This menu proves you don't have to serve a turkey to enjoy a festive feast.

EatingWell Editors
Updated September 10, 2020

Hosting Thanksgiving without meat might be challenging if you're new to serving meatless meals. But skipping turkey doesn't mean you'll be missing out. We've selected some of our favorite dishes for a vegetarian Thanksgiving menu that will leave you and your guests celebrating and satisfied.

On the Menu:

Cocktail: Sagey Gin Gimlet

Side Dishes:

Sagey Gin Gimlet

The peppery, creamy sage-infused simple syrup and muddled fresh sage combined with piney gin lend this drink fall flavors perfect to get you in the mood for an autumn feast. But the lemon juice lightens the cocktail so you don't feel weighed down before dinner.

To make ahead: Prepare the sage-infused simple syrup up to three days in advance so it's ready to mix with gin as the guests arrive.

Lemon-Thyme Whipped Ricotta

Crudite and crackers get the royal treatment with fluffy, creamy ricotta whipped up with fresh herbs and lemon. The perfect herby companion for the Sagey Gin Gimlet, this appetizer is just heavy enough to keep guests satisfied until dinner is served.

To make ahead: This dip can be made up to three days in advance.

Kale Salad with Cranberries

This festive salad paints a holiday picture before the main dish is served. The greens are massaged with a citrus dressing for subtle seasoning. Studded with cranberries for sweetness and sliced almonds for a bit of crunch, this starter is just right to kick off the meal.

To make ahead: Prepare the dressing the night before the feast. The kale can be massaged in the morning so it's tender when you sit down to dinner. Toss with almonds and cranberries just before serving.

Apple & Pecan Stuffed Butternut Squash

Instead of stuffing turkeys here, we're stuffing squash for a vegetarian-friendly main dish that can satisfy even the most devoted meat-eaters. Apples and pecans mixed with breadcrumbs and spices are the stars of the stuffing—all held together with butternut squash. You are not bound by butternut squash—acorn squash or honeynut squash are suitable substitutes.

To make ahead: Cook the barley and rice for the stuffing the night before Thanksgiving. Stuff the squash and broil to crisp up the dish as the appetizers are served.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Goat Cheese & Pomegranate

These roasted Brussels sprouts are dotted with sweet crimson pomegranate seeds and creamy goat cheese to contrast the sharpness of the sprouts. It's all brought together with the olive oil and balsamic dressing that adds a subtle sweetness to this Thanksgiving side dish.

To make ahead: Trim and cut Brussels sprouts a day in advance so they're ready to go in the oven when your main dish is.

Sweet Potato and Wild Rice Dressing

This dressing skips the cubed bread in favor of pearled barley and wild rice but it's the roasted sweet potatoes that stand out with this vegetarian Thanksgiving recipe. If sweet potatoes are too cloying for you, roasted carrots work as a substitute.

To make ahead: The rice and barley can be cooked a day ahead of the feast. The sweet potatoes can also be cut in advance, but make sure to reheat the rice and barley as the potatoes are roasting so the dish is served warm.

Mashed Turnips & Potatoes with Roasted Garlic

We take a break from traditional mashed potatoes and mix in sharp-yet-sweet turnips. Butter, fresh chives and thyme give this mash herby freshness. If you want more flavor, feel free to swap out the Parmesan cheese for blue cheese.

To make ahead: The potatoes and turnips can be peeled and cut the night before the feast—just make sure the potatoes are stored in water so they don't brown.

Spiced Maple Cranberry Sauce

Instead of store-bought cranberry sauce, we pull out the stops and use fresh cranberries and maple syrup for this sweet-tart Thanksgiving staple. To bulk up the sweetness without too much syrup, this recipe leans on apple sauce and fresh orange juice to make it shine.

To make ahead: This dish can be made several days in advance. If you want to get the most out of it, you can use it to make 3-Ingredient Cranberry-Brie Bites as an extra app.

Cream Cheese Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Streusel

Traditional pumpkin pie gets an upgrade with swirls of sweetened cream cheese. While we stuck with a regular pastry crust so we could make this pie indulgent with a buttery spiced-pecan topping—it is Thanksgiving, after all.

To make ahead: This pie can be made a day in advance.

Other vegetarian Thanksgiving dishes to try: