Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes
Autumn Glow Salad
This plant-powered salad delivers over 50% of your daily fiber and one-third of your daily potassium goal. Butternut squash is an excellent source of eye-healthy vitamin A and a good source of immune-boosting vitamin C and blood pressure–supporting potassium.
Vegetable “Meat” Loaf
This umami-rich recipe received our Test Kitchen’s highest rating in March 2012 and continues to get raves from both vegetarians and meat lovers. Be sure to tightly pack the mushroom mixture into the pan so the slices hold their shape after baking.
Fall Vegetable and Lentil Salad
This salad of lentils with roasted butternut squash, carrots, and onions gets plated over a bed of creamy, lemon-scented Greek yogurt—so with each bite, you get the flavors of sweet caramelized veggies, earthy-nutty legumes, and tangy yogurt. We love the firm texture of French green lentils, but you can also use standard brown lentils. You’re not likely to find a whole butternut squash that’s only 1 pound; just buy the smallest one you can find, and use 1 pound of it.
Traditional versions of this dish can tip the scales at nearly 1,000 calories and 30g sat fat per serving. This makeover cuts that by more than two-thirds and still has plenty of marinara, melty cheese, and crispy baked eggplant.
Pappardelle with Mushrooms
When this recipe first appeared in the magazine in October 2009, it was made with hollow bucatini noodles. For this version, we switched to ribbony pappardelle. In truth, any pasta would work well.
Stuffed Zucchini with Cheesy Breadcrumbs
This zero-waste recipe repurposes scooped-out zucchini pulp in the filling, adding it to onion, artichoke hearts, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and breadcrumbs. Pair with a simple soup, such as Creamy Tomato Soup for a complete meal.
Caramelized Leek and Spinach Dip
Beautifully caramelized leeks and onions cannot be rushed; resist the urge to crank up the heat. Leeks become especially silky and sweet when left to cook awhile. If they start to stick to the bottom of the pan, add a tablespoon or two of water, and stir (the liquid will evaporate during cooking). Instead of bread or crackers, serve the dip with an array of vegetables, such as baby carrots, endive leaves, radishes, diagonally sliced cucumber, and mini sweet bell peppers for a bit of freshness, color, and crunch. You'll also save calories and room for the rest of the meal.
Brown Sugar-Spiced Nut Mix
Achieve a bronze-like patina on these candied nuts by keeping a close watch near the end of their roasting time. Too long and they'll overdarken and take on a bitter flavor.
Mini Cheese Balls
Save 108 calories, 7g sat fat, and 69mg sodium per serving over a traditional cheese ball. Almond milk cream cheese is delicately nutty, with a buttery-rich texture and zero grams of sat fat. Find it at Whole Foods stores nationwide. You can substitute 1⁄3-less-fat cream cheese, which adds 1.6g sat fat to each serving.
Tricolored Beet Tart
Start your holiday meal with a simple yet gorgeous beet tart, topped off with tangy goat cheese, crunchy hazelnuts, and flaky sea salt. Par-bake the crust to get a lovely raised edge (what forms the shell of your tart) and ensure that the bottom will be cooked through. If you or your guests are not beet fans, substitute sweet potatoes: Wrap 4 (4-ounce) sweet potatoes in parchment paper, and microwave at HIGH 3 minutes. Then cool, peel, and slice. You can also sub feta for goat cheese and pecans or walnuts for hazelnuts.
Golden Beet, Greens, and Potato Torta
Sophisticated and delicious—make this tall, flaky pie the centerpiece of the table.
Spinach and Feta Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust
The simple, scalloped shell made from thinly sliced rounds of sweet potatoes makes this version of a popular brunch (or supper) dish gluten-free. Choose potatoes with comparable diameters to create uniform slices for the easy-to-make crust. A mandoline makes slicing quick and precise, but a sharp chef's knife will work too. You can also slice the potatoes in the food processor using the slicing blade.
Creamy Artichoke and Asparagus Lasagna
Lemon rind brightens the sauce, making for a more delicate lasagna. To save on salt, use frozen artichokes, which contain a quarter of the sodium of the canned variety that are usually packed in brine.
Savory Harvest Vegetable Tart with Toasted Quinoa Crust
The brilliant use of whole-grain quinoa for a press-in-the-pan tart shell hits all the right marks. Toasting the grain adds nutty crunch to the foolproof crust. Peppered goat cheese and a colorful crown of caramelized veggies make this dish simply spectacular.
Mushroom and Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto
While old-school stovetop-stirred risotto is undeniably delicious, the pressure cooker also delivers astonishingly good results: perfectly creamy, al dente risotto without constant stirring.
Mashed Sweet Potato
One cup of cooked, mashed sweet potato has almost 7 grams of fiber, which makes it a sweet and healthy side dish to fill up on.
Skillet Green Bean Casserole
We've shortened (and lightened) this holiday classic by bringing everything together in one pan and using the stovetop and broiler rather than baking.
Mac and Cheese Bites
Feed a hungry crowd these all-star, feel-good favorites at your next party. Nothing is as comforting as melty, creamy, cheesy, comforting macaroni and cheese. Be still our hearts.
Apple, Cranberries, and Pecan Stuffing
We give the classic holiday side a fall spin with fresh apple, toasted pecans, and dried cranberries. For the vegetarians at your table, you can substitute vegetable stock for the chicken stock. Raisins and walnuts can work in place of the cranberries and pecans.
Spiced Apple-Cranberry Sauce
A trio of warm spices takes this holiday staple out of candy-sweet territory and into the world of robust holiday condiments. The sauce is delicious to top off your holiday protein for the rest of the season. Apples counter the tartness of the cranberries and help the sauce thicken. No fine dice on the apples here; the rustic chunky look of the two fruits is what makes the sauce beautiful and enticing. If you’re feeling extra generous, double the batch and spoon into small jars for guests to take home.
Lemon-Herb Sheet Pan Roasted Vegetables
Combine 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Combine butternut squash, parsnips, Brussels sprouts, and potatoes from master recipe in a large bowl, then follow remaining steps.
Black Pepper and Herb Mashed Potatoes
Buttermilk adds an extra layer of creaminess to these herb-infused potatoes flecked with parsley, tarragon, and chives.
Chestnut, Cranberry, and Leek Stuffing
The delicious mix of flavors is sure to make an impression on your family and friends.
Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad
Chef Jonathan Waxman taught Cooking Light Editor Hunter Lewis how to make this fall salad many years ago. Riff with the ingredients to find the flavor balance you prefer. For a vegan version, omit the Parmesan cheese.
Potato and Leek Gratin
A mandoline will slice the potatoes quickly and to the same thickness, though a sharp knife will also work. Instead of being buried in cream, the potatoes and leeks are simmered in and drizzled with milk so the potatoes get wonderfully crisp and tender and the cheeses form a melty, golden crust. The result is a rich, rustic potato side with contrasting flavors and textures—a bit of crunch to round out the stuffing, sauces, and mashes on the plate. Reheat leftovers in the oven until crisped and warmed through, and then serve with eggs and a side of fruit for breakfast.
Miso Caramel-Apple Pie
You've no doubt heard of--and enjoyed--salted caramel. Miso caramel takes that concept one step further, offering te irresistible salty-sweet flavor combo along with a richness that's unparalleled. You may just love this caramel so much that you want to make a big batch for yourself or to give as holiday gifts; we won't blame you. And even though this pie is rather decadent, it still comes in with 12g less sugar than a popular online version of caramel apple pie. Ever been disappointed by an apple pie where the fruit was still just a little crunchy, not tender as you'd hoped for? This recipe makes sure you end up with buttery-soft fruit by first covering the raw apple slices with boiling water to soften them before they even go in the crust.
Roasted Pumpkin Pie
By roasting the pumpkin whole, you avoid cutting it open and scooping out the seeds and membrane. If you'd like, serve pie with a dollop of lightly sweetened 2% reduced-fat yogurt.
A sprinkling of fresh, fragrant thyme leaves over ripe apricots helps bring this flat cake to staff favorite status. Food Editor Ann Taylor Pittman agrees: "The addition of thyme is an absolutely ingenious, delicious touch."
Frozen Orange Tortes with Cranberry Compote
This decadent dessert features a jeweled cranberry topping that cascades down a fluffy ice cream filling that's a dreamy citrus cloud.
Roasted Grape and Pear Kuchen
Kuchen is a classic German yeast cake that’s either topped with seasonal fruit or filled with cheese or custard. Our version celebrates fall with seasonal fruit—roasted grapes and pears—and plenty of spices.
Chai Carrot Pie
Staple spice-rack spices create all the depth of classic chai tea in this luscious, carrot-packed, whole-grain dessert. It's a cross between a play on pumpkin pie and carrot cake: The texture and flavor are reminiscent of the former, and the layers—cream cheese mixture on the bottom, spiced carrot filling on top—are inspired by the latter. To get a big head start, you can make and freeze the crust up to a week ahead. A combination of butter and shortening in the crust is ideal—butter for its rich flavor, and shortening to create a flaky texture. We recommend Earth Balance shortening (found with the other shortenings in large supermarkets or health-focused stores) because, unlike most other shortenings, it contains no trans fats.