If you thought that cooking Thanksgiving dinner was tough enough, try making a vegan Thanksgiving dinner. Traditional approaches to Thanksgiving certainly aren't vegan friendly, but that doesn't mean that you'll get left out this year! In fact, with a little bit of hunting you can find vegan alternatives to pretty much any item on the Thanksgiving menu. This is especially great if you are entertaining or cooking for mixed company, because it means that you can prepare vegan alternatives to many dishes without people ever noticing.
This post highlights some of the appealing and tasty vegan Thanksgiving recipes out there, and many of them would be a fantastic addition to your table. In fact, most of them aren't limited to Thanksgiving at all. Instead, you could serve many of these any time of the year.
The best thing about recipes like these is that they are tasty and often visually appealing. It's easy to think that any vegan Thanksgiving dinner is going to be boring and a bit tasteless – but reality isn't like that at all. Instead, there are many amazing dishes out there that you can try.
Mini Vegan Spelt Cinnamon Rolls
These miniature cinnamon rolls look like any other cinnamon roll that you might find, but these are actually a vegan alternative. As the name suggests, the recipe focuses on spelt, which is an ancient wholegrain that has been increasing in popularity recently. This gives the rolls a slightly different taste than you might be expecting, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Even if you haven't had much experience in making bread, the recipe at peasoupeats.com is a good option and can be a great way of getting you started – right in time for Thanksgiving.
Tuna Salad Collard Wraps
This dish is a bit of a deviation from traditional Thanksgiving fare, but it would still work well for a Thanksgiving meal. I quite like the wraps, because they sound very refreshing and light, which is a nice change from most Thanksgiving dishes, which tend to be heavier and more complex. It's very important to note that this dish is designed to taste like a tuna salad, but it doesn't actually contain tuna in it. The recipe for the taste, at feedmephoebe.com is a little bit complex, although it is still easy enough to pull off. That also isn't particularly surprising, because Phoebe is trying to recreate the taste of a very specific dish.
Apple Cinnamon Breadless Pudding
This recipe from simplesweetvegan.com is actually a specialist dish in a few different ways. Not only is it vegan, but it is also gluten-free, low in fat and sweetened with dates rather than sugar. It's also effectively a bread pudding, even though it doesn't actually contain any bread. This is a great dish for anyone who is majorly watching their health or has very specific dietary requirements. Despite the unusual nature of the dish, the recipe sounds like it would taste great, especially with the vegan ‘ice cream' that the recipe also specifies.
Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
If you're trying to cut back on starch or sugars, potatoes are one unfortunate victim of that dietary change. For many of us, potatoes (especially mashed potatoes) are a major comfort food. The idea of cauliflower mashed potatoes has actually been doing the rounds lately, but the recipe at livesimplynatural.com is a good introduction for anyone who is unfamiliar with the approach. Plus, the ‘potatoes' can be almost as satisfying as the real deal and an especially healthy alternative.
Vegan Potato Salad
The creaminess of potato salad makes it a great side dish for summer or winter, and it works great for Thanksgiving. However, traditional recipes for potato salad tend to involve eggs and sometimes other non-vegan ingredients. The trick is to find a potato salad recipe that has the creaminess and taste of a normal potato salad, while still being vegan-friendly. The recipe from oneingredientchef.com does certainly check both those boxes. It also sounds like a recipe that would work equally well for people who aren't vegan – so it's a great one for sharing with others.
Vegan Alfredo Sauce
I love alfredo sauce, especially because of its creaminess and its flexibility. That creaminess comes from dairy products, so finding a good vegan alternative seems pretty far fetched. But, there are vegan alfredo sauce recipes out there, like this one from nutritionstripped.com. The recipe is one that McKel has worked at over time and it sounds like she has spent a considerable amount of time tweaking and improving on the recipe. This is one you should check out for yourself, because the ingredients she uses are unusual, but the final product does seem like a good alternative for alfredo sauce.
‘Meatballs', Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
To me, this dish looks like a classic winter meal, and at first glance you probably wouldn't realize that its vegan. For Thanksgiving, you might choose to use the whole thing as-is, or you might pick and choose certain components of the dish. Personally, I find the meatballs interesting, but I would be more interested in the recipe for the gravy. Either way, the dish at fragrantvanilla.com is a great reminder that vegan dishes don't have to look (or taste) that much different than their non-vegan counterparts.
Chicken and Dumplings
Chicken and dumplings is an amazing food for a cold day and the dish is simply a great comfort food all around. It also doesn't seem like there could possibly be a vegan counterpart to this dish. However, the recipe at brandnewvegan.com proves that theory entirely wrong. The dish isn't going to taste exactly like chicken and dumplings, but its a pretty close approximation. As with many dishes, a close approximation is all you are going to get, but this one does look like it would be well worth trying.
Sweet Potato Casserole
Casseroles are great options for a Thanksgiving side, especially ones that are vegetable based. Vegetariansnob.com offers a fantastic example of the concept with this sweet potato casserole. I love the combination of colors and flavors, and those factors really make the dish scream fall. This would also be a great dish to impress people with, because it is a bit more sophisticated than most casseroles, yet is still very simple to make.
Roasted Sweet Potato Soup
When I first saw healthyaperature.com‘s sweet potato soup recipe I thought it was a recipe for pumpkin soup – and looking at the dish, it's pretty easy to see why. Sweet potatoes do tend to be a bit under appreciated, but they can be a good way to create a dish that's a little bit different. This recipe manages to effectively use the flavors of sweet potatoes, while also creating a creamy, vegan-friendly dish. This would be a good option for Thanksgiving, or just for any cool day when you want something easy to make.
Gravy is a pretty significant part of a Thanksgiving dinner. Even though gravy tends not to contain meat, most recipes can't be used by vegans. In this recipe, potatostrong.com tries to get around this issue by providing a simple recipe for making your own gravy that is vegan, yet still tastes like chicken. One great thing is that the recipe just using five ingredients and you probably already have many of them in your cupboard at home.
Not only is this vegan marshmallow fluff super cool, but it is also made using just two ingredients. All around it's a pretty impressive feat, as one of the main ingredients in marshmallow fluff is eggs. I love the simplicity of the recipe, but the most amazing thing is just how useful it is. After all, marshmallow fluff can be used in a wide range of things and its a great addition to many desserts. You have chocolatecoveredkatie.com to thank for the recipe, so head on over to her site and check it out.
Vegan Cinnamon Roll (Yeast-free)
Here's another example of vegan cinnamon rolls, and yes, that frosting is vegan too. The great thing with these cinnamon rolls is that they are actually healthy. Well… they're healthy compared to their conventional counterparts, which is still a pretty impressive achievement. Plus, kblog.lunchboxbunch.com makes the rolls look like a masterpiece in the photos.
Vegan Mushroom Stuffing
I particularly love this stuffing from thetruespoon.com because it is just so colorful. Most of the time stuffing is pretty bland visually, but in this case the reds, the greens and the darkness of the mushrooms really gives the dish a life of its own. Those colors are also a good indication of the wide variety of flavors in the stuffing, which is another appealing feature. This would be a great dish to wow family and it looks like it would taste great as well.
Pumpkin Bread Pudding
To me, the flavors of this pudding are so reminiscent of fall. You have pumpkin itself, along with maple syrup, brown sugar and the flavors of pumpkin spice. Certainly, the dish is a more elaborate version of bread pudding than you will normally find, but that's not really a bad thing. In fact, it looks great on the plate and the flavors should make it a natural fit for Thanksgiving. The recipe is over at blog.fatfreevegan.com, and includes the recipe for a sauce which can be made with or without alcohol.
Simple Vegan Breakfast Hash
Potatoes are a great comfort food, especially in the fall, and personally I love the use of breakfast hashes as a way to start the day. This recipe, from blueridgebabe.com, is a nice variation on a classic hash, and it would be a great option for vegetarians and for meat eaters. It might also be a good way to start of Thanksgiving day to get yourself stocked with energy. It's also a pretty easy dish to make. That's always appealing first thing in the morning.
Cookie Dough Ice Cream
Who doesn't love ice cream? Ice cream might be a treat that vegans can't have – but there are still alternatives that are a pretty good approximation. This recipe, from detoxinista.com, doesn't have the same exact taste of typical ice cream, but honestly, that's to be expected. A major advantage of the recipe is that this sweet treat is much healthier than your typical bowl of ice cream and it still tastes pretty good.
Southern Style Vegan Lasagna
When done right, plant-based lasagna can be a comforting and filling dish. Most of the time you see spinach and cheese variants, but personally, I love this version from plantbasedkatie.com. One neat thing is that it has much of the coloration of a typical lasagna, even though it doesn't have any meat. The recipe uses sweet potato as one of its main ingredients, so the end result is a very hearty and satisfying meal.
Herbed Wild Rice and Quinoa Stuffing
This rice and quinoa stuffing from kitchentreaty.com not only manages to be vegan, but it's also bread-free and gluten free. In general, quinoa and rice makes for a pretty appealing dish, because the combination of textures works really well together. Using this as a type of stuffing is a great way to reduce carbs and to create something that is just a little bit different. Its also an especially appealing dish to serve in company, because it caters for so many different diet types.
Eggless Apple Pie
I love vegan recipes that look like normal ones – and this apple pie from vegrecipesofindia.com certainly falls into that category. The recipe is specifically for making these mini pies in little pans – but you could just as easily make one large pie if you tweaked the cooking time and/or temperature a bit. I also love the latticework on top of some of the pies, as it looks so cool. Of course, that part is purely optional.
Magic Skillet Cornbread
Finding a good cornbread recipe is an important part of a vegan Thanksgiving. This recipe is called ‘magic' over at thevegan8.com because it tastes buttery, even though the recipe doesn't use oil or butter. Instead, that taste comes from nuts. That's a pretty cool trick and works great in vegan dishes. Also, this recipe contains only eight ingredients (like all recipes on the site) and is even gluten free.
Pumpkin Coffee Cake Muffins
These pumpkin, cinnamon and coffee muffins are very neat – and they're another vegan Thanksgiving option that also happens to be gluten free. I love recipes that fall into both of those categories, because most people that you are serving these to would actually be able to eat them. That's kind of important when you are cooking for others. The full recipe is over at forkandbeans.com, and includes information on the muffins themselves and on the topping that you see in the image.
Slow Cooker Baked Beans
Beans are a great vegetarian or vegan option – but they can also be tricky. After all, people often include ingredients that you can't eat. The recipe, over at mycaliforniaroots.com is a good vegan option for baked beans. They are also made in the slow cooker. The slow cooker is always a great option if you are being a tad lazy or are just short on time. Either way, this is a very appealing dish that involves very little work.
Cranberry, Pear and Wild Rice Stuffing
Here's another vegan option for stuffing. The one uses bread and wild rice, along with cranberries and pears for additional flavor. It's a clever combination of ingredients, and the texture would work especially well. In the post at vegkitchen.com Nava notes that this stuffing recipe would also work well as a stuffing for winter squashes, and I have to agree. The colors would also stand out pretty well against squashes – resulting in a visually appealing dish.
Cheesy Garlic Pull Apart Bread
Did I ever tell you that I love bread? My personal favorite is homemade bread, although that type of bread tends to involve too much work. This pull apart bread from chubbyveganmom.com is a great example of bread as a comfort food. Plus, this is another slow cooker recipe, so you can make the bread without much work at all on your end.
Spinach Artichoke Dip
Spinach dip can be a fantastic option for special occasions, or even just miserable weather. Typically this type of dish does heavily rely on dairy products, but there are exceptions to every rule. Over at itdoesnttastelikechicken.com Sam has created a very appealing version of the recipe that is entirely vegan and doesn't even include any soy. The recipe gets its cheesy nature from Sam's own recipe for mozzarella cheese, which is also entirely vegan.
Sweet Potato Casserole
I always strongly associated casseroles with Thanksgiving. This recipe, from kneadtocook.com, is a great comfort casserole that also happens to be gluten free and vegan. It works very well as a Thanksgiving side dish, especially if you are catering for multiple people with dietary restrictions. This is also an appealing dish for people who aren't vegan, and I think most people eating it would be impressed by the flavor profile. Plus, it looks cool.
Vegan ‘Caramel' Dip
Caramel is amazing. It's a fantastic flavor – but not a very healthy one. After all, it relies heavily on sugar and typically includes some type of dairy at the same time. Technically speaking, this recipe from happyhealthymama.com isn't caramel at all and doesn't include sugar of dairy. But… the recipe is a great caramel-tasting dip that is exceptionally easy to put together. I'm not going to tell you any of the ingredients here, because the recipe just uses two ingredients and I don't want to spoil the surprise.
Protein Packed Mashed Potatoes (with Gravy)
There are a few things I love about this recipe. One is the presentation. Doesn't it just look fantastic? Another major thing I like is the protein. These aren't your typical mashed potatoes. Instead, they are a much more filling version. You could even make them as an entire meal, rather than a side dish. The recipe itself can be found at eatwithinyourmeans.com and it's a pretty cool alternative for Thanksgiving.
Creamy Scalloped Potatoes
Potatoes themselves don't have a great reputation, but when you find healthy and filling recipes like this, it's easy to see that they can be a great option for meals. This recipe is hosted at edibleperspective.com and it manages to be creamy and appealing without relying on dairy. That sounds like a win to me, for vegans and also for anyone who is just trying to eat healthier.