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Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas for Vegetarians — Main Courses

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Vegetarians have it rough on Thanksgiving. Meals throughout the holiday season tend to focus pretty heavily on the meat side, none more so than Thanksgiving dinner. Sure, tons of meatless side dishes come with a standard Turkey Day meal, but that’s not the same thing as a main course.

As far as side dishes go, vegetarians can indulge in cranberry sauce, glazed squash, green bean casserole, harvest slaw, mashed sweet potatoes and many other wonderful and creative offerings. But the star of the show—you know, the one that “gobbles”—is off the menu.

But there are still plenty of main-course turkey substitutes out there that will fill your belly and let you take part in the gluttony of Thanksgiving. A main dish can be meatless and still serve up that holiday vibe. Here are a few ideas:

Squash

Traditional autumn foods, like squash, pumpkins and sweet potatoes, can make for great core meals. Stuffed-vegetable dishes, along with casseroles, potpies, veggie pizzas and quiches will do the trick in a pinch. You can get your “squash” on with a squash-and-wild-rice recipe, which could be made perfect with chanterelle stuffing. You could also go in for a butternut-squash lasagna (everyone loves lasagna) or perhaps a butternut-squash baked risotto.


Leeks

If you want to get a bit more fancy, why not try a leek and olive tart, or a leek bread pudding? If you’re a fan of hearty, basic food, but still want to incorporate leeks into your holiday spread, you can always opt for a leek and mushroom pizza.


Sweet Potatoes

After you check out a few leek- and squash-based recipes, it’s time to move on to a traditional Thanksgiving favorite, sweet potatoes. Here, again, there is no shortage of choice. You and your guests can indulge in sweet potato cannelloni, sweet potato and ginger soup or sweet potato potpie.


Mushrooms

mushroom lasagna
iStock

The point here, as you can clearly see, is that just because you don’t eat meat, or don’t eat very much of it, you don’t have to live off of side dishes alone. A mushroom and onion pie, a dish of marrow and mushrooms, or a zesty kale and mushroom lasagna can be just as good—and for lots of meat-wary folks—even better than a holiday roasted bird.

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