Our 29 Best Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes
Whether you're looking for a satisfying alternative to turkey or want to have a variety of vegetable-forward side dishes, these recipes are all perfect for the holiday season. From a winter-vegetable shepherd's pie to luscious pumpkin lasagna, here are delicious vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes.
Baked Acorn Squash with Chestnuts, Apples and Leeks
Halved acorn squash make perfect single-serving bowls. These make a great vegetarian main course for any winter holiday, but they’re also a festive accompaniment to turkey, ham or roast goose.
Baked Polenta with Mushrooms
In the time it takes to heat up frozen lasagna, you can make a from-scratch layered polenta dish that’s every bit as satisfying. It needs nothing more than a simple green salad as an accompaniment.
Pear, Parsnip & Fourme d'Ambert Tartines
Thanksgiving Appetizer Idea: Pears and parsnips create an unusual sweet-savory topping for Julianne Jones’s French-style, open-face sandwiches called tartines. Toasted briefly under the broiler, the tartines are best eaten hot, while the parsnips are still crisp and the Fourme d’Ambert (a mild blue cheese) is gooey.
Spicy Grain Soup
Based on a brothy tortilla soup, this fiery, substantial soup is full of nutty-tasting barley, brown rice and bulgur, creating a dish that’s high in fiber.
Barley Risotto with Garlicky Mushrooms
Chef Naomi Pomeroy uses barley to make her hearty version of risotto, packed with sautéed oyster mushrooms. The dish is substantial enough to be a main course; to make it vegetarian, substitute good vegetable stock for the beef broth.
Ricotta-and-Fontina-Stuffed Shells with Fennel and Radicchio
These delicious stuffed shells get flavor from a mixture of two kinds of cheese and vegetables.
Quinoa Salad with Sweet Potatoes and Apples
This delicious, super-healthy salad is a great meal-in-one; it makes an ideal vegetarian option at the Thanksgiving table.
Wild Mushroom Lasagna
In this decadent lasagna, store-bought fresh pasta sheets are layered with wild mushrooms in a creamy wine sauce.
Broccoli and Cheddar Casserole with Leeks
This classic is updated with deep-flavored cheddar and a crunchy topping of crumbled crackers and toasted almonds.
Winter-Vegetable Shepherd's Pie
You have considerable leeway in assembling the ingredients for this English-inspired meal in a dish, but there should always be carrots, onions, and at least three other vegetables, one of them green. Leftover mashed potatoes work fine to top the vegetable stew, which can be browned under the broiler or in a hot oven.
Make this soup with vegetable stock for a vegetarian-friendly dish. This version of minestrone soup is exceptional because it’s packed with so many great vegetables and delicious toasted angel hair pasta.
Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Apple Cider Sauce
These sweet potato gnocchi are an autumnal twist on an Italian classic. Their sweetness and richness is balanced here by the tangy apple cider sauce.
Two-Potato Flatbread with Olives and Feta
American farmers harvest more than a million acres of potatoes each year, making it the country's top vegetable crop. Both the sweet and white kinds appear along with olives and feta on the flatbread here, which is baked until the edges of the potatoes crisp and the cheese starts to melt.
Pumpkin Lasagna with Ricotta and Swiss Chard
This super-creamy lasagna is perfect for a vegetarian main course. What makes it especially unusual is that it’s made without tomato sauce.
Lattice-Crusted Minestrone Pot Pies
This hearty dish is based on ribollita, the thick Tuscan soup made with leftover minestrone and chunks of bread. Here, a buttery, cheesy pastry lattice is baked on top of the soup. Instead of weaving the strips of dough to make the lattice, you can arrange them in a crisscross pattern; easier still, roll the dough into rounds, cut a few steam vents in the pastry and drape it over the bowls before baking.
Preparing this recipe using vegetable stock keeps it vegetarian-friendly.
Baked Broccoli Ravioli
Bill Telepan’s fresh free-form ravioli are filled with broccoli and cheese, then boiled and baked until crisp at the edges.
Baked Butternut Squash-and-Cheese Polenta
Anna Thomas’s 1970s book, The Vegetarian Epicure, is iconic; updated in the ’90s and rechristened The New Vegetarian Epicure, it focuses on recipes for entertaining. One of her latest dishes is this crusty baked polenta, swirled with mashed butternut squash and smoked Gouda cheese.
Winter Squash Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage
This classic northern-Italian combo of sage-Parmesan-gnocchi-brown-butter is one of Andrew Zimmern’s top five desert-island dishes.
Collard Greens with Fennel and Orange Butter
Thanksgiving Make-Ahead Tip: The cooked collards and fennel can be refrigerated for up to 2 days and reheated before serving.
Pasta with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce and Toasted Hazelnuts
This rich, earthy dish featuring canned pumpkin puree was inspired by stovetop mac and cheese. The hazelnut and chive garnishes lend an elegant touch to this hearty pasta.
Bean, Corn and Squash Stew
In his excellent version of the traditional Chilean stew porotos granados, chef Alex Aguilera uses kidney beans in place of the customary cranberry beans, then folds in fresh basil and a swirl of paprika oil.
Green Bean Casserole with Red Curry and Peanuts
Store-bought red curry paste and coconut milk put a Thai spin on this green-bean-and-mushroom holiday classic. For a vegetarian main dish, simply stir in cubes of tofu.
Roasted Delicata Squash with Quinoa Salad
Quinoa is definitely a superfood: A grain-like seed, it’s a “complete” protein containing all eight essential amino acids (another plus: it cooks much more quickly than most grains). To create a terrific vegetarian main course, Michael Symon tosses quinoa with arugula, apple, raisins and fresh herbs, then spoons the salad into a halved baked squash (a great source of iron and vitamins A and C).
Broccoli and Cauliflower Gratin with Cheddar Cheese
Who says gratin is just for potatoes? This broccoli and cauliflower brings a little extra to the fiber department without skimping on the breadcrumbs and cheese.
Butternut Squash Basmati Rice
Adding butternut squash and spices is a lovely way to jazz up rice.
Mushroom, Butternut Squash & Gruyère Tart
Paul Roberts, the estate director of Bond Estates, adds nutmeg to the mushrooms in this buttery tart because the warm spice works well with the savory complexity of a Cabernet Sauvignon.
Look for small, young, tender organic fennel bulbs.
Ombré Potato and Root Vegetable Gratin
TV chef Carla Hall layers red beets, sweet potatoes, Yukon Golds and turnips for her fantastic vegetarian gratin, which she top with a crispy Parmesan cheese crust.
No need to roast fresh pumpkin for this dish (although you certainly could); using canned unseasoned pumpkin puree is much quicker, and it works just fine. Like most lasagnes, this one is easier to cut if left to set for ten minutes or so before serving.