This year, give thanks to the meat avoiders in your life (be they ba-curious, vegetarian, or vegan) and offer them a dish that will make them happy yet still complement the holiday spread. Most of these recipes can be made ahead of time (so they won’t add stress to the big day) and are so tasty even the carnivores will want to sneak a few spoonfuls.
1. Roasted Acorn Squash with Wild Rice Stuffing. Wild rice, cranberries, and pecans combine in an autumnal stuffing that’s tasty all on its own. But put it inside a roasted acorn squash, and you have a dish hearty enough to step in as a main.
Make-ahead tip: Make the stuffing up to two days ahead and keep it covered in the refrigerator. Roast the squash and fill it with the stuffing no more than two hours before you plan to eat.
2. Savory Onion and Leek Tart. Imagine French onion soup turned into a tart, and you’ll have an idea of what you’re in for here. With a buttery crust filled with caramelized onions, sautéed leeks, crème fraîche, and herbs, this dish is a welcome change at the holiday table.
Make-ahead tip: Bake the tart up to two days ahead and bring it to room temperature or warm it up when you’re ready to eat.
3. Mushroom and Fennel Bread Pudding. Swap out your boring old stuffing with this hearty bread pudding. With fennel, mushrooms, sage, and cheese, this recipe goes well beyond the Thanksgiving table; serve leftovers with soup and a green salad.
Make-ahead tip: The bread pudding can be baked up to a day ahead. To serve, either allow it to come to room temperature or throw it in the oven after the turkey comes out to warm it through.
4. Savory Egg Pudding. This delicate egg dish—like a crustless quiche with potatoes and herbs—is a fair swap for the turkey. The lemon zest and tarragon give it a springtime slant; consider leaving out the lemon zest and using sage or thyme in place of the tarragon for a more autumnal version.
Make-ahead tip: Bake the pudding up to two days ahead. To serve, either allow it to come to room temperature or throw it in the oven after the turkey comes out to warm it through.
5. Roasted Delicata Squash Salad. Salads often get lost amid the typical Thanksgiving bounty of starch and meat. But the roasted squash in this salad—with ricotta salata cheese, toasted pumpkin seeds, and spinach—gives it a holiday-ish air. Plus, it’s delicious.
Make-ahead tip: Wash the greens up to three days ahead and keep them wrapped in damp paper towels in a resealable plastic bag in your vegetable drawer.
6. Winter Greens Lasagne. If you have enough vegetarians coming over, you may want to make a big pasta dish. This kale-and-Swiss-chard lasagne will fill up the most voracious eater, yet the flavors are sedate enough not to overwhelm the other options on the Thanksgiving table.
Make-ahead tip: Bake the lasagne up to two days ahead and throw it in the oven after the turkey comes out to warm it through before serving.
7. Smoked Cheddar Soufflé. This recipe tames the normally savage, finicky soufflé so you can toss it in the oven while you’re carving the turkey and not think about it until it’s time to eat.
Make-ahead tip: Grate the cheese up to three days ahead and keep it stored in the refrigerator. Let the soufflé cook in the oven while the turkey is being carved, and it will be ready by the time you’re sitting down to eat.
8. Winter Greens Soup. Make a big pot of this nurturing, nourishing, nutritional soup. Its hearty, comforting flavors—from the kale, farro, garbanzo beans, and plenty more vegetables it’s filled with—complement the Thanksgiving table nicely.
Make-ahead tip: Make the soup up to three days ahead and simply warm it through before serving.
9. Celery Root and Squash Gratin with Walnut-Thyme Streusel. Liven up your sides and make something hearty enough for the veggies-only crew with this gratin. With layers of earthy celery root, sweet squash, and nutty streusel, it will offer the turkey some stiff competition for the holiday spotlight.
Make-ahead tip: Bake the gratin up to a day ahead and rewarm it in the oven after the turkey comes out.
10. Broccoli, Mushroom, and Gouda Quiche. Yes, it’s a quiche, and no, you don’t often see quiche as part of a traditional Turkey Day feast. But this sweet, earthy, cheesy quiche is different, and the vegetarians will thank you.
Make-ahead tip: The quiche can be baked up to two days ahead. To serve, either allow it to come to room temperature or throw it in the oven after the turkey comes out to warm it through.