3 Protein Packed Side Dishes for A Delicious Vegetarian Thanksgiving

Making exclusively vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes may seem oxymoronic at first (especially if you’re a full-throttle turkey lover), but we’re here to prove that a plant-based version of the culinary tradition is just as delicious. Whether you’re a vegetarian or expecting a few non-meat-eating guests, we’re always on the hunt for some alternative dishes that are just as tasty as the usual suspects. Even if you plan on having a meat-heavy meal, these tasty herbivorous side dishes from Los Angeles chef Nancy Silverton will enhance the whole spread. If you recognize her name, that’s because she’s the genius behind the award-winning restaurants La Brea Bakery and Osteria Mozza (to name a few).

For her latest cookbook, Mozza at Home, Silverton worked with Carolynn Carreño on a string of delicious meal ideas that live up to the hype. We flipped through the 150 recipes and found three of our favorite meat-free dishes for your vegetarian Thanksgiving. Take your pick from the roasted eggplants with herb vinaigrette, couscous salad with root vegetables and ricotta salata, and a roasted vegetable medley with yogurt dressing (or make all three). Follow each recipe carefully, as you don’t want to miss a single step. Has your mouth started watering yet? Keep scrolling to get the details on these delicious vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes.

Roasted Eggplant With Herb Vinaigrette

Servings: 6 to 8

Ingredients for baby eggplants:

4 baby or Japanese eggplants
2 tsp. olive oil, plus more for cooking the eggplant
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. kosher salt
Herb vinaigrette (page 119)
Maldon sea salt (or another flaky sea salt such as fleur de sel)

Directions for baby eggplants:

Cut each eggplant in half lengthwise. Score the cut sides of the eggplants 1/8 inch deep in a diagonal crosshatch pattern. Lay the eggplant halves, cut sides up, on a baking sheet. Drizzle 2 teaspoons of the olive oil and 2 teaspoons of the kosher salt on the cut sides and massage the oil and salt into the eggplant flesh.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed sauté pan over medium-high heat until it slides easily in the pan and the oil around the edges of the pan just begins to smoke, two to three minutes.

Lay half of the eggplant halves, cut sides down, in the pan and cook without moving them, until they are deep brown, about two minutes.

Add 2 to 3 more tablespoons of the oil to the pan, 1 tablespoon at a time, as the pan becomes dry. Turn the eggplant halves with a spatula or tongs. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the remaining kosher salt over the eggplants and sear the skin sides for about 1 minute, until the skin is deep brown.

Remove the eggplants from the pan and transfer them, cut sides up, to a baking sheet. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to the pan you cooked the first batch of eggplants in and let the oil heat up for about one minute, until it’s smoking hot.

Lay the remaining eggplant halves, cut sides down, in the pan, and cook and season them with salt the same way you did the first batch, adding more to the pan as needed.

Ingredients for large eggplants:

2 large eggplants? (1 to 1 1/2 pounds each)
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. olive oil, plus more for cooking the eggplant
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. kosher salt
Maldon sea salt (or another flaky sea salt such as fleur de sel)

Directions for large eggplants:

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, and preheat the oven to 350°F.

Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise. Score the cut sides of the eggplants 1/8 inch deep in a diagonal crosshatch pattern. Lay the eggplant halves, cut sides up, on a baking sheet. Drizzle with the 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of the olive oil, sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt, and massage the oil and salt into the eggplant flesh with your hands.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed sauté pan over medium-high heat until it slides easily in the pan and the oil around the edges of the pan begins to smoke, two to three minutes.

Lay two of the eggplant halves, cut sides down, in the pan, and cook over medium-low heat until the cut sides of the eggplant are golden brown, about five minutes. Add 2 to 3 more tablespoons of oil to the pan, 1 tablespoon at a time, as the eggplants absorb the oil and the pan becomes dry.

After cooking only one side, remove the eggplant halves from the pan, and place them, cut sides up, on a baking sheet. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to the pan, and heat it over high heat for about one minute until it’s smoking hot. Turn off the heat, and lay the remaining two eggplant halves, cut sides down, in the pan.

Cook the eggplants in the same way you cooked the first two, adding as much as 3 tablespoons more oil to the pan as necessary. Remove the eggplant halves from the pan, and transfer them, cut sides up, to the baking sheet with the other halves.

Ingredients for herb vinaigrette:

1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup packed fresh chervil leaves
1/2 cup packed fresh tarragon leaves
1/2 cup packed fresh chives
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 cup minced shallot ?(from about 1 medium peeled shallot)
1 tbsp. sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. champagne vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. prosecco or sparkling white wine
2 tbsp. grated lemon zest (from 3 lemons), plus 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Directions for herb vinaigrette:

Put the basil, chervil, tarragon, and chives on a cutting board, and roughly chop them. Transfer the herbs to the bowl of a mini food processor fitted with a metal blade.

Add 1/2 cup of the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the salt, and pulse until the herbs are chopped to tiny flecks but not to a paste or purée.

Transfer the contents of the food processor to a medium bowl. Add the shallot, sugar, and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and stir to combine. Add the vinegar, prosecco, lemon zest, and lemon juice, and stir to combine. Add the remaining 1/4 cup oil in a slow, thin stream, whisking constantly to emulsify.

Serve or refrigerate the vinaigrette, covered, for up to one day—any longer, and the herbs will brown. Bring the vinaigrette to room temperature before serving.

Couscous Salad With Root Vegetables and Ricotta Salata

Servings: 6 to 8

Ingredients:

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp. kosher salt
2 cups instant couscous (such as Casbah Organic Whole Wheat CousCous)
1 large carrot, trimmed and peeled
1 large parsnip, trimmed and peeled
10 scallions
2 tbsp. canola oil? (or another neutral-flavored oil)
7 oz. ricotta salata, cut into 1/8-inch cubes (about 1 1/2 cups)
5 large radicchio leaves ?(about 1/2 medium head), stacked and thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
1 cup packed fresh Italian parsley leaves
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Directions:

Put 3 cups water in a medium saucepan. Add the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the salt, and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Add the couscous, and cover the pan. Turn off the heat, and let the couscous sit, covered, for five minutes. Uncover the pan, transfer to a large bowl, and fluff it with a fork.

Cut the carrots into 3- to 4-inch-long segments. Using a mandolin, slice the segments 1/8 inch thick lengthwise. Stack the slices, and slice with a large knife into 1/8-inch-thick batons, and then across the batons into 1/8-inch cubes. Set aside. Cut the parsnips in the same way. Keep the carrots and parsnips separate.

Trim and discard the root ends from the scallions. Starting at the green ends and moving toward the white ends, slice the scallions 1/8 inch thick on an extreme bias. Set the scallions aside.

Add the scallions, ricotta salata, radicchio, parsley, carrot cubes, and parsnip cubes to the bowl with the couscous. Drizzle the lemon juice, and sprinkle the remaining 2 teaspoons salt over the salad, and toss gently to combine the ingredients and coat the couscous and vegetables.

Drizzle the lemon vinaigrette over the salad using only enough as necessary, and toss gently to coat the couscous and vegetables.?

Roasted Vegetable Medley With Yogurt Dressing

Servings: 6 to 8

Ingredients for the farro:

1/2 cup farro, soaked overnight and drained
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp. kosher salt?
1/2 cup brown flaxseeds?
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Directions for farro:

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Put the farro on the baking sheet, drizzle with 2 teaspoons of the olive oil, and toss. Spread the farro out on the baking sheet, and toast in the oven until it’s golden brown and slightly fragrant, 8 to 10 minutes, shaking the baking sheet and rotating it from front to back halfway through the cooking time so the farro browns evenly. Remove from the oven. Meanwhile, bring 1 quart water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt and the farro, and return the water to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the farro is al dente, 18 to 22 minutes.

Drain the farro in a colander, and transfer it to a small bowl. Drizzle the farro with the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil, and toss to coat the grains. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Toast the flaxseeds in a small sauté pan over medium heat without moving them for one to two minutes, until they start to pop in the pan. Shake the pan so the seeds don’t burn, and continue to toast the seeds for two to three minutes, shaking the pan often, until they darken in color and start to release a nutty aroma. Transfer the seeds to a plate to cool to room temperature. Add the flaxseeds to the baking sheet with the farro, and set aside. Drizzle with the olive oil, lemon juice, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and toss to combine the ingredients and to distribute the salt.

Ingredients for the mushrooms:

3/4 pound mixed mushrooms ?(chanterelles, hen of the woods, or beech), caps wiped clean with damp paper towels and stems trimmed; if you are using beech mushrooms, keep the stems bundled
10 fresh thyme sprigs
1/4 cup olive oil?
1 tsp. kosher salt

Directions for mushrooms:

Adjust the oven racks so none are near the oven floor; you’ll be putting a baking sheet directly on the oven floor. Preheat the oven to 500°F.

Put the mushrooms and thyme sprigs in a medium bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with the salt, and toss to coat the vegetables. Spread the mushrooms in a single layer on a large baking sheet, and put the baking sheet on the floor of the oven and roast the mushrooms until they are golden brown all over, eight to 12 minutes, shaking the baking sheet, and rotating it from front to back halfway through the cooking time so the mushrooms brown evenly.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven, and set aside. (When cooking vegetables on the oven floor, a lot of steam is produced from the water released as a result of the vegetables cooking so quickly, so be careful of steam when opening the oven door.) Transfer the vegetables to a large bowl or a baking dish to cool.

Ingredients for the root vegetables:

2 parsnips (about 1 pound), trimmed and peeled
2 small celery roots (about 1 pound), trimmed and peeled
10 to 12 medium or large garlic cloves, peeled
10 fresh thyme sprigs
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

Directions for root vegetables:

Starting at the thin root end of the parsnips, cut two or three (depending on how thin the root tip is) 1/2-inch-thick slices on an extreme bias. Cut the fatter remainder of the parsnip in half lengthwise and slice both halves into 1/2-inch-thick half-moons on an extreme bias. Repeat with the second parsnip. Put the parsnips in the bowl you tossed the mushrooms in.

Cut the celery roots in half down the middle. Lay one half of the celery root flat and cut 1/4-inch-thick slices across it. Repeat with the remaining halves. Lay the slices down, stacking two or three at a time, and cut them in half down the middle.

Cut the halves into 1 1/2–inch-wide slices. Add the celery roots to the bowl with the parsnips. Add the garlic cloves and thyme sprigs. Drizzle the vegetables with the olive oil, sprinkle with the salt, and toss to coat the vegetables evenly.

Spread the vegetables in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Put the baking sheet on the floor of the oven or the lowest rack, and roast until the vegetables are tender when pierced with a toothpick and the sides touching the pan are caramelized, about 30 minutes, shaking the baking sheet and rotating it from front to back halfway through the cooking time so the vegetables brown evenly.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven, scatter the butter pieces over the vegetables, and return the baking sheet to the oven for five minutes to melt the butter. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, toss to coat the vegetables with the melted butter, and set aside.

Directions for mushrooms:

Adjust the oven racks so none are near the oven floor; you’ll be putting a baking sheet directly on the oven floor. Preheat the oven to 500°F.

Put the mushrooms and thyme sprigs in a medium bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with the salt, and toss to coat the vegetables. Spread the mushrooms in a single layer on a large baking sheet, and put the baking sheet on the floor of the oven and roast the mushrooms until they are golden brown all over, eight to 12 minutes, shaking the baking sheet, and rotating it from front to back halfway through the cooking time so the mushrooms brown evenly.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven, and set aside. (When cooking vegetables on the oven floor, a lot of steam is produced from the water released as a result of the vegetables cooking so quickly, so be careful of steam when opening the oven door.) Transfer the vegetables to a large bowl or a baking dish to cool.

Ingredients for the winter squash:

2 lbs. butternut squash? (or another winter squash such as kabocha or acorn)
10 to 12 medium or large garlic cloves, peeled
12 fresh sage leaves
10 fresh thyme sprigs
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

Directions for the winter squash:

Peel it with a vegetable peeler. Cut it in half and scoop out and discard the seeds. With the flat sides of the squash facing down, cut it into 1 1/2–inch cubes. Put the squash cubes in the bowl you tossed the other vegetables in. Add the garlic cloves, sage leaves, and thyme sprigs. Drizzle the vegetables with the olive oil, sprinkle with the salt, and toss to coat the vegetables.

Spread the vegetables in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Put the baking sheet on the floor of the oven or the lowest rack, and roast the squash until it is tender when pierced with a toothpick and the sides touching the pan are caramelized, about 30 minutes, and shake the baking sheet. Rotate it from front to back halfway through the cooking time so the squash browns evenly; make sure not to cook it so much that it is mushy.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven, scatter the butter pieces over the squash, and return the baking sheet to the oven for five minutes to melt the butter. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, and toss to coat the vegetables with the melted butter.

Ingredients for the Brussels sprouts:

1 1/4 lbs. Brussels sprouts?
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 recipe Yogurt Dressing

Directions for the Brussels sprouts:

Using a paring knife, cut off the stems from each sprout. Cut each sprout in half through the core, and cut out the cores of the sprouts. Separate the Brussels sprouts leaves, and drop them into the bowl you tossed the other veggies in. Drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with the salt, and toss to coat the leaves.

Spread the leaves in a single layer on a large baking sheet, nestling them close to one another. Put the baking sheet on the floor of the oven or the lowest rack, and roast the leaves until they are browned around the edges but still mostly green, eight to 10 minutes. Shake the baking sheet, and rotate it from front to back halfway through the cooking time so the leaves brown evenly. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, and set aside.

Pick out and discard the thyme stems. Place all the vegetables except the Brussels sprouts leaves in a large bowl, and toss gently.

Ingredients for yogurt dressing:

2 tbsp. minced shallot (from about 1 small peeled shallot)
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. champagne vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup Straus Family Creamery Organic Greek Yogurt (or another whole-milk plain, not overly thick, Greek-style yogurt)

Directions for yogurt dressing:

Combine the shallot, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly to emulsify.

Put the yogurt in a medium bowl, and gradually add the contents of the first bowl, whisking constantly to emulsify.

Refrigerate the dressing, covered, for up to two days.

Which of these side dishes do you plan on including in your lineup of vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes this year? Let us know in the comments, and feel free to share more vegetarian dish ideas, too!

Recipes Excerpted from Mozza at Home by Nancy Silverton with Carolyn Carreño. Copyright © 2016 by Random House. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Source: MyDomaine