What Do Vegans And Vegetarians Do For Thanksgiving?

By Corey Bivins

When I was a little girl, I thought the best thing about Thanksgiving was the food: my grandma's green bean casserole, mashed potatoes with gravy, dinner rolls, pumpkin pie and turkey. When I reminisce about those traditions, I realize now that I really didn't care for the food. (What is that odd cranberry stuff that comes out of a can anyway?) What I really loved was the tradition of spending time with my loved ones. Now, with a family of my own, I want to create our own traditions so that my children will have fond memories. Most importantly, I want them to know that Thanksgiving is about celebrating life and that this celebration can be done without taking the life of a turkey. If you too are looking to create new traditions for your family, or need to know what to serve your vegetarian/vegan guests, here are some animal-friendly suggestions for a healthy and humane feast:

  • Take your favorite childhood Thanksgiving dishes and make them vegetarian/ vegan. For instance, stuffing can be made using a vegetable broth and pies can be made using vegetable shortening in place of lard or butter.
  • Try a commercial or homemade unturkey main dish
  • Thanksgiving usually has a generous amount of side dishes, so try skipping the turkey substitute and feasting on the side dishes.
  • If the people you celebrate with are not vegetarian, propose alternating years so that every other year the feast is vegetarian/vegan. Promise to help with recipes and ideas.
  • Host a Day After Thanksgiving Vegetarian/Vegan Feast with friends, whether it be an extravagant sit-down dinner or a potluck.

Here are some menu ideas:


  • Field Roast Celebration Roast
  • Garden Protein Veggie Turkey Breast
  • Tofurky
  • Pecan encrusted seitan
  • Butternut squash with wild rice stuffing
  • Veggie pot pie
  • Veggie loaf
  • Nut roast


  • Pumpkin soup
  • Butternut squash soup
  • 12 bean soup
  • Black bean and sweet potato chili
  • Marinated lentil salad
  • Quinoa salad
  • Vegetable barley couscous
  • Cranberry spinach salad


  • Mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy
  • Potato and kale galette
  • Roasted brussels sprouts with onions and apples
  • Green beans with cranberries
  • Cranberry-apple relish
  • Cranberry chutney
  • Corn bread
  • Sweet potato biscuits


  • Walnut-apple stuffing
  • Sourdough stuffing with pine nuts and raisins
  • Cranberry-pear wild rice stuffing
  • Cornbread stuffing
  • Stuffing with gimmelean sausage
  • Quinoa stuffing


  • Pumpkin or squash pie
  • Sweet potato pie
  • Apple pie
  • Pear and apple crumble
  • Cranberry-nut bread
  • Poached pears with wine vinaigrette
  • Lemon custard bars
  • Fresh fall fruit tart



  • Vegan Handbook by The Vegetarian Resource Group
  • Friendly Foods by Brother Ron Pickarski
  • The Vegan Table by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau
  • A Bountiful Vegan Thanksgiving by Nava Atlas
  • Vegetarian Times Complete Thanksgiving Cookbook

Thanksgiving Day recipes

Groups that have sponsored Veggie Thanksgiving Dinners

Restaurants that have served Veggie Thanksgiving Meals

Best Wishes to you and your family and friends this Thanksgiving!