Vegetarian Thanksgiving

I’ll be honest with you for a second: I love Thanksgiving, but with a couple of reservations.

The idea of stuffing yourself with heavy winter foods, all full of carbs and cream, makes me want to run to a salad bar.

(I know. If you don’t understand why someone would want a salad, I have another meal plan that you might be interested in.)

Maybe part of me was always meant to be a vegetarian: I can do without turkey and gravy. No problem. Never missed them at all. Give me your cranberry sauce, your rolls, your flaky all-butter pies. I’ll live happily on sides.

Whether you’re hosting your own vegetarian feast, headed to a carnivorous fest with your own stomach to worry about, or you’re an omnivore not sure what to serve your son’s new vegetarian girlfriend, I’ve got some ideas for meals and menus. And if you need even more ideas, I made a nice tidy Pinterest board for you.

A couple of things to remember for a vegetarian Thanksgiving:

  • If you’re hosting vegetarians, ask them what they’d like, and tell them specifically what you’re going to make, or ask them to bring something that they can eat.
  • If you’re cooking something like, say, mashed potatoes, that can have meat products in it, either swap out for vegetable stock or let your local friendly vegetarian know. We don’t mind bringing something! The only thing that’s a real bummer is showing up and hearing, “You like beets, right? And chicken stock is okay?”
  • If you’re vegetarian, think about bringing a hearty salad or side dish that can serve as your main if needed. There’s nothing sadder than a meal of rolls and butternut squash, and your host will probably end up being bummed, too, watching you with your sad empty plate. (Actually, I think I had non-vegetarian rolls at a buffet in Indiana, but that’s another story.)
  • Marshmallows are not technically vegetarian, because they have gelatin. Watch out for ingredients in pie crusts, too.
  • Keep those baking and cooking times in mind while you’re planning your menu, unless you have two ovens like you’re on TV or something. None of the sides listed below need to be served immediately. You don’t need that stress in your life. Make as much ahead as possible.
  • Be thankful for whatcha got.
  • As a side note to my mom: I’ll bring whatever.



Crispy sweet potato roast
Whole roasted cauliflower with whipped goat cheeseRoasted stuffed onions (use the veg variation)Roasted carrots with ferro and chickpeas


Lentil and sweet potato shepherd’s pie (vegan)
Roasted vegetable galette
Vegetables Wellington
Stuffed pumpkin

Sample doable menu for two

Baked ricotta
Kale salad with cranberries
Sweet potato gratins
Roasted vegetable galette
Dessert as your heart desires

Sample menu for more

Cranberry pistachio baked brie
Crispy sweet potato roast
Roasted carrots with farro and chickpeas
Roasted stuffed onions
Avocado and quinoa stuffed acorn squash
Vegetables Wellington
An astounding array of desserts that you make other people bring


Well, that’s a start! Are you planning your meal now? What’s your favorite vegetarian Thanksgiving dish? 


photo: Andrew Yee via flickr


  1. Shelly @ Frugal Family Home says:

    Most of my family needs to eat dairy free. When eating at someone’s house they will ask butter and yogurt are ok right? We often bring food with us to make sure my kids and husband have something they can eat.

    For Thanksgiving, I usually cook the main meal and all of our sides are vegetarian. The only meat items are the turkey and gravy. I have a few friends and my SIL who are vegetarians and I always want to make sure to have things they can eat.

  2. Courtney Tait says:

    Love the sample menu for two! Might just be my husband and I this year, and this sounds both different and delicious. Thought I might need to add some kind of veggie stuffing, my favourite! Thanks Kelley 🙂

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