53 Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes That Will Make You Forget All About Turkey

editor@purewow.com (PureWow)
·10-min read

Turkey might be the de facto star of the Thanksgiving show, but we’ve got great news for all our friends going meatless this year: The days of filling up on dinner rolls and sweet potatoes are long gone, thanks to satisfying holiday dishes like vegetable Wellington and butternut squash lasagna. No meat? No problem: With these 53 vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes, everyone can give thanks.

RELATED: 70 Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes That Will Sweeten Your Holiday Table

1. Spicy Whole Roasted Cauliflower

Forget florets—we’re roasting the whole damn thing. The good news: This yogurt-marinated stunner is as dramatic in presentation as it is easy in preparation.

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2. Dorie Greenspan’s Roasted Acorn Squash Wedges

Sure, this would make a knockout side dish…but why not serve it as a main course, alongside plenty of other accoutrements?

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3. Stuffed Eggplant

Skip the stuffed bird and make these light, fresh stuffed eggplants instead. (Don’t forget yogurt for dipping.)

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4. Charred Cauliflower with Garlic Tahini Sauce

Aida Mollenkamp’s charred whole cauliflower is proof that plant-based meals can be show-stoppingly irresistible.

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5. Hasselback Butternut Squash

The fancy Hasselback technique and honeyed topping make this so much more than a side dish.

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6. Creamy Vegan Lentil and Roasted Vegetable Bake

Rich, satisfying and gluten-free-optional, this is the ultimate holiday comfort food. It doesn’t taste healthy, but that’s the best part.

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7. Hearty Stuffed Butternut Squash

These pretty gourds are filled with a mix of quinoa, chickpeas, Gruyère and aromatics for a vegetarian-friendly main that’s anything but an afterthought.

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8. Sweet Potato Gnocchi in Herbed White Wine Sauce

Gnocchi on Thanksgiving? Yeah, we went there.

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9. Portobello Mushrooms Stuffed with Barley Risotto

Even though these stuffed mushrooms look fancy, they’re really easy to put together. Top with Parm and parsley for brownie points among your guests.

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10. Macaroni and Cheese in Acorn Squash Bowls

The pasta is made with lots of autumnal herbs and spices, like nutmeg and sage, so even without a squash bowl, it would still be holiday-ready.

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11. Vegetable Wellington

This gorgeous dish has a secret: We use store-bought puff pastry to make assembly almost effortless.

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12. Cauliflower Steak with Walnut-Kale Pesto

Our favorite vegetable does it again, this time with a vegan pesto and a 30-minute cooking time.

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13. Caramelized Shiitake Mushroom Risotto

You’re going to want to make this one all year round. (Good thing it takes just 30 minutes and is surprisingly healthy.)

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14. Roasted Carrots, Sautéed Green Beans and Caramelized Fennel with Polenta

Jodi Moreno’s tender roasted vegetables would be fitting as a side but serving them over polenta makes them just as filling as any turkey.

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15. Butternut Squash and Sun-Dried Tomato White Lasagna

We see no problem in serving lasagna at Thanksgiving dinner. It’s got cheese, noodles, veggies—what more could you ask for?

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16. Cheesy Sweet Potato Kale Galette

It’s Thanksgiving; you can eat pie for every meal. We should mention this one’s also gluten-free.

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17. Wild Mushroom Tart

We’re huge fans of savory tarts. This one from Gaby Dalkin is earthy, cheesy and impressive (even if you use store-bought pie dough).

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18. Vegan Sweet Potato and Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

We love that Gena Hamshaw’s take on shepherd’s pie replaces the usual pastry crust with mashed sweet potatoes.

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19. Cranberry Pecan Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash with Goat Cheese Crema

Monique Volz knows that almost anything can be made Thanksgiving-ready when it’s stuffed inside a squash.

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20. Pumpkin Soup in Mini Pumpkin Bowls

This year, we’re most grateful for these adorable pumpkin bowls.

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21. Stuffed Spaghetti Squash with Pecans, Kale and Dried Cranberries

This pretty, vegan main takes 45 minutes to make. Take that, giant turkey.

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22. Oven-Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Crispy Chickpeas and Yogurt Sauce

The crispy chickpeas add texture and protein. That, plus a creamy yogurt sauce, keeps this meatless dish filling.

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23. Roasted Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese

Make this classic (and beloved) side the star of the show by packing it with hearty veggies.

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24. Butternut Squash Risotto with Crispy Leeks

The key to keeping a vegetarian entrée from getting boring is to mix up all the textures. Allow this creamy risotto with a crispy topping to show you the way.

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25. Charred Cauliflower with Crunchy Garlic Chile Oil

It’s spicy, sweet, crunchy and just as satisfying as any Thanksgiving bird.

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26. Alison Roman’s Roasted Squash with Yogurt and Spiced Buttered Pistachios

Good luck trying to refrain from dipping your fingers in this lemony yogurt sauce.

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27. Whole-Wheat Feta Tart with Caramelized Onions and Herbs

Now that we think of it, every Thanksgiving spread should include a pie made of cheese.

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28. Green Bean Casserole Galette

Add a flaky crust and you can transform any casserole into a stunning main course.

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29. Roasted Squash and Tofu with Soy, Honey, Chili and Ginger

This tofu number is elegant and impressive without being fussy. Plus, it’s packed with flavor from the gingery honey glaze.

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30. Kale and Cheddar Cheese Galette

Here you have your salad course and your pie course all in one tidy package. (Yes, in our house Thanksgiving includes a pie course.)

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31. Ina Garten’s Baked Spinach and Zucchini

You better set the table, because the Barefoot Contessa is on her way for dinner.

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32. Quiche with Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Crust

Quiche has a reputation for being old-fashioned and stuffy, so we swapped the usual crust for sweet potatoes. Thanksgiving brunch, anyone?

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33. Yotam Ottolenghi's Roasted Butternut Squash with Lentils and Gorgonzola

Serve this one a little warm, so when you dot the cheese on top it melts and mingles throughout the dish.

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34. Leek, Kale and Goat Cheese Strata

A casserole made of bread and cheese? Be still our holiday hearts.

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35. Carrot Pasta

Instead of roasting plain old baby carrots (snooze), turn them into gnocchi. Your guests will think you’re a pro chef.

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36. Pumpkin Polenta

It's rich, creamy and bound to become a new Thanksgiving staple. Use fresh or canned pumpkin depending on how much time you want to spend.

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37. Beet and Goat Cheese Tart

Earthy beets, tangy cheese and a buttery crust…what’s not to love?

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38. Mac and Cheese with Crispy Parmesan-Phyllo Crust

The decadent, cheesy pasta is just waiting to emerge from that gorgeous blanket of phyllo rosettes.

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39. Vegetarian Stuffed Acorn Squash

What’s beautiful, delicious and destined to become a vegetarian staple in your house? These cuties.

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40. Four-Cheese Rigatoni with Garlic Kale

Welp, you had us hooked at first mention of four cheeses. (Parmesan, Fontina, cheddar and goat, in case you’re curious.)

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41. Mushroom and Sage Stuffing

Even non-vegetarians will gobble up this sausage-free version of a Thanksgiving classic.

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42. Vegetarian Spinach Pumpkin Lasagna

It’s freezer-friendly, so you could even make it a few days ahead (and save yourself a hectic morning).

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43. Vegan Baked Spaghetti Squash with Pumpkin and Green Onion Alfredo

We almost didn’t believe this was dairy-free, it’s so creamy. (Yep, it’s meat-free too.)

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44. Vegetarian Pot Pie

Not today, chicken. We’re filling our pot pie with mushrooms, white beans and all the seasonal veggies.

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45. Instant Pot Spicy Thai Butternut Squash Soup

Pro tip: Microwave the squash for a few minutes to make it much easier to slice up.

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46. Butternut Squash, Sage and Parmesan Pizza

We’ll endorse serving pizza for Thanksgiving a thousand times over.

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47. Pumpkin Stuffed Shells

They’re stuffed with a mixture of ricotta, Parm, pumpkin and sage, then topped with a garlicky cream sauce. Hungry yet?

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48. Shredded Butternut Squash Pot Pies

Psst: The crusts are made of corn. How’s that for delicious? (Thanks, Jerrelle Guy.)

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49. No-Stir Pumpkin Risotto

It gets cooked in the oven until creamy and al dente, so you can spend less time stirring and more time enjoying a Thanksgiving cocktail.

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50. Thanksgiving Wraps

It’s like opening a present at the dinner table—a present filled with cinnamon sweet potatoes, crispy chickpeas, cranberries and a zesty garlic sauce.

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51. The Best Potatoes au Gratin Ever

Fact: Mashed doesn’t have to be your default when it comes to potato side dishes. Because potatoes just got a serious upgrade. Take this recipe for potatoes au gratin. You know, the version where slices of spuds are smothered in a cream sauce and plenty of cheese? It’s rich and comforting—plus, it can be assembled ahead of time and held in your refrigerator until you’re ready to bake it Thanksgiving day.

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52. Stuffing Muffins

The best part about this vegetarian recipe is that we make it in individual portions—stuffing muffins, if you will.

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53. Honey-Glazed Cornbread

Goes perfectly alongside mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce.

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Plus, A Few of Our Best *Worst* Thanksgiving Stories (Just for Giggles)

Because even if your family totally forgets you don’t eat meat, it could still be worse…

“One year, my horrible dog jumped up on the counter and ate an entire boat's worth of gravy. He also got gravy all over his fur and it got all matted and it took, like, three baths to get him clean again.”

“My mom made a tofurkey one year and it was NOT IT.”

“My Grandma was wearing a flowy shirt while cooking over an open flame… and she literally caught on fire. She ended up ripping the shirt off in the middle of the kitchen while my firefighter uncles watched football unaware this was happening. Luckily, she was not hurt at all and now we laugh about it!”

“We do Thanksgiving at my dad's house in Maine, and one year we decided to deep-fry a turkey. It was so cold out that we couldn't get the oil to temperature, so we had this weird undercooked/petrified bird. Anticipating a disaster, my stepmother was preparing a turkey in the oven, but despite the popper popping and a real temp check, that bird, too, was undercooked. So we threw both birds into the woods—turned into a family competition to see who can throw all the bits the farthest—and ate just the sides for dinner (that’s really the best part), and then went to the deli in the morning to buy sliced turkey breast for the compulsory leftover sandwiches.”

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