Vegan Life | Recipes
October 9, 2020
Wow, is it fall already? Summer seems like just yesterday, but Thanksgiving is just around the corner.
Maybe you're a new vegan wondering what you can cook for your first vegan Thanksgiving. Maybe you're hosting a vegan for Thanksgiving and wondering "what do vegans eat for Thanksgiving?" Or maybe you've been vegan for a while, but you need some new recipes for this holiday that features mostly traditional dishes.
Whatever your vegan Thanksgiving needs, I've compiled a complete menu of recipes to make your holiday meal a success for everyone! There are no compromises in these Thanksgiving dishes. I promise, no one will miss the meat, dairy, or eggs in any of these recipes. Whether you're planning a fully vegan meal, or just incorporating some vegan options for a few of your guests, these dishes are sure to be loved by all. (And if you're not vegan, but came here searching for recipes to serve for a vegan, thank you!)
Most of these recipes have some make-ahead instructions to save cooking time on Thanksgiving day. You can make your day a little more relaxing by planning your menu in advance and paying attention to which dishes can be partially prepared ahead of time.
Don't forget to prepare some snacks and appetizers to eat during the day! Cooking is hard work, and having some easy appetizers on hand will keep you and your guests happy while dinner is being prepared.
Appetizers and snacks are critical to keeping everyone (including the cook) happy while waiting for Thanksgiving dinner. These recipes also work for holiday parties or football snacks.
This is the iconic game-day snack, made vegan. I've tried many vegan spinach dip recipes, and this one surpasses them all. It's creamy and flavorful, but it's also surprisingly healthy (at least compared to the dairy version). When I make it for guests and parties, the recipe is always requested by both vegans and omnivores. One pan of this is enough for a large group of guests.
This vegan appetizer option is a little fancier than the spinach dip, and it's also yummy! The cranberry sauce can be made ahead of time. When you're ready to serve it, all you need to do is slice and toast a baguette, and assemble the crostini! You can also double or triple the cranberry sauce recipe to serve with Thanksgiving dinner.
The traditional Thanksgiving meal is centered around a turkey. So it can be hard to recreate the Thanksgiving feeling without a turkey. There are some great options for frozen vegan "roasts" that pop up in stores around Thanksgiving and Christmas, so if you really want to keep that traditional vibe, you can try one of those. I personally am not a fake-meat eater, but I've heard good things about Gardein and Field Roast brands from those who are.
If you're looking for some other vegan main dish ideas, try these:
This may be one of the most complicated dishes on this menu, but it's the consensus favorite among my guests. It has a great combination of lentils and vegetables, spices and sauces, and has a tender texture that everyone loves.
This is a new dish for me, but I couldn't be happier with it! The vegan stuffing is rich and buttery, and the cranberry and apple flavors pair so well with the squash. This stuffing also tastes great without the cranberry and apple for a more classic stuffing. You can, of course, make the stuffing on its own, but I think these acorn squash halves make the perfect vegan "bowls" for a vegan stuffing!
Lasagna is great for Thanksgiving because pretty much everyone loves it. This version uses a delicious vegan ricotta made from tofu and marinara sauce with zucchini and carrots. For those who want a "meatier" taste, you can substitute lentils for the vegetables. You could even make half of the lasagna with lentils and the other half with vegetables so your guests can pick their favorite!
Thanksgiving is all about the delicious sides, and a vegan Thanksgiving is no exception. Fortunately, sides are a little easier for us, as vegetables are often served as side dishes. But these side dishes are more than standard roasted vegetables, they're sides that your guests will remember.
Mashed potatoes simply should not be both this good AND this easy to make. But these are! I love making these with Yukon gold potatoes because they have such a creamy texture and rich flavor. And a good vegan sour cream like Kite Hill, combined with fresh chives, adds the perfect amount of mild tartness. You will not regret making these potatoes.
This is far from an ordinary butternut squash casserole. I wondered whether I should even list it as a side dish since it could easily be served as a main course. This casserole is another one that's a little more complicated than most, but is absolutely worth it. Roasted butternut squash is mixed in with leeks, kale, and cashew goat cheese for a dish that's absolutely delightful. It's also a great balance for dishes that are heavy and starchy, like stuffing and mashed potatoes.
Green bean casserole was never one of my favorite dishes until I made it as a vegan. The fresh ingredients make all the difference in this dish, in my opinion. Instead of canned green beans, this recipe uses fresh green beans. And instead of canned mushroom soup, this recipe uses a cashew cream with fresh mushrooms. It is absolutely delicious!
Wow your guests with this gorgeous (but easy!) roasted carrot side dish. The carrots are coated in a glaze made from butter, maple syrup, and lemon. Then, they're topped with cashew cream and tahini sauce made with a blend of sweet and savory spices.
No Thanksgiving menu would be complete without dessert. I enjoy cooking, but my first love will always be baking. There are two desserts that are classic Thanksgiving desserts in my family, so of course, I had to make the best vegan versions possible.
Traditional apple crisp is actually nearly vegan. It just uses butter, which can be easily substituted with vegan butter. This recipe can also be made gluten-free with oat flour. I made eight versions of this apple crisp to make sure the topping had the perfect crunch and crumble. Serve it fresh out of the oven with a vegan vanilla ice cream like Oatly, NadaMoo, or Luna and Larry's Coconut Bliss.
Unlike apple crisp, brownies are probably one of the most challenging recipes to veganize. There are so many dry, cakey, flavorless vegan brownie recipes out there, that I almost gave up hope on having a decent vegan brownie. Thankfully, I didn't give up, and the result is this recipe. It's chewy, fudgy, chocolatey, and basically just perfect.
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.
Yield1 Thanksgiving Dinner
Prep Time60 minutes
Cook Time60 minutes
Total Time2 hours
Choose your recipes for Thanksgiving dinner.
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Check for recipes with make-ahead instructions to save some stress on Thanksgiving Day!
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