Vegan skewers are a terrific Thanksgiving main course for folks in warm weather climates. It’s also a good fit for those looking for something outside-the-box for their holiday meal.
Cooked on the grill, these seitan and veggie kebabs include all of your usual holiday favorites in deconstructed form. That includes herbed lemon seitan, stuffing, potatoes, and even sweet potatoes with marshmallows.
We humans are creatures of habit – especially at the holidays. The same people bring the same dishes to the same Thanksgiving gatherings and holiday parties year after year.
And while it can be fun to revisit the standards, there’s a certain joy that comes with breaking out of it a little. Doing something outside the ordinary.
That’s where these vegan skewers come in. They give a nod to the holiday classics, while also offering a fresher way to enjoy them.
These kebabs are Thanksgiving in deconstructed form:
- Stuffing: Chunks of sourdough bread, mushrooms, onions, and bell pepper
- Savory seitan in an herbed lemon marinade
- Yukon gold potatoes
- Sweet potatoes with vegan marshmallows
This deconstructed stuffing includes the traditional ingredients of sourdough bread, mushrooms, onions, and bell pepper.
Savory seitan is the meaty aspect of this vegan Thanksgiving. It is briefly soaked in a lemon herb marinade with rosemary, thyme, and sage.
Everyone loves mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving. It’s a classic!
With potatoes on the grill, you can mash them afterwards with non-dairy butter, salt, and pepper. And it will have the additional bonus of char from the barbecue.
I recommend using Yukon gold potatoes or any tiny yellow skinned potato you can find. For the most part, the smaller the better.
If you drew a Venn diagram between summer cookouts and Thanksgiving, the overlapping part would be marshmallows! Who knows how kitschy sweet potatoes & marshmallows became a thing. But regardless, it’s a regular at the holidays.
In honor of that, the end of the vegan skewer is finished with a sweet potato slice, and then a toasted marshmallow. If marshmallows don’t appeal, you can certainly leave that part off.
(Have bamboo skewers left over? Make vegan fried chicken next!)
Reminder: Most grocery store marshmallows aren’t vegan, because they contain gelatin. I recommend Dandies for your vegan marshmallow needs. You can find them at natural grocery stores.
(Trader Joe’s also carries full-sized vegan marshmallows. But it’s a seasonal item, unfortunately. They only carry them in the summer. They do have mini marshmallows out now, which are vegan, but not the right size for this dish.)
After the seitan and vegetables have been browned on the grill, and the marshmallow has been toasted separately, dinner is served! It’s a full vegan Thanksgiving dinner on a stick.
How to make this recipe
Start by making the herbed lemon marinade for the skewers.
In a large mixing bowl, combine:
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Lemon juice
- Lemon zest
- Balsamic vinegar
- Vegetable broth
- Salt & pepper
Then add bite-sized chunks of seitan to the bowl to marinate.
You can make your own seitan chicken, or buy any neutral-flavored or chicken-style seitan.
I use Upton’s Naturals traditional seitan for this recipe. It’s very convenient because the seitan comes in 8-ounce packages, which is just the size you’ll need. And the seitan is already in the correct bite-sized portions.
Next, you’ll want to soften the potatoes, so that they cook in the same amount of time as the other ingredients on the skewers.
Put a few inches of water into a pot with a steamer basket. Bring it to a boil. Put tiny yellow-skinned potatoes into the steamer basket, along with a sweet potato cut into ¾-inch slices.
Let the potatoes steam until they can be easily pierced with a fork. (Don’t let them get too soft, though, or they will fall off the skewers.)
Once the potatoes are ready, add them to the marinade bowl along with bell pepper, onion, and mushrooms. Marinate for 10 minutes.
During the last couple minutes, add chunks of sourdough into the marinade as well, and toss to combine.
Bring the outdoor grill to 500 degrees.
(Or if you’re cooking on an indoor grill pan, bring it to a medium high heat. Spray the pan with oil.)
Put all of the ingredients onto long metal skewers, alternating ingredients between each one.
(If you don’t have skewers, you can use a grill basket instead. Keep in mind that you’ll likely need two baskets, so that the vegetables aren’t overcrowded and get equal access to the grill.)
Ideally you’ll want to finish the end of each skewer with a sweet potato slice, so that it can be next to a marshmallow when all is said and done for maximum kitsch-effect. Don’t put the marshmallows on yet, however.
Grill the Thanksgiving skewers for 10 minutes, rotating a couple of times to evenly brown all sides.
When the skewers are done, set them aside.
Spear each marshmallow with a fork and toast them over a small flame. I pierced my marshmallow with a fondue fork and toasted it over a small candle.
If you’d prefer, you can use your gas stove to toast the marshmallow on the flame. Once each marshmallow has browned, carefully top each skewer with a vegan marshmallow.
And once Thanksgiving is over, these skewers are also perfect for vegan Christmas dinner!
Deconstructed vegan Thanksgiving skewers
For tangy herb lemon marinade
- 8 ounces seitan chicken in medium-sized chunks
- 5 small Yukon Gold potatoes or other tiny yellow potato with thin skin
- 1 sweet potato small to medium-sized , cut into ¾ inch thick slices
- ½ red bell pepper cut into medium-sized pieces
- 1 medium yellow onion cut into medium-sized pieces
- 5 cremini mushrooms or white button
- 2 heaping cups sourdough bread cut into roughly 2 inch chunks
- 5 vegan marshmallows (Optional) I used Dandies
To make tangy herb lemon marinade
- Combine marinade ingredients in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
To make vegan skewers
- Put seitan chunks into the large mixing bowl with marinade and briefly combine. Let it marinate while you continue cooking, chopping, and preparing the remaining ingredients.
- Fill a pot that can hold a steamer basket insert with a few inches of water. Bring it to a boil. Put the potatoes and sweet potato slices into the insert and steam for about 15 minutes. Test the doneness of the potatoes with a fork. If fork tines can go in easily, the potatoes are ready. (They should be easily pierced, but you don't want the potatoes or sweet potatoes to fall apart when skewered.) If the potatoes aren’t quite soft enough, remove the sweet potatoes and continue steaming until done.
- Add the bell pepper, onion, mushrooms, steamed sweet potato, and steamed potatoes to the mixing bowl with marinade and toss to combine. Marinate for 10 minutes. During the last couple minutes, add the sourdough chunks and toss those with the marinade as well. The bowl will be heaping full at this point.
- Heat the outdoor grill to 500 degrees. Put all of the ingredients onto long metal skewers, alternating ingredients between each one. Ideally finish the end of each skewer with a sweet potato slice, so that it can be next to a marshmallow when all is said and done for maximum kitsch-effect. Don't put the marshmallows on yet, however.
- Grill the Thanksgiving skewers for 10 minutes, rotating a couple of times to evenly brown all sides. When the skewers are done, set them aside.
- Spear each marshmallow with a fork and toast them over a small flame. You can use your gas stove or a candle. Once each marshmallow has browned, carefully top each skewer with a vegan marshmallow. (Don't burn yourself on the fire or metal skewer.)
- Serve right away with cranberry sauce, cranberry salsa, and/or gravy.
Originally posted October 2012. Content, recipe, and photos updated October 2019.