Despite the traditional emphasis on a turkey centerpiece, all you need to host a vegetarian Thanksgiving are a little innovation and some spectacular recipes that take full advantage of the flavors and colors of the season. This meatless celebration is a beautiful, festive, and delicious experience that incorporates plenty of whole grains and vegetables, with an emphasis on easy-to-find ingredients and balanced flavors. Many of the dishes may be made in advance (look for the “Make Ahead” symbol), freeing you up to enjoy family and friends. Expect requests for seconds!
Kibbeh with Apples, Walnuts, and Feta
Serves 8-10 / This vegetarian version of a traditional Eastern Mediterranean dish uses coarse cracked wheat; look for it in bulk bins (Bob's Red Mill also packages it). It can be made up to one day in advance and refrigerated. Bring to room temp before reheating, covered with foil. View Recipe
Pomegranate and Maple-Glazed Beets
Serves 8 / Prep tip: For best flavor, prepare the dish a few hours ahead, or up to one day in advance. Gently reheat in a saucepan. View Recipe...
Stuffed Acorn Squash with Black Rice, Roasted Carrots, and Dried Cherries
Serves 8 / These can be made one day ahead; cover (so the rice doesn't dry out) and reheat in a 350° oven. View Recipe...
Energy-saving tipCook multiple recipes simultaneously. For example, while the kibbeh is baking, roast the squash and carrot-pecan mixture for the Stuffed Acorn Squash.
Miso-Glazed Green Beans and Mushrooms [photo page 34]
Serves 8 / Ingredient tip: For best flavor and color, use shiitake or oyster mushrooms. White mushrooms may be substituted, but they'll add a gray hue. View Recipe
Serves 12 / Quinoa's nutty flavor pairs perfectly with corn's natural sweetness. These muffins are not only gluten free, they're also rich in protein and easy to make. View Recipe...
Serves 8-10 / Roasting vegetables concentrates their flavors, imparting richness without the addition of cream. View Recipe... Prep tip: This luscious soup can be made two days in advance and reheated.
Pumpkin Seed Spread
Energy-saving tipFor make-ahead dishes, refrigerate, then let them sit on the counter for 30-60 minutes before reheating briefly. Once reheated dishes are hot, turn off the oven; food will stay warm for 20-30 minutes.
Makes 1 cup / This orange-scented spread is a festive, flavorful alternative to butter, with zero saturated fat. It's fantastic on the Quinoa-Corn Muffins. View Recipe...
Laurie Gauguin, a professional chef since 1996, cooks for private clients in the San Francisco area and blogs at ladleandwhisk.wordpress.com.