If you’re a vegetarian, then it only stands to reason that the holidays can present a bit of a challenge. If you’ve ever had the misfortune of being the only vegetarian at a Thanksgiving dinner, then you know exactly what we mean. Many hosts don’t think to go out of their way to accommodate vegetarian guests. Others simply assume that the vegetarians at the table can simply nosh on the side dishes. (“You don’t mind that there’s chicken broth in the mashed potatoes, right?”)
Hosting Thanksgiving as a vegetarian
can be an even bigger challenge. Here we’ll take a closer look at how you can make sure absolutely no one misses the meat when they show up for Thanksgiving dinner at your place. Turkey? What’s that?
When it comes to masterful mains that are not only vegetarian, but absolute crowd pleasers, it doesn’t get much better than lasagna. For starters, lasagna is not only well loved by nearly everyone, but it’s one that is easy to make vegetarian without anyone missing the meat. Lasagna’s a great choice for home cooks who like to make their Thanksgiving fare ahead, as well, as it keeps perfectly for up to four months in the freezer.
As far as ingredients, the sky is most definitely the limit. For a meaty feel without the actual meat, you can make a hearty faux meat Bolognese
filling. However, multiple cheeses or tofu, spinach, or pumpkin make amazing fillings as well.
- Rustic Vegetable Tart
Like lasagna, a vegetable tart is a centerpiece you can trust to deliver that wow factor when it makes an appearance on your Thanksgiving table. It’s also a wonderful way to showcase all of fall’s best produce offerings at their finest.
Try a hearty rustic version that features autumn staples like creamy butternut squash, earthy parsnips, and deliciously nutty roasted Brussels sprouts. Heirloom tomatoes and local mushrooms also make excellent stars in a vegetable tart. Round things out with some flavorful additives like goat cheese, truffles, or chestnuts if you’re so inclined.
- Vegetarian Enchiladas
Have you ever met an enchilada you didn’t like? Well, neither have we. Consider making a vegetarian version the star of your Thanksgiving feast this year. Go with a classic cheese and bean filling. Alternatively, you can make pumpkin or winter squash the main attraction, as their mild seasonal flavor marries perfectly with cheese and a spicy chili sauce.
You can take your entire menu a step further by giving your menu a Latin twist, all in a vegetarian friendly way, of course. Consider options like wild rice stuffing with faux sausage, roasted Poblano salsa, or roasted Mexican corn.
- Stuffed Squash
If you’re looking for a vegetarian main that’s as beautiful and seasonally appropriate as it is appealing and versatile, then stuffed squash is a dish for you. It’s easy to prepare, while giving you plenty of room to be creative as well.
Start with your favorite winter squash (or a variety of them if you’d like to give your guests a choice). Butternut, acorn, and delicata all make fantastic options. Then brainstorm your fillings. Wild rice and onion go wonderfully together, as do farro or quinoa with pomegranate seeds, vegetarian sausage, peas, carrots, and more. Experiment with your favorite combinations. Garnish with your favorite herbs and some fresh cheese!
- Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie
Shepherd’s pie is yet another main dish that is not only just as good meatless as it is traditionally prepared, but that just about everyone absolutely loves. Plus, it’s another option to add to the “totally versatile” list.
The filling can be any combination of your favorite vegetarian ingredients that you like. Mushrooms are a fantastic choice because of how earthy and meaty they can taste when prepared just right. Other smart choices include beets, lentils, farro, spinach, quinoa, carrots, peas, squash, and Swiss chard. Top with your favorite potato mash, and prepare to receive the lion’s share of the compliments.
- Frittatas or Quiche
If you’re one of the many vegetarians that eats and serves eggs, a frittata or a quiche is another great choice that will be sure to wow everyone at your table. Try dressing yours up for the season with fillings like cauliflower and chard, spinach and heirloom tomato, or mushroom and goat cheese. Pair with your favorite sides, and you’re done.
The key to a successful vegetarian Thanksgiving is serving crowd pleasers that ensure no one will miss the turkey in the least, and the above options are picks that even the Pilgrims
would have loved. Explore the possibilities today!