The Best Vegetarian Thanksgiving Looks as Good as It Tastes

With a showstopping centerpiece and four vibrant side dishes, this menu makes the most of fall vegetables.

Credit…Christopher Testani for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne.

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By Alexa Weibel

Alexa Weibel, a senior staff editor, developed New York Times Cooking’s popular vegetarian mushroom Wellington.

Vegetables star in these five new dishes that were made for vegetarians and created to appeal to everyone. Maybe you’re adopting a meatless holiday meal for the first time or maybe you have never felt tethered to turkey and are finally skipping the bird this year because of its increasingly high cost. These recipes provide the richness, comfort and abundance you expect from Thanksgiving: deep, roasted caramelized flavor embellished with bursts of acidity from citrus, hints of heat and some welcome levity from fresh herbs.

At the heart of this celebration of vegetables is an ornate ombré gratin with enough ceremonial pomp to create a stir. The four accompanying side dishes are easier to put together, but taste just as special. You can prepare the whole feast or weave the dishes into your menu. There’s always room for more at the table.

Ombré Gratin

Thinly sliced potatoes, butternut squash, sweet potatoes and beets are baked in an herbed cream until positively lush, and then capped with a crispy phyllo frill. Slice the gratin at the center of your table to reveal the Technicolor stack of fork-tender vegetables.

Recipe: Ombré Gratin

Roasted Mushrooms With Smoky Pomegranate Sauce

Most roasted mushroom recipes sacrifice moisture for the benefit of crisp edges — but not this one. Oyster mushrooms get treated to an oven steam-roast approach: They’re first covered in foil and baked gently to retain moisture, then broiled until golden, which allows them to caramelize while remaining plump and tender. A pomegranate sauce provides ample acidity to cut through the mushrooms’ richness.

Recipe: Roasted Mushrooms With Smoky Pomegranate Sauce

Roasted Cabbage Wedges With Lemon Vinaigrette

Roasted cabbage is a revelation: High heat transforms the cruciferous vegetable, rendering it silky, tender and yielding. Inspired by leeks vinaigrette, these wedges are brushed with a lemon-mustard vinaigrette, chilled, then topped with a crème fraîche dressing and fresh herbs before serving. This salad-disguised-as-a-side is a boon to busy cooks, as it tastes best when made ahead and chilled, bringing an unexpected cooling element to the table.

Recipe: Roasted Cabbage Wedges With Lemon Vinaigrette

Ginger Beer-Glazed Butternut Squash With Gremolata

Any successful Thanksgiving strategy involves a menu that doesn’t overburden the oven. In this stovetop dish, squash simmers with a mixture of ginger beer, vegetable stock, honey, butter and cloves. Like many glazed recipes, this one showcases the beauty of great timing: When the squash is done cooking, the liquid will have reduced to a glossy sauce. A confetti-like gremolata of chopped ginger, garlic, parsley and orange zest makes for a cold-weather side that sparkles.

Recipe: Ginger Beer-Glazed Butternut Squash With Gremolata

Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Honey, Almonds and Chile

These honeyed brussels sprouts bring a smack of sweetness to the table, balanced by citrus and spice. They’re tossed with a simple vinaigrette, which helps them retain moisture in the oven while bringing out their natural sugars. For a sunny jolt, the sprouts are topped with sliced chiles tempered with a splash of vinegar, smoky almonds and fresh orange zest and juice.

Recipe: Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Honey, Almonds and Chile

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