Looking for vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes? Here are the very best meatless main dishes that will be loved by everyone around the table!
For some people, Thanksgiving will always be about turkey. How about you? These days, eaters are getting more adventurous and love incorporating interesting new traditions at the Thanksgiving table. Since Alex and I eat mostly vegetarian and a plant based diet, at Thanksgiving, we like to offer options to make all diets happy. Since there are often meat eaters and veggie lovers at our table, we always turn to vegan and vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes. And guess what? It’s the vegetarian recipes that turn out to be the best loved dishes around the table!
Here, we’re sharing our top 10 favorite vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes: each of them a meatless main dish that will satisfy everyone around the table. Of course we have so many vegan and vegetarian side dish recipes too (scroll to the list at the bottom). For each of these vegetarian main dishes, we can vouch that they’re something the entire family will love.
First up in our vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes: baked gnocchi! The gooey gnocchi are drenched in savory pumpkin sauce with creamy pockets of goat cheese—need we say more? We’ve made it for a few occasions and it gets rave reviews. If you’d like to make this gluten-free, pick up some gluten-free gnocchi (while potato based, traditional gnocchi contain flour).
More with pumpkin sauce? Pumpkin Pasta Sauce with Penne
The creamy squash is roasted until tender, then it’s draped in a toasted pecan rice stuffing that makes your kitchen smell like a fall paradise! You know that scent of onions, celery and leeks cooking in butter? Well, this recipe delivers it in spades. It’s vegetarian, easily made vegan, and naturally gluten-free, so it works for all sorts of eaters. Even better: it’s seriously crowd pleasing. Everyone we’ve served it to becomes a believer…and then immediately asks for the recipe.
Scroll down for the recipe!
Got an Instant Pot? Try Instant Pot Acorn Squash
In this cozy bake, pumpkin is mixed with ricotta cheese and a bit of fresh sage for a savory, gooey filling. It’s baked in a marinara sauce that’s homey and complex in flavor. It takes a bit of effort to put together, so pull in some friends and family for the assembly. It’s a filling meatless main that would pair well with Thanksgiving sides.
What’s more festive than a pot pie? And this vegetarian pot pie is a show stopper. It’s got a ton of veggies, pesto and Parmesan in the filling, which makes for a filling that smells (and tastes) incredibly savory and earthy. Top that with a crispy, flaky crust, and it’s crazy delicious.
Looking for vegan? This Vegan Pot Pie with Sage Crust is a fan favorite.
This is one of our most popular vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes—and recipes in general! The mixture of nuts, vegetables, and cheese has the flavor and texture of meat, pleasing even the most passionate meat lovers. You won’t believe it until you try it yourself!
So many vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes feature squash...why not eat it as mac & cheese? Here it’s served in the shell for a beautiful presentation. The spaghetti squash strands are drenched in a Béchamel sauce with Gruyere cheese, which gives it a sophisticated flair. A glass of tart white wine is a perfect complement to the rich creaminess. Our 9-month-old son Larson devoured this, so it’s a hit with the younger crowd.
This is one of our favorite vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes. Instead of topping sweet potatoes with marshmallows and brown sugar like the Thanksgiving tradition, these are made up as a main dish. They’re baked, then the filling is removed and mixed with goat cheese. It’s topped with French lentils, goat cheese crumbles, and celery leaves for an aromatic twist. While this meatless main dish could work for any meal, it’s especially lovely on the Thanksgiving table.
Acorn squash is Thanksgiving perfect: it’s a tender, sweet squash with edible skin. Here, we’ve chopped it into quarters and topped it with a Mediterranean-style wild rice stuffing. The tender grains are mixed with pistachios, kale and feta. It’s a delicious main dish that’s showy and crowd-pleasing.
Parmesan mashed potatoes with rosemary top this cozy filling of lentils and mixed veg. The filling is flavored with miso, which brings a savory, almost meaty flavor. This one takes a bit of time to prepare, but it’s a perfect project for the friends and family to help pitch in. It makes enough to feed a crowd, and it’s a fitting dish for a special occasion.
When it comes to vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes, squash is top on our list. Delicata squash is our favorite squash variety, for its sweet flavor and because it roasts quickly. Here, the delicata squash is roasted and stuffed with wild rice and pepitas. It’s also got some sharp cheddar cheese, but it can easily be made vegan by omitting the cheese.
Looking for more vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes?
Here are a few more vegetarian Thanksgiving side dish recipes to accessorize with these main dishes — and a few desserts, too!
- Roasted Butternut Squash
- Massaged Kale Pomegranate Salad
- Easy Butternut Squash Soup
- Roasted Vegetables
- Roasted Green Beans with Hazelnuts
- Incredible Vegetarian Gravy
- Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Pomegranate
- Spinach Artichoke Rice Casserole
- Baked Brie with Roasted Cranberry Sauce
- Cabbage Salad with Apples & Walnuts
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts Recipe with Pecans
- Roasted Apples & Cauliflower with Dill
- Mashed Red Potatoes with Garlic
- Pumpkin Pie Spice Recipe
- Chewy Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies
- Best Pumpkin Pie
- Healthy Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- Whole Grain Classic Homemade Stuffing Recipe
- Pumpkin Mousse
This delicious vegetarian stuffed acorn squash is roasted and stuffed with a hearty stuffing, featuring whole grain bread, veggies and herbs.
- 1 cup white basmati rice*
- 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided, plus more for sprinkling
- 2 small acorn squash*
- 1 small yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Fresh ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (or substitute olive oil or coconut oil for vegan)
- 3/4 cup raw pecan pieces
- Feta or goat cheese crumbles, optional
- Pre-heat oven to 450°F.
- Cook the rice: Add rice and 2 cups water to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover and reduce to a simmer. Simmer until tender and all the liquid is absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the heat and allow to steam with the cover on for 5 minutes. Stir in the dried sage and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt.
- Roast the squash: Meanwhile, chop each of the acorn squash in half and then into quarters. (You can also leave it in halves if you prefer that look.) Using a spoon, scrape out the seeds. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, place the squash on the sheet and drizzle with olive oil on the cut sides, then sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper. Turn cut side down on the sheet and roast until tender, about 40 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prep the veggies for the stuffing: Dice the onion and celery. Mince the garlic.
- Toast the pecans: In a dry skillet over low heat, toast the pecans for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fragrant.
- Make the stuffing: Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute the onion and celery 5 to 7 minutes until tender and translucent. Add the garlic, thyme, and oregano, and saute for an additional 2 minutes until fragrant. When the rice is cooked, stir it into the skillet. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, the fresh ground black pepper, butter, and pecans.
- Serve: Spoon the stuffing over the squash quarters and serve immediately.
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: Roasted
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes, Thanksgiving Recipes
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.