Thanksgiving, for all its stuffing and creamed corn, generally relegates vegetables to the side dishes.
After all, it’s all about that turkey, right? Wrong, if you’re a vegetarian or vegan (or just don’t like turkey).
Here are six vegetarian main courses that are so hearty, flavorful and seasonal you might find your most meat-hungry friends forgoing the drumstick for another helping of the veggies.
1. Vegan pot pie
This recipe from Minimalist Baker is so on point it’s hard to say what its strongest suit is. It is vegan, it’s savory, it’s hearty and it comes together in an hour. It’s also topped with pumpkin sage biscuits. But if that’s too daunting, you can substitute any canned biscuit, pie dough or puff pastry.
2. Mac and cheese baked in a pumpkin
If you’re just using pumpkin in sweet pies, it’s time to expand your horizons. Hollow out a sugar or mini pumpkin then roast the seeds for snacks. Then, bake the pumpkin until the flesh is soft and use it as a vessel for macaroni and cheese. Scoop out the soft, creamy pumpkin flesh with each spoonful of noodles. Use a recipe (omit any meat included in the ingredient list) or go out on a limb and create your own culinary masterpiece.
3. Cauliflower tart
When roasted, cauliflower has a meaty, crunchy outside-creamy inside quality that makes it perfect main dish fare. Laden onto a buttery crust, it’s delicious whether paired with red onions and chestnuts, caramelized onions and Gruyere cheese or savory Indian spices like cumin and coriander.
4. Squash soup with almond ricotta and coconut bacon
The technique to Inspiralize Everything’s roasted butternut squash soup is familiar. Roasted squash is pureed then mixed with aromatics and liquid. Keep in mind this recipe includes a dollop of homemade almond ricotta cheese and tangles of coconut bacon. Yes, that’s right, vegan bacon. Cookbook author Molly Yeh calls the coconut bacon,”sweet and addictive. It’s like smoky candy.” Okay, count us in.
5. Sweet potato risotto
Marshmallows, hit the bricks. This risotto, from Jessica Merchant of How Sweet it Is, folds sweet potato puree into creamy risotto scented with Parmesan and fresh herbs. She tops hers with crispy bacon, which you may leave on the table for carnivores or omit entirely.
6. Vegetarian crown roast
Sure, this is really just maple roasted squash and stuffing (both of which are delicious, BTW) with a few fanciful decorations, but as a showstopper it has earned its spot on this list.
Bring on the vegetarian Thanksgiving.
Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.