flavorful chunks of blue cheese. We’d happily nosh on these leftovers, if there happen to be any!
mushroom shepherd’s pie
Every vegetarian should have a recipe for vegetarian shepherd’s pie in their back pocket (or perhaps bookmarked in their phone). This hearty mushroom version includes traditional veggies like potatoes and carrots and also offers suggestions on how to make the dish vegan. Using soy granules or another ground fake meat makes the dish even more substantial; you could also try adding cooked lentils. Any way you make it, this recipe is a great one to have on hand for last minute entertaining-the whole thing comes together in about an hour!