Thanksgiving is also called “Turkey Day,” but as many embrace a plant-based diet, this name moves farther off the mark. Still, every vegetarian and vegan faces the same question every year: What do you eat if you can’t eat turkey? While the bird is traditionally the center of the feast, it is, after all, only one item on the table. And if eating the best Thanksgiving sides still isn’t enough, there are plenty of autumnal vegetarian Thanksgiving entrees to try. These vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes will make you forget all about the turkey!
Butternut Squash Risotto
Butternut squash is an essential fruit (yes, it has seeds) for this holiday, as well as for the fall season as a whole. Its fleshy, sweet, buttery flavor makes for the best fall soups and pasta dishes. Pair butternut squash with comforting, tender risotto and you have the ultimate heartwarming fall entree whose taste and golden appearance perfectly fits the occasion. CookieandKate.com offers an easy-to-follow recipe for Butternut Squash Risotto. See more Heartwarming Italian Dishes to Make This Fall.
Truffle Cheese Polenta
Polenta, a creamy Italian porridge made from cooked cornmeal, is another cozy, indulgent vegetarian Thanksgiving dish. Combine it with earthy truffle and rich pecorino or parmigiano-reggiano cheese and it’s like a warm hug around your taste buds! There are several ways to achieve this exquisite flavor: Buy ready truffle polenta, truffle cheese, truffle oil, or real truffle shavings. Top it with sautéed porcini mushrooms for an added layer of depth. Follow the Food & Wine recipe for Truffle Polenta and try the rest of these 7 Best Truffle Recipes to Make at Home.
Quinoa is a superfood that is especially prevalent in plant-based diets. It is rich in protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, making it a great staple food and entree. Make quinoa the centerpiece of the holiday table with vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes like this one for Quinoa-Stuffed Squash from Taste of Home. (Just skip the goat cheese and it’s totally vegan!)
Farro is another highly nutritious (and filling!) grain filled with protein and fiber. It is an ancient grain that has been around for thousands of years, and it still holds up as a staple in healthy diets. Cooked farro is chewy and nutty, offering more flavor and nutrients than regular rice. Use farro as the base for a healthy salad with tomatoes, kale, and whatever other ingredients you have on hand! Farro salad is a hearty, shareable vegan Thanksgiving recipe that everyone can enjoy. Try this winter salad recipe from LoveandLemons.com.
Pumpkin Conchiglioni (Pumpkin Stuffed Shells)
The best Thanksgiving dinner ideas consist of an equal amount of savory and sweet elements. Celebrate this year’s bountiful harvest with Pumpkin Stuffed Shells, like this recipe from DamnDelicious.net. The combination of pumpkin and ricotta cheese inside conchiglioni pasta is deliciously rich and satisfying. Everyone knows that pumpkin is the star of the fall season, so it shouldn’t be missing from your Thanksgiving dinner table! Love Italian food? Here are 10 Reasons to Visit Italy in the Fall.
This holiday isn’t complete without dessert, but we’d be willing to bet you are probably stuck in a pie rut. Of course, there is no overstating the love for pumpkin, pecan, or blueberry pie, but why not try something a little different? Give the hazelnut its time in the spotlight with this extremely simple Honey Hazelnut Pie recipe from BakingLikeAChef.com. If you’re more of a chestnut person, watch this video recipe for Maple Chestnut Scones.
Spinach & Goat Cheese Tartlets
Spinach with cheese is one of life’s incontrovertible food pairings. Whether it’s dip, pie, pasta or casseroles, this creamy, salty, savory combination steals the show. Spinach and Goat Cheese Tartlets are hands down one of the best Thanksgiving appetizers. Get the recipe from GritsandPinecones.com.
Lentil Shepherd’s Pie
Traditional Shepherd’s Pie is a meat-lover’s paradise, but believe it or not, there is a vegan version! Instead of ground beef or lamb, this vegan recipe from MinimalistBaker.com relies on hearty, cooked lentils. Not only do lentils taste great and provide protein, but they also offer a similar look and texture as compared to the traditional version.
Mac and Cheese
Honestly, who can leave mac and cheese off the menu? Warm, gooey and golden, it is a cheesy crowd-pleaser that never fails. Try Bon Appetit’s Best Macaroni and Cheese recipe topped with panko crumbs for an amazing crunch. The secret of any good mac and cheese is to use several types of cheese, like gruyere, fontina, and cheddar. A vegan-friendly version of this classic recipe made with nutritional yeast can be found on LovingItVegan.com.
Zucchini is a simple, mild vegetable that almost everyone can agree on, making it an ideal choice for vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner ideas. The best way to ensure everyone eats their vegetables is to cook them au gratin, covered with breadcrumbs and cheese! Taste of Home provides an easy recipe for Yellow Squash and Zucchini Gratin that even the most novice cook can execute perfectly.