Go Meat-Free This Thanksgiving With Delicious Vegetarian Dishes

meat-free thanksgiving

These vegetarian dishes will make you forget all about turkey this Thanksgiving.

This Thanksgiving, if you’re a vegetarian, give thanks for the fact that you can have such a healthy and delicious meal that you won’t even think twice about the fact that it’s sans turkey. Here’s how.

Roasted Delicata Squash Salad (adapted from Chow.com)

With all the meat, cream-based casseroles and starchy vegetables abounding, salads can get lost in the Thanksgiving shuffle. So start your meal off with this light and healthy squash salad that’s as delicious as it is beautiful.

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Best Vegetarian Restaurants in California

vegetarian restaurants in california

These vegetarian restaurants in California are so good, you’ll never miss the meat.

California’s healthy, eco-friendly mentality is so prevalent that it spreads to practically every aspect of the lives of its residents, so it’s no surprise that some of the best vegetarian restaurants in the country can be found in this sunny state.

If you want your plate to be filled with healthy, meat-free options, check out these vegetarian restaurants in California.

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Best Vegetarian Restaurants in Austin

vegetarian restaurants in austin

Texas is known for its barbecue, but there are plenty of vegetarian options in Austin.

The concept of eating vegetarian in Austin might be a foreign one to you. After all, this city is known for its big, beefy Tex-Mex cuisine like tacos, burritos and enchiladas, as well as its down-home barbecue joints serving up signature Texas beef brisket and pulled pork.

Having said that, it may surprise you to know that Austin is chock full of vegan and vegetarian restaurants for the meat-averse, or anyone who’s looking to nosh on something healthier than rib tips and beef nachos. Read on to find our favorite vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Austin.

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Vegetarian Barbecue Ideas

If you’re a vegetarian, there are a number of delicious foods to grill at a summer cookout.

With summer and its hotter temperatures just around the corner, you may be thinking of all the ways to get outside of your apartment and take advantage of the nicer weather. Camping, beach trips and grilling are all great ways to enjoy the summer. Since Memorial Day is May 28, there’s no better time to start dusting off the grill to have a fun summer cookout, but if you’re a vegetarian, or just trying to eat less meat, the idea of grilling up hamburgers and hot dogs could make your stomach turn. Fortunately, there are a number of unexpected and delicious vegetarian or vegan options to throw on a grill so you won’t have to resort to eating baked beans on bread this Memorial Day.

Veggie burgers

We’re not talking about your standard frozen Boca patties here. We’re talking about healthy and hearty veggie burgers that you can make from scratch using a few simple ingredients. This brown rice and vegetable-based burger recipe comes from Alton Brown. Jazz up the finished product with a buttery, toasted whole grain bun, lettuce, tomato, caramelized onions, avocado slices and some spicy mustard and you’re in for a treat that won’t even have you missing the meat.

Portobello mushrooms

These balsamic vinegar-marinated Portobello burgers are perfect for vegetarians who are looking for something substantial to eat at a cookout. Portobello mushrooms are great because they provide all of the same meaty flavor as a traditional beef burger, without the fat and calories. Charred on the grill and served with grilled red bell peppers and goat cheese, these burgers are a unique yet satisfying take on an original.


Impress your vegetarian friends by throwing a delicious vegetable pizza on the grill. The combinations are endless, so try experimenting with different cheeses, sauces and vegetarian toppings to keep the menu lively and exciting. This grilled vegetable pizza recipe uses a homemade pesto sauce (you can also substitute store bought pesto if you don’t have the time to make your own) as a sauce base, then layers on fresh mozzarella, smoky, charred bell peppers, zucchini and squash and dollops of soft goat cheese.


If you’ve never heard of seitan, it is a great, high protein meat substitute made from wheat gluten. Like tofu, seitan is incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety of different ways. You can toss the seitan on the grill and slice it for sandwiches, or cut it into strips for a stir fry. If you’re feeling adventurous, follow this recipe to make your own homemade seitan, or, simply buy packaged seitan at any health food store. This recipe for seitan kebabs features a spicy lime and garlic marinade and is great for any summer cookout.

Photo credit: iStockphoto/MadCircles

Best Vegetarian Restaurants in Chicago


best vegetarian restaurants in chicago

The Chicago Diner, a vegetarian restaurant, is an institution in the Windy City.

Perfectly situated on Lake Michigan, Chicago is the largest city in the state of Illinois. Nicknamed “The Windy City,” Chicago offers visitors and residents a unique mix of Midwestern charm with the sleek amenities of a larger city.

With so many restaurants to choose from, spanning every cuisine imaginable, you’ll have a lot on your plate when you visit or live here — literally. The city’s central location and mix of modern and traditional make Chicago one of the best cities for vegetarians.

There’s no shortage of things to do here, and whether you’re hitting up some of the famed exhibits at the Museum of Contemporary Art or the Museum of Science and Industry, taking in a Chicago Cubs game or simply strolling through downtown, chances are you’re never too far from a great Chicago vegetarian restaurant.

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8 Best Vegetarian Restaurants in the U.S.


Enjoy vegetarian cuisine like homemade gnocchi at the best vegetarian restaurants in the country.

Vegetarians want more than a meal at a restaurant without the meat; they want innovative, delicious faire with an emphasis on vegetarian protein. Reasons for going vegetarian vary from religious to ethnic to ethical, and vegans go without any animal products, including milk, honey and eggs.

In honor of World Vegetarian Day Oct. 1, celebrate at one of the best non-meat restaurants in the country. For more information on vegetarianism, visit www.worldvegetarianday.org.

Dragon Fly Neo V Cuisine
What: Dragon Fly Neo V Cuisine is where street food, seasonal ingredients and noteworthy cocktails meet. The “On the Fly” counter and carryout section is where you can indulge in street food like crispy falafel, a vegan portabella steak sandwich, three daily choices of empanadas and crispy sesame “sushi.” Happy hour and dinner attendees love the lavender gimlet, vanilla Manhattan and Jezebel cocktail, a sassy mix of orange vodka, cranberry juice and Goldschlager. Tasty dinner options include the cornmeal crusted tofu with vegan macaroni and cheese, pizza of the day and creamy polenta with avocado, black beans and tempura batter.
Where: 247 King Ave., Columbus, OH 43201

The Red Avocado
What: Start with the silky corn coconut soup at The Red Avocado, a vegan oasis in Iowa. Strangely, few items on the menu actually contain avocado, but you probably won’t miss it with dishes such as the tempeh Reuben, the Iowa BBQ Tofu Platter, fried seasoned tofu in a homemade barbecue sauce with local corn cakes and chipotle slaw; white bean pate and Jupiter’s Gnocchi, which features homemade gnocchi in a tomato-coconut milk sauce, roasted red peppers, tofu cheese, toasted cashews and sunflower seeds. Seasonal lunch and dinner offerings change daily, and the Red Avocado’s happy hour means house red or white wine is $4 a glass and select bottles of wine are 50 percent off.
Where: 521 E Washington St., Iowa City, IA 52240

Laughing Seed Café
What: Vegetarian restaurants aren’t hard to find in Asheville, with its nod toward Bohemian culture, and Laughing Seed does not disappoint. Its creative dishes include Miyabizushi, otherwise known as “decorative sushi,” Vietnamese-French banh mi sandwich, low country rollups with sweet and tangy tofu barbecue, and the local favorite, the harmony bowl, with organic brown rice, black beans, grilled tofu, steamed vegetables and sesame ginger sauce. Dishes are typically Vietnamese, Thai or Indian influenced.
Where: 40 Wall St., Asheville, NC 28801

Café Sunflower Buckhead
What: Asian-Latin-themed vegetarian food and killer desserts are all the rage at Café Sunflower in Buckhead (there’s another one in Sandy Springs), though the veggie burger here should also receive high praise. Vegan substitutes abound in the restaurant, such as soy cheese, seitan and tofu. If you can’t decide what to order, get the Sunflower Box, a smorgasbord of spring rolls, stuffed mushrooms, steamed dumplings, soy nuggets and red pepper hummus. Order the sesame chicken or garden loaf with herb mashed potatoes and miso mushroom gravy for dinner, and don’t miss the dense, rich carrot cake or old-fashioned chocolate cake for dessert.
Where: 2140 Peachtree Road NW, Atlanta, GA 30309

What: Source is where creative meets healthy – and healthy-sized portions. For an appetizer, order the baked vegan spinach artichoke fondue, a creamy (dairy-free!) concoction with cashew “cream,” truffle oil and bread crumbs, and for lunch, try the Fire Pot, a spicy rice noodle bowl spiked with star anise, ginger, lemongrass broth, assorted vegetables and soy protein. Raw enthusiasts will love the Live Platter, with hemp tabouli, marinated mushrooms, green goddess salad, lettuce tacos and “living chips.”
Where: 11 Division St., San Francisco, CA 94103

What: Delicious house-made sodas and margaritas compliment the Tex-Mex vegetarian menu at Seva, which has weekly specials in addition to its usual menu offerings. The yam fries are a must-try, and the nachos satisfy any late-night or next-day hangover craving. About half of the menu items may be ordered vegan (another 25 percent of the menu is already vegan), though the vegan buckwheat banana-pecan pancakes with Michigan maple syrup would make anyone happy.
Where: 314 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Sage’s Café
What: Whether you’re vegetarian, vegan or eating raw, Sage’s can suit your dietary needs. Its 90 percent organic menu includes breakfast, salads, sandwiches, smoothies, shakes, raw foods and even a “sensitivity menu,” for those who have allergies/aversions to soy, sugar, wheat, onions, nuts and gluten. Standouts are the breakfast tacos, basil pesto crepes and Picadillo Vegetariano, and most breakfast and lunch options at Sage’s can be made vegan or vegetarian.
Where: 473 East Broadway, Salt Lake City, UT 84111

What: Named for its hot sandwiches, Melt also serves soups, salads, breakfast and Sunday brunch. For lunch, devour the veggie cheesesteak, made with house-made seasoned seitan, roasted onions and peppers and provolone cheese; the vegan melt, with dairy-free rinotta and baked tofu on multigrain bread; or the mock tuna sandwich, an interesting combination of chickpeas, nori, red onion and celery, tossed in a lime cilantro vinaigrette. At brunch, you can’t miss the Carolina Grits, vegan golden hominy with red bell peppers, green onions, basil, vegan butter and hot pepper sauce.
Where: 4165 Hamilton Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45223

Photo Credit: iStockphoto/Silberkorn