It’s getting to be that time of year again when I start having to listen to people constantly ask me: “But what do you eat at Thanksgiving dinner?” Or my personal favorite: “Don’t you miss eating the turkey?” Honestly, no. One of the main reasons I’ve stayed a vegetarian for so long is because I don’t miss eating the meat. However, both my sister and I are full-blown vegetarians, and finding things to eat for Thanksgiving has always been the biggest struggle (there are only so many times you can eat plate full of mashed potatoes before you get sick of it).
Last year, we tried something new by cooking an entirely vegetarian meal for our whole family. Everything was healthier than the traditional Thanksgiving dinner, and after everyone agreed that they didn’t even miss the turkey, we’d call it a success. Here’s what we did:
Replace Turkey with Veggie Pot Pie
Turkey has anywhere from 161-482 calories and typically 25g of protein per serving, depending on which part of the turkey you’re eating. This veggie pot pie is 339 calories, 13g of protein, and 10g of fiber per serving! Besides, this veggie pot pie takes only about 45 minutes to prep and cook compared to the typical 3 hours it takes to cook a turkey! The best part about this recipe is that it can be made vegan with just a simple swap of the buttermilk for soy milk. Realistically, you can even make this with any combination of vegetables that you want. In this case, celery, red bell peppers, carrots, green beans, and peas are used. This recipe makes enough for 6 people, but with a little math, you can tailor it to however many people will be eating with you.
Feeling lazy? You can buy pre-made vegetarian pot pies that are vegetarian, vegan, and kosher from Amy’s!
Replace Gravy with Vegetarian Gravy
Still want that sense of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner? At only 70 calories per serving, this vegetarian gravy will make a great addition to your veggie pot pie or mashed potatoes. Although it may take a little longer to make than you’d probably want to spend (1 hr, 45 min), I can guarantee that it’ll be well worth it and make the rest of your guests feel as if they’re enjoying a classic Thanksgiving dinner, with everything drenched in gravy!
Replace Sweet Potato Casserole with Green Bean Casserole
Now I know what you’re all thinking—but they’re both vegetarian already. True, but sweet potato casserole is generally 285 calories and 5g of fat per serving, while green bean casserole is just 161 calories and 9g of fat per serving. Besides that, green beans are just plain good for you. They’re rich in vitamin K, fiber, and vitamin C. This green bean casserole is a relatively easy recipe to make for 8 people in just a little over an hour. Besides, this will provide some “comfort food” for the non-vegetarians at your Thanksgiving dinner since they may be used to having it every year. If they have never had it before, it’s still a great plate to make, and they’re almost guaranteed to love it!
Replace Traditional Stuffing with Veggie Stuffing with Cranberries
Although some people may be unaware, because stuffing doesn’t look to be non-vegetarian, stuffing isn’t vegetarian. Most recipes are made with chicken stock, chicken broth, or some other form of meat. In this meat-free recipe, you’re getting all the perks of stuffing, like the tastiness of the bread and spices, plus some. This recipe calls for ¾ cup of cranberries to add some extra flavor and fiber to this dish. Ready in only 35 minutes, this is one of the simplest veggie Thanksgiving recipes that you can prepare and everyone is sure to love.
Looking for a Sweet Side?
Try Caramelized Butternut Squash
This recipe for caramelized butternut squash is one of my favorites. Although the recipe claims it’s enough for 6-8, I’d say more of 10-12 because, as a side dish, people shouldn’t take too many— especially if you’re cooking everything else above! This is also a fairly easy dish to make, so beginners shouldn’t be shy to try this. It does take just a little over an hour to prepare, but every minute taken to create this is well worth it once you take one bite.
So you’re family may want to whine and moan about missing the turkey on Thanksgiving, but if you serve all of this (or more), I’m sure they’ll forget all about it. Or if you don’t want to serve it to all of your family and want it for just yourself, cut each recipe down to just one serving. Either way, I promise this menu is one to leave any meat-lover drooling over your plate this Thanksgiving.
Have any ideas or your own recipes for your favorite vegetarian or vegan meals you love to serve on Thanksgiving? Mention them in the comments below!