25+ Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes
Cooking your first plant-based Thanksgiving meal? Or, hosting vegans at dinner for the first time? I’ve got you! These are some of my favourite plant-based and vegan thanksgiving recipes, from a gluten free stuffing to my favourite vegan holiday mains — and of course, plenty of pumpkin recipes too.
Right. It’s Thanksgiving soon (ACK!). And
you I need to figure this situation out. Whether you’re cooking an elaborate feast or a simpler meal for two, there are so many ways you can approach a holiday meal. To be honest, I think that the best part of Thanksgiving dinner is the side dishes and that’s always been my focus. But if you’re cooking, you call the shots! For example, my hearty kale and pecan stuffing also kind of works as a main, with maybe some green beans on the side for a simpler yet still super satisfying meal.
Some thoughts on a ‘healthy’ holiday feast
As a plant-based dietitian, you might think that this post is going to be a treatise on how to ‘survive’ the holidays in a healthy way. And it’s true that my favourite part of Thanksgiving is all the fancy vegetable sides we make — because I’m not going to Hasselbeck a squash on a Tuesday, you know?
But just because I really like making ‘healthy’ holiday dishes doesn’t mean that you have to stress about whether your holiday feast meal is healthy enough. In fact, it doesn’t have to be healthy at all. I know that might seem weird for a dietitian to say…but really, how healthy you are isn’t based on a handful of feast meals scattered throughout the year. It’s determined by what you do the other 358 or so days.
Pattern matters more than plate. Remember that, always.
If you like eating ‘healthy’ things on Thanksgiving, don’t let anyone throw shade. (No, you’re not on a ‘Diet’…you just like it that way.) But if you want to eat all of the sugar-fat-white flour on Thanksgiving, you go right ahead and don’t think for a single second it’s not okay. Okay??
The most important thing is that you are eating what you truly want and what makes you feel good. Because restrictive mindsets around food actually make it harder to be healthy and not the other way around.
All My Fave Plant-based Thanksgiving Recipes
Non-diet disclaimer done and dusted, this is my round up of all things Thanksgiving, plant-based and yes, pumpkin. Throw on some tunes, have a glass of wine and plan your grocery list…or better yet, go potluck style and assign a dish to each guest.
Remember, it’s the togetherness that matters, not playing the perfect host. Gather your family or friends, dim the lights, and keep the drinks flowing. And have fun! Life is hard enough right now. We all need a bit of togetherness and joy.
First things first, make these pumpkin pie energy balls to have enough nourishment to keep your host game tight!
Vegan Thanksgiving Starters and Snacks
I usually offer some light bar snacks before the meal so people don’t fill up too much before the main event. Upgrade your usual bar mix with my Za’atar-roasted almonds…you will NOT be sorry. Or try for some roasted chickpeas for an easy snack with some crunch! If you like more filling appetizers or starters, I’ve got a few of those here too.
- How to Make Pumpkin Seeds at Home. Got pumpkins around? Don’t throw out those seeds! You can spice em up for a great little bar snack pre-dinner.
- Crispy Roasted Chickpeas with Everything Bagel Seasoning Roasted chickpeas are one of my fave snacks ever. And you can totally make your own everything bagel seasoning to put on, you know, everything!
- Spicy Pepperoncini, Artichoke and Kale Dip from The First Mess. This dip is a major party fave around here…and no one will suspect it’s vegan!
- Crispy Baked Tofu Paneer with Mint Chutney Want something a bit more filling! This crispy baked tofu, inspired by fried paneer, is a super tasty addition to any snack board.
First Course Soups
- Roasted Tomato Soup with Sunflower Fennel Gremolata This lovely tomato soup is an excellent first course if you want a break from pumpkin – and the easy gremolata makes it look special!
- Roasted Butternut Squash and Pear Soup from Walder Wellness Favour squash instead? This blended soup features a very fall combo of squash and pear.
Plant-based Thanksgiving Salads + Side Dishes
You’re going to need side dishes. I’ve got two different ways to do side dishes, a roasted vegetable ‘stuffing’ and a more traditional one too. I also love a salad or two, which takes the pressure off of oven time as it can be made ahead. Looking to really wow folks? I’ve got an indulgent Kale Gratin that I will make for every holiday meal until I die. No joke.
Vegan Side Dishes
- Healthy, Baked Zucchini Fritters (Vegan) This super yummy fritters are baked, not fried – and work as well as a side dish as they do on a snack board.
- Vegan Oven-Baked Kale Gratin want a decadent dish that will make a kale believer out of ANYONE? Look no further. It could also work well as a main for a casual dinner.
- Gluten Free Vegan Stuffing Recipe for the Holidays looking for a gluten free or grain free option? This roasted vegetable stuffing has all the flavours you crave but it’s 100% veggies!
- Roast this: Brussels with Almond Parm I HAVE to have Brussels sprouts at a holiday meal. And these can be made on the stove top to save valuable oven space…and be sure not to skip the almond parm! Make it the day before…but try not to eat it all before the big feast.
- Creamy Vegan Garlic Mashed Potatoes These are the ULTIMATE creamy mashed potatoes, with a sneaky little high fibre addition that no one will know is there!
- Luscious Sweet Potato Cauliflower Mash Want an alternative mash? This sweet potato and cauliflower mash is silky smooth.
- Sauteed Green Beans with Dijon Butter (Vegan) Think green beans, but with a bit of sass. Totally craveable!
- Cumin Roasted Acorn Squash with Hemp Chile Crumble this is a little upgrade on roasted squash, with a nice crunch!
- Low Sugar Cranberry Sauce for the Holidays. Or anytime.
Vegan Thanksgiving Salads
- Roasted shiitake and lentil salad this hearty salad packs all the fall flavours, including butternut squash.
- Healthy Vegan Broccoli Salad want a little fresh crunch to add to the holiday buffet? A classic broccoli salad is always a good idea!
- Vegan Butternut Squash Kale Salad one of my fave salads, roasted squash plays so well with kale and castelvetrano olives.
- Harissa Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Spinach Craving a little spice? This is a major fall upgrade on the usual spinach salad.
Plant-based Thanksgiving Mains
What to serve as a main? I’m not gonna lie…I still really like a Tofurkey (nostalgia wins!) but I’ve recently upgraded to the Very Good Butcher Roast Beast. For something impressive, the Mushroom Wellington from my friend Tori’s book Fraiche Food Full Hearts (disclosure: affiliate link!) is amazing.
Looking for something non-traditional but super cozy? Try the options below!
- Vegan Butternut Galette with Apples + Black Pepper Crust from The First Mess this is such a lovely and unexpected main with a rustic chickpea crust
- Vegan Stuffed Peppers with Beyond Meat Sure to be a hit: high in plant-based protein, this classic dish is perfect for potlucks, the holidays or anytime you’re craving comfort food.
- Not Your Mama’s Casserole: Swiss Chard and White Bean Gratin (Vegan) This makes a fantastic and addictive main, or it could pass for a hearty side dish too.
- Vegan Lentil Shepherd’s Pie Want a non-traditional main for a more casual feast? This stew style (AKA you can’t slice it) shepherd’s pie is the ultimate comfort food. Not a real looker but SO good.
- Lentil Walnut Apple Loaf from Oh She Glows. This recipe renewed my faith in lentil loaves. If you want a traditional style main, this is a great option.
Vegan Thanksgiving Desserts
Upgrade your usual pumpkin pie with my luscious, cashew-based spiced pumpkin tart. If you’re up for some extra credit, after the dishes and before you go to bed, prep my Pumpkin Chia Pudding for a healthy breakfast you don’t have to think twice about the next day. Or put in just a hair more effort and make my Pumpkin Oats instead.
For more delish vegan desserts to fill those bellies with, follow the list below!
- Chocolate Cherry Cashew Cheesecake (vegan) honestly, the best cheesecake I’ve ever made. Such a treat.
- Vegan Bread Pudding with Pears Love a traditional bread pudding? This high fibre version is creamy and cardamom scented. Best served warm so pop it in the oven when you sit down to eat!
- Tart Cherry, Hemp and Cashew Cacao Bark this is a great treat for after dinner with coffee or tea
- Vegan Mint Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding looking for something lighter? Ready for mint season? This is it.
- Damn Good Vegan Shortbread Cookies enough said.
25+ Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes: Sunchoke Soup & More
- 1 pound sunchokes, peeled and chopped into cubes
- ½ pound cauliflower, chopped
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, skin on
- ½ cup cashews, soaked for 4 hours
- 1 tablespoon shiro (white) miso
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 quart low sodium vegetable stock
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 cup cilantro, lightly packed
- ¼ cup raw almonds
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- zest of half a lemon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- High Speed Blender
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 C). Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with parchment.
- Place sunchokes, cauliflower and garlic cloves and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss gently to coat.
- Roast 25-30 minutes until cauliflower is golden at edges, watching carefully after 15 minutes so the garlic cloves don’t overcook. Take them out early if you need to.
- Meanwhile, prepare the pesto: add cilantro, almonds, jalapeño, lemon juice, zest and salt to a food processor and pulse until it is finely chopped. Then drizzle in oil with processor running. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed.
- When vegetables are roasted, carefully squeeze garlic out of skins and add to a high-speed blender. Add cauliflower and sunchokes to blender with cashews and enough stock to cover and blend until smooth.
- Pour soup mixture into a medium pot over medium low heat. Stir in remaining stock, miso, thyme and cumin. Warm and season to taste.
- Divide soup among bowls and swirl in a spoonful of pesto.
I hope your holiday meal is filled with delicious bites, joyful playlists, and cozy chats around the table.
PS: If you make any of the above dishes and feel like sharing, don’t be afraid to drop a comment below, or take a photo and share with me on Instagram @desireenielsenrd — I can’t wait to see your beautiful creations!