Favorite vegetarian mains for thanksgiving

I'm hosting Thanksgiving this year, and for the first time I think most of the guests are vegetarian. I'd like some ideas for a nice main dish, rather than letting the vegetarians get along with side dishes. I'm considering forgoing a turkey all together since there will be so few meat eaters - I'd love ideas for nice veggie mains that are suitable to the occasion! Thanks!

Stephanie B.


Wendy November 9, 2019
Hi Stephanie,
I have two suggestions for you. They have both been very popular with my bunch.
First is: stuffed portobello mushrooms. I remove the stems, brush them with olive oil and balsamic reduction and grill or broil to release their moisture, lay them on a tea towel or paper towel to dry. Then stuff them with a bread stuffing, I usually stuff them with a fennel, apple and chestnut stuffing and sandwich the stuffing between two mushrooms but you can also make them open faced. Bake in the oven and serve with cranberry sauce and vegan gravy.
Second is: splurge on a fresh truffle (it probably costs less than a turkey) and make risotto with it.

Stephanie B. November 9, 2019
Both sound delicious, thank you!
Nancy November 9, 2019
A truffle raises the game and makes this a very special dinner!
AntoniaJames November 10, 2019
Fennel, apple, and chestnut?! Sign me up. ;o)
Jusika November 18, 2019
I would love a recipe for the stuffed mushrooms! :p
Stephanie G. November 8, 2019
In Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison, there is a recipe for Butternut Squash Galette. It is one of the best galettes I have ever made. In case you don't like winter squash, she also has a recipe for a mushroom/cabbage galette that is delicious.
Stephanie B. November 9, 2019
I love winter squash, thanks for the suggestion!
MMH November 7, 2019
I think a lot of sides can be mains. It just depends on how you think of them.
sandra November 9, 2019
They can but as a vegetarian, it makes you feel like you were either an afterthought or you couldn't be bothered. I appreciate that it might be an extra task.
Valhalla November 7, 2019
A stuffed pumpkin would be lovely (I've seen it with biryani, but you could go in any direction) if you were wanting to keep with conventional sides. I have to say though that if I were hosting, a lasagna would be my choice!
Stephanie B. November 7, 2019
A stuffed pumpkin is a total centerpiece of a dish, great idea!
AntoniaJames November 7, 2019
This: https://barefootcontessa.com/recipes/roasted-vegetable-lasagna
If you're thinking about foregoing turkey altogether, serve this lasagne with sausage (and pumpkin!) as well: https://food52.com/recipes/38774-kale-and-italian-sausage-lasagna-with-pumpkin-bechamel
I'm thinking about making lasagne the star of my Christmas dinner this year - with no roast or other big main of meat -- so these have been on my radar for a while. ;o)
Stephanie B. November 7, 2019
Great ideas, thanks Nancy and Eric! I'm looking forward to getting creative with a veggie main :) and I agree, Nancy, I think I can do better than imitation meat for Thanksgiving!
Nancy November 7, 2019
Stephanie -
Good that you're thinking of making a vegetarian main dish!
It will make the guests feel welcome and give a dramatic center to the meal.
Two or three ideas.
Don't make imitation anything (no tofurkey, veg meat loaf etc).
Go to cultures that make lots of vegetable based meals for ideas as they have worked out what tastes good, which ingedients go together. Italy, India, north Africa.
Also select a cuisine based on what you know of guests.
Build rest of meal around that.
E.g. if main dish is French crepe cake with mushroom filling, serve French onion soup as a starter, pommes Anna and green salad as sides, Mont Blanc as dessert.
Or, base your menu on Anerican foods (from both north and south continents) to give your Thanksgiving a local flavor. That gets you, among other things, chocolate, potatoes, tomatoes, bourbon, corn, maple syrup.
Last idea, go to some of the best vegetable or vegetarian cookbooks for ideas and recipes. Mollie Katzen, Deborah Madison, Yotam Ottolenghi.
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