Vegetarian Side Dishes for Thanksgiving

Recipes for three healthy, meatless side dishes to liven up your holiday table.

Add some veggie-friendly and unique side dishes to the Thanksgiving menu this year. Photographs courtesy of and Flickr user alanagkelly

The fourth Thursday in November might sometimes be referred to as Turkey Day—but everyone knows the best part of the menu is the sides. The bad news? Grandma’s tasty stuffing recipe is probably high in fat and likely calls for chicken broth, making it unsuitable for vegetarians.

The good news is that whether you’re trying to avoid packing on the pounds or are going poultry-free this Thanksgiving, there are plenty of creative options available. These three meatless side dishes, courtesy of local nutritionist (and vegetarian) Danielle Omar, will add a healthy, flavorful kick to your holiday menu.

Omar recommends serving the endive salad as an appetizer and the roasted cauliflower and Brussels sprout salad alongside the main meal.

Endive Salad with Walnuts and Blue Cheese

2 bunches endive, leaves separated and rinsed well
1 cup walnuts
¼ cup blue cheese, crumbled
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Freshly ground black pepper

Arrange endive leaves on a serving platter. Top with walnuts and blue cheese. In a small bowl or jar, combine vinegar, oil, and mustard. Whisk together, or shake jar to combine. Season with salt and black pepper. Drizzle mixture over salad and serve.

Roasted Cauliflower

2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large head cauliflower, separated into florets
⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place cauliflower in a large bowl and toss with olive oil and garlic. Pour cauliflower onto a prepared baking sheet or casserole dish and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 25 minutes, stirring halfway through. Top with Parmesan cheese and parsley and broil for 3 to 5 minutes, until golden brown.

Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Red Onion, Lemon, and Pecorino from

½ small red onion, sliced
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon whole-grain mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups Brussels sprouts (use larger sprouts if possible)
½ cup finely grated Pecorino Romano

Soak the onion slices in a bowl of cold water for 15 to 20 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, honey, mustard, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil until the dressing is emulsified. Set aside.

Trim the Brussels sprouts, cutting off any bruised outer leaves and a good portion of the hard root end. Using a mandolin, shave the sprouts one at a time (or slice very thinly). Use your fingers to gently separate the leaves so that the shredded sprouts resemble a very fine slaw.

Drain the onions. Put the sprouts in a serving bowl and toss gently with the onions and the dressing. Fold in the Pecorino. Adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve immediately.