Thanksgiving is the best food holiday of the year, and you don't have to miss our as a vegan! This vegan Thanksgiving dinner menu includes a mix of classic recipes, side dishes, and store bought options. Since it's easy to swap out the animal products in those side dishes with vegan versions, Thanksgiving can be the most vegan-friendly holiday if you make it! Use the recipes or use this menu as inspiration to veganize your family recipes.
I revisit this Thanksgiving guide every year with new recipe and product recommendations. Whether you're hosting Thanksgiving or bringing a dish to share, there's something here for everyone, no matter how much time you have to cook (or not).
It's okay to go semi-homemade since making a full vegan Thanksgiving dinner is a lot of work! If you're going to make three side dishes and a dessert, do yourself a favor and pick up a store bought roast. Or vice versa. Whichever one involves the least amount of grocery shopping.
If you have the time, I highly recommend making and freezing fresh pumpkin puree ahead of time to use for all your pumpkin desserts and pastries!
🍗 Main Dish
Is anyone's favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner the main course? Doubtful. It's all about the sides! Apparently even omnivores aren't fans of Thanksgiving turkey.
While I'd argue that vegan roasts are much more delicious than what I remember of turkey from before I was vegan, let's keep it simple.
I have one go-to recipe if I'm going to make a roast, but lately I prefer to buy a store bought roast, specifically the Trader Joe's Roast.
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 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.
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 boxed version instead! We've finally arrived to a golden age where vegan food is accessible almost everywhere from fast food joints to fine dining. That applies to grab-and-go vegan Thanksgiving dinner too.
When I'm not cooking Thanksgiving dinner, I go for the Trader Joe's Turkey-less Stuffed Roast with Gravy. This roast is breaded, stuffed with cranberry-studded wild rice, and seasoned with herbs and red pepper flakes. It comes with a decent amount of gravy for 1-2 people, but if you're feeding more people or plan on eating multiple helpings, you might want to make some more.
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 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. It also comes in a Sage & Garlic version!
The Hazelnut & Cranberry Plant Based Roast is made of grain meat stuffed with crystallized ginger, cranberries, and apples, and wrapped in puff pastry. This roast is available year-round!
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.
According to the Vegan ALDI (USA) Facebook group, there are 2 varieties available, Herb and Oven Roasted, and both are delicious! This product comes in pre-sliced and breaded cutlets that just need to be heated up, so it's a great option if you need to bring a main course to a non-vegan feast and can't take up oven space for a whole roast.
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.
Alternate Main Dishes
Not a fan of meatless roasts? These seasonal dishes will stand in perfectly!
Somewhere between a side and a main dish, these pierogi are a great way to incorporate sweet potatoes into your menu, or for a Polish-inspired vegan Thanksgiving.
Why eat your mashed potatoes, gravy, and veggies separately when you can make them into a pie? This Shepherds Pie is hearty and flavorful with the addition of seitan, homemade or store bought.
🍠 Side Dishes
Side dishes are usually the best part of Thanksgiving dinner, right? Mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and veggies... Main dish who?
Stuffing is an essential Thanksgiving side dish, and I love making this classic Sage Stuffing with parsley and thyme. If you're in a hurry, you can use bagged stuffing like Pepperidge Farm, which is accidentally vegan.
Would it even be Thanksgiving without Green Bean Casserole? My version swaps canned green beans for fresh, and is made with homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup to replace the non-vegan mushroom soup in a can.
When prepared well, Brussels sprouts are absolutely delicious and a staple on the Thanksgiving dinner table. The best way to cook Brussels sprouts is by tossing them in salt, pepper, and garlic, and roasting them until the sides are golden and practically charred.
At least one kind of mashed potatoes are an absolute must! These super chunky, fluffy mashed potatoes are made with vegan butter, oat milk, and garlic. Not a fan of garlic? Simply leave it out.
You're going to need some gravy with your mashed potatoes and roast. This easy vegan gravy recipe is made with onions and seasonal herbs like sage and thyme, and it comes together in 15 minutes.
Your Thanksgiving dinner plate is prime real estate for comfort food, and comfort food is filling! It you can spare some space for a lil salad, this Roasted Squash & Pear Fall Salad is the one to make.
🍞 Bread and Pastry
You could serve this sweet potato bread on the dinner table and eat it with vegan butter and cranberry sauce, but it will really shine the next day if you use it for your Thanksgiving leftovers sandwich! Since it's a yeast bread and the flavor is subtly sweet, it makes an excellent sandwich bread.
These garlic knots are made with store bought pizza dough (pick some up at Trader Joe's when you pick up your vegan roast!), but taste like you spent hours preparing the dough from scratch.
Save some pizza dough for your Thanksgiving Leftovers Pizza too!
Serve these pumpkin cinnamon rolls on the dessert table, or snack on them for breakfast. You can't go wrong!
This recipe from my drink-inspired dessert cookbook Cheers to Vegan Sweets is a good one to pull out for vegan Thanksgiving. Try making them into donut holes instead of full-sized donuts so you'll have enough room to sample every dessert.
If you love vegan pastries and desserts, or are looking for a gift for a vegan-curious friend for the holidays, I currently have Cheers to Vegan Sweets in my shop (this way you get a signed copy), Amazon, or your favorite bookstore. There's tons of recipes you'll want to make this holiday season like Chocolate Nog Cupcakes, Champagne Mousse Petit Fours, and Buttered Rum Cashew Brittle.
Like I have to tell you that Thanksgiving is all about pie! You need at least 2 pies, and preferably another vegan Thanksgiving dessert like cake or ice cream. 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 Post Punk Kitchen.
Looking for more pie options? Check out this list of vegan pie recipes.
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.
Enjoy the pumpkin spice latte's last hurrah before the prompt switch to peppermint and gingerbread after dinner. This vegan coconut-based ice cream is made with steeped coffee, fresh pumpkin, and PSL spices.
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.
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.
If you did Thanksgiving right, you probably have leftovers! Sure, you can eat them on a plate or in a sandwich, but what about in a waffle, pie, or (pizza) pie?
Give your Thanksgiving leftovers a proper sendoff by baking them into a pizza! You can make your own pizza dough or use a pre-made dough to get those leftovers in pizza form at lightning speed.
This glorious idea comes from hot for food. Leftover mashed potatoes are cooked in a waffle iron and topped with vegan turkey, gravy, and cranberry sauce. My waffle iron is generally underutilized, and I'm all about waffles for dinner!
I'm going to stop here because adding more recipes 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!
This post was originally published in November 2015 and has been updated for 2021 (and most years in between).