Showstopper Vegetable Thanksgiving Dishes

Vegetarian Mushroom Wellington

The Spruce / Elaine Lemm

Turkey might be the traditional star of Thanksgiving (sometimes nicknamed "Turkey Day"), but there's no hard-and-fast rule that the bird has to take center stage. If you’re one of those people who think turkey is overrated, we’ve got some spectacular alternatives for you and the tools to help you pull it off. These vegetable-centric main dishes are so impressive, they simply cannot be relegated to side-dish status.

From homemade butternut squash pasta to a savory take on strudel to incredibly decadent potatoes, these hearty vegetarian dishes demand to be the centerpiece of your Thanksgiving spread.

  • 01 of 17

    Roasted Garlic and Caramelized Onion Potato Galette

    finished potato galette on a platter with rosemary

    The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    Make a statement with this show-stopping potato galette. Studded with sweet caramelized onions and garlic, the outside gets wonderfully crispy. Two kinds of cheese and plenty of butter make it rich enough for a holiday table. Garnish with fresh herbs and slice at the table for a nice presentation.

  • 02 of 17

    Butternut Squash Ravioli With White-Wine Sauce

    Butternut Squash Ravioli

    The Spruce

    Butternut squash ravioli with a decadent, creamy white wine sauce is definitely a special occasion dish, making it worthy of a starring role on your Thanksgiving table. You can make the filling ahead of time to make your meal day prep easier. Don't forget the toasted hazelnuts and sage—they add something special to the dish.

  • 03 of 17

    Hasselback Butternut Squash

    Hasselback Butternut Squash

    The Spruce / Leah Maroney 

    Hasselback refers to a technique where a vegetable, often a potato, is sliced thinly while still leaving it in one piece, allowing for seasoning and butter or oil or seep in and add flavor as it cooks. It makes for a must-have vegetarian main dish when applied to butternut squash, especially with a sprinkling of crispy nuts on top.

  • 04 of 17

    Mushroom Wellington

    mushroom wellington

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

    Few dishes are fancier than beef Wellington, and this vegetarian version is just as impressive. Filled with fall produce such as butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and greens, mushroom Wellington has all of the seasonal flavors you're looking for. Portobello mushrooms give it a really meaty feel, so even the carnivores at the table will enjoy this main dish.

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  • 05 of 17

    Fresh Sweet Potato Soufflé

    French Savory Sweet Potato Soufflé

    The Spruce / Karen Hibbard

    Everyone will cheer when you place this bright orange soufflé on the dining room table. While the light and airy dish can seem intimidating, it's easier than it seems as long as you follow the recipe closely. Very gently fold in the egg whites to avoid knocking out too much air and serve it as soon as it is baked.

  • 06 of 17

    Sweet Potato Soufflé

    Sweet Potato Soufflé in a baking dish

    The Spruce / Nyssa Tanner

    For something that leans a little sweeter, there's this sweet potato soufflé. It's not strictly French, but its definitely Southern and luscious. The pecan and cinnamon streusel topping will make you forget all about marshmallows.

  • 07 of 17

    Loaded Smashed Potatoes

    Loaded Smashed Potatoes in a baking dish

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    It's all here: butter, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, sour cream, and scallions oozing all over a fluffy bed of mashed potatoes. Turkey who? I don't know her, not if this dish is on the table. Skip the crumbled bacon and this is perfectly vegetarian.

  • 08 of 17

    Classic French Gratin Dauphinois

    Gratin dauphinois recipe

    The Spruce / Diana Mocanu

    Possibly the ultimate comfort food, gratin dauphinois is a classic French dish of potatoes in a creamy, cheesy sauce. With a lovely brown crust, it deserves to be a Thanksgiving centerpiece. You can boil the potatoes and assemble the dish up to a day ahead of time. Cover and chill until you're ready to bake, then top with cheese.

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  • 09 of 17

    Classic Cheese and Onion Flan

    Cheese and Onion Flan

    The Spruce

    While you might not think to serve a beloved British dish at Thanksgiving, this cheese and onion flan is well-suited as a vegetarian main. Akin to a quiche but with plenty of tender and sweet onions and cheese, the flan looks lovely sliced on a platter. You can make this several hours ahead of time since it tastes great at room temperature.

  • 10 of 17

    Savory Spinach and Mushroom Strudel

    Spinach and mushroom strudel recipe

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

    Present this savory strudel to the table and they'll forget all about turkey. Filled with mushrooms, spinach, onions, and tofu and wrapped in flaky pastry, it's worth the trouble. Using store-bought frozen puff pastry makes the main dish stress-free. If you're not vegan, swap for real cream cheese.

  • 11 of 17

    Beet Galette with Feta Cheese and Za'atar

    Beet Galette with Feta Cheese and Za'atar

    The Spruce / Anita Schecter

    Add some color to the table with a beet and feta cheese galette. The freeform pastry makes it hearty enough to be a main while keeping the dish simple. For a creamier tart, try adding a bottom layer of ricotta and spinach filling, or serve the dish with gravy or creamy sauce.

  • 12 of 17

    Creamy Sweet Potato Risotto

    Butternut Squash Risotto

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

    The key to great risotto is patience and stirring, making it best reserved for special meals like Thanksgiving. This sweet potato version is hearty and full of autumnal flavor, including pecans. A generous sprinkling of Parmesan cheese makes it extra special.

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  • 13 of 17

    Twice-Baked Potatoes With Cream Cheese and Chives

    Twice baked potato recipe

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    Twice-baked potatoes take the best aspects of baked and mashed potatoes and marry them together into one delicious dish. Cream cheese makes these spuds especially creamy and flavorful. Pile the filling high and garnish with paprika and chives for a pretty Thanksgiving dish.

  • 14 of 17

    Vegetarian Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe With Cornbread Stuffing

    Acorn squash recipe

    The Spruce / Victoria Heydt

    Acorn squash is a pretty winter vegetable that makes an ideal centerpiece for a vegetarian meal, especially when filled with flavorful stuffing. Apples and raisins play up the sweetness of the squash while fresh and dried herbs keep the dish savory. For a crunchier top, remove the foil from this stuffed acorn squash and bake a few extra minutes.

  • 15 of 17

    Vegetarian Pumpkin Lasagna

    Vegetarian pumpkin lasagna recipe

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

    This vegetarian lasagna swaps the typical marinara sauce for a pumpkin sauce for a Thanksgiving-worthy main. A blend of three cheeses and sautéed mushrooms round out the dish. You can assemble ahead of time if needed and bake before serving; no-cook noodles keep things simple.

  • 16 of 17

    Roasted Cauliflower Steaks

    Roasted cauliflower steaks

    The Spruce / Pete Scherer

    For a main dish that's all vegetable, try cauliflower steaks. The thick slices roast until browned and crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Surprisingly meaty, they look lovely on a plate and pair well with Thanksgiving dishes like stuffing and gravy.

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  • 17 of 17

    Spanakopita: Greek Spinach Pie With Feta Cheese

    Greek Spinach Pie With Feta Cheese (Spanakopita) Recipe

     The Spruce

    A filling of spinach, herbs, cheese, and eggs is sandwiched between ultra flaky phyllo for a classic Greek dish that's sure to be a hit. You'll find phyllo dough in the freezer aisle—be sure to keep it covered while building the layers so it doesn't dry out. Melted butter helps make the spanakopita flaky, and scoring before baking makes it easier to serve.