33 Dishes For A Vegetarian Christmas Dinner

Quinoa Salad with Carrots and Sugar Snap Peas
Photo: Johnny Autry; Food and Prop Styling: Charlotte L. Autry

Meat-free options for Christmas may seem like an impossible task when you're used to roasting a turkey or glazing a ham, but it's not nearly as hard as you think to pull off. If planning a vegetarian Christmas dinner this year, you aren't stuck making only salads, although veggies will likely be prominently featured. Hearty casseroles and pastas, like our Creamy Kale and Pasta Bake will take the place of the meaty mains, while many of the classic sides fill the table, just without the added bacon. From a Rainbow Carrot Tart to Stuffed Acorn Squash with Farro, there will be plenty of stunning centerpiece dishes that taste as delicious as they look. Dressing, cornbread, and mashed potatoes can all be made vegetarian without sacrificing any flavor. And we promise guests will leave just as happy and stuffed as they would if meat were on the table.

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Ben Mims' Perfect Cornbread

Ben Mim's Perfect Cornbread Recipe
Brian Woodcock

Recipe: Ben Mims' Perfect Cornbread

If perfect is in the name, then you know this cornbread is going to be good. Made with plenty of butter, you won't miss the bacon drippings if you're used to using them in cornbread.

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Carla Hall's Warm Carrot Salad with Creamy Lemon Dressing

Carla Hall Carrot Salad
McCormick

Recipe: Carla Hall's Warm Carrot Salad with Creamy Lemon Dressing

For a pop of color on the table, try these rainbow carrots dressed in a creamy pineapple-flavored dressing. With tart apple, sweet raisins, a little sesame, and cayenne, this warm carrot salad tastes anything but boring.

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Beet, Fennel, and Apple Salad

Beet, Fennel, and Apple Salad
Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Prop Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller; Food Styling: William Smith

Recipe: Beet, Fennel, and Apple Salad

Beets are no stranger to the Christmas dinner table, but instead of the canned variety, we suggest a fresh take on the root. Look for red-and-white-striped Chioggia beets (also called candy cane beets) at the store, for an extra festive salad.

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Herbed Wild Rice Dressing

Thanksgiving Classic Bread Dressing Recipe

Recipe: Herbed Wild Rice Dressing

Most dressings get their flavor from sausage or meat stocks, but this one gets its flavor from fresh herbs like sage, a nuttiness from toasted walnuts, and brightness from apples and celery.

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Angel Biscuits

angel biscuits
Emily Laurae/Southern Living

Recipe: Angel Biscuits

Every table needs a biscuit and these feather-light ones are our favorites. Plus, they can be prepared one week in advance to make your holiday cooking schedule a little less stressful.

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Vegetarian Slow-Cooker Collard Greens

Vegetarian Slow-Cooker Collard Greens Recipe Image
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Ginny Branch Stelling; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Vegetarian Slow-Cooker Collard Greens

While collards typically get their flavor from bacon or ham hocks, these greens get their sweet and tangy flavor from brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, and fire-roasted tomatoes.

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Green Bean Lasagna

Green Bean Lasagna
Iain Bagwell; Styling: Heather Chadduck

Recipe: Green Bean Lasagna

Combine two classic holiday dishes into one hearty main dish with this twist on lasagna featuring the flavors of green bean casserole. For a fun twist we swapped cream of mushroom soup for a Parmesan Cream sauce.

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Creamed Spinach

Creamed Spinach
Antonis Achilleos

Recipe: Creamed Spinach

An easy way to serve greens that isn't another salad. Loaded with cream and cheese, then finished with a touch of nutmeg and toasted pine nuts, this vegetable side is a hearty, satisfying addition to the table.

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Lisa Cericola's Herbed Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes

Lisa's Herbed Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Margaret Monroe Dickey; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Recipe: Lisa Cericola's Herbed Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes

These mashed potatoes are so creamy and delicious, they don't even need gravy. Made with the quadruple threat of cream cheese, butter, half-and-half, as well as a generous swirl of Herbed Brown Butter on top, these are the ultimate mashed potatoes.

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Classic Cranberry Salad

classic cranberry salad
Emily Laurae/Southern Living

Recipe: Classic Cranberry Salad

You don't need a turkey or ham on the table in order to serve cranberry sauce. This homemade version, full of fresh fruit and crunchy pecans is a great condiment to serve alongside vegetable sides, casseroles, and breads.

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Spicy Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

Spicy Roasted Sweet Potato Salad
Greg DuPree; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners; Prop Styling: Christine Keely

Recipe: Spicy Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

Sweet potatoes are a staple around the holidays, but if you already have plenty of casseroles on the table, try this spicy sweet potato salad instead. The Southwest inspired twist uses, corn, black beans, and jalapeño to brighten up the root vegetable.

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Roasted Tomato Macaroni and Cheese

Roasted Tomato Macaroni and Cheese
Photo: Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Mary Clayton Carl; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Roasted Tomato Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and cheese is a favorite of meat-eaters and vegetarians alike. This version, with roasted tomatoes on top and a blend of four cheeses in the sauce, adds extra flavor to the classic.

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Sweet Potato Rolls

Sweet Potato Rolls
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kathleen Varner; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Sweet Potato Rolls

Mashed sweet potato is the secret to these soft, slightly sweet orange-hued rolls. Served with a side of Hot Honey Butter, we assure you there will be no leftovers.

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Quinoa Salad with Carrots and Sugar Snap Peas

Quinoa Salad with Carrots and Sugar Snap Peas
Johnny Autry; Food and Prop Styling: Charlotte L. Autry

Recipe: Quinoa Salad with Carrots and Sugar Snap Peas

Quinoa is the protein-packed hearty grain that serves as the base to this filling salad. A sprinkle of toasted nuts and dried fruit are welcomed additions to this salad as well.

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Rainbow-Carrot Tart with Pea Shoots

Rainbow-Carrot Tart with Pea Shoots
Johnny Autry; Food and Prop Styling: Charlotte L. Autry

Recipe: Rainbow-Carrot Tart with Pea Shoots

Who needs turkey when you have this beautiful tart as your dinner centerpiece? If you can't find pea shoots, watercress works as a beautiful delicate garnish as well.

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Homemade Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Leeks

Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Leeks
Linda Puglies; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Homemade Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Leeks

Crispy leeks are a green bean casserole game changer. They also happen to look super elegant, for the perfect presentation.

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Old-School Squash Casserole

Old-School Squash Casserole
Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Old-School Squash Casserole

This classic meat and three dish is a great hearty main for vegetarians. Our favorite part is the crunchy, buttery cracker topping that keeps us coming back for seconds.

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Green Beans with Garlic

Green Beans with Garlic
Jim Franco; Styling: Leslie Siegel

Recipe: Green Beans with Garlic

A simple sautéed vegetable side like this is always a winner on the Christmas buffet. This five-ingredient dish uses only pantry staples (aside from the beans), but can be customized to your tastes with add-ins like red pepper flakes, shallot, or a little lemon juice.

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Skillet-Roasted Carrots

Skillet-Roasted Carrots
Greg Dupree; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners; Prop Styling: Christina Daley

Recipe: Skillet-Roasted Carrots

Sweet and sour, these carrots have it all. Cooked in honey and apple cider vinegar, the carrots are finished with fresh thyme for a pop of lemony brightness.

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Creamed-Corn Grits

Creamed-Corn Grits
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Styling: Christine Keely

Recipe: Creamed-Corn Grits

Grits are welcome to any and all occasions. These grits that borrow the best aspects of creamed corn are a rich side that goes with almost anything else you're serving.

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Collard Green Salad with Oranges and Port-Soaked Cherries

Collard Green Salad with Oranges and Port-Soaked Cherries
Greg Dupree; Food Styling: Torie Cox; Prop Styling: Ginny Branch

Recipe: Collard Green Salad with Oranges and Port-Soaked Cherries

Who says collards have to be stewed? This fresh take on collard greens incorporates sweet and tart oranges for brightness and jammy port-soaked cherries.

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Classic Candied Yams

Classic Candied Yams
Photo: Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Ginny Branch Stelling; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Classic Candied Yams

You need at least one side that is sweet enough that it could pass for dessert and this is our pick. Lightly spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla, these yams are bound to spread some holiday cheer.

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Asparagus with Cheese Sauce and Herb Breadcrumbs

Asparagus with Cheese Sauce and Herb Breadcrumbs
Greg Dupree; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Asparagus with Cheese Sauce and Herb Breadcrumbs

Vegetables are always better with cheese, add herb breadcrumbs and you'll hardly feel like you're eating a vegetable. The cheese sauce also happens to be stress-free, for a dish ready in 25 minutes.

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Brussels Sprout Slaw with Apples and Pecans

Brussels Sprout Slaw with Apples and Pecans
Greg DuPree

Recipe: Brussels Sprout Slaw with Apples and Pecans

The crunchy and refreshing antidote to all the creamy, cheesy, and gooey dishes on the table. Use grocery-store pre-shredded sprouts to cut down on prep time.

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Roasted Cauliflower with Seed Salsa

Ashleigh Shanti's Roasted Cauliflower with Seed Salsa
Peter Frank Edwards; Prop Styling: Kendra Surface; Food Styling: Anna Hampton

Recipe: Roasted Cauliflower with Seed Salsa

The star of this dish is the seed salsa, made from all kinds of seeds, including sunflower, sesame, mustard, cumin, and coriander with heat from a chile de arbol. The salsa adds both great crunch and spice to the toasty, roasted cauliflower.

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Tabitha Brown's Vegan Mac and Cheese

Tabitha Brown's Vegan Mac and Cheese
Greg DuPree, Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer, Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Recipe: Tabitha Brown's Vegan Mac and Cheese

While vegetarian dishes don't have to be vegan, this non-dairy mac and cheese might have people giving up dairy for good. Nutritional yeast is the secret ingredient that keeps this comfort food classic as cheesy tasting as ever, without using any cheese.

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Butternut Squash Lasagna

Butternut Squash Lasagna
Greg Dupree; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Butternut Squash Lasagna

You could serve any lasagna recipe (without meat sauce) for a vegetarian Christmas dinner, but we think this butternut squash version made with seasonal winter veggies is ideal for serving at the holidays. Made with no-boil noodles, it's also easy to throw together.

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Crispy Potato Galette

Crispy Potato Galette
Greg Dupree; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Styling: Ginny Branch

Recipe: Crispy Potato Galette

Mashed potatoes are delicious, but they aren't nearly as beautiful as this layered potato galette. Pro tip: use a mandoline for picture perfect potato slices (just watch your finger tips).

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Stuffed Acorn Squash with Farro

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Farro
Greg Dupree; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Styling: Ginny Branch

Recipe: Stuffed Acorn Squash with Farro

A colorful and seasonal main dish that won't leave vegetarians wanting for anything. Stuffed with farro, dried cranberries, and sliced almonds, it hits on all the nutty, sweet, and salty notes. Plus, any leftover farro stuffing doubles as a great salad the next day mixed with some fresh greens.

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Savory Corn Pudding

Savory Corn Pudding
Photo: Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Ginny Branch Stelling; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Savory Corn Pudding

This corn pudding recipe puts a savory spin on the classic with chopped onion and fresh thyme. It's not low on the calories, but trust us when we say all the heavy cream and butter in this dish is worth it.

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Sumac Carrots with Feta Mousse and Crispy Panko

Coby Ming and Damaris Phillips' Sumac Carrots with Feta Mousse and Crispy Panko
Johnny Autry; Prop and Food Styling: Charlotte L. Autry

Recipe: Sumac Carrots with Feta Mousse and Crispy Panko

You've probably roasted carrots, sautéed them, and glazed them, but have you ever served them with a feta mousse? Tangy, salty, and creamy, paired with crispy breadcrumbs and lemony sumac, these carrots are a bright, new addition to the Christmas buffet.

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Creamy Kale and Pasta Bake

Creamy Kale and Pasta Bake
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Creamy Kale and Pasta Bake

Sneak some kale onto everyone's plate with this pasta bake. Even the kid's table will happily reach for seconds once they're tasted how creamy and cheesy this pasta is.

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Sweet Potato, Cauliflower, and Greens Casserole

Sweet Potato, Cauliflower, and Greens Casserole
Hector Sanchez; Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas

Recipe: Sweet Potato, Cauliflower, and Greens Casserole

Thick slices of layered sweet potato create a meaty texture in this vegetarian casserole, which combined with an easy cream sauce hits all our favorite casserole flavors without any of the meat.

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