Our Favorite Vegetarian Recipes for Thanksgiving

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When people find out that I’ve been a vegetarian my whole life, one of their first questions is, “Do you celebrate Thanksgiving?” And then that is often followed by, “Do you have any vegetarian recipes for Thanksgiving?”

This has always puzzled me. Because though I obviously don’t eat turkey, it seems most people seem to think the sides and pie are the most important part of the meal, anyway. And truly, almost everything EXCEPT the turkey can be made vegetarian. So I’ve never felt like I’m missing out at all.

vegetarian recipes for thanksgiving

My Favorite Holiday Meal Hack

One thing that really alleviates some holiday stress for me is having the same meals every year. Otherwise, it takes a long time to research and plan a new meal, and somehow it always talks longer to cook an unfamiliar recipe. Thanksgiving has gotten so much more straightforward for me since I started making the exact same versions of things every year instead of researching a new and fancy recipe.

This is true for more holidays than just Thanksgiving – I do it for Christmas, New Year’s, Father’s Day, 4th of July, and Halloween. It’s truly one of my favorite holiday hacks!

My Traditional Vegetarian Recipes for Thanksgiving

Because of that, I’ve made virtually the exact same Thanksgiving meal for the past 4 or 5 years. It’s always just slightly different based on if we’re eating with friends or family. But there’s almost always some version of these staples, and these are the recipes I use when making each of them.

They’re all tried and true and I’ve made each of them at least 5 times. I love them dearly and think they’re the best of the best versions. I hope you love them, too!

yellow flowers decor

Vegetarian Thanksgiving Side Dishes

  • Sweet Potato Casserole
    • This is my very favorite Thanksgiving dish that I’ve been making every year for well over a decade. The sweet potatoes are silky smooth and fluffy, and the nutty topping is divine.
  • Corn Casserole
    • Slightly sweet and also fluffy and creamy, this stuff is so good. My two older kids make it on their own every year. I’ve tried numerous times to nail down a version that tastes as good but not using the Jiffy mix, but I haven’t gotten it down yet.
  • Green Bean Casserole
    • This version has a homemade mushroom base, which is insanely delicious.
  • Butternut Squash Soup
    • I always think it’s nice to have a soup at the Thanksgiving table for color and robustness.
  • Cornbread Stuffing
    • This is Dan’s grandma’s recipe. Basically dried out sweet cornbread mixed with cooked onions/celery/mushrooms, with stock poured over and baked in the oven.
  • Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
    • The easiest way to make them!!
  • Vegetarian Mushroom Gravy
    • I searched for a good recipe for years and never found one, so I created my own. This one is simple and straightforward but super delicious.
  • Simple Homemade Cranberry Sauce
    • We always make the basic version with fresh cranberries and lots of orange zest.

best vegetarian thanksgiving recipes

Vegetarian Thanksgiving Main Dishes

This is the only category where we’ve rotated our choice just a bit. While I’m not vegan, a couple of these options are vegan Thanksgiving main dishes. For the past 3 years, we’ve made the lasagna, but I do love the others, as well. Take your pick!

Thanksgiving Dessert Ideas

  • Pumpkin Pie
    • I don’t tend to generally like pumpkin pie, but this version is SO creamy and smooth, and I love the hit of maple and the flavor complexity from the canned yams.
  • Apple Pie
    • Another classic, this one is piled super high with apples and is delicious with the spices inside.
  • Pecan Pie
    • Only very occasionally will I make this one




vegetarian or vegan thanksgiving

6 Responses

  • just got the ingredients for the cranberry dip. can't wait to try it! happy thanksgiving : )

  • In our few-years stint as vegetarians, I got that comment too, which always baffled me. I'm pretty sure of the 28 years I've been alive, I've only actually eaten turkey at 10 or so of those Thanksgivings. Turkey really is the least exciting part. Maybe the prettiest, most iconic part, but definitely not the most delicious.

  • My parents are vegetarians and my mom never ate turkey because she didn't like it. But like you said, pretty much everything else can be vegetarian. I only take maybe three or four bites so. . . yeah probably wouldn't miss it much.

  • I've always wanted to try a stuffed pumpkin! The line-up looks very yummy. Did you see Deb's post on stuffing? I am trying her recipe this year. I liked her idea of stuffing for breakfast…maybe having it in a different context helps. All that toasty, buttery bread and sauteed veggies with apples might taste best with a fried egg on top (and make more sense to your palette???).

  • i'm MOSTLY vegetarian – i never cook meat at home and only eat it when we are out at a restaurant and not even always then. and i'll be honest – after yesterday, i was like, i could totally do a vegetarian thanksgiving. i had the tiniest bit of turkey and was totally grossed out by the sausage in the stuffing. which! my tip is to bake it after you mix it all up w/ water or chicken broth. it makes it perfectly moist but not soggy.

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