Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes: No More Sad Mashed Potatoes

I have been a vegetarian for almost a decade now, and let me tell you, somehow holiday meals are still a little awkward.

Family kind of hem and haw over what to say or make for food, and I am at the ready to reassure them I don’t mind eating just sides and indulging in lots of desserts!

Having different food preferences shouldn’t deter enjoying your holiday meal, so I have included some vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes that can be enjoyed by all!

Vegetarian Cabbage “Turkey”

Don’t let the “turkey” in this dish name fool you because rest assured, there is no meat in sight! This cabbage acts in place of, or in addition to, a turkey. It’s a wonderful option to assure all can devour a main dish on their Thanksgiving plate!

Ingredients

  • 1 large head cabbage
  • 3 tbsp. Melted butter
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • ½ tsp. Garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp. Stalks celery, cut into quarters
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cubed
  • ½ yellow onion, cut into quarters
  • 1 tbsp. Olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. Chopped sage
  • 1 tbsp. Chopped rosemary
  • 1 tbsp. Chopped thyme
  • ½ cup vegetable broth, divided.

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the stem off the cabbage so it can sit flat.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together melted butter, mustard, maple syrup, and garlic powder, and season liberally with salt and pepper.
  3. In a large bowl, combine celery, carrots, onion, oil, and chopped herbs. Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. 
  4. Place vegetable mixture in a large, oven-safe skillet. Place cabbage in the center, on top of the vegetables and brush all over with half the melted butter mixture. Pour half of the vegetable broth into the bottom of the skillet and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and brush the remaining butter mixture on top. Add remaining ¼ cup broth and bake cabbage until tender, about 45 minutes more. 
  6. Remove from the oven and slice into wedges. It is best served with a vegetarian gravy on top. Refrigerate leftovers. 

Vegetarian Thanksgiving stuffing

Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes: No More Sad Mashed Potatoes

Passing on the stuffing again this year? Ah, no more! This stuffing is vegetarian friendly, and preferred over the more traditional stuffing by a popular vote!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon plus ¼ cup olive oil (divided use)
  • 1 onion chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 lb mushrooms sliced
  • ⅔ cup canned water chestnuts, quartered
  • 1 cup shelled chestnuts, cut in half
  • ¼ cup (½ stick) butter
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 (12 ounce) box Mrs. Cubbisons Seasoned Dressing

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Heat ½ tablespoon olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, coating the pan. Add chopped onion and salt, saute until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove onions to a large bowl, set aside.
  3. In the same pan, heat ½ tablespoon olive oil. Add the mushrooms and saute until brown, about 10 minutes. Remove mushrooms and add to bowl with onions.Stir in water chestnuts and chestnuts into the bowl of mushrooms and onions. 
  4. In the same pan melt butter with ¼ cup olive oil. Once butter is melted, stir in broth. Heat broth to a low boil and remove from heat. Stir dressing into broth, and mix dressing into the bowl of veggies. Spoon dressing into a large casserole dish, and bake for 30-45 minutes, or until heated through.
  5. Serve hot, refrigerate leftovers. 

Vegetarian Gravy

Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes: No More Sad Mashed Potatoes

No more sad mashed potatoes. I repeat, NO MORE SAD MASHED POTATOES. You don’t have to settle for a slab of butter on your potatoes this year, because you get to delight in this delicious gravy! Bonus, it is a game-changer when poured over the stuffing and cabbage recipes listed above too!

Ingredients:

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • ¾ cup diced onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons tamari
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground sage

Instructions:

  1. In a saucepan melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add onion, garlic, and mushrooms and saute for 8-10 minutes, or until it cooks down. Remove mixture from pan and place in blender.
  2. Blend mushroom mixture with 1 cup of vegetable broth until smooth, set aside.
  3. Melt remaining butter in the same saucepan. Add flour and whisk constantly for 1 minute. Add 2 cups of vegetable broth and tamari, continue stirring.
  4. Add the blended mushroom mixture and continue to whisk for 5-10 minutes, or until the mixture thickens. Add sage, salt, and pepper. 
  5. Serve hot, and refrigerate leftovers. 

I give my family endless credit; they didn’t judge when at 16 I decided to transition to being a vegetarian. And despite their efforts, holiday meals were always a tad disappointing so I was thrilled to find these recipes years ago, and to get to add them to our Thanksgiving menu!

What vegetarian recipe sounds the best to you? Feel free to share any other recipes or ideas below!

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Carly is a true Iowan, born and raised. She’s a Pinterest fail type of single mom to six year old Stella, who enthusiastically dances to the beat of her own drum. For her day job you’ll find her with a cup of coffee in hand as a secretary at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. After hours, she’s bingeing her true crime podcasts, reading all the books, and having mini JoJo Siwa dance parties with her daughter Stella.