21 Delicious Vegetarian Recipes To Whip Up For Thanksgiving

There's no denying that turkey rules the Thanksgiving realm, and it would be quite the challenge to find a holiday dinner table that isn't centered around a roasted bird. That said, there is more to Thanksgiving than just turkey, so those who don't eat meat can still get in on all of the goodness that the holiday has to offer. Whether you want to fully vegetarianize your holiday meal, accommodate allergies for Thanksgiving dinner, or simply diversify your side dishes, it's always a good idea to have a meat-free recipe or two on hand.

We've compiled some of our best vegetarian recipes that would be especially welcome for a holiday feast. Ranging from main courses like squash lasagna or unbeatable side dishes like potatoes au gratin, vegetarianism certainly won't hinder your ability to bring hearty recipes to the table. These dishes feature autumnal ingredients, strike an elegant chord, or are straight-up comfort food — all of which work well for Thanksgiving, and most of which just might steal the spotlight from the turkey.

1. Lemon Garlic Green Beans

Very few dinner tables are complete without a vegetable side dish, though not all vegetables live up to the esteemed nature of a holiday meal. Luckily, these lemon garlic green beans are just elevated enough to deserve a spot at Thanksgiving dinner, but are also simple enough to make that you won't find yourself fussing over them behind the scenes.

The cooking process is quick and easy with this vegetarian recipe — you'll start by blanching the green beans, and then as they chill in an ice bath, you'll get the lemon garlic sauce going. You'll saute the beans in the sauce as a final step, then your easy but elegant side dish will be ready for the spotlight.

Recipe: Lemon Garlic Green Beans

2. Simple Candied Yams

If there's a world where yams don't exist on a Thanksgiving dinner table, it's one we never want to experience. Love them or hate them, yams are a quintessential part of Thanksgiving, and even better yet if they're sweet and spiced and everything nice. These simple candied yams check all of those boxes, and if you aren't a big fan of the all-out, marshmallow-covered candied yam variety, then this toned-down version might be more up to your speed.

So, if there aren't any marshmallows in this recipe, then where does the candied part come into play? Well, we can thank a combination of butter, molasses, brown sugar, cinnamon, and ginger for taking these yams from plain and boring to sweet, spiced, warm, and, well, candied. 

Recipe: Simple Candied Yams

3. Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

Butternut squash tends to get the short end of the stick once the fall-induced pumpkin craze begins every year, but the oft-overlooked orange gourd deserves some love come fall, and especially come Thanksgiving. There's no better way to incorporate squash than with this roasted butternut squash salad, which will most likely be the most colorful, vibrant, and eye-catching dish on your table.

Aside from the roasted squash, this salad also features spinach at its base along with goat cheese, pomegranate seeds, and a honey Dijon dressing. And for a final autumnal touch and a nice textural addition, honey-roasted pumpkin seeds add the perfect crunch to this otherwise soft salad.

Recipe: Roasted Butternut Squash Salad 

4. Honey Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes aren't a particularly seasonal ingredient, though there is something about them that seems particularly autumnal. And, if yams really aren't your thing, then sweet potatoes are a great alternative — and, yes, there is a difference between the two.

There are countless ways to dress up sweet potatoes, but because of their naturally sweet taste, it makes sense to hone in on that flavor profile. These honey-roasted sweet potatoes do just that, adding a sweet and spiced flair that still allows the starchy vegetable to shine in its own right. While most dishes on your Thanksgiving table will be savory ones, this dish will add a touch of sweetness without going overboard and without difficulty — in fact, this recipe will be ready to go in just over 30 minutes.

Recipe: Honey-Roasted Sweet Potatoes

5. Crispy Gnocchi

Before you become overwhelmed by the thought of whipping up a batch of fresh gnocchi on Thanksgiving day, you should know that this recipe doesn't call for making your own gnocchi, but instead jazzing up the premade stuff. This shortcut will save you quite a bit of time and stress in the kitchen, and the result is a pesto-fied, cheesy dish that will make an unexpected (but welcome) addition to your table.

You'll start by cooking the gnocchi — which takes all of 3 minutes — then you'll fry it to make it crispy, and finally, you'll mix it up with pesto, pine nuts, and plenty of Parmesan cheese. Will this be the most inspired dish at Thanksgiving? No, but it will be an easy one, and one that satisfies both meat-eaters and vegetarians alike.

Recipe: Crispy Gnocchi

6. Easy Baked Acorn Squash

Though you could purchase squash from most grocery stores year-round, it certainly gets a boost in popularity come fall. So, naturally, it's a good idea to get in on the seasonal squash craze and put it to good use during the holiday season — not only does squash give off autumnal vibes, but it also adds a flair of elegance to just about any holiday spread.

This recipe puts acorn squash to good use, and the most difficult part of the recipe — if you could even call it difficult — is simply slicing up the squash into crescents. From there, you'll season the squash with onion powder, garlic powder, and chili powder, then you'll let the oven take over from there, yielding the perfect vegetarian side dish.

Recipe: Easy Baked Acorn Squash

7. Garlic Butter Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are a notoriously bitter vegetable, and therefore a polarizing one that often goes untouched at the dinner buffet. When cooked correctly, however, Brussels sprouts are really quite delicious, and one of the best ways to combat some of their bitterness is to cook them in something rich and fatty, like butter. This recipe does just that, and you'll even throw in some garlic for a flavor boost that takes these sprouts from skippable to scrumptious.

If you're looking for the simplest of simple recipes to whip up on Thanksgiving day, then these garlic butter Brussels sprouts are it. It takes less than 10 minutes to cook the sprouts, and once they're done, they'll have a lovely char around the edges and a rich, garlicky flavor that just might have your guests coming back for seconds.

Recipe: Garlic Butter Brussels Sprouts

8. Honey-Glazed Carrots

There's a good chance that carrots are already a go-to vegetable in your dinnertime rotation, so if you're looking for a recipe that fancies things up just a bit, then these honey-glazed carrots are just the solution. For those anticipating a time crunch on Thanksgiving, don't worry — this recipe yields an elegant side dish, but it ultimately only requires a handful of ingredients and just over 30 minutes of time to make.

Though you could drizzle honey over roasted carrots and call it a day, this recipe calls for making a honey-butter mixture on the stovetop first; then, you'll drizzle this sweet and rich concoction over sliced carrots in a baking dish, roast for about a half hour, then garnish the finished product with some fresh parsley. Incredibly simple yet delicious, this vegetarian side dish just might become a regular in your everyday dinner rotation, too.

Recipe: Honey-Glazed Carrots

9. Creamy Garlic Mashed Red Potatoes

If you're looking to whip up the absolute best mashed potatoes this holiday season, then this creamy garlic mashed red potatoes recipe just might become your go-to for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and well into the new year. This recipe yields a big old batch of potatoes, so whether you need to feed just your family or a larger crowd, you can guarantee that everyone will get their fair share.

Fans of garlicky potatoes will especially love this recipe, as it doesn't call for just a few cloves, but instead a whole bulb of garlic. Along with butter, sour cream, milk, and just a bit of salt and pepper for seasoning, you can transform red potatoes into a creamy concoction that is completely vegetarian and completely delicious.

Recipe: Creamy Garlic Mashed Red Potatoes

10. Fall Vegetable Soup

Soup may not be the first dish you might think to serve on Thanksgiving, but it makes for a great appetizer and is a great option for feeding a crowd. Of course, not every soup would be such a big hit around the holidays (as much as we love chicken noodle soup, that's not what we're looking for on Thanksgiving) — but this fall vegetable soup would definitely satisfy.

So, what vegetables go into a fall vegetable soup? As you might have guessed, butternut squash makes up the bulk of this soup, along with potatoes, leeks, onion, and carrots. This is especially a great recipe to make for those folks in your family who don't eat dairy — not only is this soup vegetarian, but it's vegan too.

Recipe: Fall Vegetable Soup

11. Classic Creamed Spinach

We're not going to pretend that spinach is the most exciting green out there, or one that most people would even consider basing an entire dish around. But if there is one way to make an otherwise unexciting ingredient tasty and desirable, it'd be to make it rich and creamy — which is exactly what happens in this classic creamed spinach recipe.

This quick and easy recipe just might change the way you view spinach as an ingredient. Long gone are the days of sneaking spinach into a smoothie or begrudgingly adding some to your pasta to get greens in. This recipe proves that spinach can be delicious and serve as the star of the show — it just needs a little help from cream cheese, butter, and garlic.

Recipe: Classic Creamed Spinach

12. Cauliflower au Gratin

While you might be most familiar with seeing au gratin in the context of potatoes, you can make just about anything au gratin — in this case, cauliflower steps up to bat. The au gratin part refers to what you do to the potatoes, cauliflower, or whatever ingredient is in question; you'll sprinkle the vegetable with either breadcrumbs or cheese then pop it into the oven to get nice and browned.

This recipe takes a cheesy approach, so you'll start by prepping the cauliflower, then you'll cover it in a cheesy sauce and bake. The cheeses in question are Gruyere and Parmesan, so you can count on a dish that packs plenty of rich, savory flavor, and one that most definitely deserves a spot at Thanksgiving.

Recipe: Cauliflower au Gratin

13. Simple Mac and Cheese (with Crunchy Topping)

Mac and cheese is one of those foods that is casual enough to enjoy any old day of the week, yet special enough that everyone wants it for a holiday dinner. Of course, if you're whipping up some mac and cheese for Thanksgiving, you don't want to go for the Kraft route. Instead, you can easily make the dish from scratch, and thanks to a crunchy topping, your mac and cheese will look and taste much better than the boxed stuff.

The key to this recipe's crunchy topping isn't breadcrumbs, somewhat surprisingly, but instead is butter crackers. You know, those salty, buttery little rounds that come in tubes — well, they make for the perfect mac and cheese topper, as it turns out, adding just the right amount of crunch to an otherwise soft dish.

Recipe: Simple Mac and Cheese (with Crunchy Topping)

14. Cranberry Brie Bites

These cranberry Brie bites are the perfect appetizer for those who want elegance but don't have a lot of time. The clever use of puff pastry enables you to make this recipe without fuss and with minimal ingredients, too, so if the person bringing an appetizer to Thanksgiving drops out at the last minute, you can make these tasty bites in a pinch.

You'll start by cutting up the puff pastry to create little squares, which you'll then tuck away into a muffin tin. Tart cranberry sauce and tangy Brie come together to create quite a flavorful bite, while garlic and rosemary add an aromatic hit to these simple but festive little snacks.

Recipe: Cranberry Brie Bites

15. Zucchini Lasagna Roll-Ups

If you like the idea of serving a vegetarian lasagna but don't really have the time to make an entire lasagna, then these zucchini roll-ups are the perfect solution. Believe it or not, you can whip up these lasagna-esque roll-ups in less than an hour and with a mere five ingredients — and not only is this dish vegetarian, but it's gluten-free, too.

The use of jarred marinara sauce comes in handy here and helps keep this ingredient list nice and short. Instead of lasagna noodles, you'll use thin, long strips of zucchini — a zoodle, if you will — as the base. Mozzarella and cream cheese add plenty of creaminess to the dish, and a final garnish of basil adds a nice touch of freshness.

Recipe: Zucchini Lasagna Roll-Ups

16. Kale and Roasted Beet Salad

Sure, you could serve a plain, boring salad on Thanksgiving that most of your guests will skip right over, or you could serve this kale and roasted beet salad, which comes topped off with avocado, feta cheese, and walnuts. This recipe proves that you don't need any meat to make a hearty dish — the plethora of veggies stand well all on their own.

The beauty of this salad is that it's also very customizable. Not a fan of feta cheese? Simply swap it out for goat cheese or skip it altogether. Do you only have pecans in your pantry? No problem — those make a great swap from walnuts, and if there's a nut allergy somewhere in the family, then you can easily omit the nuts and still bask in all the glory that this salad has to offer.

Recipe: Kale and Roasted Beet Salad with Feta

17. Vegetarian Chickpea Pot Pie

Chicken pot pie is one of the most comforting dishes around, and based on the name alone, it might seem nearly impossible to make a vegetarian version. Well, this chickpea pot pie defies the odds and is completely vegetarian, and you could easily make it vegan by swapping out the milk and butter for dairy-free alternatives.

Chickpeas are the star of this pot pie, though they don't stand alone. You'll also find hearty favorites like potatoes, corn, peas, carrots, and celery, all baked to perfection in a buttery crust. This recipe also makes use of frozen pie crusts to keep things nice and simple, though if you want to go all-out for Thanksgiving, you could easily make the crust yourself.

Recipe: Vegetarian Chickpea Pot Pie

18. Potatoes au Gratin with Gruyere

There are so many ways to cook potatoes — you could bake them, mash them, roast them — and there are even more ways yet to adorn them. We think that potatoes au gratin often get the short end of the stick when it comes to holiday meals, often going overlooked in favor of classic mashed potatoes. This recipe proves that potatoes au gratin deserve more love, because after all, who doesn't love creamy, cheesy potatoes that are perfectly browned on top?

You won't find any special ingredients or unusual cooking methods with this potatoes au gratin recipe, but that's the beauty of it. This is comfort food at its finest, and conveniently, it's completely vegetarian. Dairy-free folks will want to steer clear of this creamy dish, but otherwise, we think it just might be the star of your Thanksgiving spread.

Recipe: Potatoes au Gratin with Gruyere

19. Butternut Squash Ravioli

This butternut squash ravioli recipe is not something you might make last minute or on a whim. No, this homemade pasta recipe does require a certain amount of planning, but if you're looking for the perfect vegetarian entree for Thanksgiving, then your guests will certainly be grateful for this warm, comforting, autumnal dish.

You'll start by making the pasta dough, which isn't a particularly burdensome or difficult task, but it is one that requires a bit of patience. Another task that requires a touch of patience is roasting the squash, which could take up to an hour, but once all of the hard work is done, you can kick back and enjoy this exquisite ravioli which really is worth the effort.

Recipe: Butternut Squash Ravioli

20. Italian-Style Vegetable Casserole

Casseroles come in all shapes and sizes, and this casserole not only takes on an Italian flair, but it also incorporates a plethora of vegetables into one cohesive dish. This casserole is perfect for a Thanksgiving dish because it sort of plays double duty. You could enjoy a smaller portion as a side dish, or you could load your plate up and enjoy this hearty casserole as the main course.

Whichever way you enjoy this Italian-style casserole, you can definitely guarantee that you'll get your serving of veggies in. From the celery, zucchini, carrots, peppers, and mushrooms to the rice and lentils, the only reason you won't be heading back for seconds of this casserole is because you'll be plenty full from the first serving.

Recipe: Italian-Style Vegetable Casserole

21. Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

When you cook then shred an aptly-named spaghetti squash, it creates noodle-like strands that are quite useful for making both vegetarian and gluten-free "pasta" dishes. Take this spaghetti squash lasagna recipe, for example — it's got all of the goodness of regular lasagna, minus the noodles and with the added bonus of vegetables.

Aside from the squash, you'll find pretty typical lasagna players in this recipe, including ricotta cheese, tomatoes, and mozzarella. There's even some spinach thrown into the mix, so if you want to serve the most vegetable-forward vegetarian dish possible come Thanksgiving, then this lasagna makes for the perfect entree.

Recipe: Spaghetti Squash Lasagna