10 Thanksgiving Foods Better Than Turkey

On most Thanksgiving tables, the turkey sits centerstage, but rarely is its dry white meat the most desirable dish available. Usually, it’s the vegetables, starches, sides, and sweets that take up the most real estate on our dinner plates.

Turkey is a lot of work, anyway: it’s expensive, difficult to cook and carve, and not always the best tasting. If it wasn’t for the tradition, we’d probably never consider adding turkey to the holiday menu. Skipping the turkey allows you to focus your attention elsewhere, giving you extra time to create a multi-course meal featuring recipes that depart from tradition.

So when you’re cooking up this year’s Thanksgiving dinner, try crowding your table with non-turkey options that take advantage of seasonal flavors and ingredients. You can elevate your holiday table with predominantly plant-based dishes like autumn vegetable paella, bowls of velvety butternut squash, mushroom tartlets, and falafel with cranberry pear dipping sauce.

 Sound delicious? Remember, the key to a happy and civil Thanksgiving table is to keep everyone’s mouth full. See below for our 10 Thanksgiving foods better than turkey.

Autumn Vegetable Paella 

Paella isn’t technically traditional Thanksgiving fare, but this one is packed with seasonal ingredients like fennel, Brussel sprouts, butternut squash, and vegan sausage to give the dish a holiday feel. Paella is best served family-style, so why not debut it at the Thanksgiving feast?

For the Autumn Vegetable Paella recipe from In My Bowl, click here

Black Bean, Corn, and Pumpkin Risotto

Elevate your holiday table (and impress your relatives) with this fall risotto. But what sets this dish apart from your average risotto is the smoky pumpkin sauce. Yes, we said pumpkin sauce. It might sound crazy, but the sweetness of the pumpkin goes very nicely with the southwestern flavors sprinkled throughout the dish.

For the Black Bean, Corn, and Pumpkin Risotto from Jenn at Veggie Inspired Journey, click here.

Caribbean Lentil Potato Bake

A fun and funky spin on the classic mashed potato, this layered Caribbean lentil potato bake will wow your guests with its warm, Indian-inspired flavors. Turmeric, garam masala, coconut milk, cumin, and fresh ginger come together to create something that looks like a potato casserole but tastes totally different.

For the Caribbean Lentil Potato Bake recipe Susanne Kirlew of Kirly-Sue’s Kitchen, click here

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Sweet potato, butternut squash, and curry powder is a magical trio of flavors. This butternut squash soup is the absolute perfect texture: silky, velvety, and smooth, with a little pop of pomegranate to round it out.

For the Curried Butternut Squash Soup recipe from Priscilla of She’s Cookin’, click here.   

Golden Chickpea Noodle Soup

There’s no better way to start the Thanksgiving meal than with a light and flavorful soup. This recipe gets its deep flavor from its extensive number of fall vegetablesbutternut squash, kabocha squash, parsnip, golden beets, sweet potato…and the list goes on.  Browning the veggies before adding water allows them to become more fragrant and amplifies the taste of the broth.

For the Golden Chickpea Noodle Soup from Sara Tercero of Better Food Guru, click here.

Festive Falafel with Cranberry Pear Dipping Sauce

If you want to add some more plant-based protein to your holiday table, look no further than these incredibly creative vegan falafel balls. They’re made with chickpeas, garlic, parsley, and walnuts. But the real kicker is the tangy cranberry-pear dipping sauce, which you can put on just about everything.

 For the Festive Falafel with Cranberry Pear Dipping Sauce from Vegan Heaven, click here.

Mushroom Hemp Tartlets

These cute mini tartlets are the perfect starter for a holiday meal. Hemp hearts add protein, healthy fats and a hearty nutty flavor to this already umami-rich dish featuring mushrooms, onions and goat cheese. Use a plant-based cheese or creamy goat-cheese alternative to make this recipe totally vegan.

For the Mushroom Hemp Tartlets recipe from Manitoba Harvest, click here.

Pumpkin-Sage Goat Cheese Lasagna  

This pumpkin-sage lasagna is a unique autumn spin on a classic comfort food, so you’ll have no trouble appeasing the crowd while still delivering traditional Thanksgiving flavors. You can make the recipe completely plant-based by using vegan goat cheese and mozzarella alternatives. 

For the Pumpkin-Sage Goat Cheese Lasagna recipe from The Salty Tomato, click here

Vegan Stuffing Muffins with Mashed Potatoes

You can’t start Thanksgiving any better than with these adorable vegan stuffing muffins with mashed potatoes. Both the stuffing and mashed potato topping are easy to whip-up, but they’ll make a big splash once they hit the table.

For the Vegan Stuffing Muffins with Mashed Potatoes from The Colorful Kitchen, click here.

Vegetable Pot Pie with Whole Wheat Biscuit Topping

Pot pie contains everything you want in a comfort food: creamy filling, crispy topping, and a heart-warming flavor. This vegetable pot pie with biscuit topping is a yummy vegetarian alternative to turkey that is loaded with so many ingredients that no two bites are ever the same. 

For the Vegetable Pot Pie with Whole Wheat Biscuit Topping recipe from Sharon Palmer, click here.

Click here for more Meatless Monday recipes. When posting pictures of recipes to your social media network, tag @MeatlessMonday use #MeatlessMonday to show the plant-based community your creation.