Vegetarian thanksgiving

Vegetarian dish to replace the turkey on Thanksgiving

Benjamin Sanderson


cookinginvictoria November 7, 2016
This is not a Food52 recipe (it comes courtesy of Sam Sifton at the New York Times), but it looks like a very stunning and celebratory vegetarian entree (Whole Roasted Stuffed Delicata Squashes). I think that even carnivores wouldn't miss the meat, if they were served these.®ion=Well%27s+Vegetarian+Thanksgiving+&pgType=collection&rank=1
sexyLAMBCHOPx November 7, 2016
That looks so good.
lloreen November 6, 2016
I'm not a vegetarian but I'm agnostic about turkey. I could easily skip it and eat the veggie sides at Thanksgiving. If you are just trying to accommodate vegetarians, don't worry about it. Just make sure there are several good vegetable side dishes and salads and everyone will be happy. The one special dish I'd make, however, is mushroom gravy. This one is good: I actually prefer it to turkey gravy, to be honest.
sexyLAMBCHOPx November 6, 2016
This is my favorite vegetation recipe from the site: (mushroom bourguignon)

Maybe use mini roasted pumpkins or a large one to serve it in? Others have served over polenta. I love the egg noodles, though. Bonus: It's make-ahead.
aargersi November 6, 2016
I have three vegetarians this year, one is making a lentil roulade that she says tastes a bit like dressing, and another is making twice baked sweet potatoes, and the other is four years old so she's not cooking :-) I love the idea of the stuffed pumpkin though ...
sexyLAMBCHOPx November 6, 2016
Could you share that lentil roulade recipe?
aargersi November 6, 2016
My sister emailed me a photo that she took of the recipe from some old cookbook, she's in Sweden so I am not sure where she got it - it's called golden lentil roulade with chestnut stuffing. If you message me your email I will forward it to you!
dinner A. November 6, 2016
I bet this is the lentil-chestnut roulade my family made a few times, from the Vegetarian Times magazine:
I think we made a mushroom gravy to go with it.
Nancy November 6, 2016
This lentil chestnut roulade sounds great for a regular meal. How well do leftovers - if any - keep in the fridge or the freezer?
dinner A. November 6, 2016
I think it kept fine in the fridge for a while. I remember it as pretty soft in texture throughout, so no crisp parts to get soggy when leftover.
Nancy November 7, 2016
Dinner at Ten - thanks for the keeping notes. Definitely will make this.
cookinginvictoria November 4, 2016
Speaking of Deborah Madison recipes, one year we made her Mushroom Budin for Christmas Dinner, which is beautiful, celebratory and tastes amazing:
mobloom November 4, 2016
The Thanksgiving Menu Genie recommended this vegetarian lasagna for Heidi Swanson's Thanksgiving:
ChefJune November 4, 2016
In her transcendent book, "Cookwise," Shirley Corriher has a wonderful recipe for a pumpkin that is stuffed with a delicious melange of grains and vegetables. The large pumpkin makes a spectacular presentation, and it is absolutely delicious.
dinner A. November 4, 2016
Are you having an entirely vegetarian meal, or are you looking for a vegetarian dish to serve as an option, in addition to a turkey?
I grew up in vegetarian family (I now eat a bit of fish now and then), so most of my Thanksgiving meals were completely vegetarian. Sometimes they were structured like a turkey-centered dinner, with some of the related side dishes, and sometimes they weren't. I like both! Less successful (in my opinion anyway) are vegetarian dishes that try too hard to be like turkey in some way (I'm looking at you, basically every stuffed pepper/tomato/pumpkin I've ever had, and I don't think we even need to talk about Tofurkey).

My favorite vegetarian dishes that acted more like a direct turkey replacement were potato rosti (I followed this recipe: or similarly potato nik (basically a giant latke; this is what we did for Thanksgivukkah :) ), or for a smaller gathering a mushroom soufflé. They all look big and impressive, and go well with Thanksgiving-y sides like cooked greens, brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce, roasted mushrooms (try the escargot-style mushrooms on Smitten Kitchen), etc.

On the other hand, some sort of meze-style meal featuring fall vegetables with no obvious "main" can be really great and has a similar autumnal feast feeling. This can work in some of the traditional sides if you like.
Nancy November 4, 2016
As a vegetarian for more than 2 decades, agree with you on the layout of the meal...the most successful didn't try (and fail) to imimtate a turkey.
Funny you mention the rosti and potato-nik, because as I was doing errands today after writing my response above, I kept thinking of a beautiful potatoes Anna (with great lashings of cream and butter if you are vegetarian not vegan) as a centerpiece dish.
Nancy November 4, 2016
a choice (of two or three) blockbuster vegetables - roasted whole cauliflower, whole cabbage, stuffed artichokes.
Or a buffet main dish with many sides, like an indian curry or indonesian rijstaffel?
Nancy November 4, 2016
Have a look at this beer can cabbage on the grill...:)
creamtea November 4, 2016
This depends on your (or your guests') preferences.
Do you feel you must have a roast?
Would a flavorful black-bean chili suit?
A gratin?
Or a savory pie or galette?
Debora Madison has some beautiful mains in her Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.
I bet F52 will also have a post on this issue in the coming days.
Good luck!
Stephanie G. November 4, 2016
Deborah Madison's butternut squash gallete from the cookbook is probably one of the best things I have ever put in my mouth and I'm not a vegetarian! All of the galettes from that cookbook are special...also the mushroom cabbage one. I love Martha Shulmann's mushroom tart from NY times cooking website.
Erin A. November 10, 2016
Smitten Kitchen has a butternut squash and caramelized onion galette that I'd be happy to have as a vegetarian centerpiece (but be careful to make sure vegetarians get some before meat-eaters devour it all--a constant vegetarian fear/issue) that is similar to Deborah Madison's. One of the best is a big lasagne or two, if leaning Italian feels homey to you. It would likely compliment traditional Thanksgiving sides, and leave your guests just as food comatose as Turkey-eaters.
dinner A. November 10, 2016
Erin, I could not agree more about the fear of meat-eaters eating all the non-meat food! I've been to plenty of events for which veg./non-veg. food was provided in proportion to the number of vegetarians and non-vegetarians, and unless there is a lot of extra food, there are always some vegetarians left with a few sad scraps.
Recommended by Food52