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The Best Vegetarian Dishes for Thanksgiving

Happy holiday season, friends! Welcome back to a very special edition of Whatcheescooking, the culinary klatch where I share my favorite recipes, tips and products to get creative, seasonal, restaurant-style meals to your family’s table. 

This month, I’m sharing my favorite vegetarian-friendly Thanksgiving recipes to help inspire you to confidently approach vegetarian requests for holiday table guests WITHOUT sacrificing creativity and, most importantly, flavor. 

Let me preface this article by saying this: I LOVE THE HOLIDAYS. I love the weather, the get-togethers, family time and decorating the house.

Beyond all that, I also LOVE the food. I tend to be a fairly traditional holiday cook – roasted or smoked turkey, mashed potatoes and giblet gravy, green bean casserole (with bacon, obviously), dressing (not stuffing, also with bacon), sweet potato casserole, etc. 

I stuck with this traditional holiday cooking until my baby sister started spending Thanksgiving with us. She used to be a strict vegetarian in those days, so I wanted to make sure to dazzle her with my version of vegetarian foods on the holiday table. 

Using fresh and seasonal ingredients, the right pantry staples, a whole lot of love and a little creativity, I was able to make her holiday meal dreams come true. Vegetarians need love, too! 

** Thank your local farmer for their hard work by sourcing locally from your area…they keep food on our tables! **

Here are a few of our favorite vegetarian recipes to add to your holiday meal plan (whether you’re vegetarian or not!).

The Best Vegetarian Dishes for Thanksgiving

Roasted Stuffed Butternut Squash 

roasted butternut squash vegetarian thanksgiving
Butternut Squash “canoes” stuffed with apple, kale, pecans, farro and feta cheese.


Ingredients:

Recipe Serves 4-6

  • 1 medium to large butternut squash, rinsed, halved lengthwise and deseeded
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed to paste 
  • 1 medium shallot, diced finely
  • 1 medium apple, cored and chopped with skin on
  • ¾ cup toasted pecans or almonds, chopped 
  • 1½ cups farro, prepared to package instructions
  • 1½ cups kale, rinsed and chopped
  • ½ cup feta cheese 
  • ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar 
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Butcher’s twine (optional)

Instructions for Roasted Stuffed Butternut Squash

Step 1: 

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
  • Using a spoon, core out the neck of the butternut squash. Think about it as if you were carving out a canoe from a log. You want to create a space to place our stuffing
  •  Pat dry, and set aside

Step 2:

  • Over medium-low heat, sauté onion and garlic until the onion is transparent. 
  • Allow to cool slightly
  • In a large bowl, combine the farro with the balsamic vinegar and a good glug of olive oil, then stir
  • Taste and season as needed for your preference
  • Add sautéed garlic and onions, and stir

Step 3: 

  • Add in the remainder of your ingredients to the farro mixture, combining well
  • Fill the butternut squash “canoes” with the prepared stuffing
    •  press into halves to ensure it won’t come out when you flip them together

Hot tip: I like to use a loaf pan, placing one half of the squash into the bottom, then placing the other on top to roast, so that the halves containing filling press together, like a sandwich. 

Alternatively, you can truss it up together with butcher’s twine like you would a stuffed roast. Either way works just fine! 

Step 4: 

  • Place into your preheated oven and roast, covered, for 90 minutes or until a toothpick goes into the squash easily
  •  Allow to rest as you would a roast, then remove gently from the loaf pan, slice it up, and enjoy! 

You can serve this GORGEOUS vegetarian main with a roasted veggie gravy to enjoy the entire Thanksgiving experience. 

Anything-But-Basic Side Salad

Shaved Brussels, ale, and romaine lettuce are the PERFECT blend of greens for this beautifully simple and delicious fall salad. 

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups each, rinsed and shredded – Brussels sprouts, kale and romaine lettuce
  • 1 large shallot, sliced thinly
  • ¾ cup pecans, toasted and chopped
  • ¾ cup dried cranberries (I prefer non-sweetened, but to each their own)
  • 1 Anjou pear, diced
  • ¾ cup Gorgonzola or blue cheese of choice
  • 1 cup croutons of choice 
  • ½ cup cranberry vinaigrette (recipe included below)

Instructions for Anything But Basic Side Salad

Step 1: 

  • Add ALL of your goodies into a large bowl and toss well to distribute ingredients together

Step 2: 

  • Add cranberry vinaigrette to salad
  • Use tongs, salad utensils or your very clean hands to toss well
    •  If ½ cup of the delicious vinaigrette isn’t enough dressing for your taste, add more and toss again. Easy Peasy!

Cranberry Vinaigrette 

Whether you make your own cranberry sauce or you buy it from your local store, this vinaigrette is a game changer and so easy to make!

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup cranberry sauce of choice
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 1 small shallot, peeled and ends removed
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of stone-ground mustard
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • ½ cup (good quality) olive oil
  • ⅓ cup red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions for Cranberry Vinaigrette 

Step 1: Are you guys ready for this? 

  • You put all of your prepared dressing ingredients into your blender and blend it up!
    • The blender emulsifies and breaks down everything into a GORGEOUS, velvety vinaigrette
    •  Make sure to taste your dressing and adjust the seasoning as needed

Green Bean Casserole – Vegetarian and Vegan versions

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds of green beans, rinsed, ends trimmed, and cut into 1½ inch sections
  • 1 large shallot, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced finely
  • 8 ounces mushrooms of choice (I used cremini), cleaned and diced
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh thyme1½ cups crispy, fried onions (save an additional 1 cup for the topping)
  • 3 tablespoons of butter OR avocado oil
  • 3 tablespoons of flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions for Green Bean Casserole 

Step 1: 

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  • Salt generously and bring 4 quarts of water to boil
  • Quickly blanch the green beans in boiling water for 3-4 minutes
  • Immediately drain and chill them in a bowl of cold or iced water; Once cooled, drain and set aside

Step 2: 

  • Over medium heat, add a small amount of oil of choice to the pan
  • Sauté shallot and garlic until shallot becomes transparent
  • Add mushrooms and thyme
  • Continue to sauté until mushrooms are slightly softened
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste

Step 3: 

  • Add 3 tablespoons of your butter or oil to the mushroom mixture; followed by the flour
  • Stir to evenly distribute flour and remove any clumps
    • You’re looking for everything to be evenly coated in your pan

Step 4: 

  • Continue stirring to cook down the rawness of the flour. This should take about 5-10 minutes
  • Once flour is cooked, whisk in the cream or oat milk, and continue stirring over medium heat until mixture comes to a hard simmer and begins to thicken

Step 5: 

  • In a large bowl, mix together mushroom gravy, blanched and cooled green beans and crispy fried onions
  • Once mixed thoroughly, TASTE YOUR FOOD, and adjust seasoning as needed
  • Spoon into the baking vessel of choice 
  • Cook in the preheated oven for 40 minutes

Step 6: 

  • After 40 minutes in the oven, remove casserole from oven
  • Top with 1 cup of extra crispy fried onions you had set aside 
  • Put back into the oven for 10 minutes, or until the topping is slightly browned
  • Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving
Beautiful and savory vegetarian friendly green bean casserole. See the recipe above for easy swaps to keep it vegan.

Kim Lehr

Kim Lehr is a bar/restaurant industry veteran who owns The Accompaniment Co. and is obsessed with all things pickled. Most importantly? She’s a wife and mom who wants to feed her family more healthful, wholesome, flavorful, and creative meals. Join her to share some of those meals and her small batch, local products with your family’s table.

read all of kim’s articles here.

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