I have been meaning to write this post for forever, but I didn't have the pictures. I still don't but I want to get it up anyway. We threw a baked-potato bar party over the summer, and at the end, I turned to Mr. Barefoot and said, "this would make a great thanksgiving!"
For a baked potato bar party, it's a super-simple concept that is really easy to make potluck and vegetarian or even vegan - we provided potatoes, greek yogurt, sour cream, butter, and spices, and everybody else brought toppings for both regular and sweet potatoes. We had black bean vegetarian chili, pulled pork, candied pecans, cheddar cheese, bacon bits, etc. For Thanksgiving, you could add roasted turkey, cranberry sauce, corn salsa or creamed corn, mac& cheese, green beans, and all manner of vegetables.
I love this as a vegetarian concept because nobody has to bring meat, and you end up with a holiday that doesn't revolve around meat. It's also novel enough that people won't complain as much about there not being a turkey. It's also great for people who are not very experienced cooks, because it's pretty hard to screw up baked potatoes. Just put a bunch on a cookie sheet and bake them for awhile. If you do eat meat, but don't cook very well, I personally would crockpot roast some drumsticks or something, and shred them to be a topping, but you could also provide roasted drumsticks as a side dish to avoid cooking a full bird. It also would be a great idea for a side dish if you do want to host a meal with a beautiful turkey, but don't want to put in the work to do multiple side dishes - a few potatoes go in the oven as soon as the turkey comes out, and while it rests, they bake, and everything is ready to go at once.
It also makes a great Thanksgiving leftovers brunch idea - because what leftovers aren't better on a roasted sweet potato? Minimal work, maximum fun - that's my kind of holiday!
What are you doing for a vegetarian (or carnivorous) thanksgiving?