Save the Turkey! Vegan Thanksgiving Recipe Ideas

By Lora O’Brien

The American tradition of having the President pardoning a turkey started with the hottest of leaders (if you ask me): John F. Kennedy. When presented with the bird destined for his dinner, he apparently said: “Let’s keep him going,” and won the hearts of a nation (and surely, one lucky turkey too). Subsequent Presidents have carried on the tradition, but for vegans and vegetarians everywhere, many turkeys have been ‘kept going’ thanks to alternative Thanksgiving dinner menus.

In fact, a birdless Thanksgiving dinner is actually pretty easy to do – after all, most of the side dishes served on T-day are pretty much vegetable based anyway, right? Think root veggies, pumpkins, nuts…The trick is keeping the meal varied and exciting.

I’ve found over 20 great vegan Thanksgiving recipe ideas that will take you from soup to sweets.

1. Thanksgiving Pumpkin Soup

Warm and sweet with a detectable hint of spices, this rich pumpkin soup is easy to make and acts as the perfect starter to an autumnal meal. Serve with some bread rolls for dunking, or a sprinkling of sesame seeds on top.

Get the recipe here.


2. 10 Spice Veggie Soup

If you prefer your soups chunky, then this is the one to go for. With over 10 spices, it’s gluten free and is actually easy to make, and is a great way to spark up appetites for the feast to come.

Get the recipe here.


3. Best Vegan Spinach Dip

Usually a highly calorific dip (mayonnaise AND sour cream? Eek!) spinach dip is giving a way healthier makeover with this vegan version. Put it on the table whilst people are waiting for their mains to be served – you can dip in some bread, crudites, or even tortilla chips.

Get the recipe here.

4. Pickled Red Cabbage

Crunchy and sweet, this pickled red cabbage recipe seems to go especially well with a few raisins or cranberries thrown in. I love the tartness, mitigated by the sticky sweetness of the dried fruit. It’s a great side dish, adding both texture and taste variations to add to a really interesting dinner mix.

Get the recipe here


5. Boozy Cranberry Sauce

I feel like cranberry sauce hasn’t got the best reputation. Often dumped out of a can, it’s only on the table during Christmas time for the, uh, older members of the family who seem to love it (hi, Nan). No one else usually touches it. Until now. This cranberry sauce has had a little reinvention in the name of alcohol. And now it not only has a real kick to it, but is bursting with flavour. It will compliment so many dishes this Thanksgiving.

Get the recipe here


6. Rosemary Infused Wild Rice Mushrooms

As delicious as veggies are on their own, sometimes we want something a little special. Thats where these little mushroom appetisers come in handy. Whether you serve them up beforehand to your guests as an appetizer, or put them on the table for all to enjoy, these mouthsized mushroom bites will go down such a treat!

Get the recipe here.


7. Brussel Sprouts Sliders

These brussel sprout sliders with tempeh make for a different starter. Served with little sticks, they’re perfect for passing around before dinner, and they’re bursting with different textures, from the crispy outsides of the sprouts to their creamy insides, and the chewy tempeh.

Get the recipe here


8. Sweet Potato Casserole with Crunchy Nut Crumble

If you’re stuck for a main dish – one to serve up to everyone like the turkey normally is – then a casserole may be the solution. This one is rich, sweet and filling, and also makes a great side dish if you prefer.

Get the recipe here.


9. Crowd Pleasing Vegan Thanksgiving Stuffing

I live for stuffing. No joke, I’m barely waiting for it to be cooked and out the oven before I’m yielding my fork and digging in like I’m seeing food for the first time. But not everyone is a fan, especially since it’s usually cooked in the orifice of a bird, so it’s great to find ways of re-inventing traditional dishes like this. This recipe is packed with all the fresh herbs that make stuffing tasty (yay for sage!)

Get the recipe here


10. Roasted Acorn Squash With Quinoa-Mushroom Pilaf

Now, I’m a fan of carbs, but if you’re looking to serve something a little less starchy, then roasted acorn squash is the solution. Here, it’s stuffed with a tasty quinoa and mushroom pilaf mix, making it both healthy and filling. I’d highly recommend adding chestnuts into this just because y’know, it’s Thanksgiving.

Get the recipe here


11. Maple-Pecan Hasselback Butternut Squash

This is such a great dish to serve up either alongside potatoes – or instead of them. People will love this as the maple syrup makes the butternut both soft and creamy, whilst the thyme adds a unique flavour and the pecans, a delightful crunch.

Get the recipe here


12. Stuffing-Muffins with Mashed Potatoes & Gravy

These bite sized muffins present a multitude of Thanksgiving flavours. You’ve got the stuffing based muffin topped with fluffy mashed potatoes and then drizzled with gravy. It’s a meal in a muffin! And they look lovely on the plate, too.

Get the recipe here


13. Melting Sweet Potatoes with Maple-Pecan Sauce

Crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside, the name of the recipe alone is enough to induce drooling, right? . Thout these are drizzled in butter, you can sub in olive oil for the same texture. Once they’re out the oven top with the maple-pecan sauce and devour!

Get the recipe here.


14. Roasted Vegan Thanksgiving Bowl

Not everyone likes to make a huge fuss at Thanksgiving, so this roasted bowl of goodies is a godsend or those of us who are a little stretched on the time or ability to cook up a storm in the kitchen. And this also gives some good inspo for what to do with any T-day leftovers the next day. It’s really is so easy to make – you just roast your veggies, toast your pecans, mash those potatoes, then whip up a little vegan gravy to go over the top and voila!

Get the recipe here.


15. Vegan Ravioli with Pumpkin & Ricotta

Who said Thanksgiving can’t be a little fun and inventive? Pumpkin puree inside this pasta dish adds some fall flavour. This could be an interesting side dish for your Thanksgiving feast, or serve as a main with an array of salads or roasted veggies to accompany the ravioli.

Get the recipe here.


16. Lentil and Root Veggie Strudel

Another perfect main, this strudel can sit in the table as the centrepiece dish, then get ‘carved up’ and distributed to guests. It calls for goat cheese, but you can simply either leave it out if you’re vegan, or add some crumbled, herby tofu instead.

Get the recipe here.


17. Vegan Caesar Salad

Creamy, garlicky and rich. Who doesn’t love a great Caesar salad? But for vegans, it’s usually impossible to enjoy, thanks to the anchovies, cream and eggs. Until now. This recipe has all the flavour, and zero of the animal ingredients.

Get the recipe here.


18. Vegan Thanksgiving Wraps

Whilst your Christmas will likely be meat-free this year, you may still have some of those famous Thanksgiving leftovers to deal with, so think of this as the typical turkey sandwich equivalent. Just healthier, and way tastier! Actually, with their little strings, I think they’re pretty enough to serve up as a main dish at Thanksgiving dinner, too.

Get the recipe here

19. Mini Vegan Pumpkin & Cinnamon Sugar Donuts

Personally, I don’t discriminate when it comes to donuts. I eat them all year round. But when they have the spices of winter infused in them, it’d be rude to not make these especially for Thanksgiving. Dip them into a bit of coffee for a fun, informal dessert.

Get the recipe here


20. Easy Vegan Pumpkin Pie

How can you have Thanksgiving and not cook up a pumpkin pie? This is a really quick and easy recipe if you don’t have much time to spend baking this year. And why not add a bit of pumpkin ‘nice’ cream on the side? (recipe below).

Get the recipe here.


21. Pumpkin Banana N’Ice Cream

Perfumed with winter spices, creamy thanks to it’s banana base and topped with some crunchy nuts, this ‘nice’ cream is the ideal cool dessert for Thanksgiving. And of course, it goes perfectly with some pumpkin (or apple) pie!

Get the recipe here.


22. Gingerbread Hot Chocolate

Everything about this recipe screams warmth and love! Of course you don’t have to wait for November to enjoy this hot chocolate, but I guarantee it will taste that little bit sweeter drunk in the presence of loved ones whilst sat round  a crackling fire . . . okay, I know I’m venturing into movie land now, but seriously, make this. Hot chocolate is delicious but the ginger spices and syrup will make it all the better.

Get the recipe here.


23. White Sangria Cocktail

Sangria is normally a summer drink, but when you infuse it with rosemary, cranberries and citrus fruits, it becomes a wintry treat instead. Perfect for sharing a pitcher before your big meal. And you get to nibble on all that wine infused fruit, too!

Get the recipe here.


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