25 Essential Vegetarian Side Dishes for Thanksgiving

25 Essential Vegetarian Side Dishes for Thanksgiving

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Sheela Prakash
Nov 11, 2016

Sure, turkey may be at the center of the table for Thanksgiving, but that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of incredible dishes to dig into if you're meat-free. In fact, many of the best sides at the table, more often than not, are meatless. Here are 25 vegetarian-approved salads, stuffings, mashes, and casseroles for your Thanksgiving table.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

1. Thanksgiving Slaw

The benefit to serving slaw instead of salad at Thanksgiving is that it can be made ahead of time without having to worry that it will wilt. This fall version combines crunchy green cabbage with sweet cranberries and toasted almonds in a maple-Dijon vinaigrette.

(Image credit: Anjali Prasertong)

2. Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Apples, Hazelnuts & Brown Butter Dressing

This raw Brussels sprouts salad has incredible depth of flavor, thanks to the brown butter that's whisked into the dressing, which lends nutty richness further complemented by the buttery hazelnuts.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

3. Wheat Berry Salad with Blood Oranges, Feta & Red Onion Vinaigrette

This whole-grain salad, flecked with jewel-toned blood orange segments, is a nice change from the usual starches at the table. To bulk it up even more, you can add other veggies like chopped fennel, celery, or radishes to the mix.

(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

4. Herbed Olive Oil Fantail Rolls

These pretty rolls are surprisingly simple to make, thanks to a forgiving yeasted dough that's enhanced with olive oil and yogurt.

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

5. Potato Dough Rolls

Relying on instant mashed potatoes makes these incredibly tender rolls a snap to put together. Since they'll be such a hit with vegetarians and omnivores alike, it wouldn't hurt to make a double batch.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

6. Gluten-Free Cornbread and Mushroom Stuffing

This is a stuffing for everyone at the table. It's gluten-free and vegetarian yet incredibly rich and savory, thanks to a mix of sautéed mushrooms.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

7. Everything Bagel Stuffing

Everything bagels are too tasty and too packed with flavor to be limited to breakfast. Here they are used as the base in this quirky stuffing that's flecked with scallions and enriched with a touch of cream.

(Image credit: Rachel Joy Baransi)

8. Classic Sage & Onion Bread Dressing

This is bread stuffing in its simplest form, and that's exactly why it's so great. The lack of fancy additions to the mix makes it one that will always find a welcome place at the Thanksgiving table.

(Image credit: Jerrelle Guy)

9. Scalloped Sweet Potatoes

Swap out the traditional scalloped potatoes at your table this year with something a bit more colorful. This sweet potato version is made fragrant with fresh thyme and ground nutmeg, and decadent with heavy cream and Gruyère cheese.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

10. Baked Polenta with Greens, Artichokes, and Gruyère

This casserole is hearty enough to be a main dish for vegetarians, but it also makes a great side dish. Slicing a tube of cooked polenta into thick rounds instead of cooking it from scratch also means it's easy to assemble.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

11. Broccoli Rabe and White Bean Gratin

This isn't one of those heavy, extra-creamy gratins that usually graces the Thanksgiving table. Instead, it's hearty and wholesome, thanks to the beans and greens, and it's hit with only a splash of whole milk.

(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

12. Make-Ahead Mashed Potato Casserole

While most mashed potato recipes need to be made soon before serving, this casserole actually taste better when made in advance. You can assemble it up to two days ahead of time and bake it when you're ready.

(Image credit: Jerrelle Guy)

13. Pumpkin Risotto

This stunning, orange-hued risotto is guaranteed to be a hit at the Thanksgiving table. Just be sure to make it right before eating, as it's not a dish that sits well.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

14. Honey-Mustard Brussels Sprouts

The best part about this side dish is that you most likely have the ingredients for the sauce in your pantry already. Whole-grain mustard, apple cider vinegar, honey, and soy sauce is all it takes.

(Image credit: Rachel Joy Baransi)

15. Spiced Cranberry Sauce

This is one of those classic recipes that you may find yourself bringing to the table every year after you make it once. It's tart yet sweet, and spiced with a heady mix of cinnamon, cardamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger.

(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

16. Lemony Green Beans with Almond Breadcrumbs

These light, bright green beans are made texturally interesting, thanks to a healthy sprinkle of nutty, crunchy breadcrumbs just before serving.

(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

17. Fig Cranberry Sauce

The rich sweetness of dried figs is a wonderful contrast to the cranberries, while a splash of whiskey really makes it feel like a cranberry sauce that's dressed up for the holidays.

(Image credit: Rachel Joy Baransi)

18. Golden Mashed Potatoes

The surprise ingredient in this side dish is rutabaga, which lends a golden hue and a full, rich flavor to your usual mashed potatoes.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

19. Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Coconut & Vanilla Bean

This creamy side dish is nutty and rich, thanks to coconut milk, and just sweet enough due to a whisper of brown sugar and vanilla bean paste.

(Image credit: Nealey Dozier)

20. Whipped Cauliflower with Crème Fraîche

Cauliflower mashes up into an equally creamy side dish, thanks in part to crème fraîche. Just use vegetable stock instead of chicken to keep it vegetarian.

(Image credit: Melissa Ryan)

21. Stovetop Rustic Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Red-skinned potatoes make for a garlic-packed mash that you can make pretty quickly on the stovetop.

(Image credit: Melissa Ryan)

22. Stovetop Steam-Fried Green Beans and Mushrooms

These green beans are sautéed to give them some caramelization then hit with a little broth so that they steam and become perfectly tender.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

23. Vegetarian Root Vegetable Pot Pie

Here's a vegetarian showstopper that's perfect for the Thanksgiving table. The hearty filling is made with parsnips, celery root, potatoes, and chestnuts and then topped with a buttery puffed pastry crust. It's packed with tips to even make it vegan.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

24. Butternut Squash Rose Tart

Bring pie to the table before dessert in the form of this savory ricotta and sage tart. The press-in olive oil crust makes it a snap to assemble.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

25. Mixed Mushroom and Goat Cheese Popover Bake

Fashioned after Yorkshire pudding, this puffed egg bake is filled with an earthy blend of mushrooms, red onion, and thyme.

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