Not eating meat this Thanksgiving? Having vegan or vegetarian guests over? Looking for some healthier alternatives to the heavy traditional holiday dishes? These Vegan Thanksgiving Ideas will please everyone at your table.
Thanksgiving is a meal I look forward to all year. It’s one of those times it’s totally acceptable to cram as many delicious dishes onto your plate as possible.
Don’t think for a second that eating a plant based diet has to deter you from a fabulous dinner menu. From appetizers and snacks to entrées and sides, and of course, dessert, these Vegan Thanksgiving Ideas can be enjoyed by everyone at the table and will ensure your belly is full.
Tips for hosting
Hosting your own holiday dinner can be a big job, but it allows you to create a menu full of vegan Thanksgiving ideas that you know you’ll love.
*Most side dishes and desserts can easily be made vegan with just a few simple ingredients swaps.
Use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth for stuffing, gravy and soups.
Take advantage of store bought dairy-free alternatives, like vegan butter, non-dairy milks, and egg replacers.
*Throw out the notion that you must serve traditional Thanksgiving dishes. Focus instead on the good food, good company motto. Whatever you enjoy eating will work great! Try to keep it balanced and seasonal, if possible.
*Make a meal of side dishes. Most plant based eaters are perfectly happy with a plate full of sides. Try incorporating some quinoa, wild rice or nuts and seeds for added protein.
*If you really must have something similar to turkey, try making my Vegan Chicken Cutlets (recipe below) or homemade seitan turkey.
*Don’t forget the drinks. While most alcohol is naturally vegan, many wines and beers are not! Check out Barnivore to see if your pick makes the cut for a Vegan Thanksgiving.
Tips for attending
As much work as hosting can be, at least you have control over the menu. It can be nerve-wracking to attend a big holiday dinner as the only plant based eater. Here are some tips to take the stress out of the situation.
*Don’t show up hungry. If you aren’t sure what the menu will be, it’s always best to eat a little something beforehand so you don’t starve.
*Head for the appetizers. Many times there will be a vegetable tray or roasted nuts to snack on ahead of time. You can even put these items on your dinner plate with a roll, salad, and cranberry sauce and have a decent meal.
*The easiest way to get through this situation is to let the host know your dietary needs and offer to bring a dish or two. This way you know there will be something you can enjoy without worry and the host won’t be stressed wondering what to feed you. I like to make at least one side dish that can double as a main dish (meaning it includes plenty of protein, like wild rice, quinoa or tofu).
*Focus on the people and conversation, not the food. But definitely do not bring up veganism during the event. If someone asks a question about your diet, just answer simply and try to move the conversation along quickly. You can let them know you are available to chat at a later time if they’re interested.
No. Vegans do not eat any animal products. There are plenty of plant based alternatives to turkey, including store-bought options and homemade.
Almost everything you see at a traditional Thanksgiving dinner can be made vegan. Plant based eaters can enjoy soups, salads, rolls, nut or lentil roasts, casseroles, stuffing, pasta, vegetables, cranberry sauce, and of course desserts!
The best menu for Thanksgiving consists of recipes you love to eat! It can be traditional or not – it’s totally up to you. I like to incorporate seasonal produce, which includes winter squash, hearty leafy greens, Brussels sprouts, corn, carrots, cranberries, apples, pumpkin, etc.
I hope you love these recipes as much as we do! If you try any of them, please leave a comment below with your feedback.
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For even more easy family recipes, be sure to check out my cookbook, The Meatless Monday Family Cookbook!
Appetizers and Starters
Appetizers and snacks give your guests something to munch on while you finish up the final touches of the meal. Especially important if you're serving cocktails, as well.
Soups and Salads
Starting the meal off with a soup or salad is a great way to get in some extra veggies!
Personally, I could make a meal out of sides alone, but if you are looking for something heartier to serve as an entrée, try one of these delicious dishes.
My favorite part! You can never have too many. Pile your plate high with as many as you can fit!
Desserts and Sweets
No matter how full you get, there's always room for dessert!