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occ's avatar

What are the best vegetarian thanksgiving dishes/recipes?

Asked by occ (4080points) November 18th, 2007

I“m cooking this year—and my whole family is vegetarian. There are so many great vegetarian thanksgiving foods, but most of them are side dishes. I’m planning to make mashed sweet potatoes, wild rice, stuffed zuchini and mushrooms (thanks to some great fluther recipes). Without turkey, what can I make that might seem like a main course? No fake meat—my family doesn’t like it.
p.s. and of course, if anyone has other good veggie side dish ideas, would love to hear about them.

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14 Answers

mdy's avatar

I haven’t had a chance to look through all the links, but this page on might help: Best Vegetarian Thanksgiving.

bpeoples's avatar

We’ve always taken the track of “everything except the turkey”—the turkey is really just another side dish when you look at your plate piled high with everything else, so to cut out the meat, just eliminate the turkey =)

If your family is fishy, you could also do a salmon instead—I was actually eyeing this recipe:,1977,FOOD_9936_25739,00.html

christybird's avatar

Two dishes I would highly recommend would be:

1) chestnut stuffing – chestnuts are rich and sweet, definitely a special food. I made this for T-day last year and LOVED it: Take about 1 lb chestnuts, soak them in water overnight to loosen the shells. Boil them for about an hour/hour and a half (shells on) – take them out of the water a few at a time and peel (the heat keeps the shells loose). This is the labor-intensive, annoying thing about chestnuts. After peeling, chop coarsely and set aside. Next, sautee ~1 c. onions and 1 c. celery in butter until transparent. Add 2–3 cups dry bread crumbs, 2 tsp salt and 1 c. vegetable broth to these veggies, as well as dried thyme, marjoram and savory (1 tsp each). Mix in the chestnuts. Dot with butter chunks and bake in a greased dish for about 20 minutes at 325 degrees.

2) Fresh orange-cranberry relish: take 2 cups fresh cranberries, 1 orange (with the peel on, cut into pieces, deseeded), and 1/2–1/3 cup honey and pulse until blended in a food processor. I would recommend organic cranberries and oranges, if you can find ‘em.

Good luck!

figbash's avatar

I second the salmon. I have also seen Pumpkin Ravioli with butter and sage used as a main dish.

Jill_E's avatar

Wow the Pumpkin Ravioli sounds great.^^^ figbash, where would you find this I wonder.

Also at Costco, they have a huge bag of spinach and parmesan ravioli in the frozen section. The instructions on the back says to add olive oil (i would also throw in walnuts and cubed mozzerella in it) it is yummy.

sarahsugs's avatar

I’m a fan of casseroles, or lasagnas, as a veggie option. I went to a pre-Thanksgiving dinner the other night where the veggie option was homemade macaroni and cheese…mmm….delicious!!

figbash's avatar

@ Jill_E: You can either make it yourself (complicated!) or buy it at a high-end pasta store. Here’s a great recipe for it, using pre-made ravioli:,1977,FOOD_9936_22455,00.html

gailcalled's avatar

Fresh green beans. 1 diced onion, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 lb. fresh green beans, ends trimmed, large can of whole tomatoes, chopped, w. juice,- chopped fresh dill and mint.

Sauté onions until translucent in olive oil, add garlic – saute for a minute or so, add tomatoes. Cook for several minutes, add green beans – cook covered until firm tender (take off lid of too much liquid). Turn off heat, add fresh herbs, salt, pepper to taste.

Proportions flexible. Delicious the next day also.

lynng's avatar

Hi, I cook this great vegetarian stuffed squash every Thanksgiving. It’s a meal in itself.

Lynn’s Stuffed Squash Recipe
(There won’t be a lot of measurements to this as I make it up as I go)


Delicata squash
Olive Oil
Spices: Cinnamon, curry powder, brown sugar, pepper, salt if desired
Onions (use lots-3 large ones at least) Sliced thinly and cut rounds in half
Vegetables such as mushroom, broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, zucchini all cut into small
Dried cherries (about 1/4 cup)
Whole Cashews (About 1 cup)
Italian seasoned bread crumbs
Finely grated parmesan cheese

Part 1 – Cooking the squash

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Delicata squashes cut in half lengthwise, seeded and cleaned.
Place the squash halves face up in a pyrex baking dish with 1/4–1/2 inches of water in the bottom of the dish In a separate bowl, mix together equal parts of curry powder, cinnamon and brown sugar. (About 2 T of each depending on the amount of squash you’re using)
Put a couple of pats of butter on the inside of each squash half. Then sprinkle a lightly
generous portion of the spice mixture onto each squash half (both inside and on the
edges). Save some spice mixture for the vegetables
Cover baking dish with foil and bake until soft (just past firm), about 30–40 minutes.

Part 2 – The Stuffing

Put a generous amount of olive oil in a large, heavy fry pan.
Heat on medium high heat and add a teaspoon of sugar
When hot, add the onions and stir them so they are completely coated in the oil.
Cook between medium and medium high heat about 25–30 minutes, stirring them about
every 5 minutes until they caramelize. (Turn a nice, uniform caramel brown color)
Return to medium high heat and add the chopped mushrooms and zucchini and cook
another 1–2 minutes. Then add the broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, cashews and some of the spice mixture, salt and pepper to taste. Cook another couple of minutes
Turn burner off and add enough bread crumbs to give the stuffing some heft but not so much to take away the vegetable taste or make it too dry. Then add the dried
cherries and mix well.

Part 3 – The Assembly

Fill each squash with stuffing and top with parmesan cheese
Bake covered at 350 degrees for 20–25 minutes until thoroughly warm (make sure you still have enough water in the bottom of the pan so it doesn’t burn)
For a crispier top, broil with cover off for the last 1–2 minutes

Serve immediately


figbash's avatar

Also, consider the fun in making vegetarian dishes into the shape of a turkey:

hossman's avatar

Turkey is just an excuse for the side dishes, anyway.

zina's avatar

this isn’t necessarily a main dish, but…. we always have corn souffle (or sometimes corn on the cob), and i love it this time of year.

also, mashed sweet potatoes are great with a little brown sugar on top. mmM!

mushroom-based dishes are often great as a vegetarian main dish – not at all a fake meat, but with the rich, chewy, substantial feel that’s so different from salad, carbs, etc. they can be great marinated or in a rich savory sauce. you mentioned that you’re already doing stuffed mushrooms (a lighter one) – perhaps in future try something with wild mushrooms or portabellos…. i don’t have any specific recipes with me at the moment.

the chestnut one sounds AMAZING!

zahava85's avatar

Orange Cauliflower and Fuji Apple Soup with
Sage Cream and Aged Cheddar Tuiles
(serves 6)

1 medium orange cauliflower, cut into florets (about 8 cups)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium white onion, finely chopped (a little more than 1 cup)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
2 Fuji apples, coarsely chopped
6 cups vegetable stock
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
¼ teaspoon white pepper, plus more to taste
½ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons freshly chopped sage
2 ounces aged cheddar cheese (
6 small sage leaves for garnish


Heat oven to 450° F.

Toss the cauliflower with 2 tablespoons oil. Spread the cauliflower in an even layer in a foil-lined baking pan. Roast the cauliflower for 30 minutes, tossing a few times.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350° F.

15 minutes before the cauliflower is done, heat the butter and canola oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and sage and cook until the onion is very soft, about 6–7 minutes. Add the chopped apple and cook for another 6–7 minutes.

Add the roasted cauliflower, 4 cups of the stock, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon white pepper. Cover the pot and simmer for 10 minutes.

While the soup is cooking, combine the heavy cream and sage in a small saucepan. Bring the cream to a simmer over medium-low heat, and simmer for 3–4 minutes. Remove the cream from the heat and let the sage steep in the cream for 20 minutes. Strain the cream through a fine mesh sieve.

Let the soup cool for 20 minutes, then blend it in 3 batches, adding 2/3 cup stock to each batch. When all the soup has been blended, add more salt and pepper to taste.

In the meantime, shred the cheese using the smallest holes of a box grater. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide the cheese into 6 equal portions and sprinkle each portion onto the parchment in a large round. Bake the tuiles for 6 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let the tuiles cool on the pan for 1 minute. Move the parchment from the pan to a cool surface and let the tuiles cool completely.

Top each serving of soup with a spoonful of the sage cream and garnish with a sage leaf and a tuile.

I can’t take credit for the original recipe (sadly!)..check out for the original post

Lua_cara's avatar

Smoked Cheddar Soufflé

1 tablespoon dry breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
3 large eggs yolks, at room temperature
1¼ cups smoked cheddar cheese, grated and packed (about 4 ounces)
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 tablespoons minced chives

Heat the oven to 375°F and arrange a rack in the bottom third. Generously coat a 6-cup soufflé dish with butter and sprinkle it lightly with breadcrumbs to coat evenly; set aside.
Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. When it foams, add flour and stir occasionally until flour has cooked slightly, about 4 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and whisk in salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
Whisk egg yolks in a large bowl until smooth. Whisk about ⅓ cup of the milk mixture into yolks until smooth. Add remaining milk mixture, whisking until blended. Stir in cheese and set aside. Place a baking sheet in the oven to heat while finishing the soufflé, at least 5 minutes.
Place egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 5 minutes. Increase the speed to high and beat until peaks are stiff and smooth but not dry, about 2 minutes more.
Gently fold ⅓ of the egg whites into the cheese mixture until blended and no white streaks are visible. Add remaining whites and chives and gently fold until thoroughly combined. Pour into the prepared soufflé dish.
Place soufflé on the heated baking sheet. Bake until it is well risen, the top is browned, the edges appear dry, and the center is set (it doesn’t move if lightly touched), about 35 to 40 minutes.

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