I am at a loss for a hearty vegetarian main dish for Thanksgiving. I have done the lentil loaf, pot pie, quiches. All are never more than ok.

  • Posted by: Melissa
  • November 15, 2016


PetetheBaker November 22, 2016
My daughter is vegan and I'm making her a Vegan Shepard's Pie. Onions, Garlic, Celery and carrots sauted with fresh herbs and olive oil. Add in Kidney beans and lentils. Top with mashed sweet potatoes and put under the broiler for a few minutes with some breadcrumbs.
Cook's S. November 22, 2016
I tend to go the pasta route when doing a vegetarian main. Over at Cook's Science we recently published a recipe for something a little outside the box -- gnudi! (like gnocchi, but super cloud-like and light). They have a deep squash flavor and gorgeous color. Served with kale and roasted salted pepitas, they're a pretty perfect fall dish: http://www.cooksscience.com/recipes/9268-butternut-squash-gnudi-with-kale-parmesan-and-pepitas/
Deborah M. November 22, 2016
I've given up worrying about the main dish and just go for the groaning board of seasonal dishes. But, to try to answer your question, I sometimes make a winter squash galette - either a big gorgeous one, or individual galettes. and it needn't be winter squash - could be braised leeks and goat cheese, wild mushrooms. I also like to make a lasagna with hand made dough so that it's wonderfully delicate.
caninechef November 21, 2016
Probably a bit late to be fiddling with menu but the Butternut Galette featured as Recipe of the Day hear on food52 seems to have gotten rave reviews. If you could offload prepping the squash it probably would not be too burdensome work wise.

This idea makes me wonder how many of us grew up being the prep person in the kitchen. Peeling everything from potatoes to shrimp, prepping all manner of veggies and fruit. I was also the cutlet fryer, veal, chicken, eggplant, you name it.
WabiSabiSab November 18, 2016
If you are up for a little work, this recipe for Butternut Squash Chickpea Cakes is delicious. These are filling with a salad on the side. A red onion jam puts them over the top. These can be pan fried ahead of time and kept warm in the oven.

Another idea is Heidi Swanson's Mushroom Casserole - again, filling for a vegetarian with salad on the side.

Good luck!
QueenSashy November 17, 2016
This is a gorgeous, gorgeous recipe -- very Thanksgiving-ish and a beautiful presentation. http://kimodonnel.com/recipe.html
ChefJune November 17, 2016
I've mentioned it before - but Shirley Corriher (remember the food science elf from Alton Brown's "Good Eats show?) has a fabulous recipe in her book "Cookwise," https://www.amazon.com/CookWise-Successful-Cooking-Secrets-Revealed/dp/0688102298/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1479398584&sr=1-1&keywords=shirley+corriher for the most delicious pumpkin stuffed with a melange of vegetables, beans and grains. The presentation - bringing the whole pumpkin in on a large platter - is spectacular as well.
Summer O. November 17, 2016
If you have at least 3 veggie sides that are indeed vegetarian you don't need a main. Thanksgiving is a vegetarian's dream meal. Sam Sifton recently posted a beet main course for vegetarians on the Times' website.
Kayla R. November 17, 2016
I'm a squash-a-holic, and love to eat as much of it as I can during Thanksgiving. Have you considered a pumpkin chili or curry? Could be a nice way to get the flavors of the season into a dish that meat-eating guests would also enjoy as a side.

I usually wing those dishes, so I don't have a go-to recipe to suggest, but I've been wanting to test this one: https://www.nigella.com/recipes/members/twinkss-thai-red-pumpkin-curry

You could also try pizza from scratch with a reduced pumpkin mash (seasoned with cumin, red chili, and coriander) as the sauce, topped with kale rubbed with olive oil and tossed with S+P, goat cheese, shallots, garlic, and toasted walnuts.

Other show-stopping mains:

For these recipes, adjust the fillings to include tofu, chickpeas, nuts, or seeds to round out the dishes.
scruz November 15, 2016
mushroom lasagna with white sauce, not marinara. i would forgo turkey for it.
dinner A. November 15, 2016
This recent thread has a few ideas for you: https://food52.com/hotline/33765-vegetarian-thanksgiving
Valhalla November 15, 2016
Are you sure you need it? Will everyone be vegetarian? I have been veg for 30 years, and Thanksgiving is all about the sides--with a solid variety, I am never disappointed! I realize some situations just call for a main, but I just wanted to put that out there for anyone feeling the pressure to make a vegetarian main.
Nancy November 17, 2016
First, Valhalla, as a many-years vegetarian, I agree with your point about good sides being wonderful & freeing this hostess from pressure of a hig main dish.
Melissa, I find I am most relaxed hosting a meal when I am serving dishes I've made before. Thinking over the responses here so far, I wonder if you might use one of your previous recipes you know people like & boosting their prep this time, ...e.g., high quality raw ingredients, more nuts or fat for better mouthfeel, sauces or garnishes for color contrast presentation, individual servings (like stuffing cooked in muffin pan, main diah cooked in mini casseroles, etc.).
Last, one or more of these approaches, you have time to do a mini test-run before Thankagiving.
Hope this helps.
TKT November 21, 2016
Ahh, but you are not the child-of-the-cook who will read unintended messages into his/her life choice being relegated to side dishes. There is a meal and there is a holiday-meal-frought-with-meaning. Besides, it's a great fun to try something more elaborate than usual.
Nancy November 21, 2016
Not now.
You are also right.
I am not.
But have been.
Made me laugh.
(Hotline disclaimer: family therapy not included).
E November 15, 2016

I made a huge pan of this last year as a vegetarian main dish for my Thanksgiving dinner, and there was nothing left. I was requested by several guests to make it again, and I'm definitely considering making a triple batch.
caninechef November 15, 2016
This white lasagna recipe is fantastic. I have also loved it when made as a gratin using potatoes rather than pasta
AntoniaJames November 17, 2016
That white lasagne has been calling me (loudly) since I first saw it in the Menu Genie. What a clever idea, caninechef, to use potatoes instead of pasta, for a completely different take. ;o)
Jaimie M. November 15, 2016
I love this recipe and it's beautiful to serve.
I use a blend of brown rice and wild rice with Gruyere instead of the bread.
Maedl November 15, 2016
Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone has a recipe for black kale, pumpkin, and walnut lasagna. I’ve made this numerous times, including as a main course for Thanksgiving. It’s excellent.
Courtney C. November 15, 2016
As a vegetarian that loves pasta, I usually go that route. Maybe try homemade Pumpkin Ravioli (or even homemade pierogi with a seasonal filling), squash or mushroom lasagna, or a really great mac and cheese. Personally, I'm going to go the pie route this year with Anna Jones's amazing looking Goodwill Pie from her book "A Modern Way to Eat". It looks amazing and is quite a bit different that a pot pie, so it might be worth a look. Good luck!

Here are some recipes:
Nancy November 15, 2016
Courtney C - that Anna Jones pie looks phenomenal! Thanks for bringing it to our(my) attention...I will definitely make that, but not for Thanksgiving. Rather, probably will modify it to make a smaller size for a weekday dinner.
Courtney C. November 15, 2016
Hi Nancy - that is such a good idea, I'm sure it will turn out great! Anna Jones's book is filled with such pretty and tasty looking recipes and the ones that I have made so far were very good.
pierino November 15, 2016
If you are willing to consider pasta as a vegetarian main course, this is very rich and filling https://food52.com/recipes/62811-ears-of-the-lombardian-consigliere#comments
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