Times are a’ changing, folks. We all have a vegetarian or two at our Thanksgiving table. In a many cases, that could be a spouse, a teen, or that co-worker who just so happened to invite themselves over for dinner.
In years past, the vegetarian would pull up a chair and feast (not so happily!) on mashed potatoes. They couldn’t eat the turkey, obviously. The green beans probably had bacon, as did the Brussels sprouts. You know the gravy was made from turkey drippings, so that was out. And lastly, most of us have a go-to stuffing recipe that has sausage as a main ingredient.
So in essence, the vegetarian has a pile of mashed potatoes with ketchup for gravy. And he or she sits there patiently and politely until you cut the pumpkin pie. And you wonder why they go ahead and eat half of the pie! They’re starving!!
So, I say save that damn pie for yourself and fill them up with a huge plate consisting of my 13 Thanksgiving Recipes for Vegetarians!
Thanksgiving is my second favourite time of the year. You all know that Christmas wins for first place – hands down! But when it comes to food, Thanksgiving has to be the best!
What other time of the year can you eat five different types of roasted root vegetables, a generous helping of bread and sausage stuffing, nap-inducing turkey, all smothered in salty gravy? And not one person will judge you for overeating so much that you have to unbutton your pants. It’s a food lover’s dream!
Well, speaking of a food lover’s dream – vegetarian or not – this list of recipes has options that both the vegetarian and the non-vegetarian will love; together, in unison, without complaint… if only a large Thanksgiving dinner could be drama free like that! Ha!
My suggestion is as follows: bake a turkey for the non-vegetarians, and roast off a store-bought tofurkey for the vegetarians. In our home, we mostly go with just the tofurkey, because even though I am not a vegetarian, I love the tofurkey. It’s really delicious!
Always – like, ALWAYS – make the Vegetarian Mushroom Gravy. It’s so, so good, and everyone loves it! Next, you’re going to need potatoes of some sort. I’m a new convert to sweet potatoes, so there’s none in this post, because I have not really gotten around to experimenting much with them. But, I’ve got lots of regular white potato recipes.
These Roasted Potatoes with Herbs and Crunchy Onions are my personal favourite. Mashed potatoes are great, but when preparing a large number of dishes, I have yet to find a way to keep mashed potatoes an appealing consistency. With these roasted potatoes, there’s no risk at all.
I would much rather Mashed Cauliflower with Cream Cheese than I would mashed potatoes. Mashed cauliflower keeps very well and doesn’t get gummy or gluey when waiting for the rest of the meal to come together. Plus, it’s healthier! (Use light cream cheese! Ha!)
Next, for something a little different and a change from the “normal” Thanksgiving potato dish, why not try these Paprika and Parmesan Potato Wedges? They are so good and are always a hit!
Next, we need carrots. Roasted Jumbo Carrots are delicious and a perfectly easy vegetarian side the whole family will love. Don’t be put off by the jumbo part. You can use regularly sized carrots, but just adjust the roasting time accordingly.
Speaking of carrots, have you ever had them mashed? My mom used to do that all the time. Sometimes, she combined the carrots with turnips, which is why my Mashed Turnip and Carrots with Herb Butter is on my list of 13 Thanksgiving Recipes for Vegetarians.
I love parsnips, but I know they’re not for everybody. Roasted Parsnips and Pearl Onions with Thyme and Sage just might change your mind. Fork tender and deliciously flavoured – totally worth a shot!
Another not-so-popular dish at a Thanksgiving table is radish. Rosemary Roasted Radishes are not only cheap and delicious, they will also add a beautiful pop of pink colour to your growing table of vegetarian sides.
Easy Oven Roasted Beets are a must-have at the Thomas-Ewing household. I don’t make these for my vegetarians; I make them for me. They are so simple, so rustic, and so delicious. The roasting intensifies the flavour and you end up with sweet beet-like candy. So good!
There are two more very popular vegetables at many Thanksgiving tables. The first, of course, is the classic green bean. Green bean casserole is extremely popular, but we prefer Sauteed Green Beans with Caramelized Shallots. The beans are still crisp and fresh. I find that the beans in the casserole are usually overcooked.
The second very popular dish is Brussels sprouts. I’ve only served Brussels sprouts at our Thanksgiving dinner a few times, but now that I have, it will always be a regular dish. Spicy Pan Seared Brussels Sprouts with Corn and Caramelized Onions are delicious and adds a little bit of flair and an element of surprise!
Now, sometimes, we don’t have any need or desire to prepare all – or any! – of those dishes. And for those of you who fit into that category, I’m including two very simple casserole-style dishes that will pair nicely with any main – real turkey or otherwise!
First, there’s my Oven Roasted Cauliflower and Cheese Gratin. It’s a great tasting recipe that comes together in one baking dish for the ultimate indulgence. Hello! Cheese!! Need I say more?
And, lastly, for those of us who are always short on time, how about this Make Ahead Creamy Vegetable Casserole? Make it ahead of time and bake it when you need it. Similar to that green bean casserole we talked about, but not overcooked, and a perfect side dish.
There you have it, Dear Reader, but first, one last thing. Casserole, gratin, or every single recipe in this round up – that’s entirely up to you – but, whatever you do, promise me you’ll serve your thanksgiving dinner with my Vegetarian Mushroom Gravy! It’s so good, it should be a soup! I promise!
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