13 Vegetable Side Dishes for Thanksgiving That Are Worthy of a Spot on the Table

Who doesn’t love vegetarian sides?!


Greg Dupree

The undisputed star of Thanksgiving dinner is the turkey, but for many, it’s the array of side dishes that really manage to make the meal memorable. And while there’s certainly nothing wrong with Green Beans With Bacon Vinaigrette or Sausage and Sage Stuffing, sometimes you just want vegetarian sides to complete the decadent meal.

Luckily, whether you follow a meat-free diet or are simply trying to be mindful of your meat consumption on Turkey Day, we’ve rounded up a bevy of vegetable side dishes for Thanksgiving that are totally worthy of a spot on your table. While cheese fans are bound to love the Swiss Chard Mac and Cheese, we also included plenty of lighter fare, like Roasted Eggplant With Miso and Sesame Seeds and Beet-Radicchio Salad. What’s more? By simply omitting one or two ingredients from many of these vegetarian side dishes, you can easily make them completely vegan.

Keep reading for a collection of vegetarian sides that are guaranteed to delight you and your Thanksgiving guests!

01 of 13

Swiss Chard Mac and Cheese

Swiss Chard Mac and Cheese
Caitlin Bensel

Creamy, cheesy, and packed with silky greens, this skillet mac and cheese is made with fusilli pasta, sautéd chopped Swiss chard stems, and a mozzarella sauce seasoned with onion powder. The dish gets a dusting of Parmesan before you cook it, which creates an irresistibly golden brown top. Ready in 30 minutes flat, this side is easy to whip up even amid the typical Thanksgiving chaos.

02 of 13

Wild Rice and Butternut Squash Bake

In this recipe for wild rice and butternut squash, chunks of roasted butternut squash mingle with caramelized onions and mushrooms.
Victor Protasio

Thanksgiving casserole? Yes, please! This rich dish features roasted squash mixed with a cheesy and creamy rice mixture, while mushrooms add heartiness. Versatile and delicious, this recipe works as a gluten-free stuffing option, vegetarian main, or a bonus side dish.

03 of 13

Roasted Eggplant With Miso and Sesame Seeds

Miso Eggplant With Sesame Seeds
Antonis Achilleos

Just because you don’t often find eggplant on the Thanksgiving table, doesn’t mean it’s not worthy. Here, eggplant slices are roasted prior to being tossed in a flavorful sauce made with white miso, ginger, sesame oil, honey, vinegar, and chili paste. After a broil, a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds adds nutty notes along with a slight crunch.

04 of 13

Herb-Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

Herb-Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
Marcus Nilsson

Roasted potatoes are a ridiculously easy side to make, but they always deliver and are a great way to round out just about any meal. This recipe calls for fingerling potatoes tossed with rosemary, oregano, and garlic, but feel free to play around with different herbs like parsley and thyme.

05 of 13

Miso Roasted Radishes

Roasted Radishes Are About to Become Your New Favorite Side Dish
Greg DuPree

For a colorful side that’s naturally plant-based, give this easy roasted radish recipe a try. The root vegetables, along with some shallots, are tossed in a punchy mixture of white miso, olive oil, and gut-healthy apple cider vinegar. The result is an easy-to-make dish that’s slightly sweet and satisfyingly crunchy.

06 of 13

Creamed Spinach Casserole

creamed spinach casserole

Christopher Testani

Thanks to frozen chopped spinach, this side is ready in just 30 minutes. The greens are combined with herb-and-garlic soft cheese, nutmeg, Parmesan, and heavy cream, yielding a delicious base. Then, a topping of buttery Ritz cracker crumbs finishes off the dish and creates a crunchy golden top.

07 of 13

Beet-Radicchio Salad

beet radicchio salad

Christopher Testani

Tender, peppery leaves of arugula and firm, bitter leaves of radicchio are joined by orange slices, pre-cooked beets, pistachios, and shaved Parmesan in this vibrant salad. The colorful side comes together thanks to a maple dressing spiked with miso that adds plenty of umami to the dish.

08 of 13

Creamy One-Pot Mashed Potatoes

7 Mashed Potato Mistakes Everyone Makes
Greg DuPree

Is it really Thanksgiving if mashed potatoes aren’t part of the meal? This recipe calls for a handful of ingredients, but don’t swap out those Yukon gold potatoes for a different kind. Yukon gold spuds are less starchy than other potato varieties, which means your potatoes likely won’t become a gummy disaster. Plus, this dish requires just one pot, which means less dishes for you to do once your guests leave.

09 of 13

Sweet Potatoes With Pecans and Parmesan

Sweet Potatoes With Pecans and Parmesan
Gentl & Hyers

A little bit sweet and a little bit savory, this take on a classic sweet potato casserole swaps the usual sticky marshmallow topping for a mixture of brown sugar, pecans, thyme, and cayenne pepper. Inside, grated Parmesan mingles with the sweet potatoes to add some savory nuttiness to the dish. To make this recipe vegan, omit the cheese or use plant-based cheese instead.

10 of 13

Spanakopita Creamed Spinach

Spanakopita Creamed Spinach in a white bowl
Jennifer Causey

This classic spinach appetizer gets remade as a crowd-pleasing side dish. Here, you’ll combine spinach with onions, garlic, heavy cream, and a combination of cream cheese and feta. For an easy garnish, top the dish with toasted pine nuts or panko breadcrumbs.

11 of 13

Brussels Sprouts Salad

Brussels Sprouts Salad
Heami Lee

Sure, you can easily serve whole roasted Brussels sprouts as a vegetarian Thanksgiving side, or you can follow this recipe and thinly slice the sprouts so you can use them as the base of a salad. Elsewhere in this salad you’ll find colorful strips of bitter radicchio, pecans, shavings of aged provolone, and dried cranberries. The whole thing is tied together with a punchy apple cider vinegar dressing.

12 of 13

Whole Roasted Cauliflower With Grapes and Feta

whole roasted cauliflower with grapes and feta
Greg Dupree

While this dish would make for an eye-catching main dish or an appetizer for a group, it easily works as a side as well. You'll start by boiling the cauliflower until just tender, which allows the salted water to season from the inside, and then roast evenly in the oven. Then, you'll add grapes and planks of feta to the baking sheet, which bring sweet and salty depth to the dish. Finish with the subtle punch of almost-pickled shallots and fresh oregano to tie all the flavors together.

13 of 13

Pomegranate Dressing

pomegranate dressing

Christopher Testani

Though many stuffing or dressing recipes are made with meat, this one isn’t, and we promise you won’t miss it. Instead of meat, this dressing recipe includes store-bought, pre-chopped veggies, packaged bread cubes, juicy pomegranate arils and dried fruit, and plenty of warm spices.

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