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:

MAIN COURSES

  • 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

SOUPS AND SALADS

  • 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

SIDE DISHES

  • 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

UNSTUFFED STUFFING

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

DESSERTS

  • 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

ARTICLES

BOOKS WITH VEGETARIAN/VEGAN THANKSGIVING RECIPES

  • 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

Must Pumpkin Always Be Pie?

Splendid Squash

Saucepan Stuffing Mix

Cooking with Tofurky for the Holidays

Stuff Your Face: Stuffings for All Seasons

Easy as Apple Pie

Awesome Autumn Desserts From our Past

Holiday Potatoes

Sweet and Savory Sweet Potatoes

Vegan Comfort Foods

Salads for Every Course

Crazy About Cranberries

Quick Cornmeal

A Vegetarian Thanksgiving Feast-The Easy Way

Winter Squash with Apricot Stuffing

Vegetarian "Stuffing" and Pumpkin Pie

Recipe of the Month-Tofu Pumpkin Pie

Recipe of the Month-Pecan Pie

Vegan Thanksgiving

Vegetarian & Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes (The New York Times; 2013)


Groups that have sponsored Veggie Thanksgiving Dinners

VRG's Thanksgiving Potluck


Life-Affirming Thanksgiving Celebration

Annual Thanksgiving Feast at Cafe Parizade

Vegan Thanksgiving Potluck

Annual Vegan Thanksgiving Potluck

St. Louis Turkey Free Thanksgiving

Compassionate Thanksgiving Vegan Potluck

Turkey-Free, Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving Dinner at Pure Food and Wine

Annual Vegan Thanksgiving

Gentle Thanksgiving Events List


Restaurants that have served Veggie Thanksgiving Meals

Angelica Kitchen (NYC)

Blossom (NYC)

Candle 79 (NYC)

Chicago Diner (Chicago, IL)

Darbster (West Palm Beach, FL)

Milennium Restaurant (San Francisco, CA)

Pure Food and Wine (NYC)


Mail Order Veggie Thanksgiving Meals

buykind's vegan Thanksgiving menu delivered

Veggie Brothers vegan meal delivery

The Mail Order Catalog for Healthy Eating's turkey substitutes


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