These vegan Thanksgiving recipes are even more delicious than the traditional mains, sides, and desserts, and will please everyone around the table!
Who said Thanksgiving needs to be about turkey? Turns out, the best, tastiest holiday recipes are plant based and vegan. Alex and I eat a mostly whole food plant based diet. At first, holidays like Thanksgiving were hard to manage: especially with family. What do I even make for you? was the chorus. Little by little, there’s been lots more education and creativity showing that plant-based recipes can be showy and celebratory, too.
With that in mind, here’s 15+ of our very best vegan Thanksgiving recipes. They celebrate the produce of the season, from butternut squash to pumpkin. And don’t worry: we’ve got the stuffing and gravy too! And lots of tasty vegan Thanksgiving desserts. (Our favorite? Vegan pumpkin bread + ice cream + vegan caramel sauce. Right?) Without further ado, let’s get to those tasty plant based recipes!
This vegan shepherd’s pie is perfect as a Thanksgiving main dish recipe! Imagine: a creamy gravy filled with tender vegetables, lentils and scented with fennel and sage. Then a fluffy layer of mashed potatoes, topped with fresh rosemary. It’s layered together in a baking dish and then baked until golden. This one’s a whole food plant based (WFPB) stunner!
Next up in our vegan Thanksgiving recipes: vegan pot pie! It's the perfect showy main dish to impress all your guests. This one features a crispy pastry crust made with coconut oil and sage. And inside, a gooey mix of sweet potatoes, carrots, white beans and shallot all covered in a thick savory gravy. It's an absolute stunner!
Stuffed squash is the perfect vegan Thanksgiving recipe! This one features tender roasted acorn squash that's stuffed with a hearty quinoa and herb stuffing. It's flecked with leeks, walnuts, fresh sage, and fresh thyme. It makes the kitchen smell like Thanksgiving!
This stuffing recipe takes everything that's great about a classic Thanksgiving stuffing recipe, and makes it 100% plant based! This one features cubes of rustic artisan bread as the base. Then it's flavored with onion, leeks, and fresh sage and parsley. It comes out just like your favorite stuffing from growing up, but vegan and loads tastier!
Want the best roasted vegetables ever? This master recipe results in the most colorful sheet pans that will please even the most veggie-wary eaters. They’re healthy, plant based, vegetarian and gluten-free, and even better: beautiful and delicious! It makes 2 sheet pans and takes only 30 minutes to roast. You can roast ahead and then reheat in a 400F oven prior to serving.
This hearty quinoa is protein-packed and would work as a filling vegan Thanksgiving main dish recipe, along with a load of vegan side dishes. The quinoa is bursting with roasted harvest vegetables: butternut squash, fingerling potatoes, red onion and cauliflower. There are chickpeas for added protein, and it's doused in olive oil and tangy balsamic vinegar. So good!
Fluffy, dreamy vegan mashed potatoes are hard to make without the help of cream, butter and cheese. But don’t worry: we’ve managed to master a recipe for you! These vegan mashed potatoes are light, fluffy, and satisfying and at the same time 100% plant based. The secrets? Yukon gold potatoes have a creamy, buttery texture: add a combo of olive oil and coconut oil for big flavor!
Don't forget the gravy! This brown gravy is vegan and seriously tasty. Pour it on all sorts of Thanksgiving recipes and prepare to be amazed! The secrets: soy sauce and fennel seed, which add a meaty and savory undertone.
This vegan butternut squash soup is full of big flavor, featuring squash, carrots and sweet potatoes for a sweet body. There's no need for cream in this one: the vegetables are perfectly creamy on their own. If you have an Instant Pot, try our Easy Instant Pot Butternut Squash Soup for easy prep!
These are the BEST roasted sweet potatoes, diced and mixed with a hint of garlic powder, salt and olive oil. Bake them in a very hot oven until they're caramelized, and they're the perfect Thanksgiving side.
Oh yes, these are the best vegan biscuits you'll find! They're perfectly flaky, with that beautiful layered look. And they have the best buttery flavor! Even better, they come together in just 30 minutes. As a Thanksgiving side dish, make a double recipe to feed a crowd.
Let's move on to vegan Thanksgiving side dish recipes, shall we? These roasted green beans are simple but the flavors are complex. The beans become tender and slightly browned during roasting, and they're served with contrasting zesty lemon and crunchy hazelnuts. What makes the roasted green beans unique is that they’re also roasted with thin sliced shallots, which gives them a savory, onion-y flair!
These vegan roasted vegetables are made especially for Thanksgiving! Here sweet potatoes and carrots are roasted with garlic and a bit of rosemary. They've got a beautiful sweet flavor, and make the kitchen smell amazing.
Everything about this vegan Thanksgiving side dish is perfection! It's beautiful to look at AND seriously tasty, featuring hot pink roasted apples, golden cauliflower, and purple roasted red onion. It's topped with contrasting feathery fresh dill, the perfect herbaceous addition. This one is always a favorite in our house.
So many Thanksgiving side dishes are easily vegan: like this simple roasted butternut squash! Combine cubed squash with olive oil and salt and pepper, and roast it in a very hot oven until it's lightly browned and tender. It's sweet candy goodness!
Ever had a massaged kale salad? Massaging kale makes the leaves more tender and sweet, removing all the bitterness you might imagine is in raw kale. Top it with crunchy apples, tart pomegranate seeds, and a zesty vinaigrette, and it's pretty darn perfect.
Another great vegan Thanksgiving recipe: delicata squash! This variety of squash is tender and sweet, and the skin is edible: no peeling required! This makes it quick and easy to roast: and it makes lovely half-moon shapes.
These vegan rosemary roasted potatoes have a secret: thinly sliced lemon wedges are roasted with the potatoes right on the tray! It infuses a zesty lemon flavor into each tender bite of potato: truly something special.
Incredible is the best word to describe this vegan pumpkin bread. It is incredibly good: perfectly moist and flavored with just the right amount of pumpkin spice. Serve it as an appetizer or side. Or an even better idea, serve a vegan Thanksgiving dessert recipe: topped with vegan vanilla ice cream and vegan caramel sauce. (Right?!)
Another tasty vegan Thanksgiving dessert recipe: rustic apple crumble! This crumble recipe is seriously tasty: the gooey apple filling is flavored with fresh ginger and spices, and the topping is perfectly crumbly. This version is also gluten-free: it's made with almond flour for even more crunch.
This pumpkin mousse is basically pumpkin pie filling made into a light and fluffy vegan mousse. It's served in a shot glass because…why not? The advantage is that it controls the portion size: all the delicious dessert goodness is packed into a tiny package! This mousse is fully vegan / plant based using coconut milk. Best of all, it’s light, airy, and filled with comforting pumpkin spices. It's the perfect vegan Thanksgiving recipe!
Last up in our vegan Thanksgiving recipes: pumpkin oatmeal cookies! These are tender and perfectly spiced, and taste just like an oatmeal cream pie (but pumpkin flavored!). It's drizzled with our easy powdered sugar icing for a little flair. Enjoy!
More Thanksgiving and plant based resources
Here are a few more of our favorite resources for Thanksgiving planning:
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary, for the garnish
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Start the mashed potatoes: Start the Vegan Mashed Potatoes recipe**. (You can also make these in advance; just reheat before spreading onto the filling to bake.)
Prep the vegetables: Meanwhile, dice mushrooms into bite-sized chunks. Peel and slice the carrots into thin half-circles. Cut the onion into thin slivers length-wise (also called French cut; see the instructions in 1:40 of the linked video).
Make the filling: In large pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil on medium high heat. Cook the mushrooms for 5 minutes until golden and tender. Reduce the heat to medium and add 2 tablespoons olive oil and the sliced onion and carrots. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and cook 5 to 7 minutes until the onions are tender and just browning.
Reduce the heat to medium low. Stir in the flour, fennel seeds, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and dried sage and cook for 1 minute. Add the vegetable broth, peas, lentils (drained if canned), soy sauce and remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Cook for about 5 minutes until the broth is very thick and the vegetables are heated through.
Finish the mashed potatoes: When the potatoes are done cooking, mash them according to the instructions in that recipe.
Bake: Pour the filling into a 2-quart small baking dish. Spread the mashed potatoes in a layer on top. Bake 18 to 20 minutes until the potatoes are lightly browned. If desired, broil for 1 to 2 minutes to brown the top. Garnish with chopped rosemary and serve warm.
*If you can’t find canned lentils, cook your own lentils and add 1 1/2 cups of the cooked lentils to the filling. Use our Brown/Green Lentils or Black Lentils recipes: you can cook them in water and omit the seasoning. Do cook with the kosher salt, but don’t add extra after cooking. **Want to impress? Stir in a little truffle oil to the mashed potatoes to taste. Here’s our favorite All Natural White Truffle Oil.
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.