Vegetarians at a family Thanksgiving dinner are accustomed to getting the stink eye, the exasperated sigh, and the classic “I think these mashed potatoes are meat-free…oh wait, I used chicken stock.” On a day that emphasizes indulgence to the point of a bellyache, those who choose to avoid meat are often the odd ones out. Instead of complaining, vegetarians just grin, bear it, and fill up on not-so-satisfying green bean casserole, dinner roles, and pumpkin pie.
Not so this year. Here are 33 of our favorite vegetarian main dishes that are far from boring, tasteless, or the dreaded (and oft-joked about) Tofurkey. A meat-free meal can be just as rich and scrumptious as any classic Thanksgiving dish. Plus, think of all the time you’ll save when prepping, brining, cooking, basting, and stuffing the turkey is out of the picture!
For all 33 Vegetarian mains for Thanksgiving, go to Greatist.com. Some of the dishes are below.
1. Pumpkin Pot Pie
The classic chicken potpie goes vegetarian and seasonal in this spotlight-stealing dish. Instead of meat, roasted pumpkin, carrots, celery, and kale take center stage. White kidney beans give the dish some protein, too. Make the crust a tiny bit healthier by opting for whole-wheat flour and going easy on the Parmesan cheese.
2. Butternut Squash Baked Risotto
This dairy-free risotto uses olive oil and low-sodium broth, not butter and cream, to achieve a rich consistency. With four cups of butternut squash and an entire bunch of kale, this baked dish is an easy way to get your veggies on Thanksgiving Day. Skip the grated parm to make this meal totally vegan.
3. Walnut-Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
Toasty walnuts, breadcrumbs, garlic, and sage transform these giant ‘shrooms into a rich, filling meal. Vegan cheese means this bad boy is perfect for vegans gathering around the Thanksgiving table.
4. Stuffed Thanksgiving “Burger”
Eating a burger on Thanksgiving — sacrilege, or genius? We vote for the latter. This all-veggie patty is made from lentils, mushrooms, hazelnuts, cranberries, sage, and thyme. It’s just like a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, only on a bun.
15. Quinoa Stuffing with Apple, Sweet Potato, and Hazelnuts
For a side dish that’s filling enough to serve as a main course, look no further. Protein-rich quinoa and hazelnuts provide protein and fat, while sweet potatoes and apples lend this dish fiber and lots of fall flavor.
16. Pumpkin and Sage Ravioli
Mix things up with fresh, homemade ravioli filled with seasonal ingredients. The pumpkin puree, fresh sage, ricotta cheese, and nutmeg toe the line between savory and sweet. Serve ‘em with a bit of melted butter and a thin sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.
17. Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
Who needs meat when you can eat rich, meaty Portobello mushrooms instead? Stuffing them with sautéed tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, spinach, and a sprinkling of goat’s milk feta cheese turns these veggies into a full-on meal.
18. Apple Sage Chickpea Burgers
Once again proving that burgers are totally acceptable Thanksgiving fare, these chickpea veggie patties will probably steal the show. In addition to being protein-rich and low in fat, these burgers are fit to burst with autumn flavor thanks to the apples, sage, and onions.
30. Butternut Squash and Kale Stuffed Shells
What happens when you combine an Italian classic and a Thanksgiving classic? You get these delicious, healthy, totally main course-worthy stuffed shells. Butternut squash adds moisture and flavor, so it’s possible to cut down on the cheese for a healthier dish.
31. Sweet Potato, Onion, and Fontina Tart
This rustic tart combines all the colors (and flavors) of fall. It’s a beautiful dish that will surely tempt even the non-vegetarians in the room. When assembling it, alternate rings of sweet potatoes and onions to make a pretty (and yummy) bulls-eye pattern.
32. Chermoula Eggplant with Bulgur and Yogurt
Leave it to the New York Times to get really creative with vegetarian Thanksgiving dishes. This Middle Eastern eggplant dish is totally non-traditional, featuring bulgur wheat salad, raisins, olives, almonds, and a drizzle of Greek yogurt on top.
For all 33 recipes, including all the missing numbers above, go to Greatist.com.
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