Turkey is traditionally the star of the Thanksgiving table, but if you're a vegetarian, it's completely off-limits. You can still have an epic, meat-free holiday meal without feeling like you're missing out on anything, however, because there are so many amazing vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes out there to choose from.
You might not realize it, but fall is actually a great time of year for meat-free cooking. That's because so many vegetables are in season, including brussels sprouts, carrots, cranberries, squashes, sweet potatoes, and more. You'll find delicious recipes that include all of those ingredients, plus many more, below.
Many of these dishes are also easy to make ahead and simply pop in the oven just ahead of your Thanksgiving feast. Considering how hectic the day can become (and how easy it is to get off of your cooking schedule), that's a great bonus. You don't need any special equipment to whip them up, either — just the stuff you've probably already got in your kitchen.
Here are 15 recipes that will leave any vegetarian joining your meal feeling stuffed and satisfied this Thanksgiving. And even your meat-eating guests will probably be relieved to have some flavorful dishes to balance out all the turkey they plan on having.
1. Mashed Potatoes
The Thanksgiving table isn't complete without a mound of creamy, buttery mashed potatoes. Aside from being delicious, this recipe from No 2. Pencil definitely is also super practical because it can be made ahead and heated up just before serving.
Vegetarians can't partake in turkey gravy, but this meat-free copy-cat version from Pickles & Honey will definitely satisfy anyone's craving. You'll need nutritional yeast and tamari for this vegetarian gravy recipe, plus a handful of other spices. If you've got the ingredients ready to go, it can be on the table in five minutes.
Stuffing baked inside your Thanksgiving bird or loaded up with sausage is obviously a hard pass for vegetarians. But this mushroom and apple stuffing recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod might make your guests forget all about the meat-filled version. Using sourdough bread helps stop it from turning soggy, as stuffing sometimes does.
4. Sweet Potato Casserole
You don't have to wait until dessert to satisfy your sweet tooth — this sweet potato casserole from Natasha's Kitchen will definitely do the trick. You'll need two types of sugar and lots of butter to give it that melt-in-your-mouth sweetness. Toppings like pecans give it a nice crunchy texture, while dried cranberries jazz it up even more.
5. Glazed Carrots
You'll need a splash of whiskey on hand to whip up these glazed carrots from Nellie Bellie — the liquor gives them an extra dose of sweetness. The blogger suggests using baby carrots to save yourself the hassle of peeling and dicing. The shortcut means you can have them on the table in about 30 minutes.
6. Brussel Sprouts
This Brussel sprout recipe from Five Heart Home is a great mix of savory and sweet thanks to yummy add-ins like balsamic, cranberries, and pistachios. Trim up the Brussel sprouts, baked them on a sheet pan, sprinkle them with the rest of the ingredients, and you're done.
7. Scalloped Potatoes
Even if you're a major mashed potato fan, these scalloped potatoes might just be delicious enough to make you change up your menu. Cooking for Keeps uses pumpkin puree (canned is fine) to make the cheesy sauce extra creamy. You'll want to use extra sharp cheddar cheese to get it just right.
8. Quinoa Stuffing
If you're looking to give some traditional Thanksgiving dishes a healthy makeover, Gimme Some Oven uses quinoa as the base of this stuffing dish. It's a great option for guests with dietary restrictions, since it's both vegan and gluten-free.
9. Green Bean Casserole
In addition to all the cheesy, creamy goodness, this Green beans recipe from Damn Delicious uses mushrooms and thinly sliced shallots for lots of extra flavor. You'll start it on the stove before transferring it to the oven, but it'll be more than worth the effort.
These homemade dinner rolls from Mel's Kitchen Cafe are super simple to make, and they'll taste so much better than store-bought options. After mixing up the dough, they'll need just 15 minutes in the oven before they're on the table. But if you're pressed for time on Thanksgiving day, you can make and refrigerate the dough up to 24 hours in advance.
11. Butternut Squash
The Hasselback cutting technique makes this Butternut squash look incredibly fancy. But don't worry — it's so much easier than it looks. A Cozy Kitchen tops it with cranberries and walnut, and that extra pop of color makes it look extra festive.
12. Creamed Spaghetti Squash
Butternut's not the only squash that can make a delicious guest-starring appearance on your Thanksgiving table. This spaghetti squash recipe from Half Baked Harvest uses goat cheese to make a super creamy sauce. If you've never cooked with spaghetti squash before, don't be intimidated — all you need to do is cut in half and roast it and then it'll shred easily.
13. Macaroni And Cheese
If a universal crowd pleaser exists, it might just be macaroni and cheese. This recipe from This Old Gal mimics the good old Kraft kind that's a staple of so many childhoods. You can make it in an Instant Pot, if you've got one, but the stovetop instructions are included, too.
14. Cranberry Sauce
15. Cheese Balls
Last but not least, you can't forget the appetizers. This adorable cheese ball from Family Fresh Meals is perfect for vegetarians. The cute pumpkin stem is actually the top of a green bell pepper. How clever is that?