People tend to have very strong opinions about what should be served on Thanksgiving. (In my family, green bean casserole is non-negotiable.) But whenever I hear anyone talk about their must-have holiday foods, I’ve noticed that very rarely will anyone name the one dish Thanksgiving is supposedly centered around: turkey.
If you’re vegan or vegetarian, you certainly won’t miss the bird. But regardless of where you fall on the eating animals debate, can we all agree that the holiday meal is really more about the sides? (And pie!)
All of this is to say that’s it’s absolutely, 100 percent possible to have a mouth-watering, magazine-spread worthy Thanksgiving feast that’s completely vegan. As plant-based eating has become more popular, the Internet has been flooded with vegan Thanksgiving recipes. I scoured all the options for you to share the best of the best: side dishes, high-protein entrées, stuffing, and desserts all included. No need to thank me—just save me a slice of pumpkin pie.
13 vegan Thanksgiving recipes to make this holiday
We can’t talk about vegan Thanksgiving recipes without finding an option for green bean casserole. By switching out the canned cream of mushroom soup typically used in green bean casserole for a homemade version, this Thanksgiving meal fave is not only veganized but also much lower in sodium. The vegan cream of mushroom soup is made with almond milk, chickpea flour, mushrooms, and a few key spices; it’s just as thick and flavorful as you want it to be. And of course this recipe doesn’t skimp out on crispy carmelized onions either.
Get the recipe: Vegan green bean casserole
This next-level take on traditional mashed potatoes is as rich in nutrients as it is color. The base consists of mashed cauliflower or potatoes (both will work) and eggplant, carrots, cabbage, and greens are used to form the spirals. You can still top it all off with vegan gravy, too.
Get the recipe: Thanksgiving spiral tart
Made with pumpkin seeds, roasted tomato, dried pasilla, arbol, and ancho chiles, the savory heat of a pipian rojo sauce pairs perfectly with acorn squash, which is slightly sweet when cooked. Besides, have you ever seen a quinoa dish look this good?
Get the recipe: Quinoa stuffed acorn squash with pipian rojo
Sweet potatoes are a tried-and-true Thanksgiving fave, but if you’re looking for something a bit more creative than just serving them mashed, try glazing them with a tangy teriyaki and sriracha sauce. Adding green onion and sesame seeds tones down the sweetness just enough.
Get the recipe: Teriyaki glazed sweet potatoes
Another creative way to cook with sweet potatoes this Thanksgiving is to use them as the “dough” for dinner rolls—a sweeter, more nutrient-rich take on bread-based rolls. They’re perfect for dipping in gravy or mashed potatoes. In this recipe, the tubers are blended with spelt flour (you can also use whole wheat). You only need six ingredients total to whip them up.
Get the recipe: Sweet potato dinner rolls
Even though canned cranberry sauce is vegan, it’s often high in sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, which can give it an artificial candied feel. Want to make your own? This recipe uses fresh or frozen cranberries, orange juice, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and cinnamon for a more robust and complex flavor profile.
Get the recipe: Homemade cranberry sauce
If you want to prepare an entree to replace the traditional turkey, this roast will do just the trick. Unlike most turkey substitutes which are made with tofu, cannellini beans are the central ingredient in this roast. Paired with roasted veggies and a tomato-based sauce, it’s tender, juicy, and full of flavor.
Get the recipe: Vegan Thanksgiving roast
If you’re looking for more surprising vegan Thanksgiving recipes, we suggest these “meatballs” and gravy as a turkey replacement. Made with lentils and flaxseed, these plant-based meatballs are also full of fiber and protein. The ingredients list may look intimidating, but it really only takes 15 minutes of prep work to bring this entree together.
Get the recipe: Vegan meatballs and mushroom gravy
Even if you don’t have a bird to stuff, you can still make an epic Thanksgiving stuffing. Follow this recipe for a classic bread-based version, which also includes plenty of vegetables and spices. The key is to cooking the bread until it’s slightly crispy. That way, it won’t taste mushy but will still soak up the vegetable stock.
Get the recipe: Vegan stuffing
Traditionally made with butter and heavy cream, this vegan take on creamed pearl onions uses coconut milk instead. The smart sub adds the rich and creaminess of heavy cream and won’t overpower the flavor of the onions.
Get the recipe: Creamed pearl onions
11. Pumpkin pie
What would Thanksgiving be without pumpkin pie? What makes this recipe a cut above the rest is that it blends together pureed pumpkin with mashed butternut squash for a more complex flavor profile. Nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon add sweetness while soy milk makes it silky smooth.
Get the recipe: Pumpkin pie
Want to serve up a dessert that isn’t pumpkin pie? Sweet potato pecan is another seasonal win. Just be sure to use coconut cream and not coconut milk; otherwise, it won’t firm up enough.
Get the recipe: Sweet potato pecan pie
For a Thanksgiving pie that’s a little more unexpected, try this chai spice pear pie. It still has all the warming spices everyone craves in a Thanksgiving dessert (like ginger, cinnamon, allspice, cardamom, nutmeg and cloves), but instead of pairing them with pumpkin, they’re used with pears instead. Enjoy it with coffee, tea, or apple cider, and end your holiday meal on a sweet note.
Get more holiday cooking inspo in Well+Good’s Cook With Us Facebook group. Share your favorite recipes, be inspired by others’ favorites, and join in on the monthly challenges that will encourage you to get cooking more in the new year.
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