Thanksgiving dinner is probably the most anticipated meal of the year. People start planning their menu weeks, even months, in advance even if they know what their main course will be – the turkey. For those of us who won’t have a turkey on the table, we need to plan a little extra for the main dishes. Everyone expects some dish to be the centerpiece of the table.
Well, it’s time to reimagine the Thanksgiving table. There are veggie dishes that can feed two or twenty; dishes that will please every palate. Here are some ideas for veggie-centric main dishes that will make your Thanksgiving fun, festive and fabulous.
1. Veggie Roasts
If you want to have a plant-based “meaty” dish on the table, there are a lot of options. Check out The Ultimate Guide to Vegan Meats and Meat Substitutes to learn about all the different types of meat substitutes available. If you prefer to make your own “meaty” centerpiece, the table is the perfect place for The Unturkey Roast or this Stuffed Seitan Roast. Both can be sliced and can feed an entire family. This Seitan Pot Roast and Not Your Mama’s Seitan Pot Roast both combine the entrée with the vegetables in stews that are hearty, amazing and will definitely have everyone asking for seconds.
For gluten-free entrées, make this hearty Gluten-Free Veggie Roast, which is made with rice and beans. Another option is my V-Turkey, which is my vegan, gluten-free version of turkey cutlets. Flavored with sage and other herbs, this will satisfy everyone including the meat-eaters.
2. Succulent Steaks
Another way to serve something “meaty” but meat-free is to make veggie steaks. These dishes will give you that familiar chew and might even require a steak knife. Veggie steaks can be made with seitan like these Seitan Steaks in Beurre Blanc Sauce and “Chicken” Fried Seitan Steaks with Buffalo Vinaigrette. They can also be made with tofu like these Pan-Fried Tofu Steaks With Coriander Cream and Asparagus Spears. Of course, we can also make steaks with vegetables. Everyone will give thanks when these Portobello Mushroom Steaks are set down in front of them. For more ideas and recipes, read How to Make Veggie ‘Steaks’ That Totally Require a Steak Knife.
3. Feed a Crowd
There is no law that says the main entrée has to be something meat-like. No one with any taste buds would argue about having a hearty casserole or pasta dish on the menu. Make room on the table for this Comforting Kale Pesto Pasta Casserole, Tempeh and Pasta Casserole or this Spicy Potato Casserole with Tofu Chorizo. How about this Show-Stopping Lentil and Eggplant Lasagna, No-Noodle Butternut Squash and Swiss Chard Lasagna or this 9 Vegetable Lasagna? Yes, please!
4. The Wow Factor
There are some dishes that will make your guests eyes light up and smile widely the second they’re set down. That’s the “wow factor.” These dishes may look like you spent hours on them when in reality, they are easy to make. This Portobello Wellington will really impress your guests while this Rustic, Creamy Portobello Stroganoff will have them rushing to dig in. These Roasted Vegetable Phyllo Bundles are veggie goodness wrapped in flaky dough and this Pumpkin Gnocchi in Spiced Butter Sauce With Lemon Cashew Cream will have people thinking you catered the meal from a gourmet restaurant.
5. Get Stuffed
Stuffed foods are not only satisfying, but they make a beautiful presentation. Many veggies can be stuffed with grains, nuts, dried fruit, tofu, greens or anything you like – stuffed peppers are among the most popular. Try these Stuffed Lentil, Quinoa and Mushroom Peppers, Brunch Stuffed Peppers, and Quinoa Stuffed Peppers. Tomatoes are delicious when stuffed and cooked like these Simplest Greek Stuffed Tomatoes. When large Portobello mushroom caps are stuffed, they turn an appetizer into an entrée. Make these Stuffed Portobello Mushroom With Tofu and Garlic Pepper Quinoa and these Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms With Maple Miso Balsamic Sauce.
Squash are perfect for stuffing like this Kale and Chickpea Stuffed Spaghetti Squash and this Stuffed Zucchini With Middle Eastern and Sicilian Flavors. Make Stuffed Cabbage, Charred Corn, and Black Bean Stuffed Sweet Potatoes, or any of the hearty recipes in 10 Ways to Fill Yourself Up With Stuffed Foods.
6. Go Global
Thanksgiving may be an American holiday, but the great thing about America is that it is made up of generations of people from all over the world. Whether you want to pay homage to your specific heritage or make an around-the-world feast, there are lots of delicious main dishes from all over the globe. Travel to India with this Roasted Red Pepper, Spinach and Chickpea Curry, Indian Cauliflower and Lentil Stew or Red Lentil Curry with Black Tahini and Roasted Cashews. Hop over to Italy for these Mushroom Ravioli with Creamy Leek Sauce and this Pesto Pappardelle with Artichoke Chickpea Meatballs.
Keep exploring in France with this Tourtière (French Canadian Savory Pie), in Austria with Vegan Holishkes, and Mexico for these Black Bean Chili Pot Pies With Cumin Sweet Potato Crust. Go Asian with this Miso Sesame Eggplant With Coconut Millet, Sweet Chili Peanut Tofu, Vegetable, and Grilled Pineapple Stir-Fry, Korean-Style Spicy Tofu and Sesame Cucumbers, and Filipino Kare-Kare Stew. Head on back to the states for this Creole-Style Eggplant and Tofu Étouffée.
7. Raw Dishes
Eating raw doesn’t mean getting left out of the dinner party. If you or your guests eat a raw diet, they’ll be thankful for this Raw Pad Thai Bowl with Tofu, Arroz de Colorés (Rice of Many Colors), Raw Pad Thai with Coconut Chickpea Tempeh, and these Sun-Dried Tomato and Zucchini Tarts.
When you serve any of these incredible veggie-centric main dishes, everyone will be so busy devouring the food, they won’t even think about there being no turkey on the table. These are special and festive main dishes everyone will give thanks for.
Lead image source: Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms With Maple Miso Balsamic Sauce