38 Gourmet Thanksgiving Recipes for Vegans and Vegetarians

©. Jaymi Heimbuch

Looking for amazing Thanksgiving recipes that cater to those of us skipping meat? We've got you covered! Check out these fantastic ideas for appetizers, sides, mains and dessert!

Appetizers

spiced pumpkin spread photo

© Jaymi Heimbuch
Sweet and creamy, this is a great pumpkin pie-like spread to pair with sliced apples, a breakfast bagel, crackers or anything else you might think of. It's great a snack to nibble on, or even as a dessert when spread over something like a pumpkin quick bread. I topped it with just a little sprinkle of nutmeg and cinnamon.

white bean spread photo

© Jaymi Heimbuch
Simple and creamy white bean dip with lemon zest [Vegan]
This is such an excellent recipe to have on hand for making a quick lunch or snack that is healthy yet great for on-the-go eating. The beans are filling, but the flavor is kept bright with the lemon and parsley. This is perfect for pairing with pretty much any platform for getting it to your mouth -- eating with crackers, spread on toast, as a dip for celery or carrots, you name it.

spiced almonds photo

© Jaymi Heimbuch
These are a bit addictive, so don't expect a batch to last long! They're a wonderful snack to have out as guests arrive and settle in to conversation. They're also great to make as small gifts during various holidays. Just pour them into a mason jar and tie a ribbon around it.

spicy pumpkin hummus photo

© Jaymi Heimbuch
A great appetizer that captures the spirit of autumn, and takes only a couple minutes to make. I topped it off with a sprinkle of paprika and sesame seeds, and paired it with some black pepper crackers. It's delicious!

white bean spread photo

© Jaymi Heimbuch
I love this recipe because the ingredients are things you likely have in your cupboard and herb garden or produce drawer in your fridge. You can make it up at a moment's notice, and indeed it only takes a moment to make it. I tossed everything into a small food processor and it was done in no time.

credit: Jaymi Heimbuch

© Jaymi Heimbuch
I love a good quinoa patty. I've made a few versions over the years, and there seems to be countless ways to make these with both sweet and savory flavors. This version is one that even meat lovers could appreciate, since they are so dense from the bread crumbs. Usually I make quinoa patties without the bread crumbs as they are lighter and more crumbly, and you can modify this recipe to do the same thing -- but if you like your patties dense and firm, I recommend keeping them in.

Salads

lentil photo

© Jaymi Heimbuch

Though this recipe has three parts -- the dressing, the lentils and the roasted veggies -- it falls together quickly and easily. You can also customize it with most any in-season vegetables, personalizing it to your tastes.

shaved brussels salad photo

© Jaymi Heimbuch
Shaved Brussels sprout salad with red onions and lemon-dijon dressing [Vegan]
Because I like them so much when cooked just right, I never thought about having them raw. But when they are very finely shredded and tossed with a delicious dressing, they take on a whole new life.

Curried wild rice, lentil and orzo salad with caramelized onions and toasted almonds photo

© Jaymi Heimbuch
There are many different subtleties of flavor in this salad -- the spices that make the curry, the caramelized sweetness of the shallot, the crunch of the toasted almonds, and of course the sweetly savory flavor of the grains and pasta. There's so much going on in this salad, and yet it is so simple to put together.

walnut salad photo

© Jaymi Heimbuch
These aren't just any toasted walnuts. A drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of fresh thyme leaves are added into the pan with the walnuts and that combination, paired with the bite of arugula makes a fantastic simple, healthy salad.

beet salad

© Jaymi Heimbuch
From the variety of lettuce to the simple and savory dressing that is poured over the mix of roasted beets, apples, feta and nuts, this salad is an amazing meal for lunch or dinner. You can make the dressing and roast the beets ahead of time to be able to quickly toss this salad together for a quick meal.

cabbage cranberry salad photo

© Jaymi Heimbuch
Super simple, super fast to make, and super delicious. What's not to love? The crunchy cabbage serves as a great platform for the sweet and tart flavors of cranberry and balsamic.

wheatberry salad photo

© Jaymi Heimbuch
Wheatberry is an interesting grain to use for this kind of salad, with plenty of nutritious benefits. I added fresh chopped rosemary to the mushrooms and onions as they simmered in white wine, giving this salad a warm, comforting and rich herb flavor that counters the chill of the winter season.

Sides:

sauteed brussels with leeks and mushrooms

© Jaymi Heimbuch

Anyone who loves Brussels sprouts knows that the secret to releasing a sweet and delightful flavor is in how you cook them -- get it wrong and you can see how they became such a disliked food. But get it right and you wonder why you don't have them every night! This recipe pairs the tender and sweet flavors of the vegetable with savory sauteed shallots and earthy mushrooms, with everything tied together with a hint of white wine.

quiche photo

© Jaymi Heimbuch
Quiche - it's not just for brunches! Rich savory sweetness of caramelized onions blends with the hearty texture of mushrooms and delicious feta cheese. A delightful side dish for a fall feast, a slice of this quiche is a decadent and appreciated addition!

roasted cauliflower with olives photo

© Jaymi Heimbuch
It's hard to go wrong with cauliflower. Simple on its own, it is the perfect stage for other flavors. This recipe gives you a chance to highlight your favorite olives. You could make this recipe ten times over with each having an entirely different flavor based on what kind of olives you select, so feel free to play around and see what you enjoy most.

spicy roasted cauliflower photo

© Jaymi Heimbuch
Not liking the olive idea? How about this recipe for spicy roasted caulflower! This recipe calls for a few spices, and a lemony dressing tossed over roasted cauliflower -- that's it, and suddenly something as bland as cauliflower is knocking your taste buds off. Plus, the lemony flavor is a great counter to the other savory dishes usually on the plate during holiday feasts.

baked bean and onion photo

© Jaymi Heimbuch
The ingredients list is surprisingly short and you wonder where the flavor comes from. But the secret is in how you cook the onions: until they're caramelized. Slowly cooking them in plenty of olive oil until they are a lovely golden brown brings out the sweetness, which adds so much to this casserole.

sweet potato cornbread photo

© Jaymi Heimbuch
Nothing like an amazing cornbread made from scratch and served hot out of the oven! This cornbread has the crunch of stone-ground corn, the sweetness of sweet potato, and a fluffy lightness in the center that can't be beat. I also love the vibrant orange-yellow color the sweet potato lends to it. Beautiful!

gravy photo

© Jaymi Heimbuch
Here is a recipe for a delicious vegetarian version of the must-have topping in a holiday meal. I loved the hearty flavor of this gravy, with a rich flavor that holds its own against everything from stuffing to mashed potatoes to a little something extra on a casserole. No meat drippings needed -- the mushrooms add all the heartiness you could want!

stuffing photo

© Jaymi Heimbuch
This great recipe features the perfect pairing of savory walnuts and sweet crisp apples that provide both texture and that ideal holiday flavor. Add to that the herby goodness of sage and thyme, and it is a stuffing everyone will appreciate!

lentil casserole photo

© Jaymi Heimbuch
This delicious dish embodies everything comforting about home cooking. Easy, filling, and something everyone at the table will enjoy, whether vegetarian or not. It is a wonderful way to get more lentils, a great superfood, into your holiday feast!

Mains

The creaminess of a potato soup wrapped up in the sweetness of pears and the irresistible savory flavor of sage. It is a little reminiscent of butternut squash soup, but with its own unique twist.

pearl barley risotto photo

© Jaymi Heimbuch
This recipe uses pearl barley, which gives the same texture as a rice risotto but is just a bit healthier. The barley absorbs the flavors of the vegetable broth, onions and mushrooms quite well. The leftovers are a great base for a new meal, too, which is always a great feature for Thanksgiving dishes.

baked polenta with veggies photo

© Jaymi Heimbuch
Everything about this recipe is easy. The only trick is patience after it comes out of the oven. It needs to sit for awhile to let the polenta settle and firm up at the bottom. And the leftovers the next day -- wrapped in parchment paper and foil and heated up in the oven for about 20 minutes -- are just as delicious as when first baked.

baked mushroom risotto photo

© Jaymi Heimbuch
This is a great, easy way to make risotto, cutting down on the amount of effort you need to put into it so you can focus on other dishes. The herb flavor of the rosemary combined with sweet savory flavor of caramelized onions is just perfect for any holiday feast (and any winter dinner, for that matter!).

mushroom lentil bourguignon photo

© Jaymi Heimbuch
This recipe can easily replace the well-loved traditional version -- all the hearty, comforting flavor of a thick beef stew minus any red meat. It takes a little while to prepare since you want to let the sauce reduce down, but it is well worth the wait and it can be simmering on a back burner while you work on other dishes.

vegan pot pie photo

© Jaymi Heimbuch
A crispy crust lines the top of a pot filled with fragrant, hot and thick vegetable stew. It is simple and quick to make, entirely vegan, and customizable with your favorite veggies. Small, individually sized pot pies are a lovely course to add to a holiday feast, and the ramekins you use can make this suit the style of any party from elegant to rustic.

stuffed apples photo

© Jaymi Heimbuch
The sweetness of baked apples, filled with the savory, herb-flavored deliciousness of walnut-raisin stuffing -- you just can't beat a dish like this for celebrating favorite fall flavors. It's beautiful, unique, and best of all, it's vegan!

Roasted acorn squash with quinoa and mint salad photo

© Jaymi Heimbuch
A delicious fall meal that brings a little hint of summer back into the season. This recipe highlights a bright and balanced salad of quinoa, apple, mint, raisins, and arugula set inside sweet and smooth squash. This is an excellent dish for a feast, and is as rustic and beautiful as it is scrumptious.

butternut with pesto photo

© Jaymi Heimbuch
The delicately sweet flavor of butternut pairs perfectly with the nutty, herby pesto that tops it. It is pretty much perfect as a side dish, or even a main when paired with some of the other recipes listed here like a light salad and perhaps some roasted vegetables.

butternut galette photo

© Jaymi Heimbuch
A galette (sort of like a pizza) is a great rustic country dish, and is really easy to put together. A slice of this will be a fantastic addition to any fall or winter feast. A comforting, flaky crust and the sweetly savory flavor of herbed butternut squash will stand out as a special part of the meal.

Dessert

credit: Jaymi Heimbuch

© Jaymi Heimbuch

It's every bit as decadent and delicious, and yet a bit more healthy than traditional chocolate mousse. It also comes together incredibly quickly -- in about 15 minutes or so. As long as you plan ahead for when you want to use it so it has time to chill in the fridge, it is a recipe requiring minimal time and effort.

coffee walnuts cookies photo

© Jaymi Heimbuch
These fantastic coffee walnut cookies are really easy to make. The buttery flavor comes at you first, then the sweet and slight bite of the ground coffee hits. The walnut makes everything flow together beautifully.

peanut butter cookies photo

© Jaymi Heimbuch
Easy and quick to make, these peanut butter cookies not only use more healthful ingredients than traditional cookies, but they also hold a chocolaty surprise in every center. They're perfect for a quick dessert (and they're especially great to take to parties).

pumpkin bread photo

© Jaymi Heimbuch
There's nothing like a quick bread straight from the oven to ring in autumn and to compliment the Thanksgiving feast. Now, "healthy" is a bit of a stretch, since quick breads can't really be considered health food. But as far as pumpkin bread recipes go, this is one of the healthiest you'll find. So it's a great compliment to a feast that's already calorie-heavy.

pumpkin pie squares photo

© Jaymi Heimbuch
These delicious dessert squares skip the crust and the refined sugar (of course you can always add that back in with the caramel frosting recipe we suggest to pair with them!). They're quick and easy to make for lightly sweet snacks during fall and winter and are a fantastic dessert option for the Thanksgiving feast.

©. Jaymi Heimbuch

© Jaymi Heimbuch
These are super moist and light, with a surprisingly airy texture. The frosting is the rich part, a thick, sweet and creamy decadence. The sprinkle of Fleur de sel on top is the perfect salty counterpart to the sweetness. As a friend proclaimed after trying them, "They're so fluffy and un-vegan tasting." So in other words, you can feed these delicious cupcakes to your non-vegan friends and totally get away with it.

pumpkin bread with buttercream photo

© Jaymi Heimbuch
This delicious quickbread is amazing on its own but to make it really stand out, it's topped with an airy spiced buttercream frosting. And no one will ever know that it's vegan, let alone more healthful than the usual quick bread recipes! And that frosting... wow!