HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Vegetarian main course for Thanksgiving

  • l

I've scanned the last month or so of posts on this section of the site, and haven't seen anything directly relating to this topic, so hopefully this won't be a repeat of something already posted. My apologies if it is. Anyway...

I am a picky vegetarian, who eats no meat, poultry, or seafood products, but is willing to eat dairy and eggs. I emphasize that I am picky because I don't want to waste anyone's time here, having them post a recipe that will probably make me cringe like a five year old (basically, I have the palette of a five year old). So, normally for Thanksgiving I just eat any of vegetarian sides that are made, which is absolutely fine with me. I love carbs, and Thanksgiving for a vegetarian is all about getting one's blood sugar so high as to practically need a trip to the emergency room. However, while I am fine with just sides, my sister, also a vegetarian though a less picky/less restrictive vegetarian than myself, will be joining us for dinner this year, thus causing my mother to believe we should have a vegetarian main dish.

So, my question for all of you is, what to make? I can't think of anything that doesn't involve a complex carbohydrate base, and it seems like it would be overkill to make something based around potatoes, pasta, rice, etc. Do you know of any good vegetarian recipes (and they don't have to be Thanksgiving related) that could fit the bill?

Let me clarify what probably won't work: I am not looking for any kind of loaf, any kind of spicy thing, anything based around squash, spinach, asparagus, or eggplant, or Tofurky.

Any and all suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated as I am having trouble getting inspired to cook anything within these parameters since, as I mentioned above, I am completely happy with simply eating sides as I've done for the last 12 years. Thanks in advance!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I would roast a bunch of vegetables that you do like. I would roast broccoli, beets, zucchini etc. Roast them with a bunch of olive oil and kosher salt. These will go great with all of the traditional Thanksgiving sides.

    1. Do you like beans? Because you could serve some homemade baked beans (add some puff pastry cut-outs on top if you need to fancy it up) - they go well with Thanksgiving sides.

      Plus, all the 5-year-olds I know love baked beans... ;-)

      1. Roasted vegetable frittata: you can make ahead, and warm to serve. You decide whether to include cheese or just dress with some grated cheese of choice (Parmigiano, Gruyere, et cet.). Couldn't be simpler.

        For something only slightly carbier, make it as a strata (sort of a frittata done like a very moist savoury bread pudding).

        1. I've made the recipe linked below, Root Vegetable Cobbler with Chive Biscuit Topping for my vegetarian friends, to many compliments, for prior holiday meals. It makes a nice centerpiece for a vegetarian Thanksgiving menu.

          Link: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

          1. It's starch-based, but I do a mushroom risotto. It's an elegant main for the vegetarians, and works as a nice side dish for everyone else.

            1. I'm a vegetarian too, and I understand the dilemma, though I wouldn't mind adding just one more carb-based item to the menu if it meant I could eat leftovers of it for a few days while everyone else is eating turkey sandwiches.

              But given the parameters of your post, here are a few thoughts:
              Garlic Mushrooms go well with everyone and reheat well, too. So perhaps cook up a large quantity of mixed mushrooms with lots of garlic and butter? They would be a great side dish for everyone else and wonderful for you and your sister. And they are a good topping for the mashed potatoes, stuffing, etc. If you want to turn them into a main dish, maybe bake a puff pastry 'basket' and serve the mushrooms inside?

              If you want to make a ore complex dish, Vegetarian Times just emailed their feature recipe of the week: a Golden Lentil Roulade with Chestnut Stuffing. It sounds good and I can email it to you if you'd like.

              You could make a version of the famous green bean casserole -- there was a thread about this a few days ago.

              Another great option would be a veggie strata. There are many great strata recipes on epicurious.com.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Dev

                speaking of mushrooms, how about a stuffed portobello?

              2. i'm veg, too!

                because of the weather this time of year, i think some kind of creamy soup in a bread bowl would be wonderful! how about a corn chowder or some kind of root vegetable stew? it might not be fancy enough for a fancy thanksgiving, though.

                i know you said no tofurkey, and i agree. i really odn't like the stuff. have you tried the quorn roast, though? that thing RULES! i bought two this year!

                1 Reply
                1. re: arifa

                  I agree! Quorn Roast is sooooo good. To me, Tofurkey is like dark meat and Quorn Roast is like white meat. I roast it in a roasting bag to keep it juicy. Top with some vegan turkey gravy or mushroom gravy. Even my meat loving husband loves it. Makes a great sandwich too.

                2. A gruyere and chive souffle. Or how about just looking through your vegetarian cookbooks (the nicer ones, like Greens or Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone) and making the thing that sounds great but you never have time to make?

                  1. Puff pastry is your friend. Roast some fall vegetables like sweet potatoes, butternut squash, carrots, onions etc at 450 degree for 15 minutes (enough for two cups worth of roasted filling). Then saute roasted vegetables in a pan with 1 tablespoon of butter, a teaspoon of thyme, salt and pepper to taste and a tablespoon of flour. Add 1/4 cup white wine and stir until the wine sauce has thickened and is coating the vegetables. Spoon into the center of a square of puff pastry. Roll the sides together like you are making an apple strudel. Seal the edges together and bake at 375 for 15 minutes. You can freeze this unbaked ahead of time and then bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Slice and serve.

                    Link: http://dcfoodblog.blogspot.com

                    1. I host T-giving every year for 12-18 people. We always have at least one vegetarian. (2 vegetarians and 1 vegan, if all come who are invited).

                      I used to do an elaborate veg entree (stuffed squash or veg shepard's pie, or mushroom strudel, etc...). For the last few years, though, I have come up with a very quick, simple protien entree: herb roasted tempeh.
                      It is SO simple!

                      I slice tempeh (white wave brand from whole foods) into approx 1 inch thick, toss with dried poultry herbs (sage, thyme, rosemary)and bake at about 350 for about 10-15 min. How easy is that! I usually have one of my vegetarian guest bring a veg gravy to go with it.... The vegetarians have tempeh and gravy while the rest of us have turkey and gravy... and most of the side dishes are vegetarian- mashed potato, brussel sprouts, salads, rolls, etc...

                      Good Luck,

                      1. The goat cheese souffle in the Joy of Cooking can be made ahead and reheated. It would go well with other Tday dishes.

                        1. Thanks for all of your great suggestions! I think I might wind up using a bunch of them, to create a "potpurri" main dish. Hope you all enjoy your Thanksgivings...be thankful you don't have a difficult-to-please eater like me on your hands!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Laura

                            So, Laura -- what did you end up cooking for your vegetarian Thanksgiving?

                            My boyfriend made the Holiday Cashew Nut Roast from the latest issue of Vegetarian Times, and I have to say, it was delicious. My very non-vegetarian mother tried it and had good things to say about it too.

                          2. hey laura!
                            I am the same way a veg that gets her grove on with those starchy yummy holiday meal side dishes ...no meat for me either. I have been a vegetarian for 3years now. This is the 1st year that I was going to delve into the veg main holiday dish world myself. I do like a good tofurky and or stuffed butternut squawsh but I want comfort food.
                            So i am going to get a cast iron skillit and make veggie chili and with cornbread crust!
                            Mouth is watering just thinking about it! I bet the omni's that will be present are gunna wants sum but Its gunna be mine all mine! hehehehe anywho good luck with your thanksgiving and bon apetit!

                            1. I was disappointed when I read that you said no Tofurkey. We had that last year and it was a great success.

                              1. Hi Laura - My husband, kids and I are vegetarians and the extended family, with whom we always celebrate Thanksgiving, are not. Lately I've been hosting here at our house. Here is a good fall/harvest themed entree that works equally well for carrying to someone else's house or serving on your own table. Non-vegetarians like this dish as a side dish too. This is from one of my favorite cookbooks, Vegetarian Celebrations by Nava Atlas.

                                Pueblo Corn Pie (Serves 6-8)

                                1 T olive oil
                                1 large onion, chopped
                                2 cloves garlic, minced
                                1 med green or red bell pepper, diced
                                1 1/2 c cooked fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
                                2 1/4 c canned or cooked pinto beans
                                2 c chopped ripe tomatoes, or 14-16 oz can diced tomatoes, lightly drained
                                2 tsps chili powder, or to taste
                                1 tsp dried oregano
                                1/2 tsp ground cumin
                                salt to taste

                                Cornmeal topping:
                                1 1/4 c cornmeal
                                1/2 tsp salt

                                1 c. grated jack cheese, optional

                                Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add onion and saute until it is translucent. Add the garlic & bell pepper and continue to saute until the onion is golden brown. Add the corn kernels, pinto beans, tomatoes, and seasonings. Stir well and simmer for 10-15 mins. Season to taste w/salt. Remove from heat.

                                Bring 5 c water to a rolling boil in a heavy saucepan or double boiler. Slowly pour the cornmeal into the water in a thin steady stream, stirring continuously to avoid lumping. Add the salt and cook over very low heat, covered, for 20 mins, stirring occasionally.

                                Preheat oven to 375 deg.

                                Oil a shallow 1 1/2 qt baking dish and line the bottom with half of the cooked cornmeal. Pour over it the skillet mixture and sprinkle with the optional grated cheese. Top with remaining cornmeal, patting it smoothly. Bake for 45-50 mins or until the cornmeal is golden brown and crusty. Let stand for 10 minutes then cut into squares to serve.

                                1. I've made these wild rice crepes and red pepper sauce numerous times with various fillings for vegetarian dinner parties to huge success. The mushroom filling in the recipe is very tasty, but you can change it up to a filling that is more to your liking.