Hearty vegetarian holiday recipes can be every bit as satisfying as the meaty dishes found on most menus. Crowd-pleasing classics like
mashed potatoes get a silky upgrade by using a potato ricer. Cheesy green bean casseroles and hearty vegetarian pastas will leave your guests full and content. Don’t be afraid to try making new grains—cracked wheat, fonio, and quinoa make great hearty vegetarian holiday dishes with little preparation. We’ll help you set the perfect meatless table with our best vegetarian holiday recipes.
Potato and Cheese Tortelli with Porcini Mushrooms
Swiss Chard Anzelottos with Pomodoro Sauce
From the tortelli family, anzelottos are rectangles often with ridged edges. “They’re made with a thicker, bright white dough of plain semola flour and hot water, which penetrates the proteins in the rustic flour more easily,” chef Evan Funke of Felix in Los Angeles says.
Get the recipe for Swiss Chard Anzelottos with Pomodoro Sauce »
Celery Root Mashed Potatoes
Get the recipe for Celery Root Mashed Potatoes »
Risotto Cacio e Pepe
Chef Massimo Bottura developed this recipe to utilize the nearly 1,000 wheels of Parmigiano-Reggiano damaged after earthquakes devastated the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy in 2012.
Get the recipe for Risotto Cacio e Pepe »
Using a medium-coarsely ground cornmeal for this dish leaves some texture in the polenta while getting it as close to the consistency of soft, fluffy mashed potatoes as possible. (If using a more coarsely ground meal, increase both the cooking time and quantity of stock accordingly.)
Get the recipe for Roasted Garlic Polenta “Mash” with Herbs and Mascarpone »
Broccoli Rabe with White Beans and Preserved Lemon
The bitter bite of broccoli rabe is tempered by creamy cannellini beans and brightened by salty preserved lemon. A quick and pretty 1-pan side dish, this is easy to scale up for a crowd; unlike softer, more watery greens, rabe retains plenty of volume after cooking. Look for greens with healthy-looking stems and dark green florets.
Get the recipe for Broccoli Rabe with White Beans and Preserved Lemon »
In Crete, boureki is a rich, layered dish typically consisting of potatoes and squash, often topped with a generous amount of cheese before baking. Boureki may be eaten at room temperature, but it is especially irresistible when the cheese is still warm.
Get the recipe for Layered Pumpkin and Cheese Gratin Squares (Boureki) »
Spicy Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini
This sweet potato casserole is an especially festive, over-the-top take on the Thanksgiving classic, topped with a crisp pecan crumble and dotted with marshmallows.
Get the recipe for Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Crumble »
Shredded Collard Green Salad With Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Think of this gratin as a meatless cassoulet, meant to accompany a roast, or as a stand alone, next to a tartly-dressed green salad.
Get the recipe for Lima Bean Gratin with Herbed Bread Crumbs »
This luscious, cakelike pudding, made with milk-poached butternut squash batter and crowned with caramel-drenched delicata, rides the line perfectly between side dish and dessert, “kind of like yams with marshmallows,” says Joe Beef’s Red Morin, who serves it with caramel sauce or sweetened whipped cream. For an easy caramel sauce and squash topping (pictured right), double or triple the quantities of delicata and granulated sugar, and repeat step 4 as needed. Or if you want to amp up the savory nature of the dish, nix the caramel and offer grated cheddar at the table.
Get the recipe for Cast-Iron Squash Pudding »
Wild Rice with Roasted Buttered Onions
With a creamy mushroom sauce and topped with flash fried onions, this holiday classic is the epitome of a crowd-pleasing casserole.
Get the recipe for Green Bean Casserole »
Beet and Ricotta Gnocchi with Wilted Beet Greens and Aged Balsamic
For this Piedmontese dish, a drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar adds a tangy complexity.
Get the recipe for Beet and Ricotta Gnocchi with Wilted Beet Greens and Aged Balsamic »
Cracked Wheat Porridge with Mushrooms
Moroccan Carrots with Aleppo Pepper and Mint
Thirty cloves of garlic go into this creamy side dish, adapted from
Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking: Volume 1 (Alfred A. Knopf, 1961). The cloves are first blanched whole, which enhances their sweetness, then used to make a rich béchamel sauce that’s stirred into mashed potatoes with cream and parsley. Get the recipe for Julia Child’s Garlic Mashed Potatoes »
The foundation of this creamy casserole is a classic mornay sauce, a béchamel sauce to which cheese has been added—in this case, comté, a French cheese with a complex, nutty flavor that melts beautifully. With lots of freshly grated nutmeg to season it and a golden, crunchy breadcrumb topping, it’s a luscious, satisfying side dish for the Thanksgiving table. The dish comes from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bistro, in the Napa Valley, where the staff makes it as part of their annual Thanksgiving dinner for veterans and their families.
In this traditional Lucchese soup, vegetables and beans are slow-cooked until little to no bite remains, making it a rustic, comforting dish. Be sure to give any tougher vegetables all the time they need to
scompare, or disappear. The quantities are flexible, so use whatever you have on hand. Get the recipe for Italian Bean and Vegetable Soup »
Broiled Spaghetti Squash with Walnut-Miso Glaze
Chunks of Spaghetti squash reveal a beautifully yielding texture and a savory, subtle flavor that’s perfectly offset by a rich walnut-miso glaze. Prepare the squash ahead of time, and then pop them under the broiler for 3 minutes when you get to your host’s kitchen.
Get the recipe for Broiled Spaghetti Squash with Walnut-Miso Glaze »
A traditional dish enjoyed year-round in the Alps of southern Switzerland, this homey soup takes its name from the mountain huts where it’s commonly made. Typically incorporating cheeses from the region, this version is fortified with L’Etivaz (which can be found at specialty cheese shops) and heavy cream. If you can’t find L’Etivaz, substitute Gruyère instead.
Get the recipe for Swiss Cheese Soup »
Passing cooked potatoes through the fine holes of a potato ricer ensures a silky consistency for this ultrarich side.
Get the recipe for Pomme Purée »
Cauliflower and Goat Cheese Souffles
This layerless lasagna recipe from Philadelphia chef Marc Vetri uses an egg-rich dough, but store-bought fresh pasta sheets can be substituted.
Spiced Red Cabbage
Get the recipe for Maitake Mushrooms with Red Chiles and Cilantro »
Carrot ribbons cooked al dente and lightly braised red endive add color to this simple vegetable-packed pasta dish, brightened with lots of lemon zest. Josita Hartanto of Berlin’s
Lucky Leek uses multicolored carrots for a beautiful presentation. Get the recipe for Spaghettini with Carrots, Olives, and Red Endive »
Fried Eggplant with Tahini and Pomegranate Seeds
Carrots are roasted before being topped with crunchy pistachios and a sweet fig vinaigrette in a simple salad from Eli and Max Sussman’s
Classic Recipes for Modern People (Olive Press, 2015). Get the recipe for Carrot and Pistachio Salad »
Fort Rice Pilaf
Roasted Carrot Salad with Burrata
In this bulked-up version of the classic side dish, chard replaces spinach, and Gorgonzola adds depth and a creamier texture.
Get the recipe for Creamed Swiss Chard with Gorgonzola, Rye Bread Crumbs, and Walnuts »
Farfalle with Cavolo Nero Pesto
In this rendition of traditional Genoese pesto, sweet and nutty cavolo nero (also known as Tuscan kale or Lacinato kale) is used in place of basil and pine nuts.
Get the recipe for Farfalle with Cavolo Nero Pesto »
Crispy baked kale, sweet roasted squash, and peppery arugula and watercress are combined with pumpkin and pomegranate seeds in this colorful salad.
Get the recipe foFall Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash, Kale Chips, and Pomegranate Seeds »
Simple ingredients—chewy, charred cauliflower, fried capers and bread crumbs, and browned butter, bolstered by whole grain mustard—combine for the ultimate late-winter pasta.
Get the recipe for Pappardelle with Cauliflower and Mustard Brown Butter »
Skillet-Braised Swiss Chard
A sauce of unabashedly flavorful ingredients including evaporated milk and, yes, Velveeta cheese, makes for a spectacularly rich take on creamed spinach.
Get the recipe for Spinach Madeleine »