6 delicious, healthy vegetarian and vegan dishes to try this holiday season

Posted at 1:50 AM, Nov 24, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-24 14:00:49-05

Thanksgiving is a holiday that everyone should be able to indulge in, carnivore or not. 

Vegetarians and vegans can enjoy Turkey Day just as much as their meat-eating brethren, so long as they have some creative recipes to follow. The truth is, you can create unique veggie dishes that are “meaty,” filling and all around hearty.
But what are the benefits of eating veterarian or vegan anyways? 
Below are some highly-rated vegetarian and vegan dishes, as provided by a variety of sources.We’ve provided a basic description of each meal, but click the links to get recipes and detailed cooking instructions.
Enjoy these meals whether you’re vegetarian, vegan or simply looking for a way to mix things up this holiday season.
1. Vegducken
We’ll start with the most epic recipe of the bunch: Vegducken – the ultimate vegetarian main dish. It plays off the infamous Turducken, (a chicken stuffed into duck stuffed into turkey). Vegducken, on the other hand, is zucchini stuffed in eggplant, stuffed in butternut squash (with more delicious vegetables stuffed inside, of course).
The great thing about this dish is that it can be made “meaty” with non-meat fillings, such as mushrooms, breadcrumbs and parmesan.  Butter, garlic and spices are used to give the dish even more delicious flavor.
Instructions to create the perfect Vegducken are courtesy of Epicurious

2. Chickpea Vegan Meatloaf

Another “meaty” dish you could try out this holiday season. It’s a spin on a classic meatloaf – just better (and better for you)! Rather than being topped by ketchup like many traditional meatloaf recipes, this one utilizes maple glaze. It’s made from base of seasoned chickpeas, with a slew of other ingredients in between, and baked to perfection. 
With soy or almond milk (dairy-free) used in place of regular milk, this recipe is totally vegan. 
Instructions to create Chickpea Vegan Meatloaf are courtesy of Connoisseurus Veg.
3. Creamy Pumpkin Bisque
… with maple cinnamon tempeh croutons! It’s a light and creamy soup made somewhat sweet with natural ingredients (pumpkin and apples). Soy milk works as a great base for the vegan bisque, bringing some protein to the perfect side dish.
What’s better than some crispy croutons thrown on top to bring this whole dish together?
Connoisseurus Veg has provided the recipe and instructions for this dish, as well.
4. Vegan Corn Casserole
Between all the stuffing and pies, this year’s Thanksgiving table could probably use a healthy touch. That’s where this healthy (yet delicious), vegan corn casserole comes in.
The thing is, it’s easy to make corn casserole taste good when endless amounts of butter is involved – along with ingredients like eggs, sugar and corn muffin mix. But how do you accomplish great taste without those things?
Chocolate Covered Katie has the answer for you. Check out the recipe here.
5. High Protein Garlic Mashed Potatoes (plus Vegan Gravy)
“A delicious buttery and garlicky flavor and lots of texture from the potato skins” – that’s how Oh She Glows describes its recipe for High Protein Garlic Mashed Potatoes. All milk and butter used in this recipe is vegan-friendly.
Love mashed potatoes too much to have it as a mere side? Season this to perfection and add some cooked veggies and other toppings to make it a main dish
Get the recipe here, courtesy of Oh She Glows.
But you can’t have mashed potatoes without gravy, right? An excellent vegan gravy recipe is provided by What Would Cathy Eat?
6. Vegan + Gluten-free Pumpkin Mousse Squares
Finally, no Thanksgiving dinner is complete without dessert. This recipe results in a “crisp and rich shortbread base topped with a whipped pumpkin mousse.” We know, you’re mouth is already watering.
Rest easy knowing you’re consuming a totally vegan and gluten-free dessert, complete with ingredients like almond flour, coconut oil and coconut milk.
Get the unique recipe from Healthful Pursuit.