Did you know that 46 million turkeys are killed each Thanksgiving? Thankfully every year, more people are going vegan. We’re looking forward to seeing this number go down over the next few years.
Should we place bets on how many times your family is going to ask “but what are you going to eat?” Let this article be your answer. We’re here to prove that Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be difficult as a vegan.
There are plenty of incredible and sinful vegan foods to enjoy this year so you can slip into your Thanksgiving sweatpants and join the fam in a food coma if you please. We’re all about eating healthy, but if there’s one day to splurge, it’s gotta be Thanksgiving day.
Whether you’re hosting Thanksgiving or making a few of these easy vegan recipes and packing it to go, we’re sure that your family and friends will be overly jealous when they see what’s on your plate. Be sure to make a little extra or don’t say we didn’t warn ya when your family is crawling across the table for a second scoop of your cheese-less yet cheesy mac and cheese. Did we mention cheese?
The Perfect Vegan Thanksgiving Meal
We’re going to skip ahead to the main course because we all know that’s the lead of Thanksgiving dinner. Don’t worry; we’re not even going to mention tofurkey, which always ends up drier than an overbaked biscuit in the Arizona summer sun. We’ve got some pretty great meat substitutes worth mentioning as well as some other options if fake meat isn’t your thing.
If this is your first vegan Thanksgiving or even your fifteenth, it can be an overwhelming holiday for all of us. The stats are pretty horrifying: 88% of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving, so chances are, you’re going to see a lot of turkey corpses, even if it’s on social media.
Quality Meat Substitutes
If you’re looking to blend in this holiday season, we’ve listed some great meat substitutes that you can purchase, but if you’re looking for a great DIY recipe, we’ve included some of those too!
Gardein Savory Stuffed Turk’y with Gravy This filling treat is so yummy and tastes very holiday appropriate. It’s perfect for vegans on the go and comes perfectly portioned in a pack of two in case you’ve got your stretchy pants on or are willing to share. Oh, and it also comes with meat-free gravy packets. Bonus!
Vegetarian Plus Whole Vegan Turkey. Buyer beware, this looks like an actual turkey so if you’re not into eating foods that even resemble meat, this isn’t the best choice you. For those of you who miss the stuff, this has drumsticks and all.
Trader Joe’s Breaded Turkey-less Stuffed Roast with Gravy. This mouth-watering roast can feed up to six people and has incredible texture. Inside the roast is wild rice stuffing and cranberries to get you in the holiday mood. It also comes with gravy, so you don’t have to worry about a dry meal.
Vegetarian Plus Vegan Turkey Roll. This option is great because it looks and tastes similar to a carved turkey breast. Another plus--it comes with its own cranberry glaze for some extra yum. Once it’s on the plate, you won’t be able to tell its not meat.
Make Your Own “Roast.” If you prefer to make your own roast instead of buying processed meat substitutes (kudos to you), you’ll definitely want to try this Seitan Roast recipe. The maple dijon glaze is one for the record books.
More Great Mains
If you don’t want to go down the meat substitute route, here are a few amazing recipes that can easily take center stage on your plate this year.
Mushroom Wellington This is such a beautiful dish you might never want to eat it. Then you taste it and you never want to stop eating it! It’s so savory and filling, your family will swear there’s meat inside.
Chickpea & Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie We recently fell in love with this recipe because it’s not just vegan but also nut-free, soy-free, and can even be gluten-free if you use the proper substitutions. We’re also a fan of how much protein this dish has. #chickpeapower This makes it the perfect dish to bring to Friendsgiving!
Whole Roasted Cauliflower We’ve recently been obsessing with cooking cauliflower whole or slicing it into steaks instead of the usual florets. Once you try them a new way, it’s kind of a pivotal moment in your vegetable journey. When it comes to Thanksgiving, we think this recipe can easily be a stunning centerpiece to a table full of plant-based goodness.
Lentil Loaf After eating this lentil loaf, we couldn't believe that people are still making loaves from meat. This recipe seriously changes the game. One bite and your life will change.
Drool-Worthy Sides Dishes
If you’re like us, then you hold Thanksgiving sides to an equal standard as the main dish. I mean, c’mon, they’re just as delicious, so we’ve collected all of your favorites, but vegan, of course! We can assure you the only envy at the dinner table will be from your family and friends.
At the top of this list lives this recipe for creamy mashed potatoes and a mushroom gravy which is to die for. Not literally of course, as there are no animals harmed in the making of any of these recipes.
We LOVE winter vegetables. Now is the perfect time to showcase the beauty and crunch of broad beans, asparagus, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, and carrots. Experiment with different herbs like cumin, curry, ginger, or garlic to keep your plate interesting.
It’s going to be hard to write about this recipe without getting up and making it. Just the pictures alone have our mouths watering and bellies rumbling. The creaminess comes from a perfect blend of cashews, potatoes, and nutritional yeast. This recipe is an actual masterpiece.
Stuffing recipes like this make us wonder why we have to wait 365 days to enjoy such a thing. You won’t even miss the crumbles of sausage that goes into a carnivore’s stuffing. This is a pretty basic recipe, but we love that because we like to add our own secret toppings like nuts, apples, and candied cranberries. Make it your own!
Sure you could buy canned cranberry sauce but why not skip out on the refined sugar and preservatives if you can? This authentic sauce made from apples, whole cranberries, and orange juice puts the canned ones to shame. Seriously, you’ll never go back. Plus, we like that you can alter the sweetness in the event you like it tarter or sweeter.
Desserts So Good You’ll Want to Smack Your Mama
You didn’t really think we’d give you a vegan Thanksgiving meal guide and leave off dessert, did you? Yes, these desserts are so good you’ll want to smack your mama but maybe don’t--holidays are stressful enough without adding a brawl to the mix.
Even people who don’t like pie, love pumpkin pie, ourselves included. You simply can’t make it through the holidays without indulging in a slice. Luckily for us, food bloggers across the web are producing the most incredible pumpkin pie recipes that are completely vegan and completely delicious. Here’s our favorite from It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken.
If you love candied pecans, maple syrup, and vanilla-infused toasted oats, then you are about to be introduced to your new favorite cookie. These crunchy (but soft on the inside) cookies are just as yummy freshly baked as they are days later dipped in a hot cup of coffee. Make the dough ahead of time and freeze so you can have a fresh batch whenever you feel a craving coming on.
This yummy loaf is perfect for when you have leftover fruit to use up. It’s so easy to sub out the blackberries and apples for different fruits like pears, raspberries, or figs. Whatever is in season, throw it in and watch your guests devour it immediately. If you want extra brownie points, warm it up in the oven a little before serving.
Don’t forget to throw some vegan ice cream in a freezer bag before you head to dinner so you can enjoy that pumpkin pie or loaf cake properly--with a scoop of dairy-free vanilla ice cream.
What Are You Eating This Thanksgiving?
We’d love to see what you’re eating this holiday season. Share your vegan plate with us this Thanksgiving for a chance to be featured on our stories! Send your submissions to @wearefuturekind on Instagram.
For more of the top vegan lifestyle news relating to health and nutrition, check out Future Kind’s blog!