Ridiculously Good Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes
Wondering how to cook a vegan Thanksgiving dinner? Make everyone at your holiday table happy with 44 delicious vegan Thanksgiving recipes from appetizers and side dishes to main courses and desserts.
Featured photo by Olga Ivanova
I’m an enthusiastic omnivore most days, and at the Thanksgiving meal, I look forward to a big golden turkey, gravy, and all the trimmings. A few years ago, though, a vegan friend joined my family somewhat unexpectedly for the big feast. Suddenly, I was scrambling for vegan Thanksgiving recipes. (I wish I had known then how easy it is to search on Yummly!)
Don’t worry about me, the friend said; she was sure she could make a meal out of some vegan side dishes. For the record, I wasn't giving up my family’s favorite non-vegan Thanksgiving recipes, but I did want the meal to be as special for her as it was for the rest of us — not just a plate of stray green beans, stuffing that hadn’t touched the turkey, and a smear of store-bought hummus for some protein.
Cooking is one of the ways I like to take care of people, and this particular friend was in need of a little extra attention.
I started thinking about vegan recipes I could add to our meal. Thanksgiving, after all, is a celebration of bounty, and what could be more bountiful or beautiful than vegetables? The exercise fired up the creative cook in me, and turned into an opportunity to try some incredible dishes.
As we gathered in our northern California backyard that golden afternoon, we nibbled on roasted hazelnuts and homemade hummus to go with a local bottle of Pinot Noir. Dinnertime came and we paraded a grand Thanksgiving vegan main dish to the table: stuffed squash. The potatoes we had mashed with a peppery extra-virgin olive oil and almond milk instead of the usual butter and cream. And at dessert, alongside our favorite custardy pumpkin pie, we set out a bowl of delicately spiced poached quinces.
Our friend? She glowed. I like to think it was just from us fussing over her, but quite possibly it was all that good food. She must have taken thirds.
Since then I’ve discovered a cornucopia of vegan Thanksgiving recipes on Yummly. Whatever the holiday is sending your way this year, here’s a collection to keep at your fingertips. A vegan dish or two for a Zoom Friendsgiving? A full-on vegan Thanksgiving dinner? You’re covered, and the meal will be amazing. (And keep this roundup of holiday recipes in mind for Christmas, too!)
Jump ahead to:
Vegan Thanksgiving appetizers
Whatever you're serving for dinner, you're going to need some snacks at hand to keep the fam from snagging all the rolls before everyone sits down. Blissful Basil wows her vegan guests with toasts that are smeared with a quick and citrusy homemade hummus and then topped with spiced roasted carrots, plus parsley dressed in a coriander vinaigrette. All the components can be made ahead of time to assemble at the last minute.
Here are six more colorful and easy vegan appetizers you can add to your Thanksgiving repertoire.
Vegan Thanksgiving main dishes
Who says turkey has to star at the Thanksgiving table? When you’re cooking vegan, you have so many creative options for main dishes. This first entree, another Yummly original, takes on the whole meal! Four kinds of roasted vegetables; cranberry sauce; and lemony, garlicky white beans with kale are all included, so you could make this recipe and call it a day, in terms of dinner. (And those beans: You’re going to want to make them again and again, trust me.) While the recipe takes a little time to make, it’s worth it, and the Guided Video format will lead you through every step.
For some of us, half the fun of making Thanksgiving dinner is the planning. If you’re still pondering the possibilities, check out 12 more flavorful vegan Thanksgiving main dishes. Stuffed squashes (filled with barley, quinoa, and wild rice), whole roasted vegetables, pasta, shepherd's pie, "meatloaf," risotto, vegan versions of “roasts,” and grain bowls are all great options.
Vegan side dishes: potatoes, stuffing, and gravy
Your first question about vegan Thanksgiving side dishes might be: Is Thanksgiving, well, Thanksgiving if you don’t serve mashed potatoes? Unlikely. Fortunately, the vegans at your table can feast on spuds made delectable and creamy with extra-virgin olive oil, vegan margarine, almond milk, and sweet, mellow roasted garlic. This Yummly original Guided Video Recipe will show you just how easy it is.
Don’t stop at mashed taters, because there are plenty more delightfully carb-centric dishes to consider. Vegan Thanksgiving stuffing (aka vegan Thanksgiving dressing)? Yes indeed, we have both a bread stuffing and a vegan cornbread stuffing, with vegan gravy, of course. And don’t forget the vegan roasted potatoes, stuffed sweet potatoes, and sweet potato casserole.
Vegan salads, veggies, and cranberry sauce
Everybody needs a classic spinach salad recipe at the ready, right? And why not make it a vegan Thanksgiving salad? This Yummly original includes a savory and sweet combination of roasted nuts and dried cranberries with an apple cider vinaigrette. It’s plenty adaptable if you want to go with a different nut, or add sliced pear, apple, or even some pomegranate seeds. The dressing does contain a squeeze of honey; strict vegans can sub in a little maple syrup.
Below you'll find more vegan tossed green salads, an individual salad you can pick up with your fingers, roasted vegetables including cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, a vegan version of the beloved green bean casserole, vegan squash soup, and a Thanksgiving essential, cranberry sauce. You might need more than one big meal to explore them all.
Vegan Thanksgiving desserts
What should I make for a vegan Thanksgiving dessert? I punted on the question and served our friend some non-traditional poached quinces (which were amazing; see the recipe below). But since then I’ve learned that vegan pumpkin pie is an excellent idea. This pretty delish example happens to work for gluten-free diets as well. Condensed coconut milk, which is available in grocery stores' baking aisles, stands in for the usual cream, and cornstarch thickens the filling instead of eggs. Instead of nondairy topping, you could also serve it with vegan ice cream.
Of course you might need more than one vegan dessert for your Thanksgiving menu; in fact, I recommend it. Apple pie, crisp (aka crumble), or cupcakes; pecan and coconut pie bars; spice- and citrus-flavored poached quinces; maybe vegan cheesecake: Here’s to some tasty explorations. Happy Thanksgiving.
Explore the power of plant-based cooking
Have these recipes made your appetite for produce grow? Dig into Yummly’s bounty of ideas on making healthy, delicious meals for the whole family. Here are a few articles to get you started — we wish you fruitful reading!