21 Vegetarian Holiday Dishes That Aren't Plain Veggies
With turkey as the main event and animal products lurking in staple sides like stuffing and gravy, the holidays can be a tough time for vegetarians. But veggie-based should never mean fun-free, so here's a roundup of 21 creative, magnificently meatless holiday foods. Whether you're a loyal vegetarian or committed carnivore, you'll find many things to love about these dishes — because no one should have to eat plain ol' green beans at the happiest time of the year.
Cumin-Spiced Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Made without any butter or butter substitutes, this savory side dish will please your vegan-loving friends as well as those trying to watch their waistline — it's only 157 calories per serving.
Kale Salad With Pecorino and Pine Nuts
You may think kale salad has no place on the Thanksgiving table, but just think about the special combination of nutty Pecorino Romano cheese, toasted pine nuts, and plump golden raisins, and you just might change your mind.
Savory Pumpkin Custard
This creamy, cozy pumpkin custard packs the perfect Fall flavor with nutmeg and fresh thyme, but the best part? It's baked inside of a pumpkin, so it's just as much of a table decoration as it is a tasty vegetarian side.
Roasted Butternut Squash
This basic roasted butternut squash recipe is versatile since it can be eaten alone, added to a salad or whole grain, or used to make soups.
Sweet Potato Stuffing
Tender sweet potatoes add flavor and texture to this quick and easy sweet potato stuffing. The recipe calls for gluten-free bread, but feel free to replace it with your favorite loaf if you're not worried about gluten.
Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes
Jeff Mauro calls his five-ingredient cream cheese mashed potatoes the creamiest, butteriest, and tastiest ever — and he's not wrong. Butter, half and half, and a quick stint in the oven make these spuds rich and velvety with the perfect golden crust.
Green Bean Casserole
Crimini mushrooms add all the meatiness you need to this creamy green bean casserole, topped with crispy fried onions for the ideal textural contrast.
Pumpkin Risotto With Goat Cheese and Dried Cranberries
Goat cheese and cranberries add the perfect tang and tartness to this creamy pumpkin risotto, which doubles as an easy weeknight dinner. Colorful and comforting, this main is the perfect replacement for turkey on the center of your table.
Vegan Pumpkin Cornbread
Pumpkin purée, brown sugar, and cornmeal result in a delightfully dense and moist vegan pumpkin cornbread that anyone can enjoy. It's perfect in place of plain dinner rolls — or drizzled in butter and maple syrup for a prefeast breakfast.
Blistered Green Beans With Mushrooms and Caramelized Onions
These green beans gain hearty, supersavory flavor from mushrooms and caramelized onions, no animal fat needed
Rosemary Sweet Potato Stacks
Thinly sliced sweet potatoes, stacked into small mounds, are a uniquely adorable side that the whole table will love. Baked in a muffin tin and drizzled with a simple mixture of butter, rosemary, and Parmesan, they're also a contender for the easiest Thanksgiving veggie of the season.
Creamy Corn Pudding With Crispy Onions and Herbs
Nothing says "party in your mouth" like the marriage of pillowy corn pudding with crispy onions, made with staple ingredients and ready in around half an hour.
Cinnamon Butter Baked Carrots
If you have trouble appreciating vegetables in their raw state, turn to these cinnamon butter baked carrots, stat! Their natural sweetness is accentuated with a sensible dressing of sweet cinnamon butter, and they're baked until irresistibly tender.
Butternut Squash and Wild Mushroom Stuffing
Mixed mushrooms offer a rustic beauty to this butternut squash and wild mushroom stuffing, which can be made completely vegetarian with vegetable broth.
Butternut Squash Lasagna
Even the most steadfast of carnivores won't be able to get enough of this cheesy butternut squash lasagna, the ultimate Fall comfort food. Take one bite of the rosemary-rich main, and you'll forget turkey ever existed.
Vegan Lentil Shepherd’s Pie
Vegetarian dishes aren't all pastas and veggies. This vegan lentil shepherd's pie combines a healthy veggie base with a fluffy mashed potato topping, marrying two sides into one.
Roasted Carrots With Candied Pecans and Goat Cheese
Roasted carrots gather a bit more allure from creamy, tangy goat cheese and crispy, sweet candied pecans. Sprinkled with thyme, they're just pretty as they are delicious.
Sweet Potato Casserole With Marshmallows
What's Thanksgiving dinner without everyone's favorite vegetable-dessert hybrid? This fuss-free version of sweet potato casserole has just the right ratio of spuds to butter and mini marshmallows.
Stovetop Mac ’n’ Cheese
While Kraft macaroni and cheese might be a bit too casual for a holiday meal, the homemade stuff isn't. Upgraded with extrasharp cheddar, dry mustard, and cayenne, this version is just as nostalgic as the stuff in the blue box.
Slow-Cooker Scalloped Potatoes
Whip out your slow cooker and free up much-needed oven space with this decadent potato dish. A mix of Yukon Gold and sweet potatoes are generously topped with a two-cheese sauce and cooked until seductively bubbling.
Gluten-Free Stuffing Salad With Warm Sweet Onion Dressing
You may never have thought to combine stuffing and salad, and this dish will have you wondering why. Baked bread and veggies act like stuffing-flavored croutons on top of cabbage and radicchio, while a warm sweet onion dressing ties each element together.
Butternut Squash Farinata With Arugula Salad and Pomegranate Vinaigrette
Farinata is a traditional Italian bread that, when made with protein-rich chickpea flour and served with a side salad, makes the perfect vegan main. The addition of butternut squash gives it the texture of a hearty frittata.