Thanksgiving Vegetarian Side Dishes Everyone Will Love

Jess Richardson | Oct 23, 2019 Food & Party
Thanksgiving Vegetarian Side Dishes Everyone Will Love
Image: iStock

Thanksgiving Vegetarian Side Dishes Everyone Will Love

When we have vegetarian friends join us for a big family event like Thanksgiving, there are fortunately usually so many dishes on the table, we don't have to necessarily make a whole, separate vegetarian main -- although that's always appreciated by any vegetarians in attendance. But by making vegetarian alternatives to some classic Thanksgiving sides, we can be inclusive and still offer food that's packed with tons of flavors enjoyed by both vegetarians and non-vegetarians. Not everything has to be sausage stuffing and Brussels sprouts covered in bacon bits, after all -- even on a super-indulgent holiday like Thanksgiving, there's always room for some vegetarian options. A lot of classic Thanksgiving sides are vegetarian naturally, but there are some strange ingredients -- like gelatin -- lurking in several, so this is also a guide to steering clear.

For anyone interested in exploring a vegetarian lifestyle or wanting to try adding a meatless Monday to their repertoire -- or for devout vegetarians who are just looking for a little extra veggie recipe love -- check out some easy vegetarian recipes or plant-based main dishes that take five ingredients or less. This Thanksgiving, if there are vegetarians coming for dinner, make sure to avoid making them feel awkward about it -- take a look at the worst things to feed your vegetarian friends, do everyone a favor, and avoid all of these. For side dishes perfect for the Thanksgiving table that definitely don't take up room in the oven, think about some easy Thanksgiving side dishes to make in the Crock-Pot, many of which are vegetarian (or can easily be made vegetarian). And to start the evening off, why not knock together an impressive turkey-shaped veggie tray?

  • Morton’s Steakhouse Creamed Spinach

    Morton’s Steakhouse Creamed Spinach

    This copycat recipe for Morton’s Steakhouse creamed spinach is so incredibly good, we're more than willing to eat our veggies. It's definitely an indulgent version, but it's amazing. Make sure to opt for rennet-free, vegetarian cheeses.

  • Easy Vegetarian Onion Gravy

    Easy Vegetarian Onion Gravy

    Just because someone's vegetarian doesn't mean they don't like gravy! This recipe for easy vegetarian onion gravy is so simple to make, it's no trouble to make a second gravy -- just be sure to label them! There's a vegan option, too.

  • Cauliflower Gratin

    Cauliflower Gratin

    Cauliflower gratin, much like its more classic iteration, potato gratin, is a baked dish that's distinguished by its bubbly, baked cheese on top. This indulgent vegetarian dish has more protein than a classic potato gratin. 

  • Vegetable Casserole With Mashed Potato Topping

    Vegetable Casserole with Mashed Potato Topping

    This hearty vegetable casserole with mashed potato topping is a great wintertime dish on its own, but it's especially strong as a Thanksgiving side, given that it combines so many of our favorite Thanksgiving side dish flavors in one. 

  • Greek Yogurt Mashed Potatoes

    Greek Yogurt Mashed Potatoes

    Another way to add a bit of a protein power to a side dish, creating a vegetarian option that doesn't leave vegetarians feeling hungry and unsatisfied, are these Greek yogurt mashed potatoes. They taste a little tangier than regular mashed potatoes, too. 

  • Garlic and Leek Mashed Potatoes

    Garlic and Leek Mashed Potatoes

    Create a different flavor profile than what's expected with these garlic and leek mashed potatoes, which add a new flavor than what guests may know, but one that isn't too unfamiliar -- it's Thanksgiving, after all. 

  • Cranberry Cornbread

    Cranberry Cornbread

    Cornbread is a classic Southern tradition to serve on Thanksgiving, but cranberry cornbread? That's an interesting mash-up that isn't quite a side dish and isn't quite dessert, and we genuinely can't get enough of it. 

  • Cranberry Relish

    Cranberry Relish

    Cranberry sauce is one thing -- and it's delicious -- but cranberry relish is a whole separate deal, and we're just as into it. This one is flavored with a lot of orange and other flavors, so it's less one-note than traditional cranberry sauce.

  • Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Grapes & Walnuts

    Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Grapes and Walnuts

    No kidding, we make this recipe about once a week in the winter, but it's still one of our favorite sides to serve at Thanksgiving. This roasted Brussels sprouts with grapes and walnuts can also get a little indulgent with just a splash of cream added, although it's vegan without the cream.

  • Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole

    Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole

    Most sweet potato casseroles are traditionally topped with marshmallows, which aren't actually vegetarian, since they contain gelatin. These healthy sweet potato casserole use a crunchy, flavorful topping we love a lot more -- and it's healthier, too!

  • 15-Minute Parmesan-Thyme Mushrooms

    15-Minute Parmesan-Thyme Mushrooms

    Not only are these 15-minute Parmesan-thyme mushrooms super delicious, but they really do only take 15 minutes and use ingredients that are probably around the kitchen on Thanksgiving, which means they're a great additional side to throw on the table if we find out a vegetarian relative is going to be in attendance last-minute. 

  • Sweet Roasted Rosemary Acorn Squash Wedges

    Sweet Roasted Rosemary Acorn Squash Wedges

    These sweet roasted rosemary acorn squash wedges are so good, so simple, and so aromatic, we make them all winter long. However, they're also the perfect vegetarian Thanksgiving side -- hearty, full of vitamins, and yummy. 

  • Vegan Green Bean Casserole

    Vegan Green Bean Casserole

    Green bean casserole is a Thanksgiving tradition, but the original version with canned ingredients is pretty yuck, in our opinion. Try this vegan green bean casserole with fresh beans, which isn't fully healthy, but it sure is delicious.

  • Cinnamon Pecan Roasted Butternut Squash

    Cinnamon Pecan Roasted Butternut Squash

    This recipe for cinnamon pecan roasted butternut squash is so sweet and delicious, it could practically be served as a dessert -- but it's really a great way to serve up a tasty vegetarian side that's hearty enough to be satisfying. 

  • Creamy Baked Macaroni & Cheese

    Creamy Baked Macaroni and Cheese

    Anyone who's from the South knows that creamy baked macaroni and cheese is a critical component of any Thanksgiving table. It's also one of the most filling dishes we can think of -- making it a great vegetarian side that can work as a main if there are no other vegetarian options available. 

  • Baked Pumpkin Puree

    Baked Pumpkin Puree

    This baked pumpkin puree is a perfectly seasonal side to include on a Thanksgiving table. What says autumn and fall flavors like pumpkin, after all? While we most associate them with Halloween, they're still totally in season by Thanksgiving. 

  • Roasted Brown Butter Honey Garlic Carrots

    Roasted Brown Butter Honey Garlic Carrots

    These roasted brown butter honey garlic carrots are basically addictive, and they're really pretty healthy for us, too -- while they are ideal for a Thanksgiving table, we don't see any reason not to serve them all year. 

  • Savory Vegetable Stuffing

    Savory Vegetable Stuffing

    While the family tradition may be a sausage or oyster stuffing, it's always a good idea to have a second vegetarian stuffing on hand, just in case. This savory vegetable stuffing is a delicious alternative that we can absolutely get behind. 

  • Original Parker House Rolls Recipe

    Original Parker House Rolls Recipe

    This original Parker House rolls recipe is a classic for a reason: they come out sweet, warm, and delicious. Spread with some softened butter for the ultimate Thanksgiving indulgence (and use them to mop up extra vegetarian gravy, too!).

  • Almond-Garlic Swiss Chard

    Almond-Garlic Swiss Chard

    We love a winter green, and this recipe for almond-garlic Swiss chard is one of our absolute favorites. For anyone who's a fan of kale or collard greens, this Swiss chard recipe is a delicious choice for the holiday table. 

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