10 Protein-Filled Vegetarian Sides Perfect for Thanksgiving

Side dishes are every bit as important as turkey on Thanksgiving. But for vegetarians (or anyone abstaining from meat) they’re especially important.

I try to have a variety of vegetarian side dishes, but I like to include at least one or two that are rich in protein. That helps ensure everyone can build a plate that won’t leave them hungry. Here are a few great options.

1. Thanksgiving Lentil Salad

This colorful lentil salad is such an eye-catching addition to your Thanksgiving table, the omnivores may reach for it first too. At a whopping 17 grams of protein per serving, it’s super hearty. But it’s also super tasty: It’s filled with roasted butternut squash and red onions, hearty kale, toasted pecans, and sweet golden raisins, all dressed in a roasted garlic-sherry vinaigrette.

2. Smoky Creamed Kale

Whole milk helps give this creamed kale plenty of protein (9.1 grams per serving). If you don’t have dry mustard on hand, a teaspoon of Dijon can easily be swapped in.

3. Butternut Squash Rose Tart

Ricotta flecked with sage and garlic is not only a flavorful base for this extra-pretty tart, but it also provides plenty of protein (9.3 grams!) and gives every bite a dose of creaminess.

4. Cornbread and Mushroom Stuffing

This vegetarian stuffing happens to be gluten-free, thanks to the cornbread — just be sure the cornbread you’re buying is marked as such. Toasted pecans add crunch, and a serving contains nearly 13 grams of protein.

5. Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Butternut squash makes this mac and cheese extra appropriate for the Thanksgiving table. It also lends a pretty orange hue and adds wholesome fiber and other nutrients. Don’t worry, though — it’s still plenty cheesy (enough to give this 13 grams of protein per serving!).

4. Cornbread and Mushroom Stuffing

This vegetarian stuffing happens to be gluten-free, thanks to the cornbread — just be sure the cornbread you’re buying is marked as such. Toasted pecans add crunch, and a serving contains nearly 13 grams of protein.

5. Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Butternut squash makes this mac and cheese extra appropriate for the Thanksgiving table. It also lends a pretty orange hue and adds wholesome fiber and other nutrients. Don’t worry, though — it’s still plenty cheesy (enough to give this 13 grams of protein per serving!).

6. Broccoli Rabe and White Bean Gratin

To get ahead, the broccoli rabe can be prepared and frozen up to a month ahead of time. Just let it thaw slightly, combine it with the white beans, and proceed with the recipe. One serving has 12.4 grams of protein.

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