Thanksgiving is a popular holiday for its focus on family, food, and gratitude. Every year, everyone undoes their belts and waits for the big party. Turkey is the main event for many families in the United States; about 46 million turkeys are killed each year on Thanksgiving, and about 270 million are killed each year, according to the Food Empowerment Project. This, along with all the dairy-laden side dishes, makes this a tough vacation for first-time vegans.
Fortunately, there are more plant-based foods and recipes than ever before. Here, we detail some of our favorite Thanksgiving vegan foods you might consider bringing to dinner this year. Plus, check out our expert tips for navigating Thanksgiving as a vegan among your non-vegan friends and family.
Our favorite vegan foods for Thanksgiving
From herbal applications to appetizers to decadent desserts, you’re sure not going to go hungry this holiday. Here are 17 vegan Thanksgiving meal ideas that are sure to satisfy.
1. Spinach and Artichoke Dip
Don’t let the veggies in the name fool you – this classic appetizer usually includes cream cheese, sour cream, and additional cheeses. Luckily, there are vegan alternatives to all of these dairy products, and the result is always a creamy, flavorful dip that’s perfect for fries or veggie sticks.
2. Sweet Potato Soup
Opt for a rich, slightly sweet vegan soup as a tasty starter. Sweet potato soup recipes are quite simple, involving a few quick steps of cooking vegetables, broth, and spices together, then mashing the mixture. Garnish with red pepper flakes, herbs or green onions.
3. Fall Salad
Get creative and spruce up your salad platter with fall fruits and veggies — think cubed sweet potatoes, butternut squash, Brussels sprouts and crisp apples. Toss in some pecans and add your favorite dressing – we like balsamic vinegar, tahini-based dressing, and even a simple mix of olive oil and salt.
Who says you need an almost identical turkey substitute? Swap the bird for an extra heap of cooked chickpeas, lentils, or tofu, all of which can be added to your salad or stuffing.
4. Mashed potatoes
Traditionally loaded with dairy, vegan mashed potatoes typically include vegan butter and non-dairy milk. We guarantee you won’t be able to tell the difference.
5. Roasted Cauliflower
There are dozens of ways to flavor and serve cauliflower. To achieve caramelization, drizzle the cauliflower head with olive oil or melted vegan butter (plus salt, pepper, garlic, and whatever else you prefer) before baking. The result should be a buttery brown exterior.
6. Green Bean Casserole
This is another dish that can easily be made vegan: replace the cow’s milk with soy or almonds, and leave out anything else that’s not vegan, like bacon or heavy cream.
7. Butternut Squash Curry
Put an autumnal twist on Thai curry with generously spiced butternut squash. Many curries have a coconut milk base, which makes them vegan. Just make sure the broth you use is a vegetable broth.
8. Pumpkin Ravioli
It’s one of our more ambitious suggestions, but we promise that Pumpkin Ravioli will be a big hit with your Thanksgiving meal. Be sure to use vegan cheese for the ravioli filling. Create a vegetable sauce to accompany your pasta; you can make the extra pumpkin filling more runny or make a vegan brown butter sauce.
9. Accompaniment Three Sisters
Customize a three sister side bowl with corn, squash and beans. The possibilities are endless: you can create a soup or a chili, a side salad or a vegetable stuffing.
10. Lentil stuffing
High in protein and flavorful, lentil stuffing can be a vegan’s main event instead of turkey. For any vegan stuffing, choose your bread cubes carefully. Italian bread, challah, and a crusty baguette all have good textures and tastes for this dish.
11. Tofurky roast
Tofurky is a company that produces vegan meat alternatives, including its plant-based turkey and ham roasts for the holidays. Although this meat substitute is often derided by meat eaters and in popular media, a plant-based roast can be quite delicious, especially for new vegans or vegetarians who miss the taste of meat. Don’t knock it until you try it!
12. Stuffed mushrooms
Stuffed mushrooms typically include walnuts or pine nuts, rice or breadcrumbs, spices, and sometimes celery, onions, and vegan cheese. These apps are full enough to move to your list of entries.
Vegans, rejoice, you don’t have to sacrifice your favorite cheesy pasta. Another main dish you can get creative with is lasagna. Use vegan cheese or vegetables as the main filling; we love eggplant and sweet potato.
When cooking a vegan holiday meal, think outside the box. You don’t have to stick to recipes based on a traditional Thanksgiving dish.
Many types of bread you find in the bakery or grocery store are already vegan, as long as they don’t contain eggs, milk, honey or other animal products. Spice your rolls with rosemary, garlic and thyme.
15. Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Like cauliflower, Brussels sprouts are taken to a whole new level when roasted. Put these vegetables in the oven with olive oil, garlic and herbs, and wait for the magic of caramelization to happen.
16. Homemade ice cream
You can buy dairy-free ice cream at the grocery store for your Thanksgiving meal, or you can make your own. “Nice” cream is a plant-based version of ice cream made with frozen fruit (usually bananas), plant-based milk, and other delicious vegan blends. Many recipes are simple and contain only a handful of ingredients. Add a scoop or two to your vegan pie after the big meal.
17. Apple Crumble
As with many vegan baked goods, there are plenty of vegan apple crisp recipes that range from very easy with minimal ingredients to advanced with all the yummy bells and whistles. Again, dairy-free milk and butter are key here.
Tips for Vegans Attending a Non-Vegan Thanksgiving
Given the low percentage of people who identify as vegan in the United States (the majority of survey results are below 5%), it can feel awkward and isolating to navigate a Thanksgiving meal filled with traditional fare. animal-based. You will want to be polite to meat-eating family members and friends who offer you food while maintaining your vegan values.
This feat doesn’t have to be stressful. Here are some tips to help you enjoy the holidays.
Talk to the host
Make your vegan preferences known. Politely explain that you are on a plant-based diet and that you will avoid animal products at the main meal. Offer to bring a vegan dish or two. By communicating in advance, you will avoid any uncertainty or uncomfortable feelings that may arise during the holidays.
What is your favorite meal? Remember: it’s a holiday and everyone should have fun and enjoy their food. Whether you decide to whip up a big vegan stuffing, mash some potatoes, or buy some store-bought plant-based cookies, make sure you’re excited about it.
Eat before the main meal
If you are unable to speak to the host, plan your meal in a way that is convenient for you. Of course, do not fill too well in advance; you can always eat the vegan dish you decide to bring.
Also, consider packing a quick vegan snack, like a protein bar or trail mix, in your bag if you’re not sure what plant-based snacks await you at the gathering.
Focus on the other aspects of the holidays
Yes, this holiday is largely centered on food. But it’s also about spending quality time with loved ones, enjoying fall festivities and traditions, and giving thanks. Keep the spirit present this Thanksgiving and take a holistic approach to your celebration. You are bound to have a great time with your party – different food preferences and all.