June 18, 2024

Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes

Whether you’re looking for a satisfying meatless alternative to turkey or want to have a variety of vegetable-forward side dishes, these vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes are all ideal for holiday gatherings. Start off your meal with crispy kabocha squash fritters or a flavor-packed caramelized onion dip. For your main, serve a presentation-worthy Greens-and-Cheese-Stuffed Cinderella Pumpkin, Carrot Steaks with Roasted Garlic Hollandaise, or a rainbow gratin with six layers of colorful vegetables. Don’t worry, we didn’t forget the stuffing. Here are our favorite recipes that enhance Thanksgiving for vegetarians and vegetable lovers alike.

Fennel and Apple Salad with Hazelnuts

Photo by Christopher Testani / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Prissy Lee

Tucked in among the tender lettuce leaves, fragrant fennel, sweet-tart Granny Smith apple, and toasty hazelnuts add a refreshing crunch to this fall salad.

Brussels Sprouts and Broccoli with Cranberry Agrodolce

Photo by Christopher Testani / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Prissy Lee

A quick, high-temperature oven roast on a baking sheet yields crispy, golden brown brussels sprouts and almost-charred, smoky broccoli. Tossed in a sweet and tangy sauce studded with tart cranberries, Fresno chiles, and shallots, the vegetables become an easy, elegant side dish.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Curry Leaves

Greg DuPree

“A sprinkling of marash chile flakes and curry leaves with coconut oil add a bit of heat and an intoxicating fragrance, while the black mustard seeds add a hint of nuttiness,” cookbook author Nik Sharma says of this butternut squash recipe.

Citrus, Beet, and Arugula Salad with Halloumi Croutons

Photo by Dan Perez / Food Styling and Prop Styling by Nurit Kariv

Resplendent with mixed citrus and jewel-toned roasted beets, this peppery arugula salad gets elevated to holiday status courtesy of crispy halloumi croutons.

Savory Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Sesame Seeds

David Malosh

With brown sugar, vinegar, and liquid aminos, these sweet potatoes are the best balance of savory and sweet. You’ll know they are perfectly cooked when they are tender but not falling apart.

Garlic-and-Herb Mashed Potatoes

Photo by Christopher Testani / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Prissy Lee

These mashed potatoes are a speedy, nearly effortless dish thanks to a flavor-packed special ingredient: a garlic-and-herb-flecked spreadable cheese (such as Boursin). For a colorful twist, use purple Peruvian potatoes instead of Yukon Golds to make vibrant, violet mashed potatoes.

Potato–and–Celery Root Biscuits

Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Torie Cox

Biscuit pro Chadwick Boyd’s biscuits get an upgrade from a thyme-infused mash of potatoes, celery root, and cream. Substitute in one and one half cups of mashed potatoes, if desired. Run your hands under very cold water and dry well before working butter into flour in step two and working the dough in step three. “This is the granny method,” says Boyd. “It’s the tactile way of merging the butter and flour — with your hands. You literally snap it between your fingers and thumb.”

Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potato Hand Pies

Gerard + Belevender

Made with Lisa Ludwinski’s Sister Pie All-Butter Pie Dough, the golden, crispy pastry encasing these savory hand pies shatters almost like a croissant. Lightly mashed sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, tangy sour cream, and aged cheddar make up the creamy-cheesy filling. It’s a simple mixture, but it tastes like a handheld bite of Thanksgiving. If the brussels sprouts are large, quarter them instead of halving.

Rustic Bread Stuffing with Swiss Chard and Chestnuts

David Malosh

Swiss chard lends a pleasant earthiness to this hearty stuffing; meaty chestnuts add texture and richness. Choose high-quality crusty bread for this recipe to ensure a fluffy texture and crisp top.

Kabocha Squash Fritters with Yuzu-Garlic Dipping Sauce

Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Christina Daley

Japanese korokke are the basis for these cheesy squash fritters, which can be made with freshly steamed kabocha squash or canned pumpkin puree. A drier squash, kabocha has a sweet flavor and cooks down into a custardy texture that’s still dry enough to fry into these crispy two-bite appetizers. Serve them with a shortcut dipping sauce, a blend of fresh garlic, bright yuzu juice, and silky Kewpie mayo.

Greens-and-Cheese-Stuffed Cinderella Pumpkin

Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Christina Daley

Inspired by Cassie Piuma’s squash spanakopita at her restaurant, Sarma, in Somerville, Massachusetts, this stuffed pumpkin is filled with a nutty, creamy blend of Gruyère and feta cheeses; sweet, anise-scented fennel; and hearty green lacinato kale for a stunning vegetarian main dish fit for any holiday table.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Onions with Mushroom Lardons

David Malosh

A duo of alliums — shallots and pearl onions — becomes irresistibly sweet when roasted, making them the ideal partner to slightly bitter brussels sprouts. Bacon, the usual star in recipes like this, is replaced with lardons made from king oyster mushrooms.

Lemon-Pomegranate Cranberry Sauce

Johhny Miller

A quick whirl in a food processor is all it takes to make this fresh-tasting sauce — no cooking required. For a savory boost, stir in finely ground toasted coriander.

Mushroom Parmesan

Gentl & Hyers

This light, beautiful, briny take on eggplant Parm stars panko-coated hen-of-the-woods mushrooms, from photographer Andrea Gentl’s 2022 cookbook, Cooking with Mushrooms: A Fungi Lover’s Guide to the World’s Most Versatile, Flavorful, Health-Boosting Ingredients. 

Vegetarian Wild Mushroom Sourdough Dressing

Victor Protasio

Tangy, crusty sourdough creates a dressing with contrast: chewy center pieces that have soaked up the stock and crispy, toasted edges. To ensure a balance of flavors and textures, keep stirring the mixture until stock and eggs have absorbed into the bread completely and none is pooled at the bottom of the mixing bowl.

Roasted Butternut Squash Parmesan

Jennifer Causey

Nestled under a super-savory breadcrumb and Parmesan topping, layers of tender butternut squash and marinara add up to a rich vegetarian main dish from Raquel Pelzel.

Vegetarian Meatballs

Frederick Hardy II / Food Styling by Melissa Gray / Prop Styling by Christina Brockman

Marianne Williams’ umami-rich meatless meatballs have quinoa, black beans, deeply roasted vegetables, and nutritional yeast. You can make these vegan by omitting the egg.

Baked Shells with Gremolata Breadcrumbs

Photo by Christopher Testani / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Prissy Lee

Macaroni and cheese is always a crowd-pleaser. This version features a combination of fontina for optimal gooey texture and cheddar for its tangy flavor. A crispy, bright mix of toasted panko, parsley, lemon, and garlic complements the richness of the ultra-creamy baked shells.

Creamy Swiss Chard Gratin with Crispy Gnocchi

Photo by Christopher Testani / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Prissy Lee

A riff on creamed spinach, this cheesy gratin is studded with buttery toasted gnocchi. Swiss chard adds an earthy bite, while a duo of nutty Gruyère and salty Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses brings richness and depth to the béchamel. Store-bought gnocchi help this gratin come together in a flash, and toasting them in butter instead of boiling adds a compelling crunch.

Carla Hall’s Buttermilk Biscuits

Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Torie Cox

Made with a combination of grated cold butter for flavor and vegetable shortening for tenderness, chef Carla Hall’s biscuits owe their towering, flaky layers to her classic laminating technique.

Raclette-Gruyère Mac and Cheese with Pickled Shallots

Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

Inspired by älplermagronen — Alpine farmers’ macaroni — this Swiss twist on a Thanksgiving classic gets rich flavor from Gruyère and a lush creaminess from raclette. Traditional versions of this dish are served with applesauce, and as a nod to that flavor play, we’ve added some shallots that are quickly pickled in apple cider vinegar to balance the cheesy richness.

Green Bean Casserole with Almost-Burnt Almonds

David Malosh

This riff on the Thanksgiving classic features tender-crisp green beans in a silky vegetarian sauce. With incredible crunch and intense nutty flavor, almost-burnt almonds take this dish to the next level; carefully cut one almond in half after the initial bake to make sure it’s browned all the way through.

Curried Pumpkin and Buss Up Shut (Paratha Roti)

Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

Fresh habanero chiles add a touch of fruity heat to the chunks of tender pumpkin and softened callaloo leaves in this curried pumpkin from Nina Compton. It’s served with Buss Up Shut, a flatbread that gets its name from “busted-up shirt,” which describes the bread’s torn, crinkled texture, perfect for sopping up flavorful curry. 

Rainbow Vegetable Gratin

Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop Styling by Audrey Davis

Six layers of colorful vegetables cook together in Justin Chapple’s free-form gratin; panko and Parmigiano-Reggiano absorb extra juices and provide a nice crunch. 

Shaved Beet and Carrot Salad With Citrus-Scallion Dressing

Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Thom Driver

When salad greens become scarce in late fall, try making this gorgeous, colorful salad of thinly shaved beets, carrot ribbons, and rounds of juicy clementine, served atop arugula and dressed with a citrus-scallion vinaigrette. The dressing is so delicious, recipe creator Leah Koenig says, “I sneak it straight from a spoon.”

Wild Mushroom Galette

Michael Piazza

Roasting the mushrooms reduces excess moisture and concentrates their meaty flavor, which pairs perfectly with the fresh thyme, rosemary, and sage in this flaky and crisp galette.

Caramelized Five-Onion Dip

Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

A mix of five alliums — shallots, scallions, and sweet, yellow, and red onions — give this classic caramelized onion dip layers of flavor. Yellow and red onions give it bite, while Vidalia onion and shallots lend a pleasant sweetness. Taking the time to cook the onions slowly over low heat concentrates their flavor, while adding scallions halfway through cooking keeps them just fresh enough to serve with chips, toasted bread, or vegetables like endive, steamed fingerling potatoes, and roasted Broccolini.

Whole Baked Pumpkin Soup

Aubrie Pick

Baking pumpkins whole traps steam inside the vegetable, resulting in a lush, velvety pumpkin puree, and making the skins easy to remove. In this recipe from chef Christian F. Puglisi, a simple reduction of dry white wine mingles with butter to balance the sweetness of the pumpkin.

Braised Greens with Crispy Garlic and Miso Butter

David Malosh

Hearty autumn greens take on new life when braised in a miso butter–laced broth. These richly flavored greens make a versatile side dish for everything from turkey and fish to sweet potatoes and squash.

Potato Gnocchi with Butter and Cheese

Maxwell Cozzi

The secret to the lightest, most tender potato gnocchi is to bake the potatoes instead of boiling them.

Carrot Steaks with Roasted Garlic Hollandaise

Photo by David Malosh / Prop Styling by Amy Wilson / Food Styling by Maggie Ruggiero

Chef Kate Williams’ beautifully layered carrot steaks at the now-shuttered Lady of the House in Detroit were a mainstay on her menu. Here, she’s shared an at-home riff using large horse carrots, balancing their natural sweetness with plenty of salt and lemon. The silky hollandaise drizzle comes together easily using a blender, which virtually guarantees an effortless sauce.

Crushed Potatoes with Spiced Olive Oil

Victor Protasio

Pressing the boiled potatoes through a wire baking rack is a neat trick for easily peeling and coarsely crushing them all at once. A trio of toasted and ground seeds — caraway, fennel, and coriander — mixed with extra-virgin olive oil gives these potatoes a delicately fruity but warmly spiced flavor. Because of the generous amount of olive oil in this recipe, the potatoes are great served warm or at room temperature.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Chorizo-Spiced Kale

Photo by David Malosh / Prop Styling by Amy Wilson / Food Styling by Maggie Ruggiero

With its earthy sweetness and dense texture, butternut squash makes a hearty vegetable steak. Chef Damian Sansonetti highlights its complexity with his chorizo spice mix. He blooms the blend of cumin, Pimentón, and coriander in oil to release each ingredient’s aroma, which provides a smoky foundation for this shoulder-season dish.

Red Cabbage Salad with Baked Cherries, Apples, and Almond Dukkah

Marcus Nilsson

This refreshing salad features bright cherry vinegar and sweet roasted cherry juice. Dukkah — a blend of spices, herbs, and nuts — grounds the flavor and adds an earthy crunch.

Note: Some of these recipes include cheeses that are often made with animal rennet. If you prefer not to use that type of cheese, you can omit it if applicable or swap in a vegetarian-friendly substitute.