28 Essential Vegetarian-Friendly Thanksgiving Recipes That'll Make Even The Carnivores Say, "Can I Have Seconds?"

·9 min read

Thanksgiving can be daunting when you're a vegetarian.

It makes sense! I mean, we do call it Turkey Day. But honestly, if you're just a little careful, I think Thanksgiving is one of the best holidays for vegetarians. You get to eat alllllll the good stuff (sides! appetizers! dessert!) and you don't have to eat the turkey — which nine times out of ten is dry and unappetizing anyway.

There are some delicious vegetarian mains in here too, for all you traditionalists, but trust me. Make a plate of all sides, if you'd like. You won't regret it.

1.Scalloped Potatoes

Scalloped Potatoes

Hot take: I like scalloped potatoes better than mashed potatoes. That crispy cheesy top is just unparalleled. If you have a mandolin, I'd definitely recommend using it here — you'll get more even slices with much less effort.

Recipe: Scalloped Potatoes | Shop This Recipe

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2.Roasted Garlic Parmesan Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Garlic Parmesan Brussels Sprouts

It's not your imagination: Brussels sprouts are way better than when you were a kid. Not only have we learned to cook them better — anything roasted with cheese and garlic is going to be better than something boiled to a mush — since the 90s, farmers have been breeding their sprouts to be less bitter, and you can really taste the difference in today's varieties.

Recipe: Roasted Garlic Parmesan Brussels Sprouts | Shop This Recipe

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3.Ultimate Green Bean Casserole

Ultimate Green Bean Casserole

I didn't grow up on green bean casserole, and when I had it for the first time as an adult, I was so upset that my family had kept this deliciousness from me. This recipe uses all fresh ingredients, and you can really taste the difference. Just make sure to cook your mushrooms long enough — they'll release a lot of water, and you want that to cook off before you add them to the casserole, otherwise it can end up too wet and soupy.

Recipe: Ultimate Green Bean Casserole | Shop This Recipe

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4.Apple Pie From Scratch

Apple Pie From Scratch

Pie dough can seem intimidating, but I promise, it isn't as hard as you think. Just be gentle and patient, and the dough will come together. To combine the ingredients, I like to use my hands (as opposed to a fork or a food processor). That said, if you'd rather get a store bought pie crust, people will still rave about this pie.

Recipe: Apple Pie From Scratch | Shop This Recipe

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5.Aunt Vivian's Sweet Potato Pie

Aunt Vivian's Sweet Potato Pie

Even if you're strongly on Team Pumpkin Pie, you've gotta try this. The filling is super flavorful but still light, and it's the perfect finish to a big holiday meal.

Recipe: Aunt Vivian's Sweet Potato Pie | Shop This Recipe

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6.Simple Dinner Rolls

Simple Dinner Rolls

Something with so few ingredients shouldn't be so delicious, and yet these rolls really are. Just make sure not to skimp on the kneading! The dough needs it, and it's a good opportunity to get all of your pre-holiday frustrations out. (You know you'll have them.)

Recipe: Simple Dinner Rolls | Shop This Recipe

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7.Winter Fruit Salad With Honey Lime Dressing

Winter Fruit Salad With Honey Lime Dressing

Fruit salad might not be traditional for Thanksgiving, but it's a worthwhile addition to your plate. The fresh, crisp flavors of the fruit really cut through all that hearty, savory business — your palate will thank you.

Recipe: Winter Fruit Salad With Honey Lime Dressing | Shop This Recipe

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8.Skillet Cornbread

Skillet Cornbread

This recipe bridges the gap between sweet cornbread and savory cornbread. There's a little sugar in the batter, plus the honey on top, but it also has tons of salted butter and cheddar cheese mixed in. If you feel strongly one way or the other, you could reduce the sugar or leave out the cheese, but I wouldn't — it's a perfect balance as-is.

Recipe: Skillet Cornbread | Shop This Recipe

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9.Creamiest Mashed Potatoes

Creamiest Mashed Potatoes

If you want a truly tried-and-tested recipe, this is the one for you. The Tasty test kitchen went through every last detail — from different types of potatoes, to the mashing method, and even types of fat — to make sure you have the silkiest, smoothest potatoes possible. And the garlic and rosemary-infused cream is truly the cherry on top of a perfect pile of potatoes.

Recipe: Creamiest Mashed Potatoes | Shop This Recipe

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10.Cranberry Pecan Cheese Ball

Cranberry Pecan Cheese Ball

There's something about a cheese ball that just feels deliciously vintage. Like, you probably won't serve this while wearing heels and sipping a highball, but it has that vibe.

Recipe: Cranberry Pecan Cheese Ball | Shop This Recipe

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11.Roasted Carrots

This is a great recipe for busy hosts *and* inexperienced cooks who are bringing a side to the party. Just toss the carrots with oil, maple syrup (or honey!) and salt and pepper, then toss them in a hot oven. They'll come out all crispy and sweet, with basically no effort.Recipe: Roasted Carrots | Shop This Recipe 

This is a great recipe for busy hosts *and* inexperienced cooks who are bringing a side to the party. Just toss the carrots with oil, maple syrup (or honey!) and salt and pepper, then toss them in a hot oven. They'll come out all crispy and sweet, with basically no effort.

Recipe: Roasted Carrots | Shop This Recipe

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12.Classic Deviled Eggs

Classic Deviled Eggs

You either think deviled eggs are a very weird addition to the holiday table, or you've had them your whole life. There's no middle ground. I'm from the second camp, and hopefully I can convert some people. They're great to have as an appetizer — unlike a lot of holiday apps, they're mostly protein, which keeps people from getting hangry if the turkey is taking a while.

Recipe: Classic Deviled Eggs | Shop This Recipe

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13.Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Pumpkin pie and cheesecake AND crumble topping??? Anything that tastes this good should be illegal, but I'm very glad that these bars aren't.

Recipe: Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars | Shop This Recipe

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14.Garlic Parmesan Stuffed Mushrooms

Garlic Parmesan Stuffed Mushrooms

If you're a veggie who's missing meat, these stuffed mushrooms are a great sub. They're so savory, juicy, and creamy that you'll be amazed they're 100% vegetarian.

Recipe: Garlic Parmesan Stuffed Mushrooms | Shop This Recipe

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15.Apple Brie Crostinis

Apple Brie Crostinis

If you, like me, would happily take a bath in warm Brie, this recipe is for you. It's sweet, savory, creamy, crunchy heaven. And a hot tip: commenters recommend putting the honey on before the walnuts, so they don't fall off.

Recipe: Apple Brie Crostinis | Shop This Recipe

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16.Mushroom Wellington

Mushroom Wellington

You'll want to grab a slice of this immediately, because everyone is gonna want some...including the meat eaters. They'll never know that it's secretly vegan (because yes, surprisingly, most frozen puff pastry is actually vegan).

Recipe: Mushroom Wellington | Shop This Recipe

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17.Beet And Pear Salad With Lemon Vinaigrette

Beet And Pear Salad With Lemon Vinaigrette

Traditionally, I think salad is a waste of valuable Thanksgiving plate real estate. However, this salad is the one exception. It's so crisp and flavorful that you'll be glad you made room for it.

Recipe: Beet And Pear Salad With Lemon Vinaigrette | Shop This Recipe

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18.Festive Stuffed Butternut Squash

Festive Stuffed Butternut Squash

If you're worried about carb overload from all the sides, this is a great main dish. The squash is stuffed with quinoa, chickpeas, and pumpkin seeds for a protein punch that'll put any bird to shame.

Recipe: Festive Stuffed Butternut Squash | Shop This Recipe

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19.Homemade Apple Cider

Homemade Apple Cider

If you're hosting Thanksgiving, start this early in the morning — when your guests arrive it'll double as a delicious, welcoming smell and a yummy hot beverage. And if you think it needs a little extra sweetness, brown sugar or maple syrup would totally set this off to perfection.

Recipe: Homemade Apple Cider | Shop This Recipe

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20.Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup

A mug of this as an appetizer is the perfect way to start a hearty fall meal. And if you top it off with a drizzle of cream (either dairy or coconut)? *Chef's kiss*

Recipe: Butternut Squash Soup | Shop This Recipe

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21.Slow Cooker Creamed Corn

Slow Cooker Creamed Corn

No need to make a complicated sauce — just put corn in the slow cooker with milk and cream cheese, and you'll be rewarded with a delicious side. And if you wanted to add a few dashes of hot sauce, you should absolutely go for it.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Creamed Corn | Shop This Recipe

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22.Cheese Maker's Mac 'N' Cheese

My girlfriend's family was confused the first time I offered to bring mac 'n' cheese for Thanksgiving — now I'm not allowed to come without it. If you usually don't have it as a side, give this recipe a try. I have a feeling your family will be converted, too.Recipe: Cheese Maker's Mac 'N' Cheese | Shop This Recipe 

My girlfriend's family was confused the first time I offered to bring mac 'n' cheese for Thanksgiving — now I'm not allowed to come without it. If you usually don't have it as a side, give this recipe a try. I have a feeling your family will be converted, too.

Recipe: Cheese Maker's Mac 'N' Cheese | Shop This Recipe

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23.Seitan Roast

Seitan Roast

People can get snooty about meat alternatives, which I've never understood. Sure, they're not the most beautiful foods, but they're always tasty, and let's be real — it all tastes the same when you smother it with gravy.

Recipe: Seitan Roast | Shop This Recipe

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24.Sweet Potato Biscuits With Honey Butter

Sweet Potato Biscuits With Honey Butter

I firmly believe that a biscuit is the best bread for swiping up all those last remnants on your plate, and this sweet potato version is on another level. They're tender, just a little sweet, and the spicy honey butter makes them utterly perfect.

Recipe: Sweet Potato Biscuits With Honey Butter | Shop This Recipe

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25.Vegetable Rose Herb Cheese Tart

Vegetable Rose Herb Cheese Tart

This beauty would be a great centerpiece for a smaller meal, or a gorgeous side at a larger dinner. Either way, you might want to enlist some help with rolling up the roses — it isn't difficult, but as they say, more hands make quick work.

Recipe: Vegetable Rose Herb Cheese Tart | Shop This Recipe

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26.Roasted Vegetables

Roasted Vegetables

You might not think brussels sprouts, onions, and pears are an obvious combination, but they work really well together. Once they're roasted and mixed with honey and dried cranberries, they come together to make something that's truly greater than the sum of its parts.

Recipe: Roasted Vegetables | Shop This Recipe

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27.Vegan Stuffing

Vegan Stuffing

I could eat my weight in stuffing, and this one is all the better for not having an intimate relationship with the inside of a turkey carcass. Commenters do recommend toasting your bread or leaving it out for a few days, so it doesn't get too mushy when you add the broth.

Recipe: Vegan Stuffing | Shop This Recipe

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28.Cider Poached Pears

Cider Poached Pears

If you're not a big dessert person, these are the perfect light ending to your meal. They're relatively quick to prepare, and just as good at room temperature as they are hot. And you can top them with something besides Greek yogurt, if you'd like — fresh whipped cream, coconut cream, or even ice cream would be delicious.

Recipe: Cider Poached Pears | Shop This Recipe

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