The phrase sounds strange for a turkey-based holiday, but a lot of traditional foods at Thanksgiving don’t have (or need) meats or animal fats in them. These collections go beyond traditional comfort foods like mac & cheese, candied yams, and pumpkin pie for some truly elegant — and still very Thanksgiving — dishes. Many of them emphasize sharp and flavorful ingredients to make for lighter dishes overall, too.
Heidi Swanson, of 101 Cookbooks, has been exploring her vast collection instead of making the same the few dishes all the time. Most of her picks in Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes make good sweets or side dishes, but she offers suggestions for bolstering some to make main dishes as well. She offers an heirloom apple salad and several elegant recipes for brussels sprouts and green beans, among others.
Food52 collects cooks to share recipes, and generally to encourage memorable cooking that is also healthful. 12 Vegetarian Thanksgiving Dishes to Make Omnivores Jealous calls on Middle Eastern cuisine first thing with a spicy chickpea stew, but most of the other recipes would look quite at home among the usual suspects at Thanksgiving, including a hearty root vegetable pie and shepherd’s pie, a lush corn bread pudding, and a frankly gorgeous (vegan!) bread-based stuffing featuring brussels sprouts, butternut squash, and apples.
CHOW has a nice collection of Vegetarian Main Dishes for Thanksgiving, too. These are hearty dishes with a lot of mushrooms, squash, and root vegetables.
Whether you’re cooking for meat-free eaters or just want to bring a tasty — and gorgeous — side dish to a loved one’s table, you will find lots of lovely options at the links above!
Photo by James Ransom, from Gena Hamshaw’s recipe, Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprout, and Bread Stuffing with Apples.