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10 Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes If You’re Not Serving Turkey

November 3, 2023
Courtesy of Veggies Don't Bite

Thanksgiving and turkey are nearly inseparable, but what if you want to forgo the fowl? Whether you’re plant-based or just want a break from the annual turkey extravaganza, we’ve found ten beautiful vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes that put vegetables front and center.

This group of recipes comprises centerpiece-worthy dishes; meat-free mains that you can serve with pride on the holiday table. Thanksgiving favorites like roasted butternut squash, wild mushrooms, and sweet potatoes are enhanced with fall’s warm and wonderful spices. And there’s not a marshmallow-studded casserole in sight.

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1. Turmeric-Spice Whole Roasted Cauliflower

whole roasted cauliflower with nuts and herbs on top

Courtesy of Cookie + Kate

Creative and visually stunning, this cauliflower dish is so hearty that it might require a steak knife! Roasting the cauliflower brings out its naturally nutty and sweet flavors. A sauce scented with healing turmeric and coriander and a drizzle of maple syrup make this even more flavorful and wholesome. Serve the cauliflower on a bed of wild rice for a dramatic presentation.

Try the recipe from Cookie + Kate.

2. Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette

butternut squash galette on a plate

Courtesy of Smitten Kitchen

Who decided pie was only for dessert? A savory galette is quicker than a pie but just as impressive and unique enough for a celebration. Sage, caramelized onions, and a pinch of cayenne punch up this popular seasonal squash. For a healthier crust, try it with whole grain, stone-milled flour.

Try the recipe from Smitten Kitchen.

3. Quinoa Stuffed Butternut Squash

quinoa stuffed butternut squash on a sheet pan

Courtesy of Well Plated

Affectionately known as squash boats, these beauties are easy to prep and may sail into your weekly repertoire after the holidays. Chock full of fiber-rich nutritional goodness — quinoa, chickpeas, and kale— the ingredients veer into delicious but non-traditional Thanksgiving territory. Orange zest and cranberries tie it all together.

Try the recipe from Well Plated.

4. Spaghetti Squash and Farro Casserole

An updated casserole dish that features spaghetti squash and farro.

Clean Plates

Root vegetables and spaghetti squash are slow-roasted and pureed, so every bite melts in your mouth. Simmering the farro in white wine is a clever move that takes this ancient grain to a sophisticated new place. A dash of cream and a handful of tangy sheep’s milk cheese bring the holiday decadence. Feel free to substitute sage or thyme for the tarragon.

Try the recipe at Clean Plates.

5. Vegan Mushroom Wild Rice Soup

creamy vegan mushroom wild rice soup in a bowl with crunchy bread

Courtesy of Short Girl Tall Order

Nothing is better than a bowl of steaming soup on a chilly day. This well-executed entree shows how easy it is to elevate classic comfort food to Thanksgiving-worthy heights with a few simple tricks. Wild mushrooms stand in for boring buttons, healthy wild rice brings a subtle toasty flavor, and coconut milk adds richness without the cream. Consider pulling out all the stops and making your own vegetable broth.

Try the recipe at Short Girl Tall Order.

6. Curried Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

scooping vegan shepherds pie from a casserole dish

Courtesy of The Endless Meal

Everything is better topped with mashed potatoes. We stand by that statement. Here, elements of the classic shepherd’s pie get an adventurous and super nutritious twist with sweet potatoes, lentils, and chickpeas. Inventive yet familiar, a few bold flavors like garam masala and ginger impart an Indian undertone that makes for a memorable holiday meal.

Try the recipe at The Endless Meal.

7. Vegetarian Stuffed Poblano Peppers

poblano pepper in enchilada sauce on a palte

Courtesy of Live Best

Beans, along with corn and squash, make up the “three sisters” crops that were planted together and cultivated by Native Americans for thousands of years. What better day to feature any kind of bean than Thanksgiving? This entrée brings a Mexican twist, simmering fiber-rich black beans with seven spices. The roasted poblanos are slathered with a low-fat homemade enchilada sauce and then sprinkled with fresh corn.

Try the recipe at Live Best.

8. Vegan Pastitsio

slice of vegan Greek pastitsio on a plate

Courtesy of Veggies Don’t Bite

The showstopping pasta pie has all the decadent elements of the classic, including the bechamel and meat sauces, but in vegan form. The Parmesan and bechamel are made from cholesterol-lowering cashews and require some planning, but both freeze well for months. Make a big batch to adorn future dishes — it’s well worth the effort.

Try the recipe at Veggies Don’t Bite.

9. Cheesy Mushroom and Wild Rice Casserole

wild rice casserole with mushrooms and cheese

Courtesy of Rachel Hartley Nutrition

Mention holiday casseroles and most people think of processed cream of mushroom soup. This herbaceous rendition couldn’t be farther from a can. Cottage cheese and yogurt stand in for the cream sauce, a mix of brown and wild rice adds heft, and the whole thing is finished with gooey Gruyere. The recipe is easily customized, too, an excellent opportunity to mix in your choice of cancer-fighting leafy greens, like kale, spinach, and chard.

Try the recipe at Rachael Hartley Nutrition.

10. The Vegducken

sliced vegducken on a plate ready to serve

Courtesy of Hot For Food

If you’re looking for a pièce de resistance, an entrée that will wow even the meat-eaters among you, the mighty Vegducken is your answer. A play on the infamous turducken (a chicken stuffed inside of a duck stuffed inside of a turkey), this recipe is a leek stuffed inside of a zucchini stuffed inside of an eggplant stuffed inside of butternut squash. Add in a mix of intriguing antioxidant-rich spices, like smoked paprika, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and it’s a big improvement on the heavy, greasy original.

Try the recipe at Hot For Food.

Read next: 7 Healthy Butternut Squash Recipes To Cook This Fall

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