Our Best Vegetarian Menu for Thanksgiving

updated Oct 21, 2020
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image

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, and mushrooms — 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.

A Simple Vegetarian Thanksgiving Menu

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.

For Sipping: Sparkling Apple Cider Sangria

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. 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.

Get the recipe: Sparkling Apple Cider Sangria

Credit: Joe Lingeman

The Show-Stopping Centerpiece: Vegetarian Stuffed Pumpkin

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.

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.

Get the recipe: How To Make a Vegetarian Stuffed Pumpkin Masterpiece

(Image credit: Coco Morante)

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.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)


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.