I thought my first Thanksgiving as a vegetarian would be easy. Skip the turkey, done and done!
Not so fast. Because sometimes there’s meat in them thar sides. Like the gravy (turkey drippings). And the stuffing (sausage or chicken broth). And perhaps the veggies are cooked in bacon. Noooo! Yep, Thanksgiving as a vegetarian isn’t quite as easy as it may seem.
But really, it doesn’t have to be hard! Swap out a couple of traditional sides (perhaps include a vegetarian gravy and make a veggie stuffing?) and add in a hearty vegetarian side dish or two, and the vegetarians can feast with the best of ’em. Here are 15 vegetarian Thanksgiving side dishes that are sure to wow everyone – not just the vegetarians. (Oh, and earlier this week, I also posted 19 vegan Thanksgiving side dishes – maybe one of those will fit the bill too!)
Hearty Pasta Dishes
Pasta sides are perfect for when vegetarians and meat-eaters are at the same table. It’s easy to make a hearty pasta dish that acts as a main for the vegetarians and also an excellent side for the meat-eaters.
The Best Macaroni and Cheese Recipe Ever – One of my top-visited Thanksgiving recipes isn’t even what I originally thought of as a Thanksgiving recipe – but loads of people make this one for their Thanksgiving table. The only problem is that the vegetarians may have to fight the carnivores for it. 😉
Jalapeño Mac & Cheese – For those that like it spicier, jalapeño mac & cheese is where it’s at.
Stovetop Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese – A super easy, no-oven-needed, seasonal take on mac and cheese. Perfect for Thanksgiving!
Creamy Artichoke Baked Pasta – Creamy baked pasta peppered with artichoke hearts. Yesss.
Creamy Pumpkin Baked Rigatoni – PUMPKIN. Need I say more?
Roasted Vegetable Pasta Salad from The Lean Green Bean – Hearty cheese tortellini plus roasted veggies, tossed with a Dijon maple dressing. I love that this hearty salad can be served cold so there’s no last minute prep come showtime.
Ah, gravy. Traditionally made with drippings and/or meaty broth, gravy actually doesn’t need either to be delicious. Case in point:
Vegetarian Onion Gravy – This versatile gravy is really delicious for how simple it is. Bonus: You can make it ahead of time and freeze it. For real!
Stuffed Mushroom Casserole from Peas and Crayons – Stuffed mushrooms in creamy casserole form? I’m there.
Balsamic Herb Cranberry Roasted Squash Recipe from Cooking on the Weekends – Roasted veggies can be done a ton of ways but I love the addition of cranberries in this one. It adds an element of festive that’s just perfect for Thanksgiving.
Cheesy Asparagus Potato Tart from A Latte Food – Not only does this potato tart look delicious, but it’s pretty to boot!
Sauteed Green Beans with Smoky Shallots – No bacon in sight!
Roasted Delicata Squash from Foolproof Living – Gorgeous rings of delicate squash made extra special with a sweet and sour sauce + pepitas.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Pears with Thyme from Vanilla and Bean – Love upping the autumn ante with pears.
One of my first big disappointments as a new vegetarian on Thanksgiving was learning I couldn’t eat the stuffing! Noooooo! Arguably the best thing about Thanksgiving next to the pumpkin pie, stuffing can luckily be made vegetarian AND delicious. I make the stuffing every year!
Quinoa and Chestnut Stuffing – Love the festive addition of chestnuts here.
Slow Cooker Sourdough Herb Stuffing – Super easy and straightforward, plus, no oven needed! Love Crock Pot recipes on Thanksgiving.
What are your favorite vegetarian Thanksgiving side dishes? Share in the comments below!