Personally, I'm always grateful to be vegan on Thanksgiving. Even though we vegans incur lots of insensitive and sometimes crazy questions from family on Thanksgiving, the day is a great reminder that you don't need to cause suffering (and sadly there is a lot of suffering associated with the holiday for turkeys) in order to have a meal that's abundant and delicious. While the prospect of cooking a vegan Thanksgiving might at first seem daunting, it's actually super-easy to make vegan substitutes of all the classics — and to innovate new main dishes as well.
Even better, a vegan Thanksgiving is the only time I haven't felt disgustingly stuffed after the meal — just pleasantly full. Plant-based foods are simply easier for our bodies to digest, even when there's nothing healthy-tasting about them. A vegan Thanksgiving also means you'll have more room for dessert and leftovers the morning after. Priorities, people.
Personally, I don't suggest turkey substitutes, or lentil loafs. There are simply way more delicious, healthy, colorful options that prove you don't need to mimic meat in order to have a full, complete meal. Here are 19 vegan Thanksgiving dinner ideas to get you started.
Simple Vegan Stuffing
Stuffing isn't exactly hard to make a vegan adaptation of, but this recipe from Minimalist Baker stands out for including lentils, thereby making stuffing a complete meal in itself!
Pumpkin Gnocchi With Spicy Pepita Pesto
Pumpkin gnocchi is the perfect thing to make with that little bit of leftover pumpkin puree in the fridge, making it great for Thanksgiving. This variation with spicy pepita pesto from Fo Reals Life looks delicious.
Vegan Thanksgiving Wraps
Who needs a turkey when you can have these beautiful wraps from Minimalist Baker? They will definitely convince any guests who don't think you can get full off of a vegan meal otherwise.
The Best Vegan Gluten Free Cornbread
This recipe from Minimalist Baker will please your gluten-free guests as well. It uses aquafaba (aka the liquid in a can of chickpeas), which sounds gross but apparently is all the rage when it comes to mimicking egg whites.
Pumpkin Maple Cornbread Bean Casserole
This makes a great main dish, combining pumpkin and cornbread into one sweet and savory casserole by Oh She Glows.
Vegan Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake
You might think using tofu in a pie sounds gross — unless you're vegan, in which case you probably know what's up. This is another winner from the Minimalist Baker, and it features a gingersnap cookie crust with a beautiful swirl finish.
Garlic Pumpkin Mashed Potatoes With Spinach
Well, these Oh She Glows mashed potatoes look damn beautiful. Plus, mixing pumpkin and potatoes has to be delicious.
Creamy Pumpkin Penne
Butternut Sweet Potato Pecan Casserole
This sweet, delicious side by Minimalist Baker is a simple vegan take on a classic.
Mushroom, Spinach & Onion Tart With Goat 'Cheeze'
This beautiful Oh She Glows tart will make a great main dish and impress any foodies among you.
Spicy Cranberry Sauce
Again, cranberry sauce is normally vegan anyway, but this Fo Reals Life recipe stands out for being easy and packing some heat.
Squash Bake With Tahini Sauce
A beautiful side by Minimalist Baker, you really can't go wrong with squash and tahini — it's super easy to make, and a little lighter than some other Thanksgiving sides out there.
Garlic Smashed Potatoes
Half baked potato, half mashed potato, these Oh She Glows beauties are topped with an avocado garlic aioli. Yum!
The Best Damn Vegan Biscuits
I was so happy when I realized vegan biscuits can be just as buttery tasting as their non-vegan counterparts. This recipe from Minimalist Baker ensures your Thanksgiving biscuits are suffering-free.
Vegan Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
It's a classic for a reason! This recipie from Naturally Ella can be made easily from scratch — and lacks nothing in creaminess or flavor.
Roasted Green Beans With Romesco
These string beans from Naturally Ella stand out for being particularly beautiful, and working in those autumnal colors.
1-Hour Pot Pies
A great main dish option, people will be thrilled to get mini-pot pies with their dinner, as crafted by the reliable Minimalist Baker.
Butternut, Leek & Toasted Hazelnut Risotto
This beautiful dish from Fo Reals Life looks beautiful and works great as a Thanksgiving main or side.
Pumpkin Pie Shooters
How cute are these? These pumpkin pie shooters from Minimalist Baker can be made with any non-dairy milk (and, just a suggestion, maybe you could experiment with adding some amaretto or some other after-dinner liquor?) Happy Thanksgiving, indeed.