Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes 2012

Crisp Polenta Cakes with Braised Cabbage and Beans

The $64,000 question for Thanksgiving with vegetarians is what to do about the main course. There are two schools of thought:

  1. An entree is really important; a meal isn’t a meal unless there is something is in the middle of the plate.
  2. Don’t worry about it. The turkey, after all, is only one of about two hundred and sixty seven things on the table; most of the rest of them are vegetarian anyhow. It is one meal a year, just let the vegetarians eat all the delicious side dishes and save them an extra slice of pumpkin pie. (Like how I slipped that pie part in there?)

Personally, I’m more in camp 2, at least if I’m joining an omnivorous Thanksgiving. It just isn’t that big of a deal to me to be worth making a veg entree when there is so much else to eat. But if I was putting on my own fully vegetarian Thanksgiving, I’d pick one of these main courses:

And if you wanted to mix up the traditional side dishes a bit, here are some nice warm, seasonally appropriate options. Soups:



Side Dishes:

And course, you gotta have:

Something sweet?

I hope this list is helpful! If you need any more suggestions (soups? appetizers? dessert?) or ideas for combinations that will work well with other things you are serving, just add a comment below and I’d be happy to help you brainstorm. And if you like the recipes you see here on Herbivoracious, enter your email address below and I’ll send you my free email newsletter:

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Posted by Michael Natkin on Monday, November 12th, 2012 in Events, Miscellany, Recipes.

14 Responses to “Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes 2012”

  1. Reply
    November 12, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

    Oh yes, I am all for number two: there are so many other choices on the table, I never had a problem to feed myself vegetarian! 🙂

  2. Reply
    November 12, 2012 at 3:22 pm #

    Interesting topic! This year, I’m actually attending an omnivorous event and bringing a veg main (I’m leaning toward butternut squash lasagna), and then hosting a veggie event the following day, so I guess I’m pretty firmly in camp 1. For me, it has to do with the special-ness of the day– it really feels like an EVENT if there’s an exciting main course. Add to that my brother’s general cluelessness (he’s likely to forget and add bacon to several things, for instance, and I can guarantee that there will be a Jello salad) and I will be better off making sure I have my own goodies. After all, just because I’m a vegetarian doesn’t mean I don’t want to overeat on Thanksgiving!

  3. Reply
    November 12, 2012 at 4:58 pm #

    My sister is in Camp #2, but when I cook for her, I like to make a veg entree. The problem is, she hates mushrooms! Any help for me?

  4. Reply
    November 12, 2012 at 6:10 pm #

    I’m with you on #2. It’s always the “sides” that get all the attention anyway.

  5. Reply
    Patrick B.
    November 12, 2012 at 7:06 pm #

    Most turkey is overrated and I’m all about #2. All your suggestions are great. I’m looking through trying to decide which I might bring to our Thanksgiving.

  6. Reply
    November 12, 2012 at 8:04 pm #

    YES! The squash sounds perfect!! Thanks!

  7. Reply
    November 13, 2012 at 12:57 am #

    I’m usually with you on the no-vegetarian-main thing, except that your suggestions here look so good! I could happily eat my way through that buffet of sides, though, and want for nothing. I might not even be able to wait a week to try that brown butter cornbread!

  8. Reply
    November 13, 2012 at 4:55 am #

    When I was a vegetarian, I could easily be happy finding food at the Thanksgiving table without making a big deal out of it. It’s all about those sides right?

  9. Reply
    November 13, 2012 at 9:29 am #

    Those polenta cakes look amazing! And caramelized apples… drool. Personally, I dread the “I made something special for you” line. But that’s just because omnivores generally have NO clue what vegetarians like to eat! That and the whole “chicken and fish are vegetarian” misconception. Oh, and the “I’ll just add a little chicken broth to her food because without meat she’ll DIE!” and, yeah. I had Taco Bell on the way, I’m good. But really, what I wouldn’t give to sit down at a table with all of the above spread out before me. Mmmmm…

  10. Reply
    November 14, 2012 at 1:26 am #

    I’m with you in camp 2. Those polenta cakes look amazing, though, I’ll definitely have to try them out. Thanks for sharing this list of amazing looking recipes.

  11. Reply
    November 14, 2012 at 10:00 pm #

    What a great recipe round up for the holidays! This all looks so delish and yet so healthy! Thanks for sharing this with us, Michael ! Happy Thanksgiving! I am grateful to have met you last May at EWR 12 and thankful for all the wonderful recipes you share.

  12. Reply
    Bernadette Phipps-Lincke
    December 1, 2012 at 2:26 am #

    Some great recipes here. Thank you!

  13. Reply
    marie lipari
    November 3, 2013 at 4:33 pm #

    A new song I liked about Thanksgiving turkey by a college student who is vegan:
    link to

    Who are the turkeys in our lives? This Thanksgiving, maybe we can do something for them.

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