Vegetarian Recipes: Five Simple Sides for Your Thanksgiving Feast

By Ila Bonczek | November 13, 2021
Ila lives in the Garden State with her family and four chickens. She has been growing produce and perennials for 20 years, and recommends gardening for food and fun, but not for fortune.
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Cranberries need not be cooked for consumption. Raw, and naturally sweetened with pineapple, they make the perfect complimentary dish for a heavy meal, providing enzymes to aid digestion and more vitamin C than you can shake a stick at. (Image: Jessica Lynn Lewis via Pexels)

These simple, yet sumptuous vegetarian dishes will save you time in the kitchen so you can better enjoy your family and guests, something we can all be thankful for! All the recipes can be made vegan.

Raw Cranberry Relish

With no added sugar, this sweet, tart, zesty and refreshing dish will provide the enzymes necessary to digest your feast, along with the vitamins and antioxidants to keep you well through the winter. 

Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 1/2 ripe pineapple, cored, peeled, and diced
  • 1 bag (approximately 8 oz.) fresh cranberries, washed and sorted
  • 1 whole organic navel orange (or other seedless type), diced with skin on

Instructions

Blend all ingredients together in a food processor or blender. For a sorbet-like dessert, use frozen cranberries and serve immediately, or scoop out servings and freeze them individually.

Suggestion: Double the recipe to use the whole pineapple. Leftovers store well in the fridge or freezer and make a great snack.

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Green beans almondine can easily become green beans “walnutine” depending on which nuts you prefer. Here, red onion was used in place of garlic. (Image: courtesy of the author)

Green Beans Almondine 

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. green beans, fresh, washed and tipped
  • 2 Tbsp. butter or olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 oz. slivered or sliced almonds, toasted
  • Sea salt to taste

Instructions:

Blanch green beans in lightly salted boiling water for 3 minutes. Rinse with cold water, spin dry in a salad spinner if you have one, and set aside.

Saute garlic in oil/butter in a large skillet on low heat until soft. In the meantime, if your almonds are not pre-toasted, toast them gently in a separate skillet until fragrant and crunchy.

Once the garlic is cooked, raise the heat and add blanched green beans, salt, and almonds. Stir frequently until the beans become tender but not soft.

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Sweet potatoes: scored, buttered, and baked to perfection. (Image: courtesy of the author)

Scored Sweet Potatoes

A Thanksgiving classic made even better. As these bake, the natural sugars from the sweet potatoes caramelize with the oil coating and form a tantalizing crust.

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 4 large sweet potatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. butter or unrefined coconut oil, melted, divided
  • 1/2 tsp.  cinnamon, cardamom, or nutmeg
  • Sea salt

Instructions

With a sharp knife, cut sweet potatoes in half lengthwise. Make ½ inch deep score marks, approximately ½ inch apart down the length and the width so they form a crosshatch. Splay them out a bit so there is space within the cuts.

Place in a shallow baking dish, skin side down. Brush the splayed tops with 1 tablespoon melted butter or coconut oil. Sprinkle with spices and a dash of salt. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 50 minutes or until tender. Drizzle with remaining butter.

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Brussels sprouts and oyster mushrooms during the first step of braising. (Image: courtesy of the author)

Braised Brussels Sprouts with Mushrooms

If your family is shy of these brassicas, you may turn them around with this recipe. A thick coating of cream can make anything scrumptious. Established lovers of brussels sprouts may dispense with the cream and enjoy their unadulterated flavor.

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. butter or olive oil
  • 1 ½ pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • ½ pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • ½  tsp. sea salt, or to taste 
  • 1 cup heavy cream or non-dairy cream substitute (unsweetened) or vegetable broth

Instructions

Melt the butter/oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, shallots, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sprouts are browned in spots, about 5 minutes.

Pour in the cream or broth, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the sprouts are tender and easily pierced with a fork, about 30 minutes. This will reduce the liquid and give the vegetables a thick coating of deliciousness. 

Full Kernel Corn Bread  

Serves 8

Ingredients

  • ½ cup butter or olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. xylitol or other sweetener
  • 2 large eggs, or egg substitute, such as flax meal with water.
  • 1 cup buttermilk or non-dairy yogurt
  • ⅔ cup whole corn kernels, cut fresh from the cob, frozen, or canned and drained.
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour or gluten-free mix
  • ¼ tsp. salt

Instructions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (175 degrees C). Put the butter or oil an 8” square baking pan or a large cast iron skillet and place it in the heading oven. If you are using frozen corn, warm it in the skillet as well.

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl.

Once the butter is melted and before it actually gets hot, combine it with (corn), eggs and buttermilk in a separate, larger mixing bowl. Add dry ingredients and stir until well blended. Pour the batter back into the warm, oiled pan.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm.