40 Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes

A traditional Thanksgiving meal generally includes foods like turkey, gravy, and meat-based stuffing that are not consistent with a vegetarian eating plan. But there are also traditional veggie favorites such as mashed sweet potatoes, green beans, and glazed carrots.

If you're looking to serve an entire vegetarian-friendly Thanksgiving dinner, you can build on those favorites and then add recipes that include hearty fall foods like squash, root vegetables, and grains. You'll find that you can fill your holiday table with delicious dishes that satisfy everyone.

Appetizers

Everyone loves to graze on Thanksgiving before the big meal is served. Whether you are cooking in the kitchen or watching football, these snacks will help you to keep hunger at bay in the hours before dinner.

Pumpkin Pie Spice Roasted Almond Trail Mix

Pumpkin Pie Spice Almond Trail Mix
Stephanie Clarke, MS, RD & Willow Jarosh, MS, RD

This nutritious snack is sweet, salty, and crunchy—perfect for nibbling. Ingredients such as almonds, whole-grain cereal, and pepitas provide filling fiber and healthy fats. Cranberries provide a pop of color and a boost of vitamin C. And who doesn't love pumpkin pie spice in the fall? The spices in this mix are packed with antioxidants to fight inflammation and provide other health benefits.

When you make this pumpkin pie spice roasted almond trail mix from Verywell Fit be sure to make a big batch. It stores well in an airtight container if you keep it in a cool dry place. Just be sure to let it cool before packing it up or it can get mushy.

Soups

Starting your Thanksgiving meal with a warm bowl of soup is a wonderful way to begin the celebration. Enjoy conversation with family and friends by serving just a small cup if you want to save room for later.

Creamy Roasted-Broccoli Soup With Buttermilk and Spiced Pepitas

Roasted Broccoli Soup

Serious Eats / Daniel Gritzer

This recipe puts a spicy spin on creamy broccoli soup. Roasting the broccoli caramelizes it and heightens the sweetness of this veggie superfood. Adding buttermilk balances out the sweetness and provides a smooth creaminess. Pepitas combined with health-promoting spices (coriander, cumin, mustard seed, and turmeric) top the soup and give it a spicy punch.

Make this creamy roasted-broccoli soup from Serious Eats a day ahead of time so you can focus on other dishes on Thanksgiving. And keep in mind that this is another food that you might want to cook in bigger batches. Freeze leftovers in single-serving containers to enjoy on a cold winter day.

Salads

Sometimes salad is forgotten on Thanksgiving day, as heavier dishes seem to be in higher demand. But a savory fall salad makes a great addition to the table. It can also be a smart opportunity to highlight nutritious whole grains.

Blood Orange and Quinoa Kale Salad

Blood Orange Quinoa Kale Salad

 Kaleigh McMordie, MCN, RDN

This light, fresh salad is a good pick if you are bringing a vegetarian dish to a traditional turkey dinner. Citrus pairs beautifully with poultry. And even though you get the benefit of whole grains in this salad, it's not a heavy grain dish at all, since nutritious kale and antioxidant-rich blood oranges are the main ingredients.

If you're preparing this blood orange and quinoa kale salad at home, you'll just need about 10 minutes to throw the ingredients together. You can even cook the quinoa, separate the blood oranges into segments, or prepare the dressing a day in advance.

If you are transporting this salad to another home, keep the ingredients separate until you are ready to serve. Then combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl, drizzle with dressing, toss, and serve. Leftovers can be stored for a few days in the refrigerator.

Vegetables

A vegetarian Thanksgiving table will, of course, be filled with plenty of vegetable side dishes. Get creative and go beyond carrots and green beans and use some other colorful, seasonal, or nutrient-rich veggies.

Cauliflower Gratin

Cauliflower Gratin

Simply Recipes / Elise Bauer

This cauliflower gratin recipe from Simply Recipes provides all the creamy goodness of a traditional potato gratin but cauliflower provides a wealth of nutritional benefits. The cruciferous veggie is a good source of fiber, folate, vitamin C, and vitamin K. It's also low in sugar and provides a bit of protein. And you'll also benefit from phytonutrients in leeks.

When planning out your meal, keep in mind that gratin is best if it is prepared a few hours ahead and has time to sit. The flavors blend and cooling helps to increase the creaminess. Make it early in the day, then warm in the oven before dinner.

Sides and Sauces

Most recipes for mashed potatoes are vegetarian, so they are an easy addition to your meal if you don't eat meat. But there are a few other starchy side dishes that you might want to consider as well.

Sweet Potato and Yukon Gold Bake

sweet potato and yukon gold bake

Simply Recipes / Elise Bauer

This dish is as beautiful as it is delicious. It makes the perfect centerpiece for any spread. Look for sweet potatoes in a variety of colors, not only for their aesthetic appeal but also for their nutritional value.

Purple sweet potatoes, for example, not only provide all of the nutrients of ordinary sweet potatoes (which are high in vitamin A and potassium), but they also provide anthocyanins a type of flavonoid that provide antioxidant benefits.

Be sure to time the preparation of this sweet potato and Yukon Gold bake from Simply Recipes so it comes out of the oven just as you sit down to dinner. This dish is best served warm. Leftovers (if you're lucky enough to have any) can be microwaved easily.

Main Dishes

Plant-based turkey alternatives, like Tofurky, are a popular main course among vegetarians. They can provide a similar "roast" experience for those who like to carve and distribute the "meat." But there are other main dishes that you might want to prepare instead.

Thanksgiving Stuffed Roast Pumpkins

Stuffed roast pumpkin

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

There's nothing more elegant than serving each guest their own beautifully plated entree. Consider serving each of your friends and family their own Thanksgiving stuffed roast pumpkin, a recipe from Serious Eats. The dish combines mashed pumpkin and kabocha squash (both excellent sources of vitamin A) with a mushroom-kale mixture, pepitas, pecans, Gruyère, and spiced cream.

You'll need a little time to prepare and assemble stuffed pumpkins (at least two hours), but if presentation is a priority when you entertain, this dish has a substantial wow-factor.

Desserts

Dessert should never be forgotten on Thanksgiving day. Even when guests are full from dinner, everyone has room for a sweet treat—especially traditional pies like pumpkin, pecan, or apple. Here are some other dessert options that are delicious, beautiful, and easy to make.

Honey Ginger Poached Pears

Honey Ginger Poached Pears
Stephanie Lang, MS, RDN, CDN

This healthy and delicious recipe from Verywell Fit is light and nutritious. Pears are low in calories, provide fiber, and antioxidants. Honey and ginger are also associated with health benefits. Ginger is known to help calm nausea (which may be especially helpful on Thanksgiving) and honey is also associated with certain benefits such as its ability to soothe a cough and promote regularity in people with IBS.

This recipe can be made in advance, which can make your holiday less hectic. Make the pears whenever it is convenient, then let them cool. You'll make the yogurt topping separately and keep it in the fridge. When it's time to serve dessert, either warm the pears quickly in a hot oven or serve them cool, topped with the yogurt cream.

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