Gourmet Vegetarian Thanksgiving

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Fine dining for a vegetarian Thanksgiving? Yes, it's possible to have a gourmet vegetarian or even vegan Thanksgiving. Here's some recipes and menu ideas for a for a gourmet meatless Thanksgiving meal.

Gourmet Thanksgiving starters or appetizers:

Start out with anything you want for a gourmet appetizer - there's no real traditional rule to follow, but keep it fresh, light and fall-themed. Stuffed mushrooms are always a hit, or try a vegetarian pate served with crackers.

For a potato appetizer, try these fingerling potatoes topped with crisped dulse (or, save these little potato bites to serve alongside your vegetarian turkey substitute. Another idea? These savory apple and onion tartlets topped with crumbled goat cheese, if you're not keeping dairy-free. For a starter salad, try something with cranberries and a homemade dressing. Here's a cranberry fennel salad that would be perfect, or try this cranberry and goat cheese salad.


A Gourmet Entree

Chef Tal, gourmet vegan chef to the stars (including Ellen and Oprah) suggests his pumpkin-seed crusted gardein cutlets as a centerpiece for a gourmet Thanksgiving, and if you like vegetarian turkey substitutes, you might also want to try gardein's "Savory stuffed turk'y", which comes complete with stuffing and gravy, or the gardein Holiday Roast, which is increasingly popular. For the more ambitious, there's the six pound "Vegetarian Plus" whole turkey, which is shaped just like a turkey, drumsticks and all.

See also: A complete guide to vegetarian turkey substitutes

If you're not a fake meat kind of family, I suggest these fall-themed gourmet stuffed ravioli with rosemary sauce. The recipe calls for butternut squash, but I bet they'd be delicious with pumpkin as well. 

Don't want to cook? Depending on where you live, you can pick up a Native Foods Wellington for a gourmet vegan Thanksgiving centerpiece!

Potatoes, cranberries, stuffings and sides

For the richest, fluffiest, vegan mashed potatoes you've ever dreamed of, try these gourmet vegan mashed potatoes with cashew cream or these Tuscan white bean mashed potatoes. Heavenly. Finish it all off with a cranberry cabernet sauce or this lightly sweetened cranberry blueberry sauce. For vegetables, these cranberry mango green beans are colorful and festive, or, for something a bit non-traditional, try these oven roasted sunchokes, or for a healthy fall side, try these low-fat gingered maple squash rings. If you love getting your greens, I recommend this spinach, cashew and basil puree for a gourmet vegan side dish.

The best part - a gourmet dessert!

Apple pie and pumpkin pie are great, but true gourmands can kick it up a notch, and vegetarian and vegan foodies are no exception! Try Chef Tal's maple rum vegan cheesecake for a real treat. If you don't need a vegan dessert, this chocolate maple pecan pie combines the best of everything. For real oohs and aahs, serve up a apple torte with a side of homemade cranberry sorbet. For something a little different, try a pumpkin pudding.

No matter what you serve up this Thanksgiving, vegetarian, vegan, gourmet or not, remember, Thanksgiving is all about gathering together to share with family and friends.

Need some help negotiating with non-veg relatives? Check out my tips for keeping the peace at Thanksgiving.

Believe it or not, the food is not the most important thing! Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone!