Vegetarians have it good on Thanksgiving.

When you don’t have a turkey to thaw or giblets to juggle, you can feast on anything you want. Make yourself the world’s most decadent veggie plate. Celebrate Southern-style with a big Gardener’s Pie or Cornbread Salad. Fill up on seasonal favorites, like butternut squash, mushrooms and sweet potatoes. Or forget tradition completely, and just go with something delicious, like Chickpeas with Escarole and Caramelized Onions or an Instant Tamale Pie with spicy pintos, corn and salsa over warm, cheesy polenta.

Here are some of my favorite vegetarian (and vegan) Thanksgiving recipe ideas, including main courses, salads, soups and sides:

1. Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Penne (pictured above). What a big, beautiful mess. First, you toss your warm pasta in goat cheese and a little cooking water to make the tangy sauce. Then, you pile on the roasted butternut squash, onion, toasted walnuts, fresh basil and Parmesan. Thanksgiving in a bowl.

2. Three-Cheese Mushroom and Spinach Calzone. Not the most obvious choice, but if someone offered me a a mammoth rectangle full of gooey cheese, mushrooms and spinach, I would be thankful. If spinach and ‘shrooms aren’t your thing, feel free to stuff your calzone with artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, black olives, roasted red peppers or caramelized onions.

3. Spinach Feta Risotto. Creamy arborio rice swirled with a mountain of spinach and a big handful (or two) of punchy feta cheese. It’s rich and comforting and so good with sautéed mushrooms on top.

SO many choices … 

Main Courses

Soups

Sides