12 Vegetarian Thanksgiving Dishes to Make Omnivores Jealous

November 21, 2013

Thanksgiving for vegetarians really isn't that big of a deal. Unless you're sitting at a table where everything has been pre-drenched in gravy or stewed in chicken stock or fried in bacon fat (I assume that such tables exist but I have never sat at one), there are probably enough meatless foodstuffs to make a meatless meal. 

But it's a holiday that centers around turkey, and thus there's an odd spotlight that shines, each year, on meat abstainers. What will they eat? What will they bring? Also: Are they lepers?

When these questions arise, you vegetarians might start to feel defensive or prideful or hungry. In response, let your omnivorous friends know that there are, in fact, plenty of vegetarian dishes that can share the spotlight with turkey and feel a little more main-course-y than brussels sprouts or even a gratin. All they need is to feel comforting, and not yell too loud (e.g. no habañero mac and cheese). Here are 12:

Shop the Story

Lablabi (Middle Eastern Spicy Chickpea Stew) by creamtea

Lablabi on Food52


Thanksgiving Root Vegetable Pie by Marian Bull

Thanksgiving Root Vegetable Pie on Food52


Leek Risotto by nicolecooks

Leek Risotto on Food52


Jeweled Millet by Weird & Ravenous

Vegan Jeweled Millet on Food52

Vegan Lentil Shepherd’s Pie with Parsnip and and Potato Mash by Gena Hamshaw

Vegan Shepherd's Pie on Food52




Creamy Carrot Ginger Bisque with Cashew Cream by Gena Hamshaw

Vegan Carrot Ginger Bisque on Food52


Wintry Corn Bread Pudding by hardlikearmour

Wintry Corn Bread Pudding on Food52


Hearty Kale Salad with Kabocha Squash, Pomegranate Seeds, and Toasted Hazelnuts by Gena Hamshaw

Winter Kale Salad on Food52


Radish and Pecan Grain Salad by Amanda Hesser

Radish and Pecan Grain Salad on Food52


Leek and Greens Tart with Cornmeal Crust by fiveandspice

Leek and Greens Tart on Food52


Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprout, and Bread Stuffing with Apples by Gena Hamshaw

Vegan Stuffing on Food52


Quinoa Salad with Hazelnuts, Apples, and Dried Cranberries by darksideofthespoon

Quinoa Salad on Food52

52 Days of Thanksgiving
Check It Out
52 Days of Thanksgiving

Top-notch recipes, expert tips, and all the tools to pull off the year’s most memorable feast.

Check It Out

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Mitch
  • Desert Dryad
    Desert Dryad
  • susan g
    susan g
  • Marian Bull
    Marian Bull
Marian Bull

Written by: Marian Bull



Mitch November 24, 2013
I would've said "to make carnivores jealous." Because as an omnivore I wouldn't say no to any of that. *pats belly* I can always get some meat later.
Mitch November 24, 2013
Ok, I'd sub out the Brussels sprouts. I never got a liking for those.
Desert D. November 22, 2013
Lovely recipes, as usual, but I would never serve kale salad as a "main" to vegetarians. Even vegetarians need calories!
Marian B. November 22, 2013
Touché, but I wanted to include a hearty salad in here -- you're not going to make a meal out of just that, but it carries a little more weight than a regular mixed greens salad, and for that reason I'd say it's helpful for vegetarians on Thanksgiving! With a healthy side of mash and pie.
susan G. November 21, 2013
Thanksgiving is a big deal -- it's a celebration of the best things about America. I'm a granddaughter of immigrants, a vegetarian for over 35 years, and mother of 4 with 10 grandchildren. It's a perfect day for families to share a meal, companionship and a beautiful season, remembering what brought so many people here. It's a perfect meal for symbolism, so we eat and enjoy our cranberries, sweet potatoes and wild rice, and nothing is missing.
Marian B. November 22, 2013
Thanks for sharing this, Susan! My family has celebrated a vegetarian Thanksgiving for 4 years now (and once it was vegan and gluten-free, and fabulous), and my omnivorous parents always say that they don't miss the turkey. Mostly because it's so fun -- and easy -- to fill the table with beautiful produce, grains, and other non-turkey dishes.