Thanksgiving is a time for family, gratitude, and delicious food. However, with many Thanksgiving tables featuring roast turkey, buttery mashed potato, and meat-filled pies, this can often be a stressful celebration for people living a vegan lifestyle.
But with so many amazing vegan Thanksgiving recipes available online, there’s no reason for vegans to go hungry on this special day!
Whether you’re vegan yourself or have a family member with vegan dietary requirements, we have over 25 vegan starters, side, main, and dessert recipes for the perfect plant-based Thanksgiving!
Starters, or appetizers, are some of the most important dishes you’ll serve on Thanksgiving. These are the recipes that will whet your guests’ appetites and set the tone for the rest of the meal.
Check out these delicious vegan-friendly Thanksgiving starter recipes:
You can’t go wrong with a warming bowl of soup to start off your Thanksgiving dinner, and this carrot and sweet potato soup will definitely have you reaching for seconds!
Taking just 20 minutes to prepare and 25 minutes to cook, Balance’s Curried Carrot Soup is as easy to make as it is tasty.
The curry powder, cumin, and ginger give this soup a warm kick, beautifully counteracted by smooth, aromatic coconut milk.
You still have several courses ahead of you at the start of your Thanksgiving meal, so if you want to begin with something light, this kale and pumpkin salad recipe by Happy Kitchen is perfect.
This is a seasonal Fall-themed salad made with all plant-based ingredients, including kale, pumpkin, apple, brussels sprouts, and pomegranate seeds.
And if you thought a salad would be too bland a choice for Thanksgiving, this one is seasoned with mustard, apple cider vinegar, and maple syrup, so it packs a flavorful punch.
Falafel is a well-loved staple of the plant-based diet, so why not incorporate this tasty dish into your Thanksgiving menu?
This autumnal falafel recipe from Vegan Heaven features a pear and cranberry dip that’s easy to prepare with a little brown sugar and water. In fact, the whole recipe takes just 25 minutes from start to finish!
No Sweat Vegan’s almond ricotta stuffed mushrooms recipe proves that vegan dairy substitutes can be a real success at Thanksgiving.
We love that this is a versatile recipe that can easily be made oil-free or gluten-free with a few simple changes, as outlined by the creator. You can also use mushrooms of any size as long as you adjust the stuffing quantity accordingly.
Whether you choose to make the vegan ricotta yourself or buy it from the store, these stuffed mushrooms will go down a treat!
You might have seen cheese balls featured at traditional Thanksgiving tables, but did you know that you can make a dairy-free version of this classic recipe?
We definitely recommend trying out this cranberry-crusted dairy-free cheese ball recipe from Intentionally Eat. It’s the perfect way to wake up your palate before the following courses because it’s both savory and sweet.
The dairy-free cheese in this recipe is made from cashew nuts, coconut oil, and nutritional yeast. The lemon juice, cranberries, and pineapple contribute a tart, palate-cleansing sweetness to the dish.
We know, we’ve already suggested a soup for your Thanksgiving starter menu, but this butternut squash and lentil-based recipe is equally delicious!
In Plant-Based on a Budget’s recipe, the sweetness of the pumpkin is paired with strong flavors such as mustard seeds, red pepper flakes, garlic, ginger, and cumin. The coconut milk prevents the spices from getting too overpowering, creating an optimal flavor balance.
Our final starter recommendation for your vegan Thanksgiving table is a traditional recipe turned plant-based – deviled ‘egg’ tofu crostini!
Instead of real egg, No Sweat Vegan uses firm tofu to create a satisfying, yet light and fluffy texture. Once you’ve scrambled the tofu, all you need to do is cut up a baguette, load each slice with your ‘egg’ mixture, and season with paprika and other herbs or spices of your choice!
The recipe is oil-free and can be made gluten-free simply by using a gluten-free baguette.
Main Course Meals
Think turkey is the only option for a Thanksgiving main course? Think again! These vegan Thanksgiving mains prove that you don’t need any meat (or dairy) to celebrate this year.
If you’re hoping to recreate a traditional Thanksgiving menu with plant-based ingredients, we recommend making a simple seitan roast.
Making a vegan roast from scratch might sound daunting, but actually, all you need is a mixing bowl, a blender, and an oven.
This seitan roast is primarily made from wheat gluten and nutritional yeast, but the real flavor comes from all the herbs and spices: sage, thyme, rosemary, onion powder, and smoked paprika.
Another plant-based meat alternative you could try this Thanksgiving is a lentil meatloaf.
In total, this lentil meatloaf takes just over an hour to prepare, which is quicker than the average roast turkey.
The recipe is packed with nutritious vegetables, including carrots and mushrooms, and features steps for a homemade basting sauce made of tomato paste and maple syrup.
Roasted butternut squash can be just as satisfying as roast meat on Thanksgiving, especially if you follow this recipe from The Veg Space.
Flavored with red wine, nutmeg, thyme, and rosemary, and filled with a lentil and cranberry stuffing, your roasted squash will easily rival meat-based Thanksgiving roasts.
Instead of beef wellington, you could make this incredible seitan wellington your Thanksgiving table centerpiece this year.
Seitan wellington pairs well with almost any vegetable, but it also goes really well with some of the sides we’ll be suggesting later (see below).
You can choose to make your own puff pastry to encase the seitan filling, or speed up the process with ready-made sheet pastry. In addition to individual herbs, this recipe calls for standard poultry seasoning to create an authentic meaty flavor.
A casserole is an easy and satisfying main dish to serve on Thanksgiving, and one of our favorite Thanksgiving casserole recipes is this one from Healthy Taste of Life.
This is a rice-based casserole brimming with seasonal fruits and vegetables like butternut squash, cranberries, sweet potatoes, and raisins. Nutmeg and cinnamon spices bring the whole dish together.
We really appreciate that this recipe can be prepared ahead of time and easily reheated on the day.
Curry is the perfect filling, warming dish for a late-November event such as Thanksgiving.
The recipe for tofu and pumpkin curry by Plant-Based on a Budget is super simple and takes just 30 minutes in total to make.
Full-fat coconut milk and pumpkin puree make the curry sauce just as creamy as dairy-based alternatives. In addition to the firm tofu, you can add your choice of vegetables to make this recipe your own!
Lastly in the mains section, this recipe for lentil shepherd’s pie will contribute a sense of coziness and comfort to your Thanksgiving meal.
Choosing Chia’s recipe can be prepared and cooked in just 45 minutes. It features lentils, a non-dairy mashed potato filling, carrots, onions, cloves, celery stalks, and green peas.
The vegetable broth, red wine, thyme, paprika, and oregano ensure that this shepherd’s pie will be just as tasty, if not more so, than the classic beef recipe.
Don’t forget about the sides when planning your Thanksgiving menu! Side dishes should pair well with your mains while standing equally well on their own.
You can’t have a Thanksgiving dinner without mashed potatoes! Thankfully, it’s easy to make this classic side dairy-free, as this recipe from No Sweat Vegan demonstrates.
The No Sweat Vegan mashed potato recipe leaves out the butter but makes up for it with soy milk.
Nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, mustard, vegetable broth, and black pepper contribute extra flavor.
If you own an air fryer, this recipe for air-fried butternut squash is a quick and easy side that will go with most savory dishes on your Thanksgiving table.
Just cut, peel, and dice your squash into cubes before coating the pieces in an olive oil and seasoning mixture. Add the cubes to your air fryer, cook for approximately 20 minutes, and you’re ready to serve!
Casseroles make great vegan Thanksgiving sides as well as mains. We highly recommend serving this green bean casserole alongside your seitan roast or wellington.
In addition to the green beans, this casserole contains mushrooms and features a crispy onion layer on top.
The only dairy substitute you need is almond milk, and the whole recipe should take just 40 minutes to make.
Stuffing is one of the best sides to have on the table at Thanksgiving, but it doesn’t have to be meat-based!
This particular vegan stuffing recipe takes an hour and 20 minutes to prepare, but the final flavor is well worth the wait!
The combination of celery, onion, thyme, and sage produces a wonderful flavor experience while the sesame oil and bread cubes hold the mixture together.
Brussels sprouts are another Thanksgiving classic, appearing in main and side dishes alike.
Thankfully, brussels sprouts are easy to prepare in a way that is both flavorful and vegan-friendly.
No Sweat Vegan’s maple balsamic roasted brussels sprouts recipe includes both balsamic glaze and maple syrup for flavoring. You could even top the dish with a vegan parmesan alternative or plant-based bacon pieces.
The recipe calls for boiled cashews to replicate the cheese sauce consistency. Meanwhile, nutritional yeast contributes a cheesy, nutty flavor.
Pumpkin puree, turmeric, nutmeg, and apple cider vinegar combine to create an overall taste experience that is very similar to regular mac and cheese while remaining unique.
Your Thanksgiving dessert(s) will be the last dish you and your guests remember, so it needs to be delicious! These vegan Thanksgiving dessert ideas all meet this criterion.
If you’re wondering whether you can still make pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving now that you or one of your loved ones is vegan, the answer is yes!
According to this recipe from Vegan Huggs, making vegan pumpkin pie is actually really easy. Aside from the crust, all you need is pumpkin puree, coconut milk, sugar, salt, pumpkin spice, and vanilla extract.
It’s up to you whether you use pre-made or homemade pastry – as long as you get the filling right, the end result will be delicious.
Plant-Based on a Budget has an apple cinnamon bread recipe that works perfectly as a Thanksgiving dessert.
This bread mixture features applesauce, grated apple, cinnamon, and chocolate chips. It’s best served warm and topped with chopped walnuts.
In total, this apple cinnamon bread should take about an hour to make, but because most of that is baking time, it’s an easy option to prepare while working on other dishes.
Pecan pie is another popular dessert choice for Thanksgiving, and by following this recipe, you can create your own vegan version.
Only 9 ingredients are required for this pecan coconut cream pie, and since minimal baking is involved, it can be ready in under an hour.
The dates, coconut cream, almonds, apple sauce, and pecan nuts deliver a wholesome sweetness to follow your savory dishes.
A vegan-friendly pumpkin cheesecake makes a great Thanksgiving dessert, and it’s surprisingly easy to prepare!
Instead of an actual cheese-based filling, the Minimalist Baker vegan pumpkin cheesecake recipe calls for cashews, pumpkin puree, and coconut milk.
You’ll want to set aside some time for this recipe since you’ll need to freeze the cheesecake for up to 6 hours. The good news is, you can store it in the freezer for up to 10 days, so you can make it in advance.
It doesn’t get much more traditional than apple pie around Thanksgiving time, and making a vegan version of this beloved recipe is simple.
Regular butter for the pastry is replaced with a vegan alternative, while the instructions for the filling remain more or less the same.
This recipe from Tasty recommends adding cinnamon to the filling, which brings out the sweetness and tartness of the apple in equal measure.
If you’ve been searching for a healthy vegan dessert option for Thanksgiving, look no further!
Baked pears take just 35 minutes to prepare and bake, and this recipe provides instructions for a phenomenal dried fruit, nut, maple syrup, and pumpkin spice filling.
These baked pears taste especially good when paired with vegan ice cream, but they’re delicious enough to work as a dessert on their own.
We hope that the recipes in this article have inspired you to create your very own vegan Thanksgiving menu!
Remember to get all guests’ dietary requirements and restrictions before you start planning.
Good luck, and happy Thanksgiving!
Frequently Asked Questions
First, find out any and all dietary requirements and restrictions from guests ahead of time. You can’t start planning until you know your choices will be safe and suitable for everyone.
We recommend starting your vegan Thanksgiving plans by choosing your main dish. Since you won’t be having turkey, your choice of main will be your biggest decision.
From there, you can plan your other courses. You should base your choice of sides on what will pair best with your main. Then, you can select your starters, thinking about which options will lead up to your mains and sides best in terms of size and flavor.
Finally, it’s time to choose your dessert. If you’ve chosen lighter options for your starter and main, you might want to choose a richer dessert, whereas a heavy main meal calls for something smaller and more palate-cleansing to finish.
It’s easy to find non-alcoholic vegan beverages (after all, vegans drink orange juice and soda just like everybody else!) but finding vegan-friendly alcohol can be tricky.
The best thing to do is to look closely at the bottle before you buy. More and more wine manufacturers are adding vegan labels to their products these days to indicate suitability.
If in doubt, there are plenty of articles online detailing the best vegan wines, beers, ciders, and spirits, so making merry at a vegan Thanksgiving shouldn’t be an issue.
Tofu and seitan are great alternatives to Thanksgiving turkey. If you’re looking for the closest possible vegan turkey substitute, Tofurky is a popular choice.
Alternatively, any of the main meal recipes featured in this article will work as a substitute for your traditional roast turkey.