You don’t need a bird to celebrate Thanksgiving, but you do need a menu of mouthwatering dishes and a plan for sharing them if you’re hosting a plant-based Thanksgiving. I’m hosting this year, but even when I’m not, I make a plant-based feast and bring it to my destination!
I have observed that non vegans have a strong emotional connection to their Thanksgiving foods so although you can veganize mashed potatoes, stuffing and many other traditional dishes with an easy swap of vegan butter, milk, etc., many will be resistant. So, I plan ahead to make sure there is a bounty of food for me to eat, which usually means I travel with my own plant-based Thanksgiving!
When it comes to deciding what to cook for a plant-based Thanksgiving (whether you’re hosting or not), I recommend checking off this short to-do list first:
1. Set expectations: Let your guests know what you plan to cook and ask if there is anything missing that they’d like to add to the menu.
2. Set ground rules and compromises about the non vegan foods on your table. (For example, there will be a turkey at my feast, but my brother-in-law is cooking and bringing it so it won’t be in my kitchen or oven.)
3. Make sure your menu includes delicious foods (that you’ve tried and approved in advance!) so that your guests are only talking about how good it tastes (vs that it’s vegan). Good food is good food!
To help with #3 above, let’s talk about what to cook. My go-to cookbooks for any holiday menu planning are:
The Vegan Table by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau
The Vegan Holiday Kitchen by Nava Atlas
The Super Fun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
Below are over a dozen ideas to inspire and help you plan your plant-based Thanksgiving menu.
For a cruelty-free “turkey” main attraction, try one of these faux turkey roasts:
Gardein Savory Stuffed Turkey
Gardein Holiday Roast
Field Roast Celebration Roast
Tofurky Holiday Roast
Trader Joe’s Vegan Turkey
The Herbivorous Butcher Stuffed Turkey Roast (This is the vegan turkey I’m feasting on this year. In select areas, you can order from your local Whole Foods. Otherwise, The Herbivorous Butcher ships nationwide.
If a faux turkey, isn’t your thing, try one of these stunning main attractions.
Traditional favorites can easily be veganized with easy swaps such as dairy-free butter, mayo, and milk.
Green Bean Casserole
Sweet Sweet Potato Casserole
A quick Google search will also yield a plethora of options for vegan versions of old favorites, such as mac ‘n cheese and stuffing.
Don’t forget soups! A butternut squash bisque, and a pumpkin or potato leek soups are all festive choices for a plant-based Thanksgiving meal.
When non vegans think of a plant-based Thanksgiving, vegetables and salads are probably the first thing that comes to mind when what will be on the menu. However, as you can see from the list above, there are lots more options for what to eat…but since we’re talking veggies, how about a few of these?
Roasted Root Vegetables
Garlicky Green Beans
Stuffed sweet potatoes: https://www.worldofvegan.com/stuffed-sweet-potatoes/
Salads that incorporate the produce of the season, such as kale, butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, apples, pomegranates and cranberries are also a great choice.
When it comes to a sweet ending, what’s Thanksgiving without pie? (Did you know you can purchase pre-made vegan pie crusts at Whole Foods in the frozen section?) If pie’s not your thing, how about one of these festive treats:
Pumpkin Bread with dairy-free ice cream
For more plant-based Thanksgiving recipes, check out my Thanksgiving Pinterest board with over 100 recipes. What are your favorite Thanksgiving foods? Share what you’re planning to cook in the comments below.
Cover image: Cadry’s Kitchen