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We have had vegetarians at our Thanksgiving table my entire life. My sister and her daughters are vegetarian and now vegan, and my mother became a vegetarian later in life. Believe me, there are plenty of people at the table who want to enjoy the turkey and all of those trimmings, but there are a significant number of folks who are all about the vegetarian or vegan sides. And there is no way anyone leaves a Workman family Thanksgiving anything less than full and happy, so we Bring It for everyone.

Tossing Fall Vegetable and Farro Salad in bowl with spoons.

Vegan Recipes for Thanksgiving

Below is a hefty collection of vegan options for the Thanksgiving meal, and some of the recipes are adaptable. You can also explore the full scope of vegan recipes on this website. The following are fairly traditional recipes with Thanksgivingesque flavors, but you can and should feel free to experiment outside of the classic Thanksgiving-styled offerings.

Tips for Making Vegan Thanksgiving Dishes

Some of the things we do to make sure the vegans have plenty of choices:

Stuffing

I make the base of the stuffing vegetarian, with vegetable broth. Then I separate part of it out into a smaller baking pan for the vegetarians and drizzle some of the turkey pan juices over the larger pan of stuffing. If you want to make the smaller pan of stuffing vegan, use vegan butter to sauté the vegetables.

You can also think about using a vegan sausage or other crumbled meat substitute in the stuffing. Seitan, a wheat gluten-based product, is also a good addition to vegan stuffings.

Mashed Potatoes

For mashed potatoes, we boil up a whole lot of potatoes and mash them or put them through a ricer or food mill. Then, we separate the potatoes into two pots. One gets blended up with milk, cream, butter, etc, and one gets whipped to fluffiness with plant-based milk, olive oil, and vegan butter. My sister skips the olive oil but adds some vegan sour cream. Options!

Salad

We always have a salad at Thanksgiving, and while a pile of leafy greens is fine, you can make the salad a much more robust part of the menu. Consider adding some roasted vegetables, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, nuts (providing there are no nut allergies!), legumes (chickpeas are nice), and fresh or dried fruit. Adding some cooked whole grains like farro or bulgur wheat also boosts the nutritional value and adds heft. Homemade croutons crisped up in the oven with olive oil are another good addition.

Roasted and Stuffed Baked Vegetables

Roasted vegetables are the perfect crossover side, and if you roast them with olive oil or another cooking oil, they are naturally vegan. Make sure to season them well with salt and pepper, and add springs of fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, or sage.

You may also think about some stuffed vegetables, such as acorn squash stuffed with a vegan stuffing or rice or grain mixture. Mushrooms are a great option to include in dishes with a meaty texture.

Soups

We usually make a vegan soup for lunch to inhale while we are cooking for dinner, but you might think about offering a soup as part of the main event. Soups are so easy to make vegetarian or vegan. Think about mushroom barley (our favorite), split pea, lentil tomato, curried pumpkin soup, or butternut squash soup. Just remember to keep the broth vegetarian and sub in vegan products for any dairy ingredients. Offer any non-vegan garnishes on the side.

Grain Salads

I love a side-dish-main-dish hybrid, and grain and veggie-based one-dish recipes are Thanksgiving heroes. The basic idea is to blend up some whole grains with some cooked vegetables and/or legumes and add an olive oil-based dressing. These types of dishes are often great, either warm or at room temperature. Think about wild rice, cranberries, scallions, and an orange juice and balsamic vinaigrette. Mushrooms and barley are a hearty combo, as are diced cooked sweet potatoes and quinoa. Vegan Parmesan, cheddar, and feta are good cheese choices to add.

Desserts

For vegetarians, dessert is usually not an issue, but for vegans, it’s tough. You’ll want to make sure to make, purchase, or ask someone to bring a vegan option. My sister says that the vegan dessert recipe sources and ingredients improve all the time, a marked improvement from even a couple of years ago.

Also, bring the same approach to substitutions to the holidays as you do to everyday vegan cooking. Think about substituting in vegan cheeses, vegan butter or olive oil, vegan dairy products, and so on. We have done a Tofurkey in the past, though now we concentrate on the side dishes and make them as robust as possible.

Hoping your Thanksgiving is warm, delicious, abundant, and lovely!


30 Thanksgiving Vegan Recipes

Asparagus with Scallion Chimichurri Sauce

Asparagus with Scallion Chimichurri Sauce

Roasting apsaragus in olive oil and topping them with an herby vegan sauce makes a great side dish.

Cilantro Lime Rice

Cilantro Lime Rice

This simple but flavorful vegan rice creates a nice base for all kinds of sides and dishes.

Bowl of Mushroom Barley Soup topped with green onions.

Mushroom Barley Soup

We actually always serve a vegan mushroom barley soup for lunch. It is just filling enough to stave off hunger but still allows you to save room for the big meal just ahead.

Roasted Lemon Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Lemon Brussels Sprouts

With just 2 ingredients and 5 minutes of prep, these lemony Brussels sprouts are perfect for everyone.

Sautéed Cauliflower with Mustard Seeds

Sautéed Cauliflower with Mustard Seeds

Sautéing or roasting your vegetables with olive oil instead of butter ensures that everyone can dig in.

Vegetarian Collard Greens

Vegetarian Collard Greens

The quintessential Southern vegetable staple, but with no meat! (Also, vegan!)

Sauteed Broccolini and Corn

Sautéed Broccolini and Corn

This easy side dish is a colorful companion to whatever else you're serving at Thanksgiving, and you can use frozen corn so it's very convenient. Use olive oil instead of butter to sauté.

Two pieces of Caponata bruschetta.

Caponata

This classic Sicilian eggplant salad, made with vinegar, some sweetness, olives, capers, and tomatoes is amazing heaped on bruschetta or just served as a hearty side.

Turkey Picadillo

Crispy Stovetop Potatoes

You can definitely make vegan mashed potatoes with dairy subsitutes or olive oil, but you might also think about adding these crunchy vegan pan-fried potatoes as well.

Bowl of pureed vegan butternut squash and apple soup garnished with scallions.

Vegan Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

A five-ingredient vegan butternut squash and apple soup with brilliant color, depth, and a bit of sweetness. Perfect for holidays and fall dinners.

How to Make Croutons

How to Make Croutons

Homemade croutons are easy to make and add heft to vegan salads and soups.

How to Saute Broccolini

Sautéed Brocolini

Another simple, vegan green to add to the menu.

Simple Couscous Salad

Simple Couscous Salad

A grain salad is a must on a vegan Thanksgiving table. Here, just a few vegetables turn quickly cooked couscous into a colorful salad. (Leave out the optional cheese, or use a vegan cheese instead!)

How to Cook Perfect Millet on the Stove

Perfect Millet

With its delicate corn flavor, millet is a perfect grain to add to the menu.

Garlicky Shrimp and Broccoli with Meyer Lemon

Sautéed Broccoli

A bit of olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes turn a ho-hum side of broccoli into a dish that will have everyone asking for seconds.

How to Cook Broccoli Rabe

Sautéed Broccoli Rabe

The richness of many Thanksgiving dishes is nicely balanced by the slight bitterness of sautess broccoli rabe.

Green Salad with Chickpeas and Spicy Honey Tahini Dressing

Green Salad with Chickpeas and Spicy Honey Tahini Dressing

A robust, crunchy vegan salad studded with chickpeas provides protein for those not easting animal products. This one is tossed with a creamy, lemony savory dressing and very satisfying.

Vegetarian Split Pea Soup

Vegetarian Split Pea Soup

This is another nice way to make sure the vegans at the table have a protein-rich dish to anchor the meal. Or, again, think about serving this for lunch with some crusty bread while the main event is being pulled together!

Fish, salad, bread, and Mushroom, Tomato and White Bean Ragout on a white plate.

Mushroom, Tomato and White Bean Ragout

A rich vegetable ragout is definitely a great go to Thanksgiving offering.

Roasted Baby Squash

Roasted Baby Squash

Cute as little buttons!

How to Make Perfect Roasted Potatoes

How to Make Roasted Potatoes

There must be potatoes for everyone on the table, and this is another vegan option!

Braised Cipollini Onions with Dried Cherries

Braised Cipollini Onions with Dried Cherries

Cipollini in Agrodolce, a wonderful sweet and sour preparation for these charming little onions.

Two spoons in a colorful bowl of Lentil, Red Onion and Avocado Salad.

Lentil Salad

So many flavors, textures, and colors in this vegan lentil salad.

White plate of Shredded Brussel Sprouts on a yellow table.

Shredded Sautéed Brussels Sprouts

You can buy pre-sliced Brussels sprouts or shred them yourself for this vegan side.

How to Saute Spinach

Sautéed Spinach

Not only is sauteed spinach a beautiful vibrant green addition to the menu, but it's also packed with nutrients.

Orange and Herb Orzo / Katie Workman / themom100.com / Photo by Cheyenne Cohen

Orange and Herb Orzo

A simple and colroful orzo side, that can easily be made ahead.

Roasted Cauliflower with Chimichurri Sauce / Photo by Cheyenne Cohen / Katie Workman / themom100.com

Roasted Cauliflower with Chimichurri Sauce

Another moment where a simply roasted vegetable becomes center-of-the-plate worthy with the addition of an easy vegan chimichurry sauce.

Sesame-Honey Quinoa and Carrot Salad in white bowl, topped with Sliced Avocado.

Sesame-Honey Quinoa and Carrot Salad with Sliced Avocado

This beautiful vegetarian (or vegan!) salad is a satisfying combination of earthy grains, crunchy carrots, and creamy avocado with a sweet-savory dressing.

Dollops of spinach parsley pesto on Roasted Carrots.

Roasted Carrots with Spinach Parsley Pesto

A bright green pesto jazzes up some simply roasted carrots. Use multi-colored carrots for a stunning presentation.
Roasted carrots, squash, parsnips, and other vegetables on white plate.

Roasted Fall Vegetables

Colorful, caramelized and so good for you, these are a must on our Thanksgiving table.