As a foodie, Thanksgiving is definitely one of my favorite holidays! However, as someone who is vegetarian or vegan, your options for Thanksgiving dinner can be limited sometimes when eating as a guest for dinner. Don’t let your friends/family resort to sides for dinner! I’ve got plenty of great ideas for those hosting or attending Thanksgiving dinner with plant-based friends or family.
What Thanksgiving Foods are Vegan or Vegetarian?
This one definitely depends on how you prepare a lot of the traditional Thanksgiving foods, but here is a run-down:
- Turkey: (This may be an obvious one, but you never know!)
- Vegan? – No – but I have lots of alternative entree ideas below!
- Vegetarian? – No – but I have lots of alternative entree ideas below!
- Vegan? – No, traditional gravy is made using the drippings and juice from the cooked turkey.
- Vegetarian? – No, vegetarians don’t eat turkey so traditionally made gravy is made using the drippings and juice from the cooked turkey.
- Mashed Potatoes:
- Vegan? – No, if you add butter or milk to the recipe, it is not vegan.
- Vegetarian? – Yes, if that vegetarian eats dairy products (milk, butter).
- Vegan? – No, most stuffing calls for broth, eggs, sausage, etc which are not vegan-friendly.
- Vegetarian? – No, unless it is made in a dish separate from the turkey and vegetable broth is used in the recipe. Also, if the recipe calls for sausage, bacon, etc it is not vegetarian friendly. The stuffing recipe I shared below contains eggs, so make sure your vegetarian guest eats eggs.
- Sweet Potato Casserole:
- Vegan? – No, most recipes call for butter.
- Vegetarian? – Yes, if that vegetarian eats dairy products (milk, butter)
- Green Bean Casserole:
- Vegan? No, most traditional recipes call for canned mushroom soup which contains dairy.
- Vegetarian? Yes, if that vegetarian eats dairy products (milk).
- Cranberry Sauce:
- Vegan? Yes! Most canned cranberry sauces (even the “jellied” ones) are vegan. Double check the label to make sure it doesn’t contain gelatin. Some popular brands like Ocean Spray are gelatin free as the pectin naturally contained in cranberries creates the jellied texture.
- Vegetarian? Yes! Most canned cranberry sauces (even the jellied ones) are vegetarian. Double check the label to make sure it doesn’t contain gelatin. Most brands like Ocean Spray are gelatin free.
- Vegan? No, traditional dinner roll recipes include butter and milk and some have an egg white wash.
- Vegetarian? Yes, if that vegetarian eats dairy products (milk, butter).
- Pumpkin Pie:
- Vegan? – No, most pie crusts are made with butter or lard which are not vegan-friendly.
- Vegetarian? – Maybe. If the crust is butter based than yes. If the crust is lard based, then no. Also, pumpkin pie filling often contains eggs and milk so make sure those are ok with any vegetarian guest.
What Do I Serve My Vegan/Vegetarian Guest for Thanksgiving?
There are so many delicious options! As far as entrees go, when you aren’t limited to roasted turkey, the options are endless. Our favorite is this seitan roast from the blog, but I’ve given you many other suggestions below. Don’t want to have to cook something from scratch? There are lots of great store-bought entree options that you can basically just reheat.
- Entree/Turkey Alternatives:
- Vegan: Vegan Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna, Vegan Meatballs with Mushroom Gravy, Vegan Stuffed Seitan Roast
- Vegetarian: Vegetarian Lentil Shepherds Pie, Vegetarian Slow Cooker Enchilada Casserole, Mexican Tempeh Skillet Casserole
- Store-bought Options: Tofurky Roast, Tofurky Ham Roast, Field Roast Celebration Roast (My fave!), Field Roast Hazelnut Cranberry Roast En Croute, Trader Joe’s Breaded Turkey-Less Stuffed Roast with Gravy
- Side Dishes:
Vegan Thanksgiving Menu
- Vegan Stuffed Seitan Roast (or purchase a Field Roast Celebration Roast)
- Vegan Root Vegetable Gratin
- Curry Spiced Quinoa
- Winter Kale Salad(Leave off goat cheese)
- Vegan Pumpkin Pie with Cashew Cream Swirls
(Ingredients with asterisks are needed for seitan roast, omit if purchasing store-bought entree like Field Roast’s Celebration Roast)
- 2 butternut squash (1 squash for roast**)
- 1 yellow onion (1/2 onion for roast**)
- 1 stalk celery**
- 5 carrots (1 carrot for roast**)
- 1/2 cup mushrooms + 16 oz mushrooms**
- 4 cloves garlic**
- 2 bunches lacinato kale (1 bunch for roast**)
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries**
- 2 cups vital wheat gluten**
- 1/3 garbanzo bean flour**
- 5 cups vegetable broth
- 2 sweet potatoes
- 1 rugabaga
- 3 turnips
- 4 parsnips
- 2 1/2 cups plain, unsweetened non-dairy milk (almond or soy)
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 cup almonds
- 1 1/2 cups quinoa
- 2 lemons
- 1 package mint
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro
- 1 bunch fresh parsley
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas
- 1 pomegranate
- 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1 vegan pie crust
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted cashews
- 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
- 1 (15 oz) can full fat coconut milk
- Olive Oil
- Curry Powder
- Dried oregano**
- Dried thyme**
- Bread crumbs**
- Black Pepper
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Celery salt
- Dried rosemary
- Corn starch
- Dried parsley
- Red wine vinegar
- Maple syrup
- Vanilla extract
- Brown Sugar
- Vegetable oil
Comments & Reviews
This just made my Thanksgiving preparation easier. That Vegan Pumpkin Pie with Cashew Cream Swirls is going to be a star 😉
Thank you for sharing!
Whew! Sooo relieved to see my 3 faves made the list: stuffing (I always stick with plain), cranberry sauce (explaining my plain stuffing ), and sweet potatoes. I’ve jotted down some of your substitutes. I’m in the process of moving to vegan, so this helps immeasurably. Many thanks!