Last-Minute Thanksgiving Guide
Oh crap, it’s approximately 24 hours before Thanksgiving dinner, and you’re on the internet reading food blogs. Unless you’re hosting dinner this year (in which case you probably don’t need a last minute Thanksgiving dinner guide because you’re a responsible adult who owns table runners and pumpkin-shaped candlesticks, and got your shopping done last week!), there’s a good chance that you’re traveling to a friend or relative’s home for dinner. If so, there’s also a good chance you’re not responsible for cooking every single appetizer, main dish, side dish, and dessert so making at least one homemade dish is doable, right?
Maybe you thought about slow roasting a pie pumpkin and blending it into velvety pumpkin pie filling for your homemade coconut butter crust. But it’s 24 hours before Thanksgiving and there might not be time for that, tbh. Using canned pumpkin and/or a pre-made crust is absolutely okay and will leave time for you to effectively channel your inner Martha Stewart.
I went through some vegan Thanksgiving recipes, products, and ideas in my head and put together a list of Seitan Beats Your Meat recipes, recipes from other blogs, and ready-to-eat products. It’s all about prioritizing. If you’re going to make three side dishes and a dessert, do yourself a favor and pick up a storebought roast. Or vice versa. Whichever one involves the least amount of grocery shopping today.
Also, I only included main dishes and desserts because these ones usually the most complicated and cause the most stress around the holidays. And I’m sure you know how to make mashed potatoes, or maybe your family was super thoughtful and left out dairy in the side dishes by default!
Let’s do this!
Homemade: Seitan en Croute from Just the Food
If you’re going to make your own roast, the Seitan en Croute recipe from Just the Food is my pick. I’m even making it tomorrow. I love me some Joni recipes (and Joni herself!) and I’ve made her Seitan en Croute for Thanksgiving several years in a row. If you’re traveling a short distance, you can cook the entire roast ahead of time, then hope you’ll get 15 minutes of oven time to heat it up before dinner at Mom’s house.
Storebought: many options!
Even if you planned to make your own seitan roast and thought about standing over the sink washing the starch out of wheat flour for an hour because you’ve never tried making seitan the old-fashioned way, it’s okay to purchase a Tofurky instead. We live in the age of convenience, and that applies to grab-and-go vegan Thanksgiving dinner.
Tofurky Vegetarian Feast: Tofurky is the classic…Tofurky. It’s become a household name that may or may not refer to the actual brand, but any holiday meatless roast. The Tofurky is stuffed with wild rice and bread crumb stuffing, and comes with a simple gravy.
Field Roast Celebration Roast and/or Hazelnut Cranberry Roast En Croute: Field Roast offers two kinds of roasts! The traditional Celebration Roast is stuffed with onions, celery, cranberries, and butternut squash, and comes with a porcini mushroom gravy for serving. The Hazelnut Cranberry Roast is made of grain meat stuffed with Field Roast sausages, crystallized ginger, cranberries, and apples, and wrapped in puff pastry. Also, the Hazelnut Cranberry Roast is available year-round!
Trader Joe’s Turkeyless Stuffed Roast (may or may not be available): the Trader Joe’s vegan turkey roast is breaded, stuffed with cranberry-studded wild rice, and seasoned with herbs and red pepper flakes.
Gardein Stuffed Veggie Turkey Roast: if you’re a fan of other Gardein products but have yet to try their holiday roast, perhaps the time is now! Gardein offers a turkey-free roast with cranberry wild rice stuffing and a side of gravy.
Local Restaurants: if you live near Native Foods, other vegan restaurants, or veg-friendly co-ops, there’s a good chance one of these places will be offering Thanksgiving to-go! They might even take care of your side dishes as well. Check out your favorite restaurant’s Facebook page to see if there’s still time to order.
You need at least two desserts. Make this category a priority!
You need pumpkin pie. Or apple pie. Or your favorite kind of pie. I’m a fan of this pumpkin pie from The PPK.
Chocolate pie, graham cracker crust, and aquafaba meringue topping!
Do people eat lemon meringue on Thanksgiving? It doesn’t matter because you can make vegan meringue now, so ALL THE MERINGUE PIES!
As I wrote in the recipe post, my Grandma makes this cake every year, so I made my own vegan version. It’s a fluffy pumpkin cake, not overly spicy, topped with cream cheese frosting.
This recipe from Cheers to Vegan Sweets is a good one to pull out for Thanksgiving, or anytime during the fall. Try making them into donut holes instead of full-sized donuts so you’ll have enough room to sample every dessert.
Pssst: autographed copies of Cheers to Vegan Sweets are currently 20% off in my shop, and I’m donating a portion of each sale to The Sweet Bunny Project for the rest of the year.
This is probably a category you don’t have to think about if you’re going to a relative’s home for Thanksgiving. There’s probably wine, beer, juice, pop*, or mixed drinks that are all vegan. But if you want to really step it up, try one of these recipes, or make them later at home.
*Hi, I live in Chicago.
Is it too early for this White Russian/hot chocolate combo? I guess you could swap out the candy cane for a cinnamon stick to grasp hold of that last bit of autumnal flair.
Mulled wine is really easy to make and it makes your home smell delicious while it’s simmering and mulling. If you have some whole spices and citrus fruit hanging around, put a batch on the stovetop. Here are a few different versions.
I’m going to stop here because adding more recipes and options to mull over will defeat the purpose of putting together a last-minute meal. I hope this helped with your meal plan, or directed you to somewhere that did. Enjoy your meal, whether you’re celebrating Thanksgiving or not, traveling, or staying at home!