Vegetarian Thanksgiving Entertaining Ideas

Vegetarian Thanksgiving Entertaining Ideas

Thanksgiving Day is almost upon us again. First set aside in North America to celebrate the harvest bounty of the New World, Thanksgiving is a useful reminder for those of us modern-day urban-dwellers accustomed to enormous supermarkets that shelves and shelves of inexpensive food couldn't always be so easily taken for granted … it may be especially appropriate for us to remember this year. It seems appropriate that as we give thanks for being able to spend a day with family and friends, we celebrate with food … and usually plenty of it!

These are some of my favorite fall entertaining ideas from the hundreds of recipes I've published over the years. From breakfast or brunch through to snacks and appetizers, dinner ideas, soups, salads and side dishes, and — of course — treats and desserts, there's something for every vegetarian or any family with vegetarians to feed at Thanksgiving. There are even some ideas in there for vegans or those who want to try an Indian-themed Thanksgiving dinner for a different experience. Your family and friends just might be giving thanks for your cooking at the end of the day!

Check out these and other menu ideas on vegetarian Thanksgiving menu ideas

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Pistachio Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Pistachio Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I'm neither gluten-intolerant nor a strict vegan, but I find that making treats or desserts without flour or dairy is not just an enjoyable and challenging departure from the kind of baking I learned growing up, but it's also deliciously rewarding. These easy chewy little pistachio cookies with dark chocolate chunks are just as tasty as any cookie you could make with flour, eggs or milk, but they don't have any of those ingredients at all. And they're loaded with protein and fiber from nuts, nut butter and sesame seeds, so you can feel good about enjoying them as well.
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Spanish-Style Saffron Rice with Black Beans

Spanish-Style Saffron Rice with Black Beans

Even those of us who are avid cooks sometimes desire a meal without fuss, but one that is nourshing and satisfying all the same. This colorful and hearty dish is a vegetarian twist on paella. Although there's neither meat nor seafood, the common component of paella, it's very much inspired by traditional paellas with short grain rice, vegetables and beans seasoned with saffron — from which the dish gets its reddish and glowing color — and spices, all cooked in a single large skillet, from which paella, "frying pan" in Valencian, gets its name. A generous helping of black olives stirred in at the end adds a final twist of robust yet complimentary flavor.

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Crumbled Paneer with Fresh Mint, Cilantro and Spiced Green Peas


Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Crumbled Paneer with Fresh Mint, Cilantro and Spiced Green Peas

Although I'm not a vegan, I do find as the years go by that I have been moving away from including dairy in many of my meals. But one dairy food that I can never see myself giving up is paneer cheese — also known as Indian cottage cheese, it's a soft but firm, creamy and succulent fresh cheese that doesn't melt when cooked, making it a wonderful addition to curries and other hot foods, or the main feature in its own dish.

Paneer cheese is the star ingredient of this vibrant but simple curry that you can put together in half an hour. The paneer is crumbled and simmered with tomatoes, fresh herbs, tender sweet green peas, and crushed seeds. Crushing the cumin and coriander seeds adds distinction to this dish, as the aromatic flavors of the seeds assert their presence with the bold flavors of fresh mint and cilantro. All the tastes mingle so nicely with the creamy paneer cheese in a dish that dances with flavor, fragrance and color.

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