8 of the Best Vegetarian Thanksgiving Ideas

It’s finally that time of year! Family and friends will gather around the dinner table and offer thanks for the things we have and love in life. And the best moment is when they cut straight into the…turkey? But what if you’re celebrating a vegetarian Thanksgiving? Is there a dish that can replace the traditional Thanksgiving main course? 

Absolutely! Whether you’re decorating the table in a different way or trying to replace the centerpiece of the meal, you don’t have to worry! There are so many vegetarian Thanksgiving ideas to not only replace the turkey on your table, but to make even your meat-eating friends excited about what they will feast on. 

8 Of The Best Vegetarian Thanksgiving Ideas
Read more: 10 memorable Thanksgiving poems for kids

Recipes to replace the turkey

Let’s face it, this is what we’re most worried about when hosting a vegetarian Thanksgiving. Will our guests be satisfied food-wise? With these recipes, your guests will be wanting to come to your house every year just to taste these delicious meals again! 


Ah, the classic vegetarian Thanksgiving turkey replacement. But what exactly is a tofurkey? Well, it’s tofu that mimics the turkey flavor and shape! This is the perfect addition to your vegetarian Thanksgiving as it mimics the turkey taste that your meat-eating friends are likely craving on this holiday.

Tofurkey can actually be found at nearly any grocery store around the holidays. So instead of shopping for a traditional turkey, you’ll be searching the vegan section to pick up your vegetarian Thanksgiving tofurkey. But what do you do with it? Do you cook it like a traditional turkey?

The cooking process is very similar, but it takes only a fraction of the time as a traditional turkey. I Love Vegan brings us a perfect recipe for your vegetarian Thanksgiving tofurkey that is hands down delicious. Don’t forget to save those drippings to make your own vegan gravy to pair with it!

Butternut Squash

8 Of The Best Vegetarian Thanksgiving Ideas

Maybe you’re hosting a vegetarian Thanksgiving and you aren’t really a Tofurkey kind of person. That’s totally fine because there is an endless amount of vegetarian Thanksgiving dishes that can replace the main course! Butternut Squash can be found in a number of sizes, but as thanksgiving approaches, they are often a bit bigger. 

Butternut squash is one of those vegetables that truly soaks up the flavor and just looks pretty on the table. Bon Appetit brings us a Hasselback Butternut Squash with Bay Leaves that complements traditional Thanksgiving side dishes. Sliced and covered with maple syrup, apple cider, and Fresno chili blend, guests will be begging you for this recipe after the dinner is over.

Another great way to display a butternut squash for your vegetarian Thanksgiving is by stuffing it like a turkey! Let’s face it, there’s a reason we call it “stuffing” our face. Minimalist Baker brings us the perfect Roasted Stuffed Butternut Squash. This stuffed butternut squash is so customizable, but with the uniqueness of stuffing the squash with quinoa and avocado, you won’t want to substitute much!

When displaying a butternut squash as the centerpiece to your vegetarian Thanksgiving, make sure to spruce up the plate by adding different herbs and vegetables around it. This will mimic a turkey look even more and draw the eye into the center of the meal.

Vegetarian Pot Pie

Pumpkin pie is by far one of the most sought out desserts for Thanksgiving, so why not roll with that theme! Creating a pie themed vegetarian Thanksgiving will have your guests eager to try each and every slice.

All Recipes gives us a Vegetarian Pot Pie recipe that is full of carrots, potatoes, and other hearty vegetables that we all love during the holidays. 

When you’re displaying the vegetarian pot pie as a centerpiece, try elevating the pies to give it more of a stylish look! Having three pies on three different levels will make your pies stand out amongst your vegetarian Thanksgiving sides.

Read more: 10 Thanksgiving pies to reinvent your holiday table

Vegetarian Shepards Pie

8 Of The Best Vegetarian Thanksgiving Ideas
This vegetarian thanksgiving dish from Feel Good Foodie is absolutely incredible!

A different kind of pie that will spruce up your vegetarian Thanksgiving! Casseroles are a huge part of every Thanksgiving, so why not indulge that tradition and take it a step further with a vegetarian shepherd’s pie! 

This Vegetarian Shepards Pie from Feel Good Foodie is the perfect replacement for your vegetarian Thanksgiving. Instead of ground beef, this recipe calls for a mixture of quinoa and vegetables. Letting it bake in the oven in a cast-iron skillet will not only cook this shepherds pie perfectly crisp, but it will also stand out amongst other dishes on the dinner table. 

If you’re on the vegan side, simply customize the mashed potatoes, and then you have yourself a vegan shepherds pie! So easy and mouth-watering!


Nothing quite fills you up like bread! When you make your bread from scratch, there are endless possibilities of recipes and display options. Having the bread as the main course instead of a side will ensure that your guests are full at your vegetarian Thanksgiving!

This Cranberry and Brie Pull-Apart Bread from Half Baked Harvest is truly drool-worthy. A sourdough bread loaf (already drooling) covered with a wheel of brie, raw pecans, and dried cranberries – it’s the perfect addition to your vegetarian Thanksgiving! Plus it is downright beautiful. 

If you’re an expert at making bread at home, then creating a beautiful centerpiece will be an immense amount of fun when you create a Thanksgiving Bread Wreath! Your guests will be raving about how incredibly beautiful your wreath is that they may be hesitant to try it – not wanting to damage the artwork that you have created. But once you break the bread, nothing will stop your guests from enjoying this vegetarian Thanksgiving centerpiece! 

Read more: 12 Kitchen gadgets you need for Thanksgiving prep

Whole Roasted Cauliflower

Imagine that the main course dish is just ahead of cauliflower. That may sound odd, but if you’re hosting a vegetarian Thanksgiving it may not surprise you! A whole head of cauliflower can be huge, which makes it perfect for decorating the centerpiece of your table. 

Pure Wow brings us a Spicy Whole Roasted Cauliflower recipe that will simply wow your guests when they take their first bite. Marinated with spicy yogurt and roasting at a high temperature gives this cauliflower a crispy crust and a noteworthy appearance. Spruce it up by adding different greenery around the cauliflower to give it more a centerpiece look!

Acorn Squash

Your thanksgiving table will likely be decorated to the nines with fall decor. Celebrate and embrace that look by incorporating stuffed acorn squashes! Adding these little pumpkins will give your table more of a fall look and make your guests giggle that their bowl is a little green pumpkin.

And while you’re thinking of ways to stuff your acorn squash, consider throwing some mac and cheese in it! Pure Wow brings us another incredible and beautiful recipe – Macaroni and Cheese in Acorn Squash Bowls! Mac and cheese paired with any form of squash are extremely tasty and a perfect vegetarian Thanksgiving dish. The squash gives the mac and cheese a creamy and sweet flavor that will have you wanting to make this dish throughout the fall.

Forget the “Main Course”

8 Of The Best Vegetarian Thanksgiving Ideas

Throw the tradition of having to have a main course out the window! No one says that you have to replace or mimic a turkey on your vegetarian Thanksgiving. Embrace the world of side dishes, appetizers, and deserts! If you’re wanting to spruce up your table, adding decorations and lifting certain dishes off the table will still give you a Thanksgiving look without having a “main course”.

Remember when you’re hosting your vegetarian Thanksgiving that your guests are going to love each and every thing you create. Thanksgiving is about being thankful and celebrating the incredible things that are in your life. When you make the focus not just about the food, the meat-eaters in your life simply won’t miss the turkey one bit.


Embrace the side dishes for your vegetarian Thanksgiving! If you’re searching for more recipes to spice up your holiday, make sure to check out 10 New Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes!

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8 Of The Best Vegetarian Thanksgiving Ideas

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Lauren Benson
Lauren Bensonhttp://www.lbensonphotography.com
Lauren is a traveling mom, wife, and wedding photographer. Some of her favorite things include hiking with her family, photographing couples who are in love, singing to her daughter, creating incredible vegetarian dishes, traveling the world, and dying her hair crazy colors.

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