Turkey might be the main attraction on Thanksgiving, but the sides are always secretly the best. And if you’re a vegetarian, or expecting vegetarian guests this year at your table, it’s always nice to have a few excellent meatless sides for everyone to enjoy. Luckily, there are many classic dishes — like mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese — that are naturally already vegetarian. And if you’re looking for something new, look no further than all the incredible fall vegetables like squash and parsnips.
We’re rounded up some of our very best vegetarian side dishes for Thanksgiving this year. There’s a festive salad, an easy Parmesan squash, Italian-ish carrots, and decadent mashed potatoes.
Squash your Thanksgiving planning fears with this simple, festive side dish. Honey-drizzled roasted squash is topped with sage, pepitas, and some red chili flakes for heat. You can use any kind of squash for this, but Acorn squash is particularly nice for its scalloped edge.
It’s not Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes! And these decadent spuds are bound to be the star of any table. Laced with garlic-and herb-infused cream and plenty of fresh chives, this side dish is earthy and rich.
Macaroni and cheese is a classic Thanksgiving staple, and we love that this one really leans into the fall season. Made with two kinds of cheeses (Parmesan and Gruyère), gluten-free pasta, chard, and sage breadcrumbs, it’s the kind of dish you’ll definitely want seconds of — if there’s any left.
Humble carrots get the VIP treatment in this Italian-ish side. The roasted, rainbow carrots get some added crunch from the pistachios and sweetness from the honey vinaigrette. The fennel seeds and a slight anise-flavor to the whole dish.
Warm strands of spaghetti squash are combined garlic, grated Parmesan, and oregano for a dish you won’t soon forget. We love this dish because it’s also relatively low-calorie and simple for a Thanksgiving side.
Skip the obligatory boring green salad this year for Thanksgiving, and try this pan-grilled radicchio on for size! Bonus: This gorgeous dish comes together in minutes. You cook thick slices of radicchio in a stove-top grill pan for a couple minutes on either side, then top with warm walnuts and briny green salsa made with olives and capers.
This unique recipe uses leeks in two different ways: thinly sliced leeks are cooked in the cheese sauce (yum), and deep-fried leeks create a crispy, crunchy top to the dish. Think of it like an upgraded, cheesier version of you Grandma’s green bean casserole.