Even though I eat meat, I would be more than content eating a Thanksgiving dinner that eschews the bird and brings more vegetables to the table. Lucky for vegetarians, there are so many wonderful vegetables to cook with this time of year — winter squash, Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, etc. — that are as hearty as they are flavorful and make for a satisfying meal that feels equally as celebratory as a more traditional one. Here's our best completely vegetarian Thanksgiving menu.
The Menu + A Few Tips
While this menu may skip the meat, it hardly skips on substance. The key to a successful Thanksgiving dinner that's 100% vegetarian is to have one show-stopping main dish that will receive plenty of oohs and aahs — similar to the effect of a glistening turkey — and then round out the table with a handful of flavorful, versatile sides.
- Sparkling Apple Cider Sangria
- How To Make a Vegetarian Stuffed Pumpkin Masterpiece
- Thanksgiving Slaw
- Braised Fennel & Shallots
- Colorful Lentil Salad with Walnuts & Herbs
- Rustic Pear and Apple Galette
- Maple Pecan Pie Bars
What to Drink
Anything goes, really, when it comes to what to drink for a vegetarian Thanksgiving, but it's fun to have one easy-to-pour cocktail on hand to quickly get guests in the spirit.
Sparkling Apple Cider Sangria: I believe any and all holidays should kick off with something bubbly. This simple sangria relies on Cava for the sparkles and feels extra seasonal, thanks to apple cider and a garnish of pomegranate seeds.
The Show-Stopping Centerpiece
Since you won't be plopping a turkey down in the center of the table, you should deliver something equally masterful and stunning for the main event.
How To Make a Vegetarian Stuffed Pumpkin Masterpiece: This stuffed pumpkin is most definitely a worthy substitute for the usual Thanksgiving main course. Cut into the center and you'll be greeted with a hearty, decadent mix of cornbread, Gruyère cheese, greens, mushrooms, and herbs.
The Side Dishes
While the star of the show can really stand out on its own, it's Thanksgiving, which means the sides are equally as important. Bringing a nice mix to the table is always a good idea.
Thanksgiving Slaw: The cheesy cornbread stuffing inside the pumpkin is quite rich, so it's nice to have a cool, crisp salad or slaw to eat alongside it. This one is especially nice, as it can be made ahead without fear of it wilting.
Braised Fennel and Shallots: This warm dish may sound simple, but the vegetables are braised in orange juice, which adds a bright, fragrant note that's in perfect harmony with the sweet fennel and shallots.
Colorful Lentil Salad with Walnuts & Herbs: Bringing a little protein to a vegetable-centric dinner to ensure it's balanced is always a good idea. This colorful, tangy salad won't overpower anything else at the table and can also be made ahead of time. If you or a guest is a strict vegetarian, leave off the Parmesan cheese.
For vegetarians, there aren't many restrictions when it comes to dessert. The best plan of action is to keep it simple and classic.
Rustic Pear and Apple Galette: Apple pie in some form is an essential part of Thanksgiving. This version is extra easy, as it's essentially a freeform tart. Pears are added to the mix to lend a subtle twist that hardly stray from tradition.
Maple Pecan Pie Bars: This handheld version of pecan pie is a dream alongside coffee and is one of those treats that, even if you think you're too full for dessert, you'll find yourself squirreling away in a napkin for later.