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Thanksgiving has always been my favourite holiday (whether I wanted to admit it as a kid or not). Despite all of the presents sprinkled beneath my Christmas tree, nothing truly compared to a lengthy table filled with family members and friends alike at Thanksgiving. The serving plates covered the table with an array of colors and smells and I’d feed myself to the brim with warm, comforting, nourishing, foods. But one thing has changed for me as an adult.

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I’ve been meat-free for four years, and my holiday experience has altered greatly. I’ve been blessed with invitations to a variety of soirees during this season, including Thanksgiving, but the unfortunate part is that most of the hosts are extreme meat eaters. Besides the main display of slow-roasted turkey as the center piece of the day (and the table), the vegetables always seem to be swimming in meat, too. I remember taking a bountiful bite of brussels sprouts my first year sans meat only to find a plethora of bacon bits accompanying them.

It can be hard to inform your host that you are not a meat eater, but this is your health and your lifestyle, and you can’t feel bad about being vocal. So, if you’re choosing to go to someone’s house, perhaps suggest bringing over some vegetarian options. And if you’re planning on having guests over to your abode, you can just as easily inform them it will be vegetarian-based; that way they can plan accordingly with their own dishes (and perhaps they can bring over their meaty options for anyone who’d like a bite).

Want some options for tasty concoctions? Try these scrumptious Thanksgiving recipes:

1. Pumpkin Pot Pie

Stuffing is undoubtedly a beloved staple on the table, too. But while it’s typically a side dish, this recipe is filling enough to serve as the main course. Quinoa offers up the protein while the hazelnuts do the same with a bit of healthy fat. The sweet potatoes and the apples give the dish some fibre and a perfect dash of some of the season’s best.

3. Butternut Squash Baked Risotto

Vegetarian recipes for Thanksgiving.
Photo: Martha Stewart

Want to get the goodness of veggies with the richness of a baked dish? This meat-free risotto recipe will do the trick. Using olive oil and a vegetable broth to create tantalizing depth, it includes four cups of butternut squash, Tuscan kale, grated Parmesan, shallots, and Arborio rice.

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4. Lentil Walnut Apple Loaf

Vegetarian recipes for Thanksgiving.
Photo: Oh She Glows

Meatloaf tends to be one of those dishes kids cringe over and adults love to cook. But if you’re a vegetarian and love the idea of a “loaf,” then let this healthy bite be your go-to. This vegan version of meatloaf is complete with lentils, toasted walnuts, ground flax, carrot, celery, apple, raisins, and breadcrumbs.


5. Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter-Balsamic Sauce

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Balsamic-Brown Butter Sauce // #pairswellwithfood
Photo: Aida Mollenkamp

Another rich dish to add to your vegetarian feast is this Italian-inspired recipe. While a typical setting is filled with meat and potatoes, this option is equally as comforting yet much healthier, and it will still leave you full and satiated for a lasting time.

Are you a vegetarian? How do you incorporate your own twist on the typical holiday feast?

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