Thanksgiving for two this year? Plan your menu with these vegan side dishes and entrees. The list includes store-bought options as well, in case you don’t feel like cooking from scratch.
This holiday season, things will undoubtedly look different than in past years.
Instead of our usual extended family Thanksgiving potluck with upwards of thirty people, this year we’ll be staying home. It will just be me, David, and the cats – as it has been for holiday after holiday in 2020.
With so few people to feed, there’s no reason to make all of my favorite vegan Thanksgiving recipes. An entrée, potato, and other side dish will suffice.
If you have a similarly small Thanksgiving in your future, here’s an easy guide to help you plan.
As you look at the recipes, you can decide if you want to reduce the servings in each, so that there’s only enough for that day. Or you can make the full amount, and embrace the leftovers.
(After all, what’s November without a Thanksgiving leftovers sandwich?)
Start with drinks
This cranberry mimosa is a yearly favorite. It’s made with champagne or sparkling wine, a splash of cranberry juice, and a few fresh cranberries.
For a non-alcoholic option, it’s also really nice with cranberry juice and sparkling water. I’ve been drinking that all month long, and it’s very refreshing. Plus, cranberry juice is potent, so just a splash is all you need.
Other drink options include coffee, tea, or a nice glass of red wine.
Pick a potato
In my mind, holidays are all about potatoes. While mashed potatoes are the classic option, this is a year that you can feel free to switch things up.
Choose a salad or side dish
After the potato portion has been sorted, it’s time to pick another side dish. Something fresh and green nicely breaks up the beige of the day. Or you can go the roasted vegetables route for something to warm-you-up if there’s a chill in the air.
- Fall salad with apples, vegan feta, and candied pecans
- Spinach salad with persimmons & delicata squash
- Easy roasted cauliflower in the air fryer or oven
- Roasted delicata squash with rosemary
- Roasted cabbage
- Roasted Brussels sprouts with apples
- Red wine mushrooms with garlic
- Easy collard greens
- Broccolini with garlic and kale
- Vegan stuffing with chestnuts
(If you make stuffing, I recommend making the full amount. It’s not that much more work than halving it, and stuffing freezes beautifully.)
Pick an optional topping
Having something bold and bright to go alongside the entrée really enhances the flavors of the day. You can go classic with cranberry sauce. Or step outside the ordinary with cranberry salsa or apple chutney.
Select an entrée
For the main event, here are some options that feel festive but aren’t way too big for a smaller gathering.
If you always called for the drumstick in your pre-vegan life, make a batch of vegan fried chicken. It’s served on a bamboo skewer, breaded, and fried. It even has a crispy layer of “skin!”
Fire up the grill for vegan skewers.
These kebabs include all of the classic holiday favorites in deconstructed form – right down to the sweet potatoes & marshmallows at the end of the stick.
Easy baked tofu is seasoned with lemon and a sprinkling of rosemary. It has a wonderfully chewy texture.
Leftovers are terrific in wraps, sandwiches, and salads!
Go the store-bought route
If you don’t feel like making the main event from scratch, go with a prepared option instead.
A lot of store-bought options, like Trader Joe’s turkey-less roast, come in portions large enough to feed a crowd. But don’t worry. There are still plenty of choices available that are better suited to a Thanksgiving for two.
The options below can be found in the frozen section of natural grocery stores, health markets, and even some locations of Target or Walmart.
Gardein turk’y cutlets with gravy
Gardein turk’y cutlets come four to a package. They are lightly breaded and include a small packet of gravy. The gravy is on the thin side, but the flavor is fine.
I like to air fry these at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, stopping once to flip. They don’t need to be sprayed with oil before or during cooking. Then the gravy packet can be removed from its plastic casing and heated in the microwave.
Gardein stuffed turk’y with gravy
Gardein also makes individual stuffed entrees. They are lightly breaded and stuffed with cranberries. They come two to a package. They also come with a gravy packet.
Field Roast celebration roast
Field Roast hazelnut cranberry roast en croute is one of my very favorite store-bought options. But when you have a small group, the celebration roast is just the right size.
Cut off a few slices and brown them in a skillet for the holiday. Then use the rest in a bánh mì the next day.
While we’re talking about store-bought options, that’s also an easy route for side dishes. You can steam, roast, or air fry chopped or frozen vegetables.
Sauce your entrée with jarred cranberry sauce. And there are even jarred vegan gravies if you don’t feel like making your own cashew gravy.
There are no rules
Of course it’s always true, but this year especially as so many traditions are naturally falling by the wayside, there are no rules when it comes to the fourth Thursday in November.
This could be a good year to do something outside the ordinary like having a vegan picnic in your yard if the weather allows, or order food from a local restaurant.
When we look back on all of the Thanksgivings we’ve had in our lifetimes, this will surely be one that stands out because of all the ways it’s different. I hope you’re able to find some joy in the little things in this very trying year.