30 vegan Thanksgiving recipes & resources to get you through the holidays. Mouthwatering appetizers, side dishes, and plant-based entrées. Plus, tips on how to navigate the social aspects of a vegan holiday!
Like so many of us, I’m plotting and planning this year’s vegan Thanksgiving menu.
Since David and I often go the potluck-route, it’s usually a matter of picking one or two things and going from there. The only problem is paring down what those few items will be.
Luckily, there’s no reason that the classic favorites have to be limited to that one day of the year as tasty vegan Thanksgiving recipes abound.
Here’s a round-up of my personal favorite vegan Thanksgiving recipes.
Cocktails & appetizers
As people file in with casseroles to warm and coats to hang, it’s fun to have nibbles for noshing. Bring on the cocktails, dips, and finger foods.
This cranberry juice and champagne cocktail includes just three ingredients. It’s as festive as it is easy.
We served it for Friendsgiving a few years back, and it was an immediate hit.
Look at that gorgeous vibrant color! Zesty cranberry salsa is formed over non-dairy cream cheese for a tangy mixture of sour and sweet.
Serve it with crackers for spreading.
Warmed Castelvetrano olives with lemon & garlic
You’ve got to love it when an appetizer this easy seems so fancy. Buttery Castelvetrano olives are sautéed with garlic, fresh thyme, and lemon zest.
Serve warm or at room temperature. You can also make this one ahead of time!
Old school spinach and artichoke dip has gotten a makeover. Made with a base of cashews and carrots, it has surprising body and velvety richness. And of course, there are big chunks of artichokes strewn throughout.
Serve with tortilla chips or toasted bread for dunking.
Think of this finger food as the potato’s answer to crostini. It’s topped with cashew cream and seitan bacon.
A simple but satisfying appetizer! Pitted dates stuffed with almond butter, wrapped in seitan bacon, and lightly fried. They’re an easy crowd pleaser.
Artichoke crostini with hummus & marinated cashews
Toasted bread is topped with a layer of hummus, marinated cashews, and grilled artichoke hearts.
Salads & side dishes
Thanksgiving foods are often shades of beige. It feels good to balance out the tan with pops of color.
Roasted apple salad with candied pecans
This fall salad with apples is topped with candied pecans, green onions, and a cider vinaigrette. Add store-bought or homemade vegan feta or chèvre on top.
Delicata squash salad with persimmons
This salad just screams fall. It’s loaded with roasted delicata squash, persimmons, pistachios, and caramelized onions.
Easy spinach salad with balsamic vinaigrette
This easy spinach salad is topped with candied pecans, bell peppers, celery, carrots, and dried cranberries. Add a splash of balsamic vinaigrette to finish it off.
Vegan stuffing with chestnuts
Nothing says holidays like stuffing. This one is packed with carrots, celery, onions, and chestnuts.
(No chestnuts? No problem! You can use browned seitan sausage or walnuts instead.)
For a handheld take on stuffing, make stuffing muffins! They are stuffed with celery, carrots, onions, and chestnuts.
Cashew gravy with chestnuts
Velvety cashew gravy with chestnuts is spiced with thyme and rosemary. Ladle this velvety gravy over mashed potatoes for a festive addition to your holiday dinner.
Why does anyone use canned cranberry sauce when it’s so easy to make your own? This one comes together in a jiffy with fresh cranberries, orange juice, maple syrup, and orange zest.
It has a wonderful balance of tart and sweet.
Fresh cranberry salsa with orange zest
Cranberry salsa is a fresher take on cranberry sauce. With cilantro, red bell pepper, onions, garlic, lime juice, orange zest, and orange juice, it really wakes up beige comfort food.
Use the leftovers on sweet potato tacos with black beans!
Apple chutney is like a chunky apple sauce with the warming flavors of curry, ginger, and cinnamon. It can be eaten warm or cold straight out of the refrigerator.
It plays together beautifully with a vegan holiday roast!
Roasted Brussels sprouts with apples & caramelized onions
Brussels sprouts are at their best when they’re roasted with apples, caramelized onions, and a smattering of pistachios. Sweet apple and crunchy pistachios wipe away any bitterness from the sprouts.
Add some color to your holiday plate with this broccolini recipe. Broccolini is sautéed with garlic & kale for an easy vegan and gluten-free side dish.
Red wine mushrooms with garlic
Everything is better with garlic and red wine. These mushrooms are positively loaded with umami.
Of course, it just isn’t Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes. Here fluffy mashed potatoes are topped with a generous ladling of seitan bacon gravy.
Easy roasted cauliflower in the air fryer or oven
This easy roasted cauliflower side dish can be made in the oven or the air fryer. With a squeeze of lemon juice and pinch of salt, it lets the toasty flavor of cauliflower really shine.
Delicata squash is the essence of fall. It’s a simple side dish, because you can leave the skin on. It’s dotted with flavorful dried rosemary.
You can’t have too many potatoes on Thanksgiving. This creamy baked potato soup is topped with seitan bacon, non-dairy cheese, and green onions.
Succulent collard greens fall apart in the mouth. It’s one of those rare side dishes that’s only more inviting if it sits on the stove for a while.
Chicken-style vegan pot pie
For something cozy and hearty, vegan pot pie makes a great main course. It’s filled with carrots, onions, celery, peas, and chicken-style seitan. Then it’s bundled up in a creamy cashew sauce.
Bonus: This pot pie uses store-bought frozen pie crust for extra convenience factor!
To make this a gluten-free option, replace the seitan with beans, and use a gluten-free pie crust.
Continuing with the pot pie theme, these bean and vegetable pot pies are personal-sized. Equal parts cute & delicious. The recipe includes making your own flaky top crust.
Vegan polenta stacks with barbecued squash & cashew cream
With a crisp layer of polenta, cashew cream, and barbecued delicata squash, this eye catching entree is layered with flavors and textures.
Thanksgiving skewers have all of your favorite holiday flavors – on a stick. With deconstructed stuffing, potatoes, lemony seitan, and sweet potatoes with marshmallows, you hit all of the classics.
Arancini isn’t your typical Thanksgiving entree. However, these Italian rice balls are cozy, crisp, and dramatic.
Break into the crackling crust of the outside, and you’re treated with creamy mushrooms, seitan, and cashew sauce with rice.
Bonus: It’s made using leftover vegan risotto. And it can be made in the air fryer or oven!
Easy baked tofu recipe with lemon & rosemary
Dotted with rosemary and lemon, this weeknight-friendly dish also makes a lovely holiday main course.
Of course, the best part of Thanksgiving may be the leftovers! Deliciously re-purpose them in this Thanksgiving sandwich with avocado.
More Thanksgiving resources
Finally, I always say that with veganism, the food is the easy part. It’s navigating social situations that can be tricky.
If this will be your first vegan Thanksgiving, here are some helpful resources as we move into the holiday season.
- 12 tips for surviving your first vegan Thanksgiving
- When people won’t eat your food because it’s vegan
- How to deal with vegan jokes at your expense
- Going vegan: Making new food traditions
- My wish for the turkeys
Originally posted November 2015. Content and photos updated November 2019.