November 20, 2023

Meatless Thanksgiving: Vegetarian Recipes That Are Sure to Please

Looking for ways to make your Thanksgiving a little more vegetarian friendly? Keep reading to discover a variety of satisfying plant-based recipes, showcasing how a diverse and delicious holiday feast can be enjoyed by everyone around the table.

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As Thanksgiving approaches, many families find themselves faced with a challenge: how to cater to the diverse dietary preferences of their guests. This year, the focus is on inclusivity and delicious simplicity. The idea of a meatless Thanksgiving is not about missing out on traditional flavors, but embracing a variety of plant-based dishes that appeal to everyone around the table.

Discover a range of vegetarian recipes that take the spotlight. From savory mains to delightful sides and desserts, these recipes are designed to be enjoyed by all, vegetarians and meat lovers alike. The goal is to showcase that a Thanksgiving meal can be both satisfying and diverse without the need for a traditional turkey centerpiece.

So, let’s dive into the world of meatless Thanksgiving, where the emphasis is on good food, good company, and a celebration of culinary creativity that brings everyone together, no matter their dietary choices.

Mix and Match with Various Side Dishes

Why limit your Thanksgiving table to just one star dish when you can indulge in a delightful array of vegetarian side dishes that are bound to steal the show? This Thanksgiving, bid farewell to the traditional turkey and say hello to a feast of inventive and delectable veggie delights. From savory, custardy bread pudding infused with aromatic spices to grilled artichoke with a creamy walnut dip and pomegranate seeds, the options are as vast as your imagination. Elevate your holiday meal with a medley of vibrant salads, incorporating crisp apples, candied pecans, and tangy cranberries, all harmoniously blending to create a burst of flavors. Pair these with savory bread pudding, buttery cornbread, or perhaps a cheesy gratin, and you’ll find yourself savoring each bite with sheer delight. This Thanksgiving, embrace the art of mix and match, crafting a culinary masterpiece that not only caters to diverse tastes, but also proves that the heart of the feast can lie in the bountiful variety of vegetarian side dishes.

Green Beans with Hazelnuts and Thyme

These tender, lightly sauteed green beans will look gorgeous on any Thanksgiving table. Get in that pop of luscious green with this simple and quick recipe. Cooked and sauteed until tender, these buttery green beans are perfectly matched with thyme and a touch of mustard. Hazelnuts add their famous crunch and flavor in a surprisingly delicious pairing.

Savory Skillet-Roasted Pears with Mushrooms, Farro, and Walnuts

Savory dishes can absolutely have a touch of sweetness and spice – especially amongst your variety of dinner dishes. This one-pan delight perfectly merges the sweetness of roasted pears with a stuffing of mushrooms, farro, and walnuts. You can customize all you want by choosing your preferred mushrooms and whole grain, making it a versatile choice for your holiday table.

Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

Looking for something to stuff besides Turkey? Try stuffing bell peppers instead! Fresh from the oven, these peppers are baked with Montmorency tart cherries and stuffed with quinoa, garbanzo beans and fresh vegetables. A dish that is so easy to prepare and tastes absolutely amazing.

Grilled Artichoke with Walnut Dip

Impress your guests with tender, smoky grilled artichokes served alongside a creamy walnut dip. Made with California walnuts, garlic, lemon juice, and herbs, this nutty dip adds a burst of flavor to the buttery artichokes. It’s the perfect appetizer or side for capturing the essence of fall, combining smokiness with a delightful crunch and zesty freshness. Enjoy the season’s richness in every bite!

Grilled Vegetables with Colorful Walnut Dips

The more grilled veggies, the merrier! The same goes for incorporating the versatile walnut. Not only a great topping, California walnuts are wonderful for making creamy, flavorful dips. This recipe highlights a paprika and beetroot dip, both made with a blend of California walnuts, herbs, and spices. The dish features a variety of grilled vegetables, such as zucchini, eggplant, and bell peppers. 

Roasted Butternut Squash and Fennel Soup with Fried Sage

It may not be the most common dish on Thanksgiving, but why not offer a creamy, warm soup? Roasted butternut squash and fennel make a compelling duo with the licorice-like fennel adding a herbal dimension and keeping the puree from being too sweet. Serve in small portions at Thanksgiving and while you are at it, pair with a nice glass of California Merlot.

Fall Wild Rice Pilaf

With the abundance of fall fruits and veggies being harvested, your Thanksgiving table must include at least one harvest salad. This eye-catching wild rice pilaf is the perfect opportunity to bring together U.S.-grown wild rice and your fall favorites, including delicata and butternut squash, cauliflower florets, apples and hints of pumpkin.

Sweet Potato with Beetroot and Walnuts 

If you’re hoping to whip together a quick and easy bowl of veggie goodness, all you need is some sweet potato, beetroot, parsley, walnuts, and olive oil for dressing. Super easy and possible to prepare in advance, this dish is a simple way to add flavor and color to the table. 

Cranberry Fall Harvest Salad

Mix together a big bowl of salad greens – and while you are at it, make it bursting with all the bountiful produce that fall has to offer. Tossed in a simple tarragon vinaigrette, this flavorful combination makes a perfect side dish or even a main course using autumn favorites, including pumpkin (or butternut squash), dried cranberries, pecans, and pumpkin seeds. Be generous with the toppings and enjoy!

The Cozy (and Cheesy) Centerpiece 

Enough of the mixed greens and grilled veggies? It’s time for a cheesy centerpiece to complete the colorful variety of side dishes. Picture a bubbling hot gratin, its golden crust hiding layers of tender potatoes and Gruyère, melting together into a heavenly blend of flavors and textures. Or perhaps a rich and creamy mac and cheese with crunchy pecan crumble, sharp cheddar, and indulgent ricotta, creating a comforting and satisfying dish. These cheesy centerpieces not only cater to vegetarians but also promise a decadent alternative that will have everyone coming back for seconds. Who needs turkey when you can have these delectable cheesy delights stealing the show at your Thanksgiving feast?

Pear-Fennel Gratin with Thyme and Gruyère

A gratin is the ultimate winter comfort dish, and it isn’t just for potatoes. Pears mixed with just about any vegetable can be baked in a blanket of creamy sauce and crunchy toppings. This combination of perfumed pears and fennel makes a creamy Gratin centerpiece at the dinner table. Any variety of large pears will do in this recipe – juicier pears, like Anjous, will create a looser sauce in the pan, while Boscs offer a firmer and less sweet result. The splash of dry sherry gives an aromatic twist, but it is an optional addition.

Focaccia Bread Pudding with Wild Mushrooms and Goat Cheese

This savory, custardy bread pudding makes an irresistible side dish that may well become a new tradition at your Thanksgiving table. Indulge in wild mushrooms, sautéed with onions, garlic, and aromatic herbs de Provence. Tossed with focaccia cubes and creamy goat cheese, this mixture is enveloped in a rich, savory custard  and baked to perfection. Elevate the dish by pairing it with your favorite wine, such as the California Chardonnay.

Mac and Cheese with Pecan Breadcrumbs

Mac and Cheese isn’t just a crowd favorite amongst kids. It’s the ultimate comfort food and a promising favorite on the Thanksgiving table. ​With cheddar and ricotta cheeses, sour cream and cavatappi noodles, this macaroni and cheese is extra creamy, extra creative and extra delicious. Sprinkle with a mixture of blended pecans and cheddar cheese to add a crunchy finish to this family favorite dish.