What Vegetarians Eat: Thanksgiving Edition

A lot of times when people find out you’re vegetarian, you get questions like, “So, um, what do you eat?” “Well do you at least eat chicken? Fish?” as well as the always funny jokes about only eating lettuce. And when it comes to the holidays, it can be tricky navigating the buffet table when the main focus of holiday get togethers is food, and often times, they’re meat-based.

Last year I made it easy on myself (read: I was lazy) since it was my first Thanksgiving as an official vegetarian, and I opted to only eat the side dishes. This was easy, because like many, the side dishes are my favorite part. I had stuffing (made with veggie sausage), green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, maple glazed Brussels sprouts, corn and peas, mashed turnips, creamed pearl onions, and cranberry sauce. That’s obviously a lot of food, and I was more than satisfied without having a “main” on my plate. This will likely continue to be my approach for holiday events at a friend or family member’s house, but I’ve decided to get a little more creative this year.

No turkey here! I certainly don't miss cleaning & stuffing it...
No turkey here! I certainly don’t miss cleaning & stuffing it…

When dreaming up my Thanksgiving menu, I decided it was time to try a turkey alternative. No, I’m not talking about a tofurkey – I wanted to make something homemade! While I’ve opted to have a “main dish” this year, that doesn’t mean I plan to skimp on the sides; they are my favorite part! And since meal planning is something I really enjoy doing, I figured I would share with you all what I plan on serving for my Vegetarian Thanksgiving! That way, if you’re scrounging around for a last minute side dish idea maybe one of these will spark your interest, or, you can always save them for next year.

2013 Vegetarian Thanksgiving Menu
Seitan Roast – recipe found here

Brussels Sprout Mac ‘n Cheese – recipe found here
Veggie Stuffing – my recipe found here
Peas & Corn
Mashed Potatoes
Apple & Cranberry Crumble

I’m going to be so full, and I’ll have leftovers for days. It’s going to rule.

What’s your favorite side dish?Β 

19 thoughts on “What Vegetarians Eat: Thanksgiving Edition

  1. I had issues this year because we’re cooking for my non-vegan parents. But they are adventurous and we told them they can bring a little meat to warm up if they want. However, this is the menu I’ve planned out: Vegan Thanksgiving

    I’m tired of eating sides too! I’m really hoping they like what I’ve put together so they aren’t eating just the sides at my house! πŸ™‚


  2. I was a vegetarian for two years and holidays were definitely a challenge! My mom was great about making my own separate stuffing, and I definitely enjoyed my fair share of veggie sides.


  3. For some reason I am reading this to the tune of “what does the fox say”. Don’t ask.

    The Brussels sproutmac and cheese sounds really good. Stuffing is my favorite part too…I could easily just that the entire meal.


  4. My favorite side is Bourbon Vanilla Cranberry Sauce. For some reason Brad doesn’t like the idea of whole cranberries and prefers the one out of the can (?!) so I get to eat the entire dish myself. Um, twist my arm.

    I’m not a fan of brussel sprouts but I AM a fan of anything maple-glazed, so I might need to give those a shot!


    1. Melissa, I HATED Brussels Sprouts until about a month ago. I buy the organic from Whole Foods (out of season now) and split them in half, then roast them at 375 for about 15 minutes with pepitas. Toss them in a bowl with EVOO and S&P and a little rosemary. I thought my wife was going to freak out they were so good!

      I grew up with my mom boiling frozen Brussels Sprouts. It completely turned me off until I tried roasting them.


  5. Love this post! I’m not a vegetarian, but I usually only end up eating the sides on Thanksgiving because they are the best part of the meal. I’ll have to try your recipe for Brussels sprout mac & cheese – looks delicious!


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