21 Show-Stopping Vegetarian Mains for Thanksgiving
Sweet Potato Hash Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
Diced sweet potato, bell peppers and apples make a vegan stuffing inspired by the flavors of sausage. To add that savory flavor, we use poultry seasoning (don't worry, there's no actual poultry in it!). Piled into portobello mushroom caps, it creates a beautiful and filling plant-based main dish--perfect for the holidays.
Vegan Cauliflower Steaks with Mushroom Gravy
The highlight of this gorgeous vegan holiday main dish recipe is the surprisingly rich dairy-free mushroom gravy. The roasted cauliflower is also pleasantly delicious thanks to a little caramelization while roasting. Smother a side of vegan mashed potatoes with any extra gravy.
Cauliflower Rice-Stuffed Peppers
Slash the calories and carbs of traditional stuffed peppers by swapping white rice for cauliflower "rice." The riced cauliflower is hearty and won't turn to mush during baking. Use an assortment of red, yellow, orange and green peppers to make an appealing presentation.
Spinach Cannelloni with Cabbage & Smoked Mozzarella
At Ristorante il San Pietro in the Piedmont of Italy, they use scamorza affumicata, an aged smoked mozzarella, but smoked fresh mozzarella works too in this healthy homemade vegetarian pasta recipe. You can substitute dry pasta, such as cannelloni or manicotti, for the fresh. Cook 12 noodles according to package directions, then stuff and sauce them.
Moroccan Chickpea-Stuffed Acorn Squash
Think of this healthy vegetarian side dish recipe as a meatless tagine served in a squash bowl. Kabocha, sweet dumpling or carnival squash make good alternatives to acorn squash. To make this side a hearty vegetarian meal, serve 2 halves each.
Cauliflower Steaks with Parmesan Cauliflower Rice & Romesco
Use the entire cauliflower head--leaves (yes, they're edible), stem and florets and all for this healthy cauliflower main dish recipe. Be sure to not flip the cauliflower steaks as they roast, they get super-crispy and deliciously browned in the hot oven.
Roasted Fall Vegetables in Cheddar Crust
This tart starts with a Cheddar cheese crust that's filled with roasted leeks, fennel and broccoli or Brussels sprouts. Beets or cauliflower would stand in beautifully too.
Galette with Kabocha Squash & Kale
Kale and kabocha squash pair deliciously in this healthy vegetarian galette recipe that looks as fabulous as it tastes. Kabocha squash doesn't need to be peeled, but if it isn't available, use buttercup squash instead.
Squash & Leek Lasagna
Grated butternut squash, pine nuts and sautéed leeks in a creamy white sauce are layered with sheets of whole-wheat pasta for this wintery variation on a vegetable lasagna. Any Parmesan cheese can be used in this casserole, but we recommend Parmigiano-Reggiano for its superior flavor.
Sweet Potato, Red Onion & Fontina Tart
Try this roasted-vegetable free-form tart as an appetizer or side dish for a special dinner or as a vegetarian main dish. The pastry dough is very forgiving and quite easy to roll out on parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. The walnut-studded crust is crisper served warm, but you can enjoy the tart at room temperature or cold too.
Polenta-Stuffed Kabocha Squash
The cheesy polenta filling in this healthy stuffed squash recipe makes a great alternative to mashed potatoes, as well as a hearty vegetarian entree. If you can't find kobocha squash, try using a buttercup squash or pie pumpkin--or skip serving it in the hollowed-out vegetable altogether and use 2 cups of your favorite pureed winter squash in Step 5.
Savory Onion & Tomato Galette
In this savory tomato galette recipe the red onions are a little sweet from caramelization and a little sour from red-wine vinegar, but they complement the slow-roasted plum tomatoes perfectly. The result is rich and deeply satisfying. Serve this rustic tart with a green salad for a light lunch or a roast chicken for a hearty dinner.
Roasted Stuffed Pumpkin with Spiced Pumpkin Seeds
This roast pumpkin with a mushroom-and-bread stuffing is a beautiful vegetarian entree for the holidays. Use a small pumpkin if you can find one, but a winter squash like kabocha or buttercup also works. For a special garnish, save the seeds from the pumpkin, toss them with spices and roast them. If you use a squash, opt for store-bought pepitas; the squash seeds are too woody to eat.
Crispy Phyllo Spinach Tartlets
Frilly layers of phyllo dough surround the festive spinach and sun-dried tomato filling in a dressed-up version of Greek spanakopita. Serve these as a main dish for supper and you're sure to please vegetarians and omnivores alike.
Acorn Squash Stuffed with Chard & White Beans
Acorn squash's natural shape makes it just right for stuffing. This filling has Mediterranean flair: olives, tomato paste, white beans and Parmesan cheese. Serve with: Mixed green salad with radicchio and red onion and crisp white wine, such as Pinot Grigio.
Caramelized Onion & Brussels Sprout Galette
Serve this vegetarian tart recipe as a main dish or in thinner slices for an appetizer or side dish. Since you'll be pleating the dough to create a rustic look, buy ready-to-roll pie crusts rather than prepared pie shells--you'll find them in the dairy section of your market with other ready-to-bake items or near the frozen desserts.
Whole Roasted Romanesco with Labneh & Curry Oil
This psychedelic-seeming crucifer looks like cauliflower and broccoli fell in love and had a baby. The earthy, smoky flavor makes this a show-stopping vegetarian side dish or appetizer—or make it the centerpiece of a vegetarian Thanksgiving feast.
Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Fontina Cheese Sauce
This is a great fall dish—warming nutmeg pairs deliciously with sweet, roasted butternut squash gnocchi and a rich alfredo-like cheese sauce. Although the gnocchi aren't as pillowy as your classic white potato gnocchi, they're still light-tasting and come with the added benefit of a little extra fiber and some eye-healthy vitamins.
Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Burrata
This beautiful butternut squash salad with creamy burrata cheese and peppery arugula is perfect for fall entertaining. For the best flavor and texture, remove the burrata from the refrigerator about an hour before use and assemble the salad while the squash is still warm from roasting so the cheese will melt slightly. Feel free to use precut butternut squash to make this recipe easier. If you can find pomegranates, the arils add a bright pop of color and flavor to this healthy salad, but it's just as good—and almost as impressive-looking—without them.
Noodle-Less Butternut Squash Lasagna
Slices of butternut squash stand in for noodles in this veggie-packed lasagna with spinach, mushrooms and a creamy Parmesan cheese sauce. You can make the Parmesan cheese sauce with regular flour or swap in gluten-free flour to make this dish gluten-free. Look for a squash with a long, straight neck for the best results. Serve with a green salad for a vegetarian meal that you'd be happy to serve to company.
Butternut Squash Bisque with Almonds & Cilantro
Roasting the squash first deepens the bisque's flavor and is a step you don't want to skip. Look for pre-chopped butternut squash in the refrigerated area of the produce section, or in the freezer aisle. It will significantly simplify this recipe. If you're short on time, plan to prep the other ingredients while the squash roasts. We add almonds at the end for a toasty, textural contrast, while cilantro and cayenne give this butternut squash bisque a slightly exotic flair. This easy bisque recipe is naturally dairy-free and vegan (if you opt for vegetable stock), but you could certainly add a drizzle of heavy cream at the end if you wish.