If you’re serving a mixed table of vegans and meat eaters for Thanksgiving, the recipes will have to be impressive. Luckily, there are plenty of vegan Thanksgiving recipes available that will convince even the most diehard carnivore of the merits of vegan cooking.
Below you’ll find a list of forty of the best vegan recipes for Thanksgiving from across the Internet, along with some practical tips for setting up the most impressive vegan Thanksgiving spread your guests ever laid eyes on.
What Is Vegan?
Vegan recipes are recipes that omit any and all animal products or cooking methods that exploit animals. While vegetarian dishes omit meat, poultry, and fish, vegan dishes take this a step further to omit animal by-products like eggs, cheese, honey, and ingredients like rennet.
Since Thanksgiving is a vegetable-heavy feast anyway, it’s a great way to introduce your friends and family to new vegan recipes. Thanksgiving vegan recipes are often indistinguishable from non-vegan side dishes if high-quality vegan ingredients are used to substitute more traditional non-vegan ingredients like milk, cheese, meat, and bread.
Foods to Avoid in Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes
If you’re setting up a vegan Thanksgiving, there are a few different foods you should avoid using in recipes to keep things animal-free. Here are some common Thanksgiving foods you should leave off the menu for a vegan Thanksgiving:
- Honey: Honey is sometimes included in fall desserts, so check recipes carefully to make sure that they don’t include honey as an ingredient. This includes beverages that may be served with honey, such as tea and mead.
- Dairy products: The main difference between vegetarian and vegan dishes is that vegetarian dishes include common ingredients like milk, cheese, and eggs, while vegan dishes do not. Use vegan substitutes for these ingredients to achieve a similar end result with your dish.
- Storebought pesto: Pesto is a delicious condiment to serve with pasta salads and vegan main dishes. But storebought pesto is likely to contain Parmesan cheese. Make your own homemade vegan pesto to avoid this pitfall.
- Refined sugar: Refined sugars can be bleached with bone char that is derived from cattle bones. Using organic sugar and evaporated cane juice in place of refined sugar in Thanksgiving recipes can help keep them vegan.
When cooking vegan Thanksgiving recipes, it’s important to check the ingredients carefully. It’s easy to avoid meat and dairy. However, more hidden ingredients like shellac and gelatin may be harder to avoid.
Popular Dishes for a Vegan Thanksgiving
There are many popular vegan dishes that are bound to be a hit on any Thanksgiving table. These are a few classic vegan recipes that will impress vegans, vegetarians, and meat-eaters alike:
- Soups: Vegetable soups are a versatile starter for Thanksgiving. They are a delicious way to feature many popular autumn squashes like butternut squash and pumpkin. Vegetable soups can be garnished with vegan toppers like pepitas and lashes of vegan cream.
- Stuffed mushrooms: Stuffed mushrooms are practical for Thanksgiving because they can be served at any temperature. While mushrooms can be stuffed with vegetables or nuts, adding vegan meat and cheese substitutes can make these appetizers more rich.
- Fruit, vegetable, and “cheese” platters: Arranging cut fruits and vegetables on a platter with vegan cheese and crackers can be a visually pleasing dish that also keeps things light before the main dishes are served.
Top Turkey Substitutes for a Vegan Thanksgiving
The biggest change you’ll need to make to turn Thanksgiving vegan is to replace the traditional main dish – whole roasted turkey. There are many vegan main dishes that can be used as a substitute for roasted turkey for Thanksgiving:
- Tofurky: Tofu turkey, also known as tofurky, is a processed tofu product that is designed to mimic the flavor and texture of roasted turkey. Tofurkys are sold in loaf form and often come stuffed with vegan ingredients like grains and bread.
- Lentil loaf: Lentils have a tender texture once cooked which makes them a good substitute for ground meat, and they’re often studded with other savory ingredients like mushrooms or toasted walnuts. Lentil loaves are rich and satisfying enough to serve as a good substitute for roast poultry.
- Vegan pies: Whether you make a vegan shepherd’s pie or hand pies filled with vegan meat substitutes like chickpeas, vegan pies are hearty enough to serve as a replacement for the holiday turkey at Thanksgiving.
40 Best Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes
1. Vegan Mushroom-Walnut Balls
Sausage balls are a popular appetizer for the Thanksgiving holiday. These mushroom-walnut balls at Eating By Elaine are a satisfying vegan substitute.
Created with mushrooms, walnuts, caramelized onions, and spices, the balls can be served with cranberry sauce just like sausage balls.
2. Cups of Thanks
Cupped puff pastry can be used to hold a wide range of different savory or sweet ingredients to serve as a Thanksgiving appetizer. In this recipe by Nowadays, vegan chicken nuggets are combined with vegan cream cheese and sriracha hot sauce for a bite-sized snack that combines crunchy, creamy, and tender textures.
3. Vegan Cranberry and Cashew Cheese Crostinis
Crostinis are an Italian appetizer created by cutting toast into bite-sized pieces and topping it with various condiments and garnishes. Vegan crostini can be created by using vegan cheese together with toasted walnuts and homemade cranberry sauce for an appetizer that is sure to please. Pick up the recipe at Steph Sunshine.
4. Vegan Chorizo Stuffed Mushrooms
Spinach and artichoke dip is popular enough on its own for a party appetizer. But stuffing the dip in mushrooms with vegan chorizo takes this dip to the next level.
Be sure to make an extra tray because you and your guests won’t be able to eat just one. Learn how to make it for your Thanksgiving feast in the recipe from Eat Figs Not Pigs.
5. Turkey Fruit Platter
If you’re new to vegan cuisine, cut fruit and vegetable platters can be one of the easiest ways to build a vegan Thanksgiving dish without having to worry about complicated ingredients.
The fruit platter at Everyday Delicious will add a whimsical touch to your Thanksgiving table that children and adults alike will love.
6. Almond Herb Vegan Cheese
Vegan cheese can be served with many different accompaniments such as vegan crackers, cut vegetables, fresh fruit, and vegan deli sliced meat substitutes like tofurky.
The almond herb vegan cheese from Liv Vegan Strong is simple to make with blanched almonds, nutritional yeast, coconut oil, lemon juice, and a few spices.
7. Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip
If you want to bring a vegan appetizer that will be nearly indistinguishable from the traditional non-vegan version, try out this spinach artichoke dip at Keeping the Peas. The recipe uses a cashew cheese that has such a creamy texture you won’t even miss the dairy.
8. Potato Kebabs Stuffed with Avocado
These potato kebabs stuffed with avocado from Tadka Pasta might take a little time to assemble, but they’re well worth the effort. Mashed potatoes are wrapped around a creamy avocado center.
Next, they are fried in Indian spices for a savory appetizer that pairs well with green chutney.
9. Vegan Lentil Mushroom Meatloaf
Lentil loaf is one of the most iconic vegan Thanksgiving dishes. In fact, they don’t get much better than this vegan lentil mushroom meatloaf from Plant-Based Jess. The savory flavors of the meatloaf are accentuated by liquid smoke and offset by a sweet and spicy BBQ glaze.
10. Vegan Turkey Roast
Instead of eating a preformed tofurky loaf, you can try making your own vegan turkey roast using this recipe at Loving It Vegan. The roast is formed by chickpea-based seitan that is flavored with vegan chicken spice, garlic powder, onion powder, sage, thyme, rosemary, and soy sauce.
11. Mushroom Leek Pie
Mushroom leek pie is one of those main dishes that will be as appreciated by carnivores as it is by vegans. Mushrooms are often used in vegan dishes to help replicate a meaty texture in pies, casseroles, and appetizers. Learn how to make mushroom leek pie at Not Hangry Anymore.
12. Vegan Shepherd’s Pie
Shepherd’s pie is a common casserole made of mashed potatoes covering layers of vegetables and meat. Traditional shepherd’s pie is made with ground lamb. But this vegan version at The Conscientious Eater replaces ground meat with savory lentils for a casserole that is just as satisfying as the original.
13. Vegan Stuffed Mini Pumpkins
If you’re looking for something a little more decorative for your vegan Thanksgiving main dish, consider these vegan stuffed pumpkins from The Well Fed Yogi. Featuring a filling made of farro, baby kale, cashews, and fresh herbs, they’re a healthy and delicious centerpiece for the Thanksgiving table.
14. Chickpea Pot Pie
Pot pie is a one-dish casserole that can easily replace the Thanksgiving turkey as the star of the show. The version baked at Live Eat Learn is studded with carrots, corn, celery, peas, and canned chickpeas.
The dairy-free bechamel sauce and pastry topping in the pot pie make it a rich addition to your Thanksgiving spread.
15. Vegan Wellington
If you’re looking for a fancier main dish for Thanksgiving, check out this gluten-free vegan Wellington at Rhiana’s Recipes. The filling is created using white beans, mushrooms, walnuts, and chestnuts, then formed and surrounded with puff pastry.
Vegan Wellington can be baked in less than an hour too, making it much easier to prepare than traditional roast turkey.
16. Chick-Un Vegan Hand Pies
Coming up with a vegan chicken dish that is indistinguishable from the real thing is a difficult feat. But the chick-un vegan hand pie recipe at Yummy Medley fits the bill.
The filling is made of jackfruit and mushrooms for a meaty texture and seasoned with vegan chicken spices for an addictive savory flavor.
17. Roasted Broccoli Salad with Grapes
Broccoli and grapes might not seem like a good pairing in anything outside of a cold salad. However, this roasted side dish from Luci’s Morsels features a sweet and savory mix of roasted broccoli and grapes for a unique side dish you won’t find on anyone else’s Thanksgiving table.
The fruit and vegetables are flavored with onions and a lemon vinaigrette.
18. Roasted Rainbow Carrots with Rosemary
Carrots are common at the Thanksgiving table. Take them up a notch by using rainbow-colored carrots and seasoning them with fresh rosemary.
Rainbow carrots are even more flavorful and healthy than orange carrots from increased levels of anthocyanins and beta-carotine. Try the recipe at Hoorah to Health.
19. Roasted Cranberry and Lima Thanksgiving Salad
Salads are practical side dishes for Thanksgiving because they can usually be prepared ahead. In addition, they can be tailored to meet individual tastes easily.
The roasted cranberry and lima bean salad at Very Vegan Val contains bright pops of corn, bell pepper, and dried cranberries for a sweet and sour salad that adds color to the Thanksgiving buffet.
20. Vegan Mashed Potatoes
Mashed potatoes are a classic pairing with Thanksgiving turkey. However, even if you skip the turkey, you can still make a vegan version of this side dish at Earthly Superfoods.
Instead of adding dairy products like butter and milk, the vegan mashed potatoes in this recipe feature coconut milk and coconut oil for a creamy, rich texture.
21. Dairy Free Green Bean Casserole
When you think of Thanksgiving side dishes, you probably think of green bean casserole. The dairy-free version at Health My Lifestyle only has nine ingredients and omits the cream used in traditional green bean casserole recipes. Fortunately, it still manages to evoke that classic flavor.
22. Sweet and Sour Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts are a much-maligned vegetable that some people may be reluctant to add to their Thanksgiving menu. If you’re one of them, the sweet and sour Brussels sprouts at Omnivore’s Cookbook might change your mind.
The roasted Brussels sprouts are glazed with plum sauce for a decadent side dish that will convert even the pickiest eater.
23. Air Fryer Green Beans
Want to serve green beans at Thanksgiving but skip the heavy green bean casserole? Try these air fryer green beans from Cheerful Choices. The air fryer bakes the green beans in just six minutes. They can be customized with a wide range of different seasonings and toppings.
24. Vegan Mashed Butternut Squash
Vegetable mashes can make a nice substitute for traditional mashed potato recipes at Thanksgiving. The mash recipe from Frozen Bananas is made from silky butternut squash puree that is cooked with thyme, rosemary, garlic powder, and vegan Parmesan for a side dish that will add color and flavor to the table.
25. Vegan Healthy Pumpkin Pie
When it comes to the buffet table, it doesn’t get much more Thanksgiving-themed than pumpkin pie. This traditional harvest treat is easy to make vegan by replacing the dairy ingredients it usually contains with coconut cream. Learn to make it this Thanksgiving at Nora Cooks.
26. Roasted Apples with Cinnamon
Many of the desserts served at Thanksgiving contain the bountiful produce of the fall season such as pumpkins, apples, and winter squash. This dessert from Plant Based With Amy combines roasted apples with a warming blend of cinnamon and vanilla extract.
27. Vegan Apple Pie
Other than pumpkin pie, another dessert pie that frequently finds a place on the Thanksgiving table is apple pie. The vegan version at From the Comfort of My Bowl can be assembled quickly. The top crust can be decorated with a cookie cutter or pastry knife to create fanciful autumn leaves and other decorative shapes.
28. Healthy Vegan Nanaimo Bars
Nanaimo bars are a dessert bar that originates in Canada. The recipe combines a cookie base, custard icing, and chocolate ganache.
The vegan version for these dessert bars uses cashews, rolled oats, flax seeds, hemp seeds, vegan butter, and vegan chocolate chips for a decadent dessert to top off your Thanksgiving meal.
29. Vegan Pumpkin Expresso Bundt Cake
Cakes are a good choice for Thanksgiving desserts since they can be easily made a few days ahead or even frozen and thawed before serving. The vegan cake from At Home Plant Based combines pumpkin and espresso flavors for a dark cake that is moist and rich. You won’t even need frosting.
30. Easy Dairy-Free Cinnamon Rolls
Cinnamon rolls might make you think more of breakfast than dessert. But these dairy-free cinnamon rolls at Sugar Spice and Everything Nice are a delicious and unique Thanksgiving dessert that is easy to make ahead of a dessert buffet.
If you want to jazz them up, you can even serve them alongside a scoop of vegan vanilla ice cream.
31. Vegan Applesauce
Sometimes by the time you’re done eating the appetizers, the main dish, and all of the sides at Thanksgiving, you need something a little lighter on your dessert plate.
Cue this vegan applesauce from The Well Fed Yogi that contains only four ingredients, making it a quick and tasty dessert to finish your Thanksgiving feast.
32. Healthy Vegan Carrot Cake
If you’re tired of the same old pumpkin and apple pies at Thanksgiving, give this carrot cake at Nutriciously a try. Full of freshly shredded carrots, applesauce, and whole wheat flour, you will be surprised at just how nutritious this dessert is.
33. Cranberry Orange Mocktail with Ginger
Mocktails are a practical choice for Thanksgiving since they’re kid friendly and can be consumed by anyone at the party. The vegan mocktail at Plant Based Jess combines ginger, fresh squeezed orange juice, and cranberries for a tart and slightly sweet drink that the whole family will love.
Try making this mocktail as a punch for large crowds to make serving easier.
34. Cranberry Fizz Mocktail
Cranberry is a popular drink flavor for Thanksgiving cocktails. This cranberry fizz mocktail from Spirited and Then Some can be made with three different bases – sparkling water, lemon-lime soda, or ginger ale.
Add orange slices, fresh cranberries, or sprigs of rosemary for a beautiful garnish.
35. Homemade Apple Cider
Apple cider is a traditional Thanksgiving beverage made from pressed cider apples, and aged apple cider is fermented to create a weak alcoholic drink.
The fresh homemade apple cider at Live Eat Learn is easy to make using apples, oranges, and winter spices. Apple cider can be served either hot or iced like a cold tea.
36. Cranberry Mimosas
If you’re looking for an easy Thanksgiving cocktail, it doesn’t get much simpler than the cranberry mimosas at Cadry’s Kitchen. By combining champagne and cranberry juice with formal glassware, you can create a sparkling jewel of a drink that will create some quick holiday cheer.
Top each glass off with fresh cranberries for a pop of decorative color.
37. Pear Bourbon Smash
Sometimes at Thanksgiving, you need a drink that has a little extra kick to it. The pear bourbon smash from Just a Little Bit of Bacon combines mashed pears, maple syrup, bourbon, lemon juice, and allspice for a sweet cocktail that has a delicious warming effect.
38. Pumpkin Pie Cider Fizz
Here’s another sparkling drink that showcases the traditional flavors of fall such as apple cider and pumpkin butter. The bright orange color of the cocktail adds plenty of drama to the Thanksgiving table, too.
Learn how to make vegan pumpkin pie cider fizz cocktails at Nosh and Nourish.
39. Sanguine Sangria with Apple and Pomegranate
Sangria is a wine-based punch that is filled with chopped fruit and usually a stronger liquor. The pomegranate-based sangria at Will Frolic for Food is flavored with classic autumn spices like cardamom and cinnamon.
These warming flavors are used to cut the sweetness of red wine and brandy.
40. Rhubarb Tea Coolers
Looking for a Thanksgiving drink with a different flavor? Try these rhubarb tea coolers at One Two Simple Cooking that combine rhubarb tea liqueur and thyme simple syrup with fresh, juicy raspberries.
The thyme syrup can be made easily using sugar, fresh thyme, and water. Top the coolers off with sparkling club soda for a drink that is bubbly and tart.
Tips for a Successful Vegan Thanksgiving
Even if you’re new to throwing vegan Thanksgiving dinners, there are a few tips you can follow to make sure that your gathering goes off successfully. Follow these tricks to make sure that your vegan Thanksgiving goes according to plan:
- Make copies of the recipes ahead of time. This way if anyone at the dinner raves over a certain dish and wants to know how to make it, you’ve already got it ready to go.
- Alert guests to potential allergens. Make sure that none of your Thanksgiving guests has a tree nut allergy if you plan on serving cashew or almond cheese. Keep dishes prepared with nuts away from vulnerable guests.
- Pace your cooking. Knowing exactly what you’re going to make and how long it takes to make each dish can help you ensure you have plenty of time to cook and prepare everything. It’s also smart to prepare any dishes you can the day before.
- Clean as you go. If you don’t want to end up with a mountain of dishes at the end of the Thanksgiving festivities, try to wash and put away mixing bowls and other preparation utensils when you’re done with them to keep after-dinner dishes to a minimum.
- Lean on fruits and vegetables. Have guests that are apprehensive about vegan dishes like nut cheese or seitan? Stick to tried-and-true recipes that include whole foods both vegans and omnivores will enjoy, such as stuffed mushrooms, cut fruit, vegetable trays, and traditional vegetable sides like green beans and mashed potatoes.
Throwing a successful vegan Thanksgiving isn’t difficult if you do a little planning ahead. Reading recipes carefully and assembling your ingredients and equipment before you get started can keep you from getting flustered in the kitchen once the real holiday cooking starts.
What is a Vegan Turkey Called?
A vegan turkey is usually referred to as a tofurky, or “tofu turkey.” While some tofurky is made out of tofu, there are also several versions of tofurky that are made out of seitan, a meat alternative that uses wheat gluten for texture.
How Long Does It Take to Cook Tofu Turkey?
Tofu turkey can be cooked for a much shorter amount of time than a traditional whole roast turkey carcass. While most roast turkeys take several hours to cook and even longer to thaw before cooking, a tofu turkey usually only takes a little over an hour before it’s cooked through.
Is Tofurky Healthy?
Tofurky is made of tofu, which means it contains many essential vitamins and nutrients. As a processed food, commercial tofurky may contain artificial preservatives and chemical flavor additives.
If you’re trying to eat clean as well as delicious vegan food, you’re better off using a homemade tofurky recipe where you can control the ingredients being used.
Contrary to what you may have thought, vegan Thanksgiving recipes don’t have to be a pale imitation of “the real thing.” Hopefully, the list of delicious vegan recipes above will give you plenty of options and ideas for making your next vegan Thanksgiving a showstopper.