Menu for a vegan Thanksgiving

vegan Thanksgiving dinner
CC BY 2.0 Stacy Spensley

Create a scrumptious plant-based feast this holiday season, and not even meat-eaters will miss the turkey.

Thanksgiving looks different these days than it used to. There was a time when roasted turkey was a given, but as dietary preferences change and increasing numbers of people turn to vegetarianism and veganism, this most traditional of holiday meals is evolving, too. Now it’s more common to find meat-free mains and dairy-free desserts on the table, as well as family members who, thankfully, are no longer so baffled by veganism.

Have you thought about what you’re going to cook? If you’re hosting, then you are in charge, and it is entirely acceptable for you to decide what’s served and what is not, even if it means no turkey for guests. If you’re in the trickier position of attending someone else’s Thanksgiving celebration, then tell them ahead of time and be sure to take along a vegan main dish of your own, so you’ll have something to eat.

While I already celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving last month with family and friends, these vegan recipes make my mouth water and make me wish I had reason for another celebration next week! Happy vegan cooking – and please share any favorite holiday recipes or pointers in the comments below. (Note: I’ve omitted the vegetable sides since they’re not usually a problem for vegan diners.)


Spiced mulled cider is a must at this time of year. You can make ahead, chill in the fridge, and reheat before serving. Be sure to use your own spices, not a store-bought mix of mulling spices that can have a muted flavor.

Keep people munching with a bowl of cinnamon-and-spice-flavored almonds.


Skip the cheese platter and set out a variety of dips, such as this Yucatan-style Toasted Pumpkin Seed Dip made with tomatoes, garlic, and habanero, or some Chipotle Butternut Squash and White Bean Dip. Serve with tortilla chips and pita triangles on the side.

Main course:

There are two ways of looking at a vegan main dish for Thanksgiving. Either you try to recreate the traditional meat centerpiece using vegan ingredients, such as the Unturkey Roast, Chickpea Cutlets with Gravy, or Lentil-Mushroom Walnut Balls with Cranberry Sauce; or you make something that does not resemble meat at all—because, after all, there’s no rule saying it has to.

Consider recipes like Creamy Pumpkin and Spinach Lasagna, Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter, Vegan Shepherd’s Pie, and Vegetable Tart.


Stuffing has evolved past its name to mean any kind of baked, savory, bready casserole that tastes divine when drizzled with vegan gravy. Try this “best vegan bread stuffing” made with shiitakes and pecans, Cranberry-Pear Wild Rice stuffing, or Vegan Cornbread Stuffing.


If you have any space left in your belly, then this might be the greatest course of all. Go all-out decadent with Gooey Pumpkin Spice Latte Chocolate Pudding Cake and Chocolate Tart with Salted Oat Crust; or stay traditional with Mini Pumpkin Pie Tarts with Sunflower Cookie Crust and apple pie.

Finally, for breakfast the next morning, if you can even move after such a feast, how about some Pumpkin Muffins with Cinnamon Streusel?

If you're still seeking culinary inspiration, be sure to look at the TreeHugger recipe archives. There are hundreds of fabulous vegan and vegetarian recipes, many suited for Thanksgiving.

Menu for a vegan Thanksgiving
Create a scrumptious plant-based feast this holiday season, and not even meat-eaters will miss the turkey.

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