Thanksgiving dishes so good you’ll skip the turkey

WeWork members who know a thing or two about food share their favorite holiday vegetarian or vegan recipes

For many people, Thanksgiving was never about the bird. It’s the side dishes—stuffing, mashed potatoes, candied yams—that make the meal. For some, they are the meal.

We asked several WeWork members who know a thing or two about food to share their favorite vegetarian or vegan recipes. Take our word for it: They taste as good as they look.

Roasted carrots with lemon-tahini sauce

Carrots often arrive at the dinner table with a thick glaze of honey or brown sugar. Goni Light, cofounder of the gourmet tahini company SoCo, was looking for something a little lighter. He likes this simple recipe for providing a “nutty twist” for the holiday. The member at New York City’s WeWork 115 Broadway says she garnishes the dish with chopped pistachios.

What you need:

1 bunch carrots
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup SoCo tahini
1 lemon or 3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cloves minced garlic or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup water as needed
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Sea salt

How to make it:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Wash carrots and dry completely, Trim the tops of the carrots, leaving some at the top for aesthetics.
3. Toss carrots with olive oil and sea salt. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast the carrots for 20 to 25 minutes, flipping halfway through until tender but still crisp.
4. Whisk together tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and oil in a bowl. Add up to 1/4 cup of water to thin out the sauce to your desired consistency.
5. Drizzle the lemon-tahini sauce over the carrots. Top with chopped fresh parsley.

Makes six servings.

Roasted garlic and rosemary mashed potatoes

Everyone needs a great mashed potato recipe, and Michael Freidson of Eat This, Not That! says that this one is his favorite. It’s creamy and rich, but made with 2 percent milk to keep it healthy. A potato ricer helps create smooth, fluffy mashed potatoes, but a potato masher or “even a few active forks” will work in a pinch. To make it even more special, the member at New York’s WeWork 85 Broad St says to add artichoke hearts, lemon zest, and grated Parmesan cheese.

What you need:

2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 cup 2 percent milk
Roasted garlic
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and black pepper to taste
Minced rosemary (or chopped fresh chives)

How to make it:

1. Fill a large saucepan with water and add the potatoes. Season with a few pinches of salt and bring to a boil. Cook for about 20 minutes until the potatoes are just tender. Drain.
2. While the potatoes boil, combine the milk and garlic in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Use a fork or a potato masher to mash the garlic into the milk. Keep warm until the potatoes are cooked.
3. Mash the potatoes. Add butter and continue mashing. Next stir
 in the milk, one large spoonful at a time, using a wooden spoon to help whip the liquid into the potatoes (this will create a smoother, more stable emulsion).
4. Season with salt and black pepper and stir in any herbs you may be using.

Makes six servings.

Braised lettuce hearts

Chloë Stewart of Nibs, Etc.—a London-based entrepreneur whose company makes granola and crackers out of juice pulp that would otherwise go to waste—recently found herself with six spare heads of lettuce. Rather than watching it wilt in the back of the fridge, the WeWork 15 Bishopsgate member created this recipe that could take the place on your holiday table usually occupied by Brussels sprouts or green bean casserole. If you don’t have za’atar, Stewart says just about any combination of spices will work. Try dried rosemary, thyme, and oregano or turmeric, cumin, ginger, and shredded coconut.

What you need:

6 lettuce hearts
2 teaspoons salted butter
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons hazelnuts

2 teaspoon za’atar (Middle Eastern spice mix)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

How to make it: 

1. Preheat your oven to 420 degrees. Place the hazelnuts onto a baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes.
2. Combine toasted hazelnuts and za’atar and pulse in a small hand blender.
3. Slice your lettuce hearts in half, keeping enough of the root so that that the hearts don’t fall apart. Rinse and place cut side up on baking sheet.
4. Pour enough water onto the sheet to just cover the base. Dot the hearts with the salted butter, adding 2 thumbnail-sized dollops to the water base as well. Season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and braise for 15 to 20 minutes until softened and just starting to brown all over.
5. Remove from the oven, switch on the broiler, and top your lettuce hearts with the hazelnut and za’atar mix, then grated cheese. Pop back under the broiler for 5 to 10 minutes until the edges are starting to char and the Parmesan has melted.
6. Serve right away.

Makes 5 to 7 servings.

Sriracha sweet potato cornbread

When cornbread makes an appearance on the Thanksgiving table, it’s often as the base for stuffing. This recipe, from Oscar Mendoza of Follow Your Heart, lets it shine on its own. It has a little extra kick, and a pleasing golden color, thanks to a bit of sriracha. The hot sauce is in the Vegenaise, one of the vegan-friendly sauces, dips, and dressings offered by Mendoza’s company.

What you need:

2 cups medium-grind cornmeal
1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed sweet potatoes (canned or homemade)
3/4 cup non-dairy milk
1/2 cup Sriracha Vegenaise

How to make it:

1. Preheat oven to 375 °F and spray a cast-iron skillet (at least 10” wide) with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together cornmeal, gluten-free flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together the mashed sweet potatoes, non-dairy milk, and Sriracha Vegenaise until well-combined.
3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir just until all dry ingredients are incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared cast-iron skillet and use a spatula to flatten and smooth.
4. Bake until golden brown (about 35 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in skillet at least 15 minutes before serving.

Makes 20 servings.

Mixed berry cream cheese bread pudding

Saudamani Gray is the head pastry chef at Tiny Cakes, a Philadelphia bakery specializing in all-natural cakes and deserts. One of her favorite treats for the holidays is this decadent cream cheese bread pudding, topped with your favorite berries. (The WeWork member’s recipe calls for strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries, but Gray says you can throw in some raspberries as well.)

What you need:

12 fresh croissants
2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese (room temperature)
2 cups heavy whipping cream (light whipping cream is also good)
4 cups of whole milk (room temperature)
6 eggs (room temperature)
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 teaspoon vanilla
4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 package strawberries
1 package blackberries
1 package blueberries

How to make it:

1. In a mixing bowl, cream together cream cheese and sugar. Add heavy cream, milk, vanilla, eggs, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
2. In a greased baking dish, add bite-size cubes of croissants and berries. Mix carefully without breaking the berries. Pour cream cheese mixture over croissants and berries, mixing until the bread is coated. Let stand for at least an hour, or even overnight for maximum flavor.
3. Sprinkle a light coating of brown sugar on top. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes in an oven preheated to 325 degrees.

Makes 15 to 20 servings.

Interested in workspace? Get in touch.