Vegetarian recipes for Thanksgiving

Brianna Carmack, Print EIC

Dec. 31 will mark my one-year anniversary of switching my diet from almost strictly carnivorous to vegetarian. Because of this, I will be experiencing my first Thanksgiving as a vegetarian… which should be interesting. 

The complete change in my diet overnight has made figuring out meals a little more difficult than in the past. Therefore, I’ve had a tough time in the past week figuring out what exactly I’ll be eating on Thanksgiving day. Will I only eat the sides and completely exempt the turkey? Will I make my own vegetarian turkey? What if the sides incorporate meat? Every single question in the book about vegetarian Thanksgiving flew through my head. It was most recently that I decided that I would make two vegetarian — also vegan — sides and one dessert that myself and everyone else could eat. 

The recipes come from Dana Schultz, who is the face behind the famous food blog “Minimalist Baker.” Schultz creates many recipes that don’t require a ton of ingredients, equipment and steps. Thanksgiving recipes are no exception to that. 

I will be presenting to you three recipes that you could incorporate in your Thanksgiving meal that are all vegetarian-friendly. 


Vegan Cornbread Stuffing

Servings: 12



  • 2 batches of cornbread
  • 12 oz. of fresh cranberries, rinsed
  • ¼ cup of water
  • ¼ cup of maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil or vegan butter
  • 1 medium white or yellow onion, diced
  • 2 medium leeks, thinly sliced
  • A pinch of salt and black pepper 
  • 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • ⅔ cup of chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth




  1. Make your double batch of cornbread at least a day in advance. Cool, cube and leave it to dry at room temperature for 24 hours to prevent mushiness.
  2. Once the cornbread has dried, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (204 C) and add the cranberries to a small baking dish. Top with water and maple syrup and combine. Bake for 20 minutes.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil, onion, leeks, and salt and pepper. Saute and stir frequently until soft.
  4. Grab a large mixing bowl and add the dried cornbread, leeks, thyme and nuts. Then, add your vegetable oil starting half of it and work your way up to the full 2 cups. The cornbread should be moist, but not saturated. 
  5. Mix in the cranberries and gently stir.
  6. Transfer the mixture to a greased 9×13-inch baking dish and evenly spread it into an even layer. 
  7. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 25 minutes under 375 degrees F (190 C). Uncover the dish and bake for another 30-40 minutes. 
  8. Allow 5-10 minutes of resting time before digging in.


Scalloped Potatoes

Servings: 8



  • 5 tablespoons of olive oil or avocado oil 
  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • ½ teaspoons of salt and black pepper
  • 5 tablespoons of cornstarch or arrowroot
  • 3 cups of unsweetened plain almond milk
  • 1 cup of vegetable broth
  • A pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 8-10 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
  • 4-6 Yukon gold potatoes, thinly sliced
  • ½ vegan Parmesan cheese
  • A pinch of paprika
  • Fresh parsley 




  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (176 C).
  2. Heat a large-rimmed, oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add oil, garlic and salt and pepper. Saute for 1-2 minutes and stir frequently. 
  3. Add cornstarch or arrowroot and whisk for 1 minute.
  4. Gradually add almond milk to prevent clumps from forming. Then, add vegetable broth and whisk.
  5. Reduce to low heat and simmer for 4-5 minutes to thicken. 
  6. Turn off the heat and transfer the sauce to a blender. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper, and nutritional yeast. Blend on high until creamy and smooth.
  7. Rinse out the skillet lightly and grease up with oil or vegan butter. Lay down half of the sliced potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle on 2 tablespoons of vegan Parmesan cheese and add the remaining potatoes. Season with a bit more of salt and pepper. Then, loosely toss to saturate the potatoes. 
  8. Pour the blended sauce over the potatoes and add the remaining Parmesan cheese. Submerge the potatoes by pushing down with your fingers, so the potatoes are completely under the sauce. 
  9. Cover the skillet with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 40-45 minutes. 
  10. Take out of the oven and let the potatoes cool for 10 minutes. Add additional garnishes for presentation (parsley and paprika). 


Pumpkin Pie

Servings: 8 slices



  • 1 box of instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 ¾ cups of cold low-fat milk
  • 8 oz. of ⅓ fat cream cheese
  • ½ cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 ¼ of pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 ½ cups of graham cracker crumbs 
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut oil, melted
  • Whipped cream to top




  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 C). 
  2. Use a large mixing bowl and add graham cracker crumbs, ¼ cup of sugar, melted butter and coconut oil. Mix until moistened. Transfer to an 8- or 9-inch pie plate and press on evenly. Bake for 7 minutes and then cool for 15 minutes in the refrigerator.
  3. Clean the mixing bowl and add the cream cheese, remaining sugar and ¼ cup of milk. Mix with a hand-held mixer until smooth. Spoon into the bottom of the pie crust and carefully smooth it out. 
  4. Clean the mixing bowl again and add the pudding mix and leftover milk. Beat on high for 2 minutes and then cool in the fridge for 5 minutes. 
  5. Remove the pudding from the fridge and add the pumpkin puree and pie spice. Whisk until well combined and then add it on top of the cream cheese layer. Smooth down the top evenly. Cover and refrigerate for 4-6 hours before serving. Final touches may include topping with whipped cream.