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7 Meatless Entrees That Will Make You Forget About the Turkey

author image Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN
Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN, is a chef, nutritionist, recipe developer, media personality and award-winning cookbook author. She’s a cooking instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education and frequent contributor to Rachael Ray Every Day magazine. Her newest book is the second edition of "The All-Natural Diabetes Cookbook." Instagram/Twitter: @jackienewgent

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7 Meatless Entrees That Will Make You Forget About the Turkey
Photo Credit: Jackie Newgent

Who says that the turkey should get the spotlight on Thanksgiving tables? An amazing vegetable main dish alternative can be served for those who desire a meatless feast. Sure, there’s always Tofurky, but there’s also so much more than that. Veggie lovers will feel especially thankful for one of these seven main dishes, four of which are vegan. That’s right: Vegetarians won’t have to try concocting a holiday meal out of just apps, sides and pie. All of these entrees are wow-worthy, satisfying and nourishing. And, hey, all you meat eaters out there: You can absolutely enjoy these dishes too!

1. Curry-Roasted Graffiti Eggplant With Chickpeas and Grape Tomatoes
Photo Credit: Jackie Newgent

1 Curry-Roasted Graffiti Eggplant With Chickpeas and Grape Tomatoes

Are you a holiday nontraditionalist? Then this dish is right up your culinary alley. For simplicity, it can actually be served as a full meal -- no sides required. A graffiti eggplant -- named after its unusual, purple- and ivory-striped markings -- is served as a personal-size roast. You’ll cut it Hassleback-style for a flashy appearance and to make sure all of the scrumptious curry sauce is slathered into every part of the eggplant. And as for protein, you’ll get a notable pop by way of chickpeas and almonds.

Related: Curry-Roasted Graffiti Eggplant with Chickpeas and Grape Tomatoes Recipe

2. Kale, Baby Bella and Caramelized Carrot “Risotto” Skillet
Photo Credit: Jackie Newgent

2 Kale, Baby Bella and Caramelized Carrot “Risotto” Skillet

Risotto is a popular vegetarian alternative to a meaty main dish. But, frankly, it can be a pain to prep. Not this version! You’ll use easy-to-cook short-grain brown rice, which offers a nutty taste and punch of fiber. This dish is also loaded with superfoods, including carrots, baby bellas and kale. You’ll get a lovely creaminess from parmesan cheese and a hint of Greek yogurt. And don’t forget the fresh tarragon for extra fragrance.

Related: Kale, Baby Bella and Caramelized Carrot "Risotto" Skillet Recipe

3. Maple Spiced Cauliflower Roast With Pumpkin Gravy
Photo Credit: Jackie Newgent

3 Maple Spiced Cauliflower Roast With Pumpkin Gravy

This cauliflower entree is a showstopper for any holiday table. It’s incredibly easy to prepare too. Simply rub it with seasoning, stick the whole thing in the oven and roast it until richly caramelized. And in celebration of Thanksgiving, you’ll pair it with gravy and “carve” it like turkey. The gravy consists of a pumpkin base; it’s loaded with fiber and phytosterols, which can help reduce bad cholesterol. Complete the dish with a drizzle of pure maple syrup and crunchy pumpkin seeds.

Related: Maple Spiced Cauliflower Roast with Pumpkin Gravy Recipe

4. Roasted Butternut Squash “Pasta” With Goat Cheese and Fried Sage
Photo Credit: Jackie Newgent

4 Roasted Butternut Squash “Pasta” With Goat Cheese and Fried Sage

This savory entree features spiralized butternut squash “noodles,” which you can make with a spiralizer or a julienne peeler. Either way you make this pasta-inspired dish, it’s a fun and gluten-free menu addition offering a burst of beta carotene. You’ll toss the squash noodles with olive oil, garlic, sage, salt and cayenne pepper before roasting. Next, “fry” some fresh sage leaves for a delicious garnish. Sprinkle with creamy goat cheese before serving.

Related: Roasted Butternut Squash "Pasta" With Goat Cheese and Fried Sage Recipe

5. Stuffed Pumpkin With Herbed Quinoa and Pomegranate Arils
Photo Credit: Jackie Newgent

5 Stuffed Pumpkin With Herbed Quinoa and Pomegranate Arils

Don’t be intimidated: Stuffed pumpkins are quick and easy to fix. First, pick up sugar pumpkins, not carving ones. You’ll cut off the top, scoop out the seeds and pulp and add the stuffing. Here, the stuffing features quinoa that cooks right in the pumpkin. You’ll get a citrusy accent from orange juice. After baking, you’ll add crunchy pistachios, fresh basil and pomegranate arils (seeds). The pomegranate arils offer a brilliant, confetti-like pop of color (plus polyphenols and fiber). And when you’re ready to devour this dish, don’t stop at the filling -- eat the pumpkin too!

Related: Stuffed Pumpkin With Herbed Quinoa and Pomegranate Arils Recipe

6. Thanksgiving-Inspired Ribollita
Photo Credit: Jackie Newgent

6 Thanksgiving-Inspired Ribollita

Ribollita is a Tuscan stew that contains vegetables, cannellini beans and leftover bread. This holiday-worthy version follows that cuisine approach, but gets an all-American twist from sweet potatoes and sage. The recipe is loaded with digestion-promoting fiber from cannellini beans and kale. You’ll get even more fiber by using whole-wheat bread and keeping the peel on the sweet potatoes. Serve it as an entree or a full meal. And add it to your regular repertoire; there’s no need to wait for a holiday!

Related: Thanksgiving-Inspired Ribollita Recipe

7. Cranberry Baked Brie
Photo Credit: Jackie Newgent

7 Cranberry Baked Brie

Save up your saturated fat allotment for the day and indulge in this cheesy main dish. Yep, brie doesn’t need to be reserved for appetizers or European-style desserts. Ideally, use a 12-ounce brie wheel and serve a 3-ounce wedge in place of holiday turkey. And just like you might pair cranberry sauce with turkey, you’ll do the same here. But you’ll whip up a homemade version of cranberry sauce -- the canned stuff is far too loaded with added sugars. Crisp apple slices act like better-for-you crackers to enjoy alongside the cranberry sauce.

Related: Cranberry Baked Brie Recipe

What Do YOU Think?
Photo Credit: Karisssa/iStock/Getty Images

What Do YOU Think?

Do you plan to have a vegetarian option for holiday turkey? If so, what’s the plan? Would you try any of these recipes? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Related: 10 Easy Vegetarian Sides for the Holidays Everyone Will Love

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