Having a vegetarian Thanksgiving? Impress your guests with creativity

Turkey might be the symbol of Thanksgiving, but it doesn’t make or break the meal. What people are really there for are the sides and dessert, anyway.

So if you don’t eat meat, aren’t into turkey or totally mangle your family’s bird on Thanksgiving Day — don’t worry. We’ve combed the internet on a hunt for the best turkey-replacers out there. The ideal vegetarian main dish for Thanksgiving needs to be a bit complicated– it’s a special day, so don’t just make something you’d make another night.

Vegan restaurant chain Native Foods is offering a seitan Wellington stuffed with kale, sweet potatoes, a caramelized onion compote and mushrooms for pre-order should you want to skip cooking altogether.

Sprouted Kitchen’s Buckwheat Harvest Tart is another great option– the buckwheat crust is stuffed with Swiss chard, butternut squash, gruyere and eggs, so it’s got a lot in common with a quiche, and has the show-stopper feel of a real Thanksgiving entree. Plus, the foodies over at Epicurious put it together with a few other recipes to create a fully vegetarian Thanksgiving meal.

Chef David Tanis, formerly of organic food mecca Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif., has a recipe in his cookbook, “A Platter of Figs,” he calls Green Lasagne that would really impress your guests. You’ll need a pasta maker to make the noodles, which have a puree of raw greens like chard or spinach in the dough. The lasagne itself is stuffed with ricotta, more greens and lots of garlic. You can find the recipe here.

The Food52 blog recommends this whole roasted cauliflower served with whipped goat cheese as a Thanksgiving entree, which would look great served like a huge roast turkey. The cauliflower is poached in a combination of white wine, lemon juice, red pepper flakes and more before it is roasted to a crackly brown.

Make any of the above (and mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, stuffing and cranberry sauce) and no one will miss the turkey.