33 Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes Made with Real Food (Not Tofurkey) (2024)

Vegetarians at a family Thanksgiving dinner are accustomed to getting the stink eye, the exasperated sigh, and the classic, “I think these mashed potatoes are meat-free… oh, wait — they’re made with chicken stock.”

😐 , right?

On a day that emphasizes indulgence to the point of a stomachache, folks who choose to avoid meat are often the odd ones out — and, as a result, the ones who miss out.

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But instead of complaining, they slap smiles on their faces and fill up on not-so-satisfying green bean casserole, dinner rolls, and pumpkin pie.

Not so this year. Here are 33 of our favorite vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes that land pretty far from boring, tasteless, or the dreaded Tofurkey.

Feed me pies, feed me sweet little pies…

1. Pumpkin pot pie

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The classic chicken pot pie goes vegetarian and seasonal in this spotlight-stealing dish. Roasted pumpkin, carrots, celery, and kale take center stage, shoving meat aside. (And yes, kale does deserve center stage sometimes.)

White kidney beans give the dish some protein, so you won’t miss the meat at all. Make the crust a tiny bit healthier by opting for whole-wheat flour and going easy on the Parmesan cheese.

2. Swiss chard, sweet potato, and feta tart with teff crust

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This beautiful, healthy tart will definitely upstage the turkey on your Thanksgiving table. Take that, turkey! (But in a nice way, where you get to continue running around your paddock.)

Sweet potatoes, onions, garlic, Swiss chard, and feta cheese hit their stride when tucked into a whole-wheat and teff crust (if teff isn’t in your pantry, just use regular flour).

3. Mushroom pot pie

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Like a pot pie, this dish is made from layers of pastry wrapped around a tasty filling. Also like a pot pie, it f*cking bangs.

Since pastry is, by definition, made from tons of butter, you can lighten up the filling by using part- or all-skim ricotta and going easy on the butter and olive oil.

4. Vegan shepherd’s pie

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With a lentil and veggie mix instead of ground beef as its base, this shepherd’s pie is primed for a healthy makeover — and it’s just as delicious.

This version is vegan, but if you’re a cheese-eating vegetarian, we suggest sprinkling some goat cheese on top for an added creamy tang.

5. Roasted vegetable galette

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Put veggies front and center with this rustic vegetable tart. A galette is a type of savory crepe, and it’s as good as it sounds.

Colorful carrots, parsnips, butternut squash, and shallots provide plenty of flavor, and the goat cheese crumbles give this dish a salty, rich finish.

Experiment with a whole-wheat crust to add some fiber into the mix.

6. Roasted cauliflower vegetable tart

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What happens when you cross a Chicago-style pizza with a vegetable quiche? You get a satisfying deep-dish vegetable tart that’s impressive enough for Thanksgiving dinner.

The healthy cauliflower, mushrooms, and thyme filling plays off the Parmesan-quinoa crust. This decadent, veggie-rich main dish rivals any turkey for a hearty meal.

7. Festive chickpea tart

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This veggie-rich seasonal tart looks complicated (and impressive), but it’s pretty simple to whip together.

Save yourself a step by spreading the topping (made of ground chickpeas, cranberries, spinach, sage, walnuts, rolled oats, tamari, and celery, among other ingredients) on a premade whole-wheat pie crust.

Or, for extra brownie points, go full DIY and make your crust from scratch. Ooooooh, fancy.

8. Mushroom and stout pot pies with sweet potato crusts

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A savory pie that combines beer, sweet potatoes, and mushrooms is the perfect melding of decadence and healthy food.

As a Thanksgiving entrée, this dish is pretty simple and speedy, with just a few steps and minimal dishes to wash.

When the world gets back to a place where you can cook food for people en masse, you’ll be able to keep your veggie friends and family content.

9. Sweet potato-crusted spinach quiche

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Crust? Sure, that’s fine. Sweet potato crust? OK, we’re listening.

This rustic quiche combines all the colors and flavors of fall. It’s a beautiful dish that will surely tempt every person at the table, veggie or otherwise.

Leftover quiche makes a great breakfast the next day too.

10. Samosa pot pie

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For a spicy twist on hearty, crusty Thanksgiving fare, look no further than a samosa pot pie.

Spiced with cumin, coriander, garam masala, and cayenne and filled with potatoes, these samosas in pie form add a super interesting veggie twist. These will fill you up all the way, but the puff pastry adds a lightness that means you won’t instantly fall asleep after your meal.

(If you’re into Indian food, check out these curry recipes as well — we loooooove spices and bold flavors.)

Things. Inside. Of. Buns. All. Damn. Day.

11. Thanksgiving veggie burger

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Eating a burger on Thanksgiving: sacrilege or genius? We’ll always gun for a burger, whatever momentous day of the calendar it is.

This all-veggie patty is made from black beans, bell peppers, onions, and spices and topped with leftover Thanksgiving sides.

It’s just like a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, only on a bun. What’s not to love?

12. Quinoa, mushroom, and zucchini veggie burgers

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Once again proving that burgers are a totally acceptable Thanksgiving fare, these quinoa-mushroom-zucchini patties will probably steal the show.

Spread a little bit of cranberry sauce or mashed potatoes on top for some extra festive flair.

Thanksgiving meals shouldn’t leave you with mushroom to eat more stuff. Say no more…

13. Portobello mushrooms stuffed with eggplant and gorgonzola

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Gorgonzola, eggplant, garlic, and Parm transform these giant ’shrooms into a rich, filling meal. ’Shroom, ’shroom? More like vroom vroom.

Just swap in some dairy-free cheese if you want to make a vegan version.

14. Gluten-free stuffed mushrooms

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Who needs meat when you can eat rich, meaty portobello mushrooms instead?

Stuffing them with celery, kale, onions, feta, and wild rice turns these veggies into a full-on meal.

15. Pomegranate apple quinoa stuffed acorn squash

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These roasted gourds loaded with pomegranate seeds, quinoa, goat cheese, and nuts are bound to satisfy vegetarians, vegans, and meat eaters… that’s everyone.

Imagine pleasing everyone. Now you can.

The best part? It’s basically quinoa salad in an edible bowl, so there are fewer dishes to wash at the end of the night.

You can eat the bowls. That’s magic.

16. Quinoa-stuffed acorn squash rings

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These golden rings of squash look like mini suns filled with a seasonal quinoa mixture. That sounds pretty perfect for a chilly late-fall dinner, right?

With cranberry, sage, apple, and maple syrup, the quinoa filling hits all the season’s high notes.

17. Curry-stuffed delicata squash

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As the samosa pot pie proves, flavors from all over the world have every right to sit with us at the Thanksgiving table.

You can stuff a delicata squash with basmati rice, cinnamon, raisins, cashews, Granny Smith apples, and of course, fresh curry powder.

Traditional? Hardly. Delicious? Definitely.

18. Roasted acorn squash with walnuts and cranberries

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Squash is a vegetarian staple, and this version stuffs in one of our Thanksgiving favorites: cranberries.

With just five ingredients, this is something you can whip up quickly, even if it’s not actually Thanksgiving.

Even if you can’t have everyone over for Thanksgiving this year, it can still be bellissimo.

19. Roasted butternut squash risotto

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This tasty risotto uses olive oil and vegetable broth to achieve a rich consistency. With an entire butternut squash, this baked dish is an easy way to get your veggies on Thanksgiving Day.

Skip the grated Parm to make this meal vegan-friendly.

20. Sweet potato gnocchi with balsamic-sage browned butter

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Who said Thanksgiving dinner had to be a meat-and-potatoes affair? (OK, we’ll hang on to the potatoes.)

This creative Italian-inspired dish is a good example of why stepping out of your comfort zone can be smart (and delicious).

21. Homemade pumpkin ravioli

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Italian for Thanksgiving? Yes, please.

Mix things up with fresh, homemade ravioli (packets of pasta with a stuffing) filled with seasonal ingredients. Serve ’em with a bit of melted butter and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

(Cauliflower Parm is another surefire win — here’s how to nail it.)

22. Kale and ricotta stuffed shells

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What happens when you combine an Italian classic with a Thanksgiving classic? You get these delicious, healthy, totally main course-worthy stuffed shells.

Pow! Right in the turkey.

Butternut squash adds moisture and flavor, so it’s possible to cut down on the cheese for a healthier dish.

Add some spice to your celebration.

23. Pumpkin chili with black beans and garbanzo beans

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Everyone’s favorite winter meal gets the royal treatment in this festive chili recipe. Instead of ground beef, this version uses chickpeas and black beans, as well as pumpkin puree and canned tomatoes.

Don’t forget to serve with cornbread!

24. Vegan Thanksgiving wraps

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Chickpeas and sweet potatoes are some of our favorite staples — even for those of us who aren’t vegetarian. They absolutely scream fall. What better for Thanksgiving?

This recipe uses the awesome chickpea + sweet potato combo to makes these adorable Thanksgiving wraps.

25. Vegetable lasagna casserole

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A casserole may not seem like a special-occasion dinner, but this one-bowl meal will make a convert out of any skeptic.

Featuring zucchini, carrots, eggs, salsa, and cheese, this Tex-Mex-inspired dish is basically a vehicle for vegetables. Is it Tex-Mex? Is it lasagna? Is it a casserole?

Who gives a f*ck? It’s delicious. All aboard the zucchini bus!

Anyone can make a soup or stew with delicious results.

26. Vegetarian vegetable stew

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Those who are serious about getting their veggies on Thanksgiving should bookmark this fresh stew recipe. Oh, it has veggies, all right. Loads and loads of veggies.

Combine onion, carrots, celery, portobello mushrooms, white mushrooms, garlic, tomatoes, potatoes, peas, and parsley to make this hearty soup.

27. Tomato and vegetable white bean soup

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Let soup take a starring role by serving this veggie dish as a main on Thanksgiving Day. Wait — it’s not a starter? What is this madness?

Don’t fret. Instead of turkey, this recipe features white beans, potatoes, zucchini, onions, and tomatoes. It’ll both warm and fill you up in equal measure.

28. Simple pumpkin soup

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Spice things up at the dinner table by serving — 🙀 — soup as a main dish. (It still feels weird from the last point, but we stand by it.)

You can’t go wrong with this flavorful dish made with just six ingredients (and an optional garlic-kale-sesame topping that becomes way less optional after you taste it).

Six ingredients too many? Here are some hearty slow cooker meals that need five ingredients or less.

Including stuffing, nuts, oatmeal, and some eggplant balls that will make your mouth water. 🍆

29. Quinoa stuffing with apple, sweet potato, and hazelnuts

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For a side dish that’s filling enough to serve as a main course, look no further.

Quinoa and hazelnuts provide protein and fat while sweet potatoes and apples give this dish fiber and lots of fall flavor.

30. Savory oatmeal with mushrooms and greens

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If you thought oatmeal was just for breakfast, you’re about to discover a whole new world.

This savory dish features old-fashioned oats topped with mushrooms, greens, and chickpeas for a creative twist on Thanksgiving dinner.

You’ll be the trendiest guest at the table.

31. Classic nut loaf

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If the word “meatloaf” still brings to mind scary cafeteria mystery meat, it’s time to revisit the concept with this vegetarian version. (Is vegetarian meatloaf an oxymoron? Yes, and we love the mere thought of it.)

Lots of veggies, spices, and nuts make this meat-free loaf positively healthful. Top it with some grated cheese, because everything is better with cheese.

32. 4-ingredient eggplant balls

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These super-easy eggplant balls are great with all your traditional sides or left over with some pasta the next day.

Just combine eggplant, garlic, shallots, breadcrumbs, and a bunch of spices (that you definitely have in your kitchen) in a food processor, and you’ll get a creative vegetarian dish.

33. Creamy spinach salad with potatoes, avocado, and maple tempeh

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Like olives and anchovies, tempeh seems to fit in the “hate it or love it” category. If you’re a fan, this richly flavored dish is ideal for the dinner table. If you’re not, this will never be the salad for you.

This smoky maple version combines potatoes, avocado, and spinach for a filling, wholesome Thanksgiving salad.

Since this year’s Thanksgiving is likely to be very different, why don’t you try something different for dinner — even if you’re usually a meat eater?

Even if it’s less the Macy’s Parade and more the Keeping 6 Feet of Space-y’s Parade, you don’t have to give up the comforting winter vibes. And you can still keep those Thanksgiving bangers going with our special playlist.

Hang on to a little bit of normal this Thanksgiving, but take advantage of the difference too.

33 Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes Made with Real Food (Not Tofurkey) (2024)


What do vegetarians eat for Thanksgiving instead of turkey? ›

If you really want to serve something that is a nearly seamless substitute for Thanksgiving turkey, there's always Field Roast, a plant-based meat and cheese company that sells soy-free holiday roasts. They are wheat-based vegan stuffed roasts with a sage, rosemary, and bread filling.

What are 4 commonly consumed foods at Thanksgiving other than turkey? ›

Cornish game hen, goose, duck, ham, beef, salmon, and mushroom recipes make worthy centerpieces for holiday meals.

What to cook for Thanksgiving if you don't like turkey? ›

Whatever the reason, here are 20 Thanksgiving recipes for a turkey-free table.
  • Roast Chicken With Maple Butter and Rosemary. Image. ...
  • Beef Wellington. Image. ...
  • Ombré Gratin. Image. ...
  • Skillet Pork Chops and Apples With Miso Caramel. Image. ...
  • Samosa Pie. Image. ...
  • Maple-Baked Salmon. Image. ...
  • Lasagna. Image. ...
  • Ina Garten's Make-Ahead Coquilles St.
Nov 10, 2022

What is the most popular vegetarian alternative to turkey? ›

1. Vegan Stuffed Seitan Roast. This stuffed seitan is the perfect replacement for a stuffed turkey joint this Christmas. Not only does it look fantastic as a centrepiece, but it tastes brilliant with all the trimmings.

What can vegetarians eat instead of meat? ›

Eat beans, pulses, eggs and other sources of protein

Pulses are particularly important for people who don't get protein by eating meat, fish or dairy products. Other non-dairy sources of protein include eggs and meat alternatives, such as tofu, mycoprotein (such as Quorn), textured vegetable protein and tempeh.

What is a good substitute for turkey for Thanksgiving dinner? ›

Sometimes, roasting a whole turkey is just too much—too much time, effort, and maybe even too much food. For smaller crowds, swap the turkey with chicken, Cornish game hens, or stuff and roast individual quails for each guest, which is very elegant for a plated meal.

What do you put in a turkey instead of stuffing? ›

Add halved onions, carrot chunks, celery and fresh herbs to the cavity of your turkey, inserting them loosely. These flavor builders are the base of stock and most soups. As your turkey cooks, they'll steam and infuse your bird with moisture and flavor.

What is a good reason to not eat turkey on Thanksgiving? ›

Nearly All U.S. Turkeys Are Raised on Factory Farms

Each year, more than 200 million turkeys are slaughtered for food in the U.S. — and over 99 percent of U.S. turkeys are raised on industrial farms and kept in severely crowded and unsanitary conditions.

What is a vegetarian that eats chicken and turkey? ›

A pollotarian diet focuses on whole, plant-based foods with the inclusion of poultry in moderation. As it's rich in high-fiber, plant-based foods and reduces red meat and pork intake, it may benefit heart health, aid weight loss, and protect against type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.

What do vegetarians miss from meat? ›

Intake and status of vitamin B12, vitamin D, iron, zinc, iodine, calcium and bone turnover markers were generally lower in plant-based dietary patterns compared to meat-eaters. Vegans had the lowest vitamin B12, calcium and iodine intake, and also lower iodine status and lower bone mineral density.

How is turkey for vegetarians? ›

Turkey produces lots of wonderful vegetables, but roast lamb or mutton (kebap) is a basis of Turkish cuisine. Most Turkish dishes contain more vegetables than meat, but in the many stews and pilavs, small amounts of meat may be used as a flavoring, so vegetarians need to choose carefully.

What is a good alternative to turkey for Thanksgiving? ›

So go ahead and shake things up this Thanksgiving with one of these flavorful alternatives to cooking up a whole bird this year, like mushroom, Gruyère, & spinach-stuffed pork tenderloin, vegan mushroom pot pie, or a juicy prime rib.

What do vegetarians eat instead of chicken? ›

Vegan Chicken: Delicious vegetarian and vegan-friendly chicken substitutes
  • Tofu. Tofu is one of the most well-known and versatile vegan and vegetarian-friendly foods out there. ...
  • Soy curls. ...
  • Jackfruit. ...
  • Potato. ...
  • Seitan. ...
  • Tempeh. ...
  • Cauliflower.
May 18, 2023

Are there vegetarian options in turkey? ›

Turkish cooking is actually very heavily vegetarian. There are a plethora of dishes that showcase the delicious, fresh, seasonal produce so widely available in Türkiye.

What can I buy instead of a whole turkey? ›

Here are our best budget alternatives so you can still enjoy Thanksgiving, without the hefty price tag!
  • Swap your turkey for a rotisserie chicken. ...
  • The free turkey program. ...
  • Get fancy with Cornish game hens. ...
  • Opt for turkey cuts. ...
  • Butterball roast. ...
  • Tofu. ...
  • Whole roasted cauliflower.
Oct 11, 2023


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