21 side dish ideas for your vegetarian Thanksgiving menu this year.
Thanksgiving is arguably the biggest eating holiday of the year. And vegetarians and vegans hunt for satisfying dishes for their Vegetarian Thanksgiving Menu (or Vegan Thanksgiving, obviously).
Before you object, I realize many of our holidays are food centric. Valentines Day is all about chocolate. The summer holidays of Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day are the Grand Central Station of grilling. Christmas is rife with memories of dinners, brunches, and cookies – and it's when I indulge in eggnog.
But Thanksgiving is really ALL about the food and sharing it with others. It's consciously focused on gathering friends and family around a big table to share the abundance of a harvest. It uses food as a way to give thanks, and connect with others.
For the next few weeks, in lieu of a Weekly Vegetarian Meal Plan, I'll post about vegetarian and vegan options for your Vegetarian Thanksgiving. This week is focus on the wealth of side dishes you can easily make the day of the big dinner, or in advance.
Next week will be all about vegetarian and vegan entrees even the carnivores will choose over turkey. Hint: squash will take center stage, but not exclusively.
The final week before Thanksgiving, I'll offer suggestions for appetizers, breads, drinks and desserts.
Step 1: What's in Season
A good place to start, is to look at what's in season and as local as possible to your table. This obviously depends, at least in part, on where you live. But this site is a good place to start. Here's a list for my area that's Thanksgiving-y:
apples beets broccoli cabbage carrots cauliflower cranberries
winter greens winter squash mushrooms pears pomegranates
Brussels sprouts potatoes sweet potatoes celery celery root persimmon
There are more, but these give anyone a great start.
Step 2: How Many People?
When planning your meal, think about how many people you'll be feeding. And don't forget how many different diets! Often guests like to contribute a family favorite to the table, and side dishes are the perfect thing to suggest to them to bring.
If I'm planning a vegetarian Thanksgiving menu for 6, I typically have 3 side dishes. If I'm expecting 10 people at the table, I might have as many as 5 side dishes. Especially if half or more are men and teenagers.
And don't forget, sometimes leftovers is the best part of Thanksgiving.
Step 3: Plan the Work
Consider what you can make ahead, so you're not slammed the day of the feast. It's your Thanksgiving too. The main dish is typically best fresh from the oven. Casseroles, on the other hand, are just as good if not better the second day. So I try to have two casseroles at the table that only required re-heating. I also look for a mix of easy recipes since I often have one dish that might be more labor-intensive. For example, roasted vegetables and cranberry sauce.
So here we go. First up, let's have some sweet potatoes.
From Food52 website
By Foodie with Family
From Food52 Website
by Melanie Makes
From Sunday Supper Movement
From Boujour Cuisine
From Food52 (This is actually my recipe that won 1st place prize in one of the recipe contests!)
by Cookie + Kate
(this is one of my recipes that was published a few years ago in Parade Magazine.
If you give any of these a try for your vegetarian Thanksgiving menu, I'd love to hear about it. And if you're on Instagram, snap a photo and post it there. Just don't forget to tag me @wimpyvegetarian!!