Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Thanksgiving Appetizers

In our humble opinion, Thanksgiving is superior to any other day of the year. In an effort to make this year’s feast the best of all time (sorry, Pilgrims and Wampanoag tribe), we’re bringing you the recipes, how-tos and decorating ideas to help you become a Turkey Day pro.

Meatless Monday is a global movement, a way of life. It’s not a campaign to turn everyone in the world vegetarian or vegan; in fact, many involved are meat-lovers. Eating less meat has been proven to reduce the risk of disease, curb obesity and has important environmental impacts, too. Will you join us in giving up meat, just for one day a week?

So you have your Thanksgiving dinner game plan all figured out. Festive holiday tablescape, check. Classic sides and a hearty main to please both carnivorous and vegetarian attendees, check. Wine list and kid-friendly beverages, check. Pie, check. (Duh.) But what about appetizers?

Don’t freak out. We’re not suggesting anything that will cost you a bunch of extra time and effort. A few simple snacks will actually make your dinner prep much more relaxing by keeping anxious guests happy and out of the kitchen. So set out some cheese and crackers and choose from our favorite no-fuss dips and spreads below. Who knows? By keeping hunger levels in check, perhaps you have a shot at avoiding some traditional family bickering.

Impressive Italian Spread (pictured above)

Ricotta is actually very easy to make, and tastes so much better than the kind from the tub. Make it ahead (you can start tonight), and serve at room temperature on toasted bread with lemon zest and a drizzle of olive oil.
Get the Recipe: Fresh Ricotta Crostini

Decadent Holiday Deliciousness

This sweet baked brie will spread holiday cheer among guests. For super simple prep work, make the pecan praline sauce the day before and rewarm in the microwave.
Get the Recipe: Maple Pecan Baked Brie

Oldie but Goodie

Alton’s hot spinach and artichoke dip is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser for any family get-together.
Get the Recipe: Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Simple Elegance

Serve crisp crudites alongside tangy goat cheese sauce for a classy appetizer. Light and crisp, you won’t have to worry about guests becoming too full before dinner.
Get the Recipe: Herbed Goat Cheese Sauce for Crudites

More Meatless Appetizer Ideas: