Worried about affording a massive Thanksgiving feast this year? Maybe it’s time to think a little bit outside of the box — or perhaps, outside of the bird.
The biggest expense of any Thanksgiving dinner is usually the turkey — so by going vegetarian this Thanksgiving, you could save a bundle.
You’re probably saying: “I can think of vegetarian sides and desserts, but what about entrees?” We’ve rounded up 10 vegetarian entrees for Thanksgiving, as well as several appetizers and sides you might not have considered, including plenty of vegan and gluten-free (GF) options to please everyone in your family. Most of the recipes use seasonal ingredients, which are usually cheaper, and you can save even more cash with these strategies for slashing your grocery bill.
Whether you decide to skip the turkey altogether — or just add a few more veggie dishes to your spread — you’re bound to enjoy these vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes.
Vegetarian Thanksgiving Appetizers
Roasted delicata squash, pomegranate and arugula salad: This seasonal salad from Cookie and Kate bursts with healthy color and would make a great start to your meal. (GF)
Creamy roasted rutabaga and parsnip soup with kale and coconut “bacon”: You can’t go wrong with roasted veggies, and the unique ingredients of this soup from Choosing Raw are sure to wow even the most particular foodies at your table. (GF; vegan)
Swiss chard and chanterelle mushroom cups: Though listed as a breakfast item by Dishing Up the Dirt, these cute little cups would work well as a pre-dinner finger food. (GF)
Acorn squash and apple soup: The Happy Herbivore says this soup is “like apple pie in a bowl.” Need we say more? (GF; vegan)
Quinoa + sweet potato patty cakes: From The Pink Peppercorn, these crisp cakes are “loaded with quinoa, sweet potato, brown rice, spinach and dried cranberries.” Perfect for snacking! (GF; vegan)
Quick black bean and sweet potato chili: If you want something to simmer while you’re working on other dishes, this filling stew from VegKitchen might be just the ticket. (GF; vegan)
Stuffed portobello mushrooms with roasted red pepper coulis: You really can’t go wrong with stuffed mushrooms. Add a fancy coulis like this recipe from Vegangela suggests, and you’re all set! (GF option; vegan)
Caramelized onion and carrot soup: This simple soup from The Tomato Tart would be easy to make ahead of time — and the color just oozes autumn cheer. (GF; vegan)
Roasted carrot salad with arugula, goat cheese and crispy garlic chips: Crispy garlic chips? Say no more: we want Patty’s Food’s salad on our table. (GF)
Vegan spinach artichoke dip: No holiday is complete without dip. Try One Green Planet’s healthier take on a classic. (GF option; vegan)
Vegetarian Thanksgiving Entrees
Butternut squash and leek risotto: This “Thanksgiving risotto” from Love & Lemons would make a perfect entree or side dish. (GF; vegan)
Festive chickpea tart: A Dreena Burton tart made of chickpeas, spinach and yummy seasonings? Talk about a beautiful centerpiece for your table! (GF option; vegan)
Glazed lentil walnut loaf: When renowned food blogger Oh She Glows says a recipe ranks in her top 10 of all time, you’d better pay attention; this loaf might just become your new go-to dish. (GF option; vegan)
Pumpkin ravioli with brown butter sauce and pecans: If the title of this recipe from Julia’s Album doesn’t make your mouth water, we think you better check your pulse. (And if you make it with your leftover pumpkin from Halloween, it’s cheap, too!)
Baked butternut squash and cheese polenta: Creamy and cheesy innards, finished off with a crispy crust? Sign us up for this dish from Food & Wine. (GF)
Gluten-free veggie pot pie: Pot pie is a total comfort food — and this vegan and gluten-free version from She Let Them Eat Cake will make those with dietary restrictions feel right at home. (GF; vegan)
Spinach and ricotta strudel with chickpeas: Spinach + ricotta + filo dough = a guaranteed crowd pleaser from Amuse Your Bouche.
Summer squash and portobello mushroom lasagna: Everyone loves lasagna. And this one from Herbivoracious looks simply scrumptious.
Unconventional vegan cassoulet: Though Ricki Heller warns that this hearty dish can take a while, she promises the final product will be worth the effort. (GF; vegan)
Pumpkins stuffed with quinoa, butternut squash and cranberries: If you’re into presentation, then look no further than these stuffed pumpkins from The Denver Post. When you put them on the table, your guests will promptly forget why they ever wanted turkey in the first place! (GF; vegan)
Vegetarian Thanksgiving Sides
French bread stuffing with swiss chard & caramelized red onions: Leave the Stove Top in the box; this stuffing from Oh My Veggies is where it’s at!
Fingerling potatoes with garlic lemon aioli: Picky Cook says these potatoes “are addictive beyond your wildest imagination” — and somehow, we don’t have a hard time believing her.
Maple, balsamic and lemon brussel sprouts: If you’ve never drooled over photos of brussel sprouts, then you probably haven’t seen this recipe from This American Bite. (GF; vegan)
Clean green bean casserole: You’ve gotta have the green bean casserole — but you don’t have to have all the less-than-healthy grease, cream and flour that go with it. Try this cleaner version from Detoxinista. (GF; vegan)
Homemade cranberry sauce with white wine: You’ll never again consider cranberry sauce from a can after you make your own. We thought Eat the Love’s version with white wine sounded intriguing! (GF; vegan)
Caramelized onion, mushroom and gruyere tartlets: We didn’t know what a tartlet was before seeing this recipe from Brown Eyed Baker — but after seeing the photos, we have a feeling we’re going to be trying them very soon.
Pull-apart gluten-free dinner rolls: Your guests are going to expect dinner rolls — so why not make these ones from My Gluten-Free Kitchen? She promises they taste just like the real thing! (GF; vegan option)
Creamed kale gratin: Kale is still in, and rightly so: it’s nutritious and delicious. We wouldn’t call this creamed kale from Oui, Chef healthy — but it sure looks yummy. (GF)
Roasted cauliflower salad with spicy dressing: Kick it up a notch with this spicy (and hearty) side salad from Healthful Pursuit. (GF; vegan)
Pumpkin and sage risotto: We couldn’t resist adding another risotto to the list, because… PUMPKINS. And sage. From One Ingredient Chef. (GF; vegan)
Stuffed zucchini with cheesy breadcrumbs: “Overflowing with artichoke hearts, parmesan cheese, and pine nuts.” Translation? We’re on board with this dish from My Recipes.
Mashed potatoes, accompanied by the best vegetarian gravy: You didn’t think we forgot about the mashed potatoes, did you? Well here are some classic ones from the Food Network, along with some good-looking gravy from Umami Girl.
Vegan Thanksgiving Desserts
Most classic desserts are vegetarian, so we’re sticking to GF and vegan desserts for this post.
Four-ingredient vegan pumpkin pie with coconut whip: We like things with four ingredients, and we’re betting you do, too. Healthy Happy Life’s take on this classic looks downright delish. (Vegan)
Maple pecan pie: Post Punk Kitchen promises her gluten-free and vegan pie is “A perfect pecan pie. A custardy pecan pie. A pecan pie that demands respect, that garners praise. With buttery hints of maple, a glossy top and caramelly insides.” Sold. (GF; vegan)
Vegan gluten-free apple crisp: Warm apples, spices and crispy oat topping means this apple crisp from Minimalist Baker is a must-have. (GF; vegan)
Pumpkin spice rice pudding: Allyson Kramer’s recipe is a yummy alternative to pumpkin pie — and it looks so darn cute in those wine glasses! (GF; vegan)
Modern vegan apple pie: We love this modern twist on apple pie from Carrie On Living, and the fact it’s bakeless — and won’t take up any precious oven space — earns it even more bonus points. (GF; vegan)
Your Turn: Would you replace your Thanksgiving turkey with a vegetarian alternative? Or will you be adding any of these dishes as sides?
Susan Shain, senior writer for The Penny Hoarder, is always seeking adventure on a budget. Visit her blog at susanshain.com, or say hi on Twitter @susan_shain.