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A Vegetarian’s Guide to Surviving Thanksgiving Dinner

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at GCU chapter.

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? For many, it is their families and the turkey they are about to eat. For vegetarians, it is their families and the sides. Come on, who doesn’t like mashed potatoes and green bean casserole? From worrying about whether there will be enough food to justifying why you don’t eat meat to others, Thanksgiving is challenging for many vegetarians. But the good news is, it is possible to have a plant-based holiday that is both guiltless and delicious! No matter how far you are in your vegetarian journey, here are a few ideas on how to enjoy a turkey-free Thanksgiving. Don’t worry, none of them include tofurky!


Who doesn’t want to bundle up this Thanksgiving with a warm bowl of soup? Soup is a wonderful Thanksgiving dish because there are so many different flavors and recipes to choose from. From pumpkin soup to butternut squash soup, the possibilities are endless.

Recipe Ideas: 20 Thanksgiving Soup Recipes*

*Not all of the recipes listed are vegetarian, but most can be modified.

Pot Pies

Pot pies are very underrated and should be on everyone’s Thanksgiving plates. While pot pies are usually served with chicken inside, there are many ways to make them vegetarian. One way you can do this is by including chicken substitutes like the Impossible or Beyond Meat products inside the pot pie. However, if you don’t like plant-based meat substitutes, you can always swap it out as a vegetable pot pie. Either way, there is nothing better than a warm pot pie.

Recipe Idea: Veggie Pot Pie

Oven Roasted Cauliflower

Roasted cauliflower is a fantastic turkey alternative because it is both delicious and extremely healthy. According to Medical News Today, cauliflower has a high amount of protein, like broccoli. They report that one cup of cauliflower contains two grams of protein. Because of this, cauliflower makes for a holiday-worthy main dish for any vegetarian.

Recipe Idea: Stuffing Stuffed Cauliflower

Stuffed Shells

Even though pasta is usually not seen on most people’s Thanksgiving menus, this dish is perfect for anyone this Thanksgiving. Full of ooey-gooey cheese and mouth-watering marinara sauce, these stuffed shells can be an excellent comfort food for any vegetarian to add to their plates on Thanksgiving. Even the turkey-eaters at the table will be jealous.   

Recipe Idea: Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells


If you are ever in doubt, dessert is always a good idea. From the different assortments of pies and pastries, desserts will always be your best friend during Thanksgiving. Not only are they delicious, but they are also always vegetarian! So, gobble up as much apple pie as you want. This is a judgment-free zone.

If you want inspiration for more plant-based Thanksgiving dishes, here are a couple of websites to check out:

Being a vegetarian during the holidays doesn’t have to be hard. There are plenty of plant-based options for you out there that are delicious; you simply have to find the right recipes.

Together, we can ditch the turkey once and for all.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!    

Ireland has always loved words, telling stories and being creative. This is why she is majoring in Professional Writing with a minor in Advertising and Graphic Design at GCU. When she is not writing (which is rare), you can usually find her nose inside a book, crocheting, drinking chai tea lattes or spending time with her tight-knit family and her dog named Lilly.