6 Vegetarian Entrees That Will Steal the Thanksgiving Spotlight
Turkey is often considered a quintessential Thanksgiving dish, but there are plenty of vegetarian entrees that will rival the holiday fowl. A Veggieducken, Vegetarian Roast, and Pumpkin Seed Battered Cutlets are just a few of the lovely entrees that can take center stage at your meat-free Thanksgiving feast. Even your meat-loving family members won’t be able to resist these six vegetarian recipes.
A Veggieducken creates a lovely centerpiece that will wow your Thanksgiving guests. Dan Pashman’s recipe for Veggieducken via NPR is inspired by the turducken and consists of yams, leeks, banana squash, and vegetarian stuffing. It’s a hearty and visually appealing entree that will please any palate. It yields 12 servings.
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 3 red bell pepper, stems and seeds removed, roughly chopped
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 cups fresh flat-leaf parsley, loosely packed
- 1 cup fresh sage, loosely packed
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
- 4 cups breadcrumbs
- ½ cup vegetable broth
- 1½ tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 yams, peeled and ends cut off to make it 6-inches long
- 3 medium leeks, rinsed and halved lengthwise
- 1 banana squash, about 2-feet long or as big as will fit in your oven
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Pulse the garlic and onions in a food processor 6-8 times. Push everything down from the sides of work bowl using a rubber spatula and pulse 6-8 more times. Scrape into a large bowl and set aside. Pulse the bell pepper in the food processor until finely chopped, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add to the bowl with the onion mixture. Heat ¼ cup olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion mixture and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the parsley, sage, and thyme to the food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl.
Add the breadcrumbs, broth, onion mixture, salt, black pepper, and remaining olive oil, stirring to combine. Wrap the yams in several layers of damp paper towel and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Let set until cool enough to handle. Trim the ends from the squash, and then slice in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and any loose fibers using a large metal spoon. Make a stable bottom by slicing about ½ inch from one of the halves. Press about 2 cups of the onion stuffing into the cavity of the bottom squash, making a hollow space in the center. Line the hollow with 3 leek halves, cut-side up, pressing firmly into the stuffing. Cover the leeks with a thin layer of stuffing, pressing to create a hollow for the yams.
Lay the yams into the hollow and cover with a thin layer of stuffing. Arrange the remaining leeks, cut-side down, over the stuffing. Cover the leeks with another layer of stuffing, pressing into a mound about the size to fit into the remaining squash cavity. Cover the stuffing with the remaining squash half, pressing firmly to set in place. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for about 1 hour, covering loosely with foil if it browns too quickly. It’s done when a wooden skewer slides easily into the center. Let sit for 10 minutes before transferring to a cutting board. Cut into 1½-inch-thick slices. Cut each slice in half into a semicircle and serve.
2. ‘Pot Roast’ of Seitan, Aunt Gloria-Style
Seitan, a meatless wheat gluten product, is simmered in sweet-and-sour sauce, creating a hearty main dish that will ensure your guests don’t feel deprived. Not only does this entree taste delicious, but Crescent Dragonwagon’s recipe via Epicurious is also extraordinarily easy to prepare and can be ready in less than an hour. To complete this dish, serve it with Martha Stewart’s Garlic Mashed Potatoes.
- Cooking spray
- 2 teaspoons mild vegetable oil, such as corn, canola, or peanut
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 1½ cups tomato sauce, commercial or homemade
- 1 can (16 ounces) jellied cranberry sauce
- 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup dark vegetable stock or commercial mushroom stock, or 1 tablespoon tamari or shoyu soy sauce plus 3 tablespoons red wine
- 16 ounces (2 packages) traditional-style seitan, well drained and sliced about ⅜-inch thick
Directions: Heat a large nonstick Dutch oven or one that has been sprayed with cooking spray. When hot, add the oil and onion and sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until the onion starts to soften. Add the tomato sauce, cranberry sauce, horseradish, dry mustard, vinegar, and stock. Raise the heat and bring the sauce to a hard boil. Lower the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes. Add the seitan. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for 15 minutes more. Serve hot, or refrigerate overnight, reheat, and serve the next day.
3. Bucatini with Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts
Pasta noodles, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, herbs, and seasonings create a flavorful dish that’s coated in a crispy bread crumb topping. Food & Wine’s recipe is filled with ingredients that have been sautéed, charred, and seasoned to perfection.
- 12 ounces bucatini or perciatelli
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ pound cauliflower florets, cut in 1-inch pieces
- ½ pound brussels sprouts, halved or quartered if large
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 4 plump oil-packed anchovies, minced
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
- 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
- ½ cup dry bread crumbs
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
Directions: In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving ½ cup of the cooking water. Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, heat ¼ cup of the oil. Add the cauliflower and Brussels sprouts and season with salt and black pepper; cover and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly charred and crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add ¼ cup of oil to the skillet along with the onion, garlic, anchovies, crushed red pepper, rosemary, and thyme; cook, stirring, until the onion is slightly softened, about 3 minutes.
Cover and cook over low heat until the cauliflower and sprouts are tender, about 3 minutes. Keep warm. In a small skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the bread crumbs and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until golden and crisp, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and transfer to a bowl. Add the pasta and reserved cooking water to the vegetables and cook over moderate heat, tossing, until the water is nearly absorbed. Remove from the heat and stir in the ½ cup of grated cheese. Serve the pasta in wide bowls, passing the bread crumbs and additional cheese at the table.
4. Pumpkin Seed Battered ‘Cutlets’ With Cranberry Cabernet Sauce
VegNews Magazine’s recipe via the New York Times consists of vegan chicken cutlets that are coated in crunchy bread crumbs and served with a rich and vibrant sauce. Thanks to this dish, there’s no way any of your Thanksgiving guests will feel deprived!
Cranberry Cabernet Sauce:
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large shallot, diced
- 4 sprigs thyme
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- Salt to taste
- 1 cup Cabernet wine
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
- 2 tablespoons water
- 3 tablespoons non-hydrogenated margarine, divided
Pumpkin Seed Battered Cutlets:
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh sage
- 1 cup toasted, shelled pumpkin seeds
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 cup panko (Japanese) bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- 12 vegan chicken cutlets, thawed
- 1 cup unbleached white flour
- 2 cups unsweetened soy milk
- Olive oil
Directions: Make the sauce. In a sauté pan over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add shallot and sauté for 3 minutes. Add thyme and cranberries and sauté for another 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add wine and scrape the bottom of the pan, then cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Add vegetable stock and reduce by half again. In a small bowl, combine arrowroot and water. Add the arrowroot mixture to the pan, stir well, and continue to cook for 2 minutes.
Turn off heat and whisk in margarine, 1 tablespoon at a time. Remove thyme stems before serving. To make the cutlets, use a food processor to combine sage, pumpkin seeds, paprika, breadcrumbs, nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper until well incorporated. Dredge each cutlet in flour, dip into soy milk, and then into seasoned breadcrumbs. Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan. Using medium-high heat, sauté cutlets on each side until browned and crisp. Serve with the cranberry Cabernet sauce.
5. Chickpea Roast with Sherry Sauce
This stunning centerpiece is an indulgent Thanksgiving dish that will rival any turkey entree. Squash Blossom Babies’ recipe is packed with veggies, nuts, bread crumbs, pie crust, and seasonings and covered in a light sherry sauce. We’re confident this wholesome entree will quickly become a holiday favorite!
- 16 ounces chickpeas
- ⅔ cup walnuts
- ⅔ cup whole wheat bread crumbs
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 6 mushrooms, sliced
- ½ cup corn kernels
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons sherry
- 2 tablespoons vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 pastry/pie crust
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons milk
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- 4 tablespoons sherry
- ¼ pint vegetable stock
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Puree the chickpeas, walnuts, and breadcrumbs in the food processor. Sauté the onion and mushroom in a little drizzle of extra virgin olive oil for about 8-10 minutes. Add the chickpea mixture and the garlic and corn to the pan, stir to combine. Add the sherry, stock, and coriander. The mixture will start to bind together. Remove from heat and cool. Roll out a pastry crust into a round shape. Shape the chickpea mixture into a loaf shape in the middle of the pastry.
Wrap the pastry around the loaf and flip it over so that it sits on a baking sheet or pan seam side down. Score the top in a criss-cross shape. Combine the egg and milk and brush the top of the pastry. Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes. In the meantime, work on the sauce. Sauté the shallots in the oil for 3-5 minutes. Add the sherry and vegetable stock and bring to a boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes until a thick sauce has formed. Remove the roast from the oven, slice and drizzle on the sherry sauce.
6. Stuffed Thanksgiving Burger
Post Punk Kitchen presents a vegetarian burger that embodies all of Thanksgiving’s finest flavors. Filled with mushrooms, zesty seasonings, lentils, hazelnuts, and cranberries, your guests will be giving thanks for this dish. We recommend serving them on King Arthur Flour’s Sourdough Buns.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- Small yellow onion, diced medium
- 2 ribs celery, thinly sliced
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Fresh black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dry rubbed sage
- 4 cups baguette sliced into cubes
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- ½ cup hazelnuts
- 1 cup cooked lentils (brown or green)
- ¾ teaspoons salt
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- 6 sourdough rolls
- Kale (or the greens of your choosing)
Directions: Preheat a large, heavy bottomed pan non-stick over medium high heat. Sauté onion in one tablespoon olive oil for about 3 minutes with a pinch of salt, until translucent. Add mushroom, celery, garlic, black pepper, thyme, and sage and sauté for 7-10 minutes, until mushrooms have released most of their moisture. Add baguette cubes, and drizzle in the other tablespoon of oil. Toss bread to coat in the mixture and cook for 5 minutes or so, tossing often, to lightly brown the bread. Add the vegetable broth and mash up the bread so that it absorbs all the liquid and resembles stuffing.
Let it cook about 3 more minutes. While everything is cooking in the pan, place hazelnuts in food processor and pulse until they are chopped. Transfer nuts to a large mixing bowl. Add the lentils to the food processor and puree until relatively smooth. Now add the bread mixture from the pan into the processor and pulse 10-15 times. You want the mixture to hold together, but there should still be mushroom and celery visible; it shouldn’t be a puree. Transfer this to the mixing bowl with the hazelnuts. Add in the cranberries and salt. Make sure to separate the cranberries.
Combine thoroughly, using your hands if need be, to form a firm but still malleable mixture. Taste for salt and pepper. Let the mixture cool completely. Refrigerate for 15 minutes or so, just to help it firm up and let the flavors meld a bit. Rinse out your cast iron, and preheat on medium-high. Roll the burgers into 6 equal sized tennis balls. Flatten into 1½ inch thick patties. Cook in a thin layer of oil for about 4 minutes on each side. Serve on buns with greens and mayo.