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Whether you’re planning to prepare an entire vegetarian menu for Thanksgiving or you’ll be cooking for just a few meatless eaters amid demanding carnivores this year, it can be tricky to keep the entire table happy. After all, the centerpiece of most Turkey Day dinners is the juicy, crispy-skinned bird, and if you remove the turkey, you’ll want to replace it with something equally hearty and comforting. The key to pleasing both meat eaters and vegetarians alike on Thanksgiving is offering an array of satisfying side dishes, as they’re a naturally must-have element of the feast that nearly every guest will crave. Most traditional sides, like mashed potatoes, casseroles and stuffings, are naturally vegetarian, and if they’re not, they can be made meatless simply by swapping in vegetable broth or stock for the chicken variety. Check out a few of Food Network’s favorite vegetarian Thanksgiving sides below to find easy-to-prepare classic recipes worthy of the fall feast.
Combining the freshness of vegetables with the stick-to-your-ribs comfort of the holiday, green bean casserole is a timeless Thanksgiving pick, and Ellie’s lightened-up version — Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Shallots from Food Network Magazine (pictured above) — proves to be light and meatless without sacrificing flavor. She mixes string beans and garlic-thyme mushrooms into a thick sauce with nutty Parmesan cheese, then bakes the casserole with sweet fried shallots until the top is golden brown.
Bobby’s recipe for Smoked Chile Scalloped Sweet Potatoes (pictured right) is a top-rated favorite that comes together with just four everyday ingredients. Chipotle pepper puree adds subtle heat and a warm, smoky flavor to the cream, which infuses the sweet potatoes as they cook. The secret to making this dish is cutting all of the potatoes into roughly the same thickness, 1/8 inch — any thicker and they’ll be difficult to fully cook.
For a dish that can be ready in just 35 minutes, try Anne’s Roasted Acorn Squash and Portobello Mushroom Salad with Radicchio, Apples and Pumpkin Seeds. She bakes golden squash and earthy mushrooms until they’re tender, then mixes them with the greens, plus crisp apples and crunchy pumpkin seeds for texture.