You Won’t Miss the Turkey with these 10 Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes

We all think of turkey as the traditional centerpiece of the Thanksgiving table, but the first Thanksgiving between the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians (1621) didn’t even include turkey at all.  

And this year, with food costs and supply shortages at an all-time high, it’s the perfect opportunity  to part ways with the turkey and try some new plant-forward Thanksgiving dishes that can still satisfy your meat cravings.  

Browse the recipes below and see the many ways which you can replace the turkey with seasonal, plant-based foods and plant-based meats. You (and your dinner guests) won’t miss dry white meat when you’re eating pumpkin-sage lasagna, vegetable pot pie, mushroom stew, and autumn-vegetable paella.

Autumn Vegetable Paella 

Sure, paella isn’t technically traditional Thanksgiving fare, but this recipe from In My Bowl uses fall produce to create a spectacular, plant-forward dish that will be the highlight of any dinner table. Combining ingredients like fennel, Brussel sprouts, butternut squash, and vegan sausage creates a symphony of flavors that only get better when eaten together. Paella is best served family-style, so why not debut it at the Thanksgiving feast?

For the Autumn Vegetable Paella recipe, click here

Easy Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

This shepherd’s pie recipe from Blondelish is great for holiday dinners because you can make it ahead of time, or in an Instant Pot for maximum convenience. Using mushrooms, tomato paste, red wine, and fresh herbs makes this dish a rich, savory, umami bomb that will have guests going back in for another scoop.  

For the Easy Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie, click here

Fall Vegetable Curry

If you’re already planning to serve sweet potatoes, Brussel sprouts, and squash in Thanksgiving side dishes, you can easily incorporate them into the main courses, too, like this vegetable curry from Ellie Krieger. The recipe calls for coconut milk, ginger, curry powder, and cilantro, non-traditional ingredients that can help add diversity to the menu. 

For the Fall Vegetable Curry recipe, click here

Meaty Mushroom Stew over Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Maybe you’re not a turkey person at all; maybe the pot roast is more your thing. Well, if that’s the case, then this meaty mushroom stew is the recipe for you. Submitted by Jenn Sebestyen and included in the Meatless Monday Family Cookbook, this dish captures the salty, umami, meatiness of a classic roastjust minus the beef. When it comes to flavor, the mushrooms, tomato paste, and tamari do most of the heavy lifting, but dried herbs and fresh garlic help round out the dish.    

For the Meaty Mushroom Stew over Garlic Mashed Potatoes recipe, 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, click here

Portobello Steak ‘n’ Kidney Bean Pie

In this vegan version of the classic British steak and kidney pie, kidney beans and mushrooms are used in place of meat. This recipe from Meat Free Monday is quite the beauty, making it a terrific addition to the holiday table.  

For the Portobello Steak ‘n’ Kidney Bean Pie recipe, click here.

Roasted Cauliflower Steaks

Cauliflower steak may not taste like turkey, but it has a unique, roasted flavor that is just as satisfying. This simple recipe from Blondelish uses a pungent seasoning blend loaded with garlic, onion, oregano, and paprika. Sprinkle it on generously and roast until the cauliflower gets tender and golden brown. 

For the Roasted Cauliflower Steaks recipe, click here

Stuffed Mini Pumpkins

A cute nod to the fall season, these curry-stuffed mini pumpkins from Robin Asbell make for a beautiful presentation and are packed with powerful flavors, like ginger, cinnamon, coconut milk, and jalapeño. 

For the Stuffed Mini Pumpkins recipe, click here.

Stuffed Shells with Pumpkin Kale Filling

A protein-packed, dairy-free version of the classic stuffed shell, this recipe from Veggie Inspired is a lighter version than its cheesy alternative. Using tofu, kale, and pumpkin preserves the creaminess of the stuffed shell while adding a subtle fall flavor. 

For the Stuffed Shells with Pumpkin Kale Filling recipe, click here.  

Vegetable Pot Pie with Whole Wheat Biscuit Topping

Pot pie possesses everything you want in a comforting dish: creamy filling, crispy topping, and a heart-warming flavor. This vegetable pot pie with biscuit topping from Sharon Palmer is a yummy vegetarian alternative 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, click here.


Want to know which ingredients to buy for amazing plant-based meals? Check out our list of Inexpensive Plant-Based Ingredients That Won’t Go Bad. Share your favorite plant-based Thanksgiving recipes using #MeatlessMonday.