Delicious vegetarian recipes to try this Thanksgiving

    Photo: Dena Gershkovich

    As a vegetarian, I understand how Thanksgiving can leave those who don’t eat meat feeling excluded. It can be hard to sit around the table watching everyone around you feast on turkey and other meat-containing foods. However, Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be difficult. Whether you’re a vegetarian or not, impress your guests – and yourself – with these plant-based dishes.

    Warm Roasted Vegetable Salad

    Photo: Dena Gershkovich

    Who says that roasted vegetables have to be prepared alone? The only thing better than a dish with one roasted vegetable is one with a bunch of roasted vegetables mixed together, which is exactly what this Warm Roasted Vegetable Salad is. Everything about this salad – from its warm temperature, to the honey-olive oil roasted squash, to the crispy Brussel sprouts – screams Thanksgiving.

    Roasted Brussel Sprouts Ingredients:

    • 5 cups Brussel sprouts, trimmed, washed, dried and quartered
    • ¼ cup olive oil
    • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
    • Dash pepper
    Photo: Dena Gershkovich

    Roasted Brussel Sprouts Directions:

    Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

    In a large mixing bowl, mix olive oil, salt and pepper together with a spatula. Add Brussel sprouts to bowl and mix until all Brussel sprouts are coated with oil.

    Arrange Brussel sprouts on baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 15 minutes. Toss. Bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until Brussel sprouts reach desired texture and color. Set aside.

    Honey-Olive Oil Roasted Butternut Squash Ingredients:

    • 4 ½ cups butternut squash, peeled, washed, dried and cubed (1 large butternut squash)
    • ⅓ cup olive oil
    • ½ tablespoon honey
    • ¼ teaspoon thyme
    • ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
    • Dash pepper

    Honey-Olive Oil Roasted Butternut Squash Directions:

    Photo: Dena Gershkovich

    Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

    In a large mixing bowl (you can use the same one used for the Brussel sprouts), mix the oil, honey, thyme, salt and pepper together. Add the squash; mix well.

    Arrange squash on baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Toss. Bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until squash can be easily pierced with a fork and is light brown on its edges. Set aside.

    Roasted Chickpeas Ingredients:

    • One 15.5-ounce can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and dried
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • Dash pepper
    • Pinch salt
    Photo: Dena Gershkovich

    Roasted Chickpeas Directions:

    Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

    Mix all ingredients together in the large mixing bowl with a spatula. Arrange in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until chickpeas are golden-brown. Set aside.

    Sautéed Mushrooms and Onions Ingredients:

    • High-heat oil
    • 1 medium onion, washed, dried and chopped (1 cup)
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • Dash pepper
    • 2 cups cremini mushrooms, washed, dried and quartered
    • 3 teaspoons minced garlic

    Sautéed Mushrooms and Onions Directions:

    Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan and sauté. Add salt and pepper. Mix. When some onion pieces begin to turn translucent, add garlic. Mix. Add mushrooms. Sauté until juices run and vegetables are cooked. Add some more oil after adding mushrooms if pan appears dry.

    Salad Assembly:

    After all vegetables are roasted, mix them all together in a large bowl. Mix in ¼ cup dried cranberries. Serve warm.

    Farro Salad with Roasted Tomatoes and Zucchini

    Photo: Dena Gershkovich

    At the current moment, farro is my favorite grain. In addition to providing six grams of protein per serving (!), farro has a delectable chewy texture. It is important to use parchment paper for this recipe, since it helps preserve the natural juices of the roasted vegetables. This allows for a more flavorful dish when the ingredients are mixed together.

    Photo: Dena Gershkovich

    Farro Ingredients:

    • 1 cup farro, dry
    • 1 ½ cups low-sodium vegetable broth
    • 1 cup water
    • Dash pepper

    Roasted Tomatoes Ingredients:

    • 1 ½ cups whole cherry tomatoes (about 1 pint)
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • ½ teaspoon dried basil
    • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
    • ¼ teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
    • Dash pepper
    • Pinch oregano

    Roasted Zucchini Ingredients:

    • 1 large zucchini, cut into thin slices and quartered (1 ¾ cup)
    • 2 ½ teaspoons olive oil
    • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped (plus more for garnish)
    • Pinch salt
    • Dash pepper
    Photo: Dena Gershkovich


    Bring farro, vegetable broth, water and pepper to a boil. Lower to a simmer, and cook until all liquid is absorbed (about 20 minutes).

    While the farro cooks, preheat oven to 400 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

    In a large mixing bowl, combine ingredients for roasted tomatoes. Mix well using a spatula. Transfer tomatoes to lined baking sheet. Pour excess oil on top of tomatoes. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until tomatoes burst and juices run. Set aside.

    In the same mixing bowl used for the tomatoes, mix roasted zucchini ingredients together. Transfer zucchini pieces to a lined baking sheet, and arrange in a single layer. Bake for about 25 minutes. Toss. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes more.

    Once all ingredients are ready and still warm, mix farro, roasted tomatoes and roasted zucchini together in a large bowl. Make sure to include juices left on the parchment paper from roasting the vegetables in this mixture. Garnish with additional parsley if desired. Serve warm.

    Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

    Photo: Dena Gershkovich

    This Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie is savory, satisfying and different from traditional vegetarian dishes. Enjoy this creative way to get your protein and carbohydrates in!

    Photo: Dena Gershkovich

    Potato Mixture Ingredients:

    • 4 large sweet potatoes, peeled, washed and chopped into large chunks (8 cups)
    • 1 white potato peeled, washed and chopped into large chunks (1 ½ cups)
    • 3 eggs
    • 2 teaspoons dried chives
    • 1-2 teaspoons salt
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • Pepper to taste
    • Roughly chopped parsley, for topping (optional)

    Ground “Beef” Ingredients:

    • High-heat oil
    • 1 medium onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
    • 3 teaspoons minced garlic
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • One 12-ounce package of Trader Joe’s Beef-less Ground Beef
    Photo: Dena Gershkovich


    Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9-inch by 9-inch glass baking dish.

    Steam potatoes until very soft. Transfer to a large mixing bowl, and mash well with a fork. Mix in eggs, chives, salt, garlic powder and pepper.

    Heat oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high flame. Add onions to pan. Sauté until they begin to turn translucent. Add garlic to pan. Mix.

    Crumble ground “beef” and add to pan. Mix.

    Photo: Dena Gershkovich

    Continue to sauté until “beef” browns slightly and onions are fully cooked.

    Transfer “beef” mixture to baking dish, and spread out in an even layer. Top “beef” with sweet potato mixture, and spread out evenly. Top with fresh parsley if desired.

    Bake shepherd’s pie for 55 to 60 minutes. When ready, “beef” should be bubbling, and potatoes should be darker in color.

    Spiced Apple Pie

    Photo: Dena Gershkovich

    Apples in this dessert combine with almond meal, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger to create a pie with just the right amount of spice. Enjoy for dessert after your Thanksgiving feast, or with tea the morning after. I used Pink Lady apples in my pie, though any apple variety that bakes well (such as Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Golden Delicious, Jonathan and McIntosh, to name a few) should work just as well.

    Photo: Dena Gershkovich

    Crust Ingredients:

    • 2 sticks cold Earth Balance, cut into small pieces
    • 1 ½ cups flour
    • 1 cup almond meal
    • 3 tablespoons sugar
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 1 egg
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • Cold water by the tablespoon, if needed

    Filling Ingredients:

    • 5 apples, washed, peeled and thinly sliced (5 cups)
    • 3 tablespoons Earth Balance, melted
    • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
    • Squirt of fresh lemon juice
    • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
    • ¼ teaspoon cloves
    • Pinch of ginger
    Photo: Dena Gershkovich


    In a large mixing bowl, mix Earth Balance, flour, almond meal, sugar, salt, egg and vanilla together with a spatula (or your hands) until just combined. Add cold water by the tablespoon only if dough is dry. Separate dough into two circles, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

    Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease a 9-inch pie dish.

    Remove one circle of dough from refrigerator. Roll it out on a floured surface until it’s about ¼-inch thick. Press dough into pie dish to make the crust. Allow extra dough to hang over the sides of the dish. Bake crust for 20 to 25 minutes, or until crust is light brown on the outer edges. Allow crust to cool for at least 10 minutes.

    Photo: Dena Gershkovich

    Heat oven to 425 F.

    In a small mixing bowl, whisk together Earth Balance, maple syrup, lemon juice, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger.

    Place apples in a large mixing bowl. Pour cinnamon mixture over apples, and mix gently with a spatula. Mix until apples are evenly coated with the cinnamon mixture.

    Arrange apples in the pie crust in even, circular layers.

    Remove the other circle of dough from the refrigerator. Roll out on a floured surface, and cut into long strips. Create a lattice on top of the pie. Using a fork, create indentations on the border of the pie.

    Bake pie at 425 F for about 20 minutes, until the top begins to brown. Then, lower oven to 350 F, and bake for about 30 minutes, until apples are soft and begin to bubble. If crust is getting done, lower oven to 325 F before baking for 15 to 20 minutes more.

    Allow pie to cool for at least 45 minutes before serving.

    Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving! Hopefully, these recipes can add some color and nutrition to your Thanksgiving (and Friendsgiving) meals!

    Dena Gershkovich is a writer, recipe developer and future dietitian. She holds a BS in Dietetics and a BA in Journalism from the University of Maryland. Follow Dena on her blog (The Artsy Palate) and on Instagram (@theartsypalate) to see more of her work!