So, you've made the decision to go vegan, or you're expecting guests this Thanksgiving who are vegan. Thanksgiving may seem like a totally anti-vegan holiday — I mean, it's literally all about eating turkey — but trust me, there are tons of vegan options for you or your guests that are just as good, if not better, than any meat- or dairy-filled dish that is on classic Thanksgiving menus. Here's a hint: It's all about the sides. And I'm not talking your standard "here are some corn and brussels sprouts, enjoy" kind of vegan side dish ideas — I'm talking unique vegan side dishes for Thanksgiving that are actually delicious, so much so that you'll want to eat them every day of the year, even when it's not Thanksgiving.
Whether you're doing the cooking yourself this year or simply putting in your requests for the chef, I think you'll find that all of these recipes are both manageable to make and totally tempting to eat, so much so that you'll likely be fighting off the meat eaters of the group who are suddenly desperate to get their hands on your vegan treats. Consider doubling the quantity and making more than you think you need. If you don't get your fill because everyone just needed a taste, don't say I didn't warn you.
Smoky Roasted Cauliflower
Smoked paprika may not be a so-called "traditional Thanksgiving flavor," but this recipe for Smoky Roasted Cauliflower from Tori Avey is just the thing to kick your holiday feast into a funky new gear. Plus, who cares if it's traditional when the total prep time is a whopping 45 minutes?
Sweet Potato Casserole
Not only does this sweet potato casserole have Thanksgiving written all over it, but it's also vegan and gluten-free. Thank you, Oh She Glows, for proving that delicious can also be vegan.
Green Bean Tomato Sauté
This is most definitely not your grandma's green bean casserole, but your grandma is still probably going to like it — and the recipe is so easy that you should be able to make it for her, no problem! Tori Avey's Green Bean Tomato Sauté includes green beans, onion, garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, and olive oil.
Lemony Roasted Asparagus
Mean, green, and also clean. Cookie and Kate's recipe for Lemony Roasted Asparagus requires just four ingredients, plus plenty of seasoning. I'm a serious asparagus lover myself, so just picture me adding this one to my handy recipe box.
Balsamic Rosemary Roasted Vegetables
Kick a boring green salad to the curb and up your nutritional intake while you're at it by tossing together this mixed veggie dish from Oatmeal with a Fork. It's grain-free, in addition to vegan.
Spicy Roasted Carrots And Fennel
Seriously, have you ever seen a dish that gives you more cozy Thanksgiving feels? Carrots are the perfect fall vegetable, and this pretty heirloom blend from Tori Avey is both colorful and tasty, thanks to a healthy dose of fennel and cayenne.
Crispy Smashed Potatoes With Avocado Garlic Aioli
You had me at "crispy smashed potatoes," Oh She Glows. And then you had me all over again at the word "avocado" alone. Your Thanksgiving table has never seen the likes of this recipe before (at least, mine hasn't). It's vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, soy-free, and contains no refined sugar, so it should address most (if not all) of the dietary restrictions on your list.
Green Bean, Beet & Pistachio Salad
I tried to fight the beet trend, but it seems I've failed — beets aren't going anywhere, so why not toss them into this unique salad from Tori Avey this Thanksgiving? The colors of this dish will look especially pretty and rich on your family table.
Garlic Mushroom Quinoa
Vegans need grains too! This quinoa dish from Damn Delicious is the perfect thing to satisfy those cravings for something a little heartier this season — and I can basically guarantee that it's going to make your whole house smell amazing too.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Pomegranate Molasses
Here's the part where I deliver on the creativity you were looking for. Break Brussels sprouts out of the predicable box you've come to expect — salt. pepper. olive oil. roast. — with this sweet (literally) take from Tori Avey.
If you've been living that vegan life for a while, chances are that cauliflower is already a staple of your diet. Cookie and Kate offers three flavor takes on the classic roasted version: Mexican (cumin and chili powder), Italian (parmesan cheese), and Indian (curry powder, cilantro, and red pepper). Any of these approaches would be a fun add-on for Thanksgiving!
Herbed Red Potato Salad
Love the homey idea of potato salad? Cookie and Kate's Herbed Red Potato Salad is vegan, flavored with lemon juice and mustard, and it could be the perfect refreshing cold salad to add to the seasonal rotation.
Maple Baked Lentils With Sweet Potato
Combine the homey flavors of maple and sweet potato with the nutritional powerhouse that is two cups of lentils and you've got your new favorite vegan side dish, courtesy of Oh She Glows.
Dairy-Free Saffron Scalloped Potatoes
I know you haven't gotten your fill of potatoes yet, so I'm just gonna leave this right here. What Thanksgiving is complete without a little gratin potatoes? The answer does not exist, because they're practically necessary for any good feast. All the praise hands for Tori Avey and her vegan version.
Lentil, Mushroom & Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie
A vegan, modern twist on the traditional Shepherd's Pie from The Kitchn that is basically the textbook definition of comfort food.
The culinary pros at The Kitchn have included the word "Thanksgiving" in the name of this slaw recipe, which seems (to me, at least) a very clear signal that this is a must-have for your November table. The salad features green cabbage, sliced almonds, dried cranberries, and parsley, and is dressed with a combination of fall flavors including apple cider vinegar and maple syrup.
Quinoa Salad With Roasted Sweet Potato, Kale & Pesto Vinaigrette
Rounding out this list is a great combo of nutty grain flavors, salty sunflower seeds, vegetable broth, roasted sweet potato, fresh pesto, and more. Head over to The Kitchn for all the details on how to make it yourself.