Photo Courtesy of Oxmoor House
Thanksgiving is, traditionally speaking, not a very vegan-friendly holiday. A table piled high with slices of turkey, giblet gravy, and buttermilk mashed potatoes is not what someone with a plant-based diet dreams of. But this menu, free of meat, dairy, and eggs, lets vegans and omnivores alike enjoy Thanksgiving dinner without sacrificing a bit of flavor. Robust sides, simple salads, a rich main dish, and unique desserts all come together for a vegan Thanksgiving menu that wows.
Quinoa Salad with Pistachios and Currants
Photo: Christopher Testani
Seasonal fruits and vegetables, paired with legumes and grains, build a dinner that will leave guests raving.
Quinoa is a modern twist on this old-world dish. Dried currants are smaller and less sweet than raisins, but either will work in this dish.
Kale, Jicama, and Orange Salad
Bland veggie trays tend to lose out over sugary treats; serve this dish instead. This salad pops with color and texture from juicy citrus, creamy avocado, and crisp jicama. Dark, bumpy kale fits the mood, but you can substitute any lettuce you like. We love the pink hue of Cara Cara oranges in the salad, but regular navel or even blood oranges (in keeping with the spooky theme) would also work. Sturdy lacinato kale will become perfectly tender when dressed and left to stand at room temperature. Coating the avocado in the dressing first will keep it from browning while you're out having fun.
Roasted Broccoli with Pistachios and Pickled Golden Raisins
Some version of broccoli, usually laden with cream and cheese, lands on many a Thanksgiving table. But this dish, with its beautifully balanced flavors, is much lighter—and vegan.
Baby Carrots with Herb Dressing and Olives
Look for baby carrots with some of the green tops attached; reserve and chop for tossing with the steamed carrots. Carrots should be about the width of your thumb; halve larger ones so they cook evenly. Steaming is gentler than boiling and faster than roasting. And, because the carrots are less caramelized, the fresh herbs stand out more.
Roasted Fennel with Rosemary Breadcrumbs
Instead of roasted root vegetables or Brussels sprouts, try roasted fennel. Fennel has licorice notes that mellow in the oven, becoming slightly sweet. A splash of cider vinegar at the end brightens the dish.
Whole Roasted Carrots With Black Lentils and Green Harissa
Cajun spiced lentils serve as a delicious protein component in this vegan meal, but what really makes this dish shine is the green harissa drizzled on top. The Tunisian-like sauce brings spice, tang, and bright herbiness to the sweet winter carrots.
This spin on the bistro staple steak frites offers plenty of umami satisfaction in the form of juicy, meaty portobello mushrooms and a savory wine sauce. Finishing the sauce with a touch of vegan butter gives it luxurious and velvety consistency.
Grapefruit Granita with Pear-and-Pom Relish
No need to relegate icy treats to the summertime. This granita will make a fantastic addition to your holiday get-togethers.
Graham Cracker-Apple Crisp
Photo Courtesy of Oxmoor House
This crisp is just as delicious for breakfast as it is when served for dessert. The combination of gluten-free oats and graham crackers gives the topping a unique texture that complements the soft apple filling. Substitute whipped coconut cream for the whipped topping, and you've got a dairy-free dessert.
40 Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes
These vegan Thanksgiving recipes include entrees, side dishes, desserts, and more - everything you need to make a plant-based holiday feast!
Every year, I hear from readers asking for vegan Thanksgiving recipes. I always write back with an idea or two, but I never quite feel like my response is enough. I think one of the most joyous things about Thanksgiving is crafting a menu that you and your friends or family will love. So instead of sending a couple suggestions to each person who writes in, I wanted to create a whole collection of vegan Thanksgiving recipes for you to explore.
And finally, it’s here! Below, you’ll find over forty of my best vegan Thanksgiving recipes. They include everything you need to create a plant-based holiday feast: vegan riffs on classic side dishes, inventive entrees, decadent desserts, and more! I hope you have fun going through them, and if one makes its way onto your Thanksgiving table, I hope it’s a hit. Happy Thanksgiving!
The 100% Vegan Menu to Rock an Animal-Free Thanksgiving
A vegetarian Thanksgiving? Piece of cake. I don't care much for turkey, and my favorite stuffing has no sausage in it, and I have little need for bacon in my Brussels sprouts. Actually, due to collective turkey paranoia, more than a few Thanksgivings of mine have been incidentally vegetarian. It's been great.
Oh, you're vegan, you say? And you want a great Thanksgiving of your own? It's okay, we got you.
Yes, a Thanksgiving without dairy and eggs means you miss out on buttery mashed potatoes and custardy pumpkin pie. Creamy green bean casserole and crusty potato gratin aren't in the cards. But skipping out on dairy doesn't mean skimping on the comforting, carb-y dishes Thanksgiving does best. Actually, it means you get to focus on bolder flavors brimming with spice, and explore a spectrum of textures wider than the usual seven kinds of creamy. Give this menu a peek and tell me you're not strapping on the fat pants by the end of it.
Spicy Carrot and Ginger Soup With Harissa
I start my Thanksgiving meals with a good creamy soup, but a cream-less vegetable soup works just as well. When you simmer and blend carrots in vegetable stock, you get a purée so creamy, it doesn't need dairy. This number adds some spice, with ginger, coriander, and harissa paste, to kick-start appetites for the main meal. And best of all: The soup can be made ahead and frozen, then defrosted just before dinner starts.
Thanksgiving is a meal of sides, but it still needs some kind of centerpiece. The traditional vegan option here is a loaf of Tofurkey, still creased from its plastic packaging, with all the texture and flavor of a rubber band. Hey, I love chewy seitan and tempeh when done right, but that pre-packaged "roast" ain't cutting it.
Instead, consider this deeply savory vegan take on beef Wellington, made with roast carrots, mushroom bacon (yes), cashews, and beans, all layered and wrapped in layers of crackly phyllo. Okay, it's a serious project—one that needs plenty of advance planning—but if you're not gonna haul out the showstoppers, the shut up, Uncle Carl, vegan food can be awesome dishes, on Thanksgiving, then when will you?
The Best Vegan Stuffing
Panzanella, a crusty bread salad featuring toasted croutons soaked in good olive oil, is one of the best things to do with a stale loaf of bread. This we know. Now, meet the casserole version: a stuffing (okay, dressing) of bread enriched with vegetable broth and olive oil instead of turkey stock, butter, and eggs. It's a little lighter than the typical meaty stuffing, which means you can eat more of it, and nubs of cooked-down mushrooms and sage leaves deliver amazing bursts of meaty flavor that imitate—dare I say, improve on?—the sausage in typical stuffing, while the toasted pecans mixed in add serious crunch.
Fried Brussels Sprouts With Shallots, Honey, and Balsamic Vinegar
If you're skipping turkey and mashed potatoes, you have some caloric leeway to play with, and also some room to show off. So: Fry your Brussels sprouts! It's the fastest, tastiest, and most foolproof way to get crisp, nearly burnt leaves with tender, creamy centers, and you can cook up a whole mess all at once while freeing up your oven for other tasks.
You could stop with plain sprouts, salted as soon as they leave the fryer, but they'll be even better if you fry up some shallots alongside them and toss them with honey, balsamic vinegar, and parsley. (Agave nectar works great if you don't eat honey.) Now you have a sweet-and-sour heap of vegetables full of burnished, browned flavors, all with just a couple of minutes of active cooking time.
The Sweetest Roast Sweet Potatoes
The sweetest sweet potatoes don't need extra sugar. There's plenty of sugar in that spud already, and, by par-cooking the sweets at between 135 and 170°F, you activate an enzyme that converts the potatoes' starches into maltose. Once you do so, you can then roast the potatoes to an exceptional crispness, helping them stay crackly long after other sweets turn limp.
Sautéed Green Beans With Mushrooms and Caramelized Cipollini Onions
Green bean casserole is often creamy to the point of being gluey. If you actually want to taste the green beans, onions, and mushrooms that the dish is supposedly all about, here's a fresher way to do so: Caramelize cipollini onions until they turn soft and candy-like. Brown mushrooms until they turn into firm, meaty nubs. And blanch and sauté green beans until they're just tender. Then mix all the parts together for a dish that has all the elements of a green bean casserole, but with more concentrated flavors.
Roasted-Chickpea and Kale Salad With Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette
This is no rabbit food: It has chickpeas rolled in cumin and paprika, then roasted until dense, crackly, and crispy. A dressing with tangy-sweet sun-dried tomatoes, a blast of hot sauce, and cooling cilantro and mint. Okay, there's kale, too. You're hosting a vegan Thanksgiving, and people are going to expect kale. This is how you prove that a) kale is awesome, and b) kale salads aren't just for trendy restaurants.
I'm usually a traditionalist when it comes to cranberry sauce. Cranberries, sugar, orange peel—that's all for me. But this menu is building a kind of sweet-and-sour flavor profile, and there should be a cranberry sauce to round that profile out. This here sauce is straightforward but fascinating. Brown sugar adds caramel depth and a molasses twang. Pomegranate juice draws out cranberries' astringency and acidity all the more. And jewel-like pomegranate seeds, stirred in at the very end, have a juicy pop that cooked cranberries lack. This sauce doesn't rely on a syrupy soda of sweet spices for depth: It's fresh, interesting, and somehow even more cranberry-ish than the original.
A Palate Cleanser
It's a smart move on Thanksgiving to serve a palate cleanser in between the main meal and dessert course. This intermediary pause lengthens the evening and slows down the feeding frenzy—don't you hate it when you've spent all day cooking, only for your guests to devour everything in half an hour?
Let people retire to the drawing room and lie down on the couch for a reprieve. Then serve them scoops of this tart, sweet, and aromatic cranberry sorbet, turned lipstick-red by a slurp of Lillet Rouge, the lesser-known but more autumn-friendly aperitif cousin to Lillet Blanc. The wine's bittersweet botanical qualities add a clean, herbal finish to the cranberries—especially nice for a palate cleanser.
Apple Cider Doughnuts
Is serving doughnuts for Thanksgiving a departure from tradition? Perhaps, but you won't catch anyone complaining. These gently spiced, yeast-raised doughnuts call on two sources of apple flavor. Apple cider is mixed into the dough, and powdered freeze-dried apple is mixed into the sugar topping each doughnut is finished with. The cooked doughnuts are crisp and light, with loads of apple flavor packed into every bite.
Apple Pie, With a Vegan Touch
Pumpkin and pecan pies are custard pies—not the most vegan-friendly. But, with a handy dairy-free pie crust, apple pie is the star of your vegan Thanksgiving dessert spread. Fortunately, Kenji's easy pie dough recipe works every bit as well with shortening as with butter—it's just as easy to work with and produces beautiful flakes. So skip the egg wash, whizz up a batch, chop your apples, and get to baking!
A vegan Thanksgiving menu and recipes
When you think of Thanksgiving, what comes to mind? If you’re like most people, it’s a giant turkey, buttered mashed potatoes and creamy cheesecake with fresh whipped cream. Although, for the thousands of Americans who are living a vegan lifestyle, Thanksgiving can be difficult, especially if no one else in your family lives meat and dairy free. If you are living a vegan lifestyle, you can still enjoy your holiday with these delicious, decadent and completely dairy free and vegan Thanksgiving recipes!
Herb spiced stuffing, creamy “cheddar” garlic mashed potatoes, hearty vegan chili, maple roasted sweet potatoes and decadent vegan cheesecake make up this tantalizing menu. Bring one of these side dishes, the dessert or the main dish to your Thanksgiving celebration this year to completely wow (and even transform!) your carnivorous family and friends.
Herb spiced stuffing recipe
This herb spiced and fresh stuffing is the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving. Instead of using butter or chicken broth, this stuffing is made with extra virgin olive oil and 100% vegetable broth. Plus, the addition of the freshly picked apple and roasted pecans make this one unforgettable side dish!
Yields: About 6 (1/2 cup) servings
- 3 cups herb breaded stuffing mix
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
- 3 fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 1 medium apple, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup roasted pecans, chopped
- 3/4 to 1 cup 100% vegetable broth (depends on your preferred consistency)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Heat oil in a medium Dutch oven (or wok) on high heat. Add onions and celery. Cook until vegetables are slightly browned and softened. Add stuffing mix, broth and salt and pepper. Cook until all bread pieces are moistened.
- Add chopped apple, basil leaves and roasted pecans, heat for another two to three minutes. Remove from heat and serve with a garnish of fresh basil.
Creamy garlic mashed potato recipe
Traditional mashed potatoes are often filled with butter, sour cream, milk and cream cheese. These vegan mashed potatoes are the most decadent, creamy and delicious potatoes I’ve ever made, and they have absolutely NO dairy. The key to these amazing potatoes? The addition of vegan cream cheese, vegetable broth and vegan shredded cheese. You get the incredible flavors of both without any added dairy.
Yields: About 6 (1 cup) servings
- 6 large russet potatoes, quartered
- 4 ounces Toffuti Better Than Cream Cheese
- 4 tablespoons vegan butter (try Earth Balance)
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup vegetable broth (depending on desired consistency)
- 1/2 cup vegan shredded cheddar cheese (try Daiya!)
- 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1/2 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- Liberal dashes of salt and pepper (for preference)
- 6 stalks fresh chives, finely chopped
- Bring a large pot of water (6-8 cups) to a boil. Add potatoes and boil until softened. Rinse and put back into pan.
- Working quickly while potatoes are still hot, add butter, vegetable broth, cream cheese and shredded cheese. Using a handheld mixer, beat the potatoes until creamy. Add Italian seasoning, garlic powder and chives. Mix in salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!
Maple roasted sweet potato recipe
You will certainly make an impact with this incredible side dish. This roasted sweet potato recipe is sweet enough to be a dessert, but still savory enough to be a side. The sweet maple syrup is the perfect complement to the hearty texture of the sweet potatoes. This will instantly become a vegan Thanksgiving staple in your house, I promise you.
Yields: About 6 to 8 (1/2 cup) servings
- 2 pounds sweet potatoes, quartered
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter spread (try Earth Balance Natural spread)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Freshly ground pepper, for taste
- Cooking spray
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. and coat the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange sweet potatoes in an even layer in the dish.
- Combine maple syrup, butter spread, lemon juice and salt in a bowl. Pour mixture over the sweet potatoes until they are fully coated.
- Cover and bake for 15 minutes until potatoes are soft. (Your house is going to smell AMAZING.)
Spicy vegan chili recipe
One advantage of being vegan is that you can really add variety to a menu that is often the same every single year. To spice up your Thanksgiving, make this vibrant vegan chili! Each bowl is filled to the brim with hearty beans, caramelized onions, carrots and celery and has a surprising kick from added crushed red pepper. Serve with a few pieces of sliced up avocado and you have an incredibly mouthwatering (and addictive!) chili!
Yields: About 8 to 10 (1 cup) servings
- 1 (8 ounce) can kidney beans, white beans and black beans (3 cans total)
- 2 cans diced tomatoes, one with juices and one rinsed
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup chopped mushrooms
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- 1 celery stalk (with leaves) chopped
- 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
- 1/2 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons flour
- Liberal dashes salt and pepper
- 1/2 avocado, sliced
- In a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil. Add chopped onion, carrot, mushrooms and celery and cook until softened, about four to six minutes. Add diced tomatoes, beans and broth stir.
- Add in seasoning, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper. Cover and heat for 15-20 minutes longer. Add in flour to thicken up sauce.
- Garnish with sliced avocado and enjoy!
Vegan pumpkin cheesecake recipe
There’s nothing like a creamy slice of pumpkin cheesecake to top off an incredible Thanksgiving meal. What makes this vegan pumpkin cheesecake so incredible is that you can’t tell it’s vegan! It’s incredibly creamy and decadent and tastes just like the real thing. The addition of the pumpkin makes it a perfectly seasonal addition to any holiday menu. Garnish with a dollop of vegan whipped topping and cinnamon and enjoy!
20 Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes
While so much of the culinary focus of Thanksgiving involves variations on a theme featuring a giant bird, vegans would like to remind the eating world that the true edible stars of late fall are&mdashwait for it&mdashfruits and vegetables. The bounty that comes with the chill of the autumn harvest is inspiring. There is no better place to celebrate it than on the vegan Thanksgiving table with dishes that will delight every last person at your gathering.
A stroll through the local farmers' market and farm stands will reveal a wonderful variety of pumpkins and hard-shelled squash, bins of fresh apples and pears, fleeting piles of perfumed quinces, and bunches of nutrition-rich cold weather leafy greens like kale and broccoli rabe. Supermarkets are suddenly bright with the new season's citrus, late Muscat grapes, and pyramids of fresh cranberries. Gorgeous pomegranates begin to arrive alongside trays of sunny persimmons. For mushroom hunters and shoppers alike, umami-redolent fungi beg to add complexity and substance to stuffings and sauces. Pecan and walnut trees are delivering their harvest of fresh season nuts. And cold-season staples like lentils and beans come into their own at last.
Use this bounty of seasonal food to make recipes just right for Thanksgiving, from vegan takes on Thanksgiving classics like stuffing, mushroom gravy, and mashed potatoes, to stunning vegan entrées. Here, we have curated a collection of our best vegan dishes to fuel your creative planning for the coming feast. They span the length and breadth of the Thanksgiving meal, from vivid dips, to kaleidoscopic salads, warming soups, and refreshing seasonal desserts.
38 Festive Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes That Will Impress the Whole Family
Vegan Thanksgiving Lentil Loaf with Gravy and Sweet Potato Pumpkin Casserole (Whole Menu)
Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake by Marina from Yummy Mummy Kitchen
Vegan Lentil Loaf by Marina from Yummy Mummy Kitchen
Vegan Baked Cauliflower by Lauren from Lauren Caris Cooks
Easy Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake by Monica from the Movement Menu
No Oil Crispy Roasted Potatoes by Melanie from A Virtual Vegan
Cinnamon White Chocolate Cheesecake by Florian from Contentedness Cooking
Vegan Stuffed Squash by Melissa from The Stingy Vegan
Smoky Maple Roasted Carrots by Sophia from Veggies Don’t Bite
Pasta with Brussels Sprouts and Cranberries by Robyn and Simply Fresh Dinners
Fragrant Toasted Almond Rice Pilaf by Sue from The View from Great Island
Where do I get my Holiday Groceries?
Before we get to the shopping lists, lets talk about groceries.
This time of year is crazy and when it comes to holiday shopping, I like to avoid the crowds. Which is why I like to do all my holiday shopping (for non-perishables) at Thrive Market.
Thrive Market is an entirely zero waste company so you don&rsquot have to feel bad about stocking up on your holiday essentials. Thrive Market sells all organic, non-GMO products at 25-50% off retail price Better yet? With every member who joins Thrive Market, they sponsor a free membership to a low income family, public school teacher, military veteran, or first responder. Save money and do good! Now that&rsquos some holiday cheer.
When shopping, you can filter your search to &ldquovegan&rdquo items only and you&rsquove got your own online vegan grocery store. Thrive Market has saved me a ton of money and time and I HIGHLY recommend checking it out.
Frequently Asked Questions
Practically every traditional Thanksgiving dish has a vegan version. Some vegans choose to mimic the favorites they grew up with of turkey, mashed potatoes, and green bean casserole. While others like to plan their menu around non-traditional dishes such as Pumpkin Chili or Vegan Pasta Bake.
I've always loved making a meal out of vegan side dish recipes. But these days it's easy to find a wide variety of plant-based turkey substitutes, even at your local supermarket.
Most vegan meat substitutes including vegan turkey ("tofurkey") are made from tofu and vital wheat gluten (seitan.) If you have a gluten intolerance or sensitivity, you will need to check the ingredients very carefully before purchasing.
While vegans don't eat butter since it's made from dairy, there are a wide variety of butter substitutes on the market that are perfect for use in cooking. They are made from ingredients such as vegetable oil, coconut oil, and/or nuts. In addition, for many vegan Thanksgiving recipes, it's possible to use extra virgin olive oil in place of butter.
The easiest way to plan your Thanksgiving menu is to start with a main dish. Then build out the rest of the menu to go with that main. Start with the sides and then add some appetizers. Lastly, choose a dessert or two, or ask your guests to provide the desserts so you can serve a variety.
Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes
It's almost here. Everyone's favorite food holiday of the year - Thanksgiving! Like many holidays, Thanksgiving has become a time when we get together with family and friends, appreciate each other, and eat tasty food.
Thanksgiving can be a little intimidating for vegans since the main dish is literally a whole turkey, and the sides often contain dairy and more meat. But there are tons of vegan Thanksgiving recipes - and you're going to LOVE them! Your family and friends will probably love them, too. Prepare for lots of "THIS is vegan!?" comments.
These recipes are broken down by course: Vegan appetizers, main dishes, sides, salads, and desserts.
If you make one of these recipes, I would LOVE to see your recreation! Snap a photo, then tag me on Instagram and use the hashtag #karissasvegankitchen.
Vegan Thanksgiving appetizers to serve before dinner that everyone will enjoy.
Vegan Thanksgiving Drinks
12. Hot Cacao with Maca Root
If it's cold where you are, there's nothing like a warm chocolate drink after dinner (or in the morning). This hot cacao comes together in just a few minutes perfect for when you find yourself tired after a full day of cooking and eating.