November 4, 2022
Wow, is it fall already? Summer seems like just yesterday, but the holiday season 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!)
In the spirit of wishing you and your family a very happy Thanksgiving, here are my absolute best vegan Thanksgiving recipes for 2022:
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.
These jalapeño poppers are not the frozen ones from the 90s! They're a grown-up version of the classic, with an absolutely delicious lemony cashew cream filling and panko-breaded crust. They do require quite a bit of work though, so I'd only recommend these if you have some time to spare. You could also prepare them in advance and keep them in the freezer until you're ready to serve them. Then let them thaw for 15-20 minutes before frying them.
These potato skins are another classic game-day appetizer, but they're super easy to make! You'll just need to have some free space in your oven for about an hour or so to bake the potatoes, but otherwise, they come together pretty quickly! This recipe uses store-bought shredded vegan cheddar, sun-dried tomatoes, and vegan sour cream for a delicious vegan version of the original.
The traditional Thanksgiving meal is centered around a turkey. So it can be hard to recreate the Thanksgiving feeling without one. 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. With a great combination of lentils and vegetables, flavors like soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and vegan Worcestershire sauce, and a tender texture, everyone loves it.
This is a new recipe 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. You can make very easy and simple side dishes with roasted brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, or cauliflower steaks. Or cook up a pot of wild rice. 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 this comforting side dish.
If standard stuffing isn't your thing, try this variation with butternut squash, mushrooms, and apples. The flavors of the vegetables combined with fresh herbs make a perfect pairing!
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 creamy sauce (made from cashews) with fresh mushrooms. It is an absolutely delicious version of one of the OG Thanksgiving classics!
Twice-baked potatoes are a must at my Thanksgiving dinner table, and this vegan version lives up to the original! They're deliciously cheesy, mixed up with a stretchy cheese made of raw cashews and butternut squash. Top them with some paprika and chives for a delicious and colorful side dish.
This pumpkin soup is the ultimate comfort food for a chilly Thanksgiving night! It's full of flavor from fresh pumpkin, carrots, and ginger, and it's ultra-creamy, thanks to a delicious cashew cream.
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.
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.
This is one of my favorite butternut squash side dishes because it's so simple, delicious, and healthy! Forget peeling and cutting up the butternut squash, you can just cut it in half and roast it with this recipe.
These loaded baked potatoes are worthy of any Thanksgiving feast! They're made with Miyoko's vegan cheddar, Kite Hill vegan sour cream, sun-dried tomatoes, and chives, for a cheesy, flavor-packed baked potato.
No Thanksgiving menu would be complete without dessert. I enjoy cooking, but my first love will always be baking. There are 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.
The great thing about this decadent dessert is that it's much easier than a traditional crème brûlée, but it's just as delicious, and it's really impressive. You can even make the custard in advance and melt the sugar right before you're ready to serve it. With coconut milk, vanilla, and nutritional yeast, its tastes just as good as it looks!
Cupcakes are always a good choice for big gatherings because they're so easy to serve. And these cupcakes happen to be particularly delicious, especially when paired with vegan cream cheese frosting.
This apple galette is the French take on an apple pie, with all the flavor and half the work! It's a rustic and freeform pastry that gets folded around the apples. Serve it with vegan vanilla ice cream for a delicious after-dinner treat.
This vegan pie has all the authentic flavor of the Florida Keys, minus the dairy and eggs. Dress it up with some vegan whipped cream and lime zest for a perfect end to your holiday feast.
This vanilla pudding is made with just 6 simple ingredients, but it's rich, creamy, and full of flavor. Dress it up with some vegan whipped cream and berries for an easy but delicious Thanksgiving dessert!
Lots of Thanksgiving recipes require graham cracker crumbs, but many store-bought graham crackers include honey or even milk. If you can't find a vegan version in your area, you can make your own for all those delicious pie crusts.
Don't forget the beverages! If you're planning on serving wine, check to make sure it's a vegan wine (not all of them are). Apple cider is also a great holiday option. Or try a warm drink like the hot chocolate below.
This hot chocolate is made with Oatly, raw cacao, and dark chocolate baking bars for a rich, creamy flavor. Top with vegan marshmallows, whipped cream, and chocolate shavings for an extra-special treat.