12 Vegan and Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes

by Grace Bonney

When the holidays roll around, it can be difficult to find ways to make sure everyone at your table has something delicious (and safe) for them to eat. I have a large group of friends that don’t eat meat or animal products of any kind, and my sister-in-law has over 20 food allergies that require serious consideration when cooking. Julia has always been so wonderfully inclusive of our friends’ and family’s food requirements and preferences that it’s made me want to work harder to find delicious things that suit a wide range of diets and make everyone feel welcome at the table. The holidays are all about bringing people together to celebrate and hopefully these recipes will kickstart some new family traditions that celebrate all of the different (and delicious) things you can make without meat, dairy and animal products. I think these recipes are all incredibly flavorful and will be something everyone enjoys, regardless of dietary preference or requirement. xo, grace

The Hungry Girls’ Sweet Potato, Green Bean and Smoked Paprika Salad (Vegan): The word “salad” in a recipe often makes me feel like it won’t be substantial enough for a meal, especially Thanksgiving. But this savory sweet potato salad is rich and hearty enough to serve as a main course and the heat from the paprika makes it feel perfect for colder weather. I like to mix in a grain like quinoa or even lentils to add some heft to this dish.

Sabra Krock’s Apricot Tarts (Vegetarian): I love the way this recipe tastes and looks. It’s a nice alternative to pumpkin pie and you can make individual tarts for guests if you want to get extra fancy.

Amy Chaplin’s Vegan Pots de Creme (Vegan): It’s hard to believe a dessert this light and silky is vegan – let alone a happy accident in the kitchen when the recipe was created. These pots de creme can be made up to a day in advance, perfect for a delightful holiday dessert that you can wow your guests with by just pulling them out of the refrigerator.

Vanessa Rees’ Sesame Pancake Bread (Vegan): Buttery biscuits aren’t the only holiday bread you can serve. We love this sesame bread as a great vegan alternative to recipes that require milk and eggs. You can easily make this bread more savory or sweet depending on how you finish it. I’d love to dip it in something sweet for a dessert, but you can easily use it for savory sandwiches, too.

Tara O’Brady’s Vegetable Fritters (Vegan): Vegetables often get relegated to the sides of meals, but this flavorful recipe uses Indian spices to create a robust vegetable meal that will be substantial and filling for vegetarian and meat-eating guests alike.

Nicole Taylor’s Carolina Gold Rice & Harissa Chickpeas (Vegetarian): This is one of my favorite recipes we’ve ever run on DS. Packed with rich flavor and plenty of protein for vegetarians, this hearty rice and chickpea dish is a go-to for holidays that require meat-free dishes. The recipe mentions chicken stock, but you can easily swap in vegetable broth to make this recipe vegetarian. I personally love the dollop of yogurt on top and think it really adds a level of creaminess that makes this dish super filling, but if dairy isn’t on your menu, you can remove the yogurt for a vegan option.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Donuts (Vegan): My sister-in-law (the one with 20+ allergies) knows a thing or two about healthy and safe recipes. These vegan donuts she makes are some of the best things I’ve ever tasted. And I’m a total donut snob. They are super moist and have a tiny kick of espresso added in to heighten the chocolate flavor. I promise your friends and family – vegan and non-vegan – will love these.

Heidi Swanson’s Miso Sesame Winter Squash Recipe (Vegan): If you read 101 Cookbooks like I do, you know how amazing Heidi’s recipes are. They’re all vegetarian and mostly vegan, so it’s safe to assume almost everything she posts will be perfect for friends and family that don’t eat animal products. This recipe is rich and full of the sort of umami flavor that I associate with the holidays.

Heidi Swanson’s Pumpkin and Rice Soup (Vegetarian): It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without some sort of pumpkin recipe, so I turn again to Heidi for one of my favorite rice soups. I love a rice soup because it’s filling enough to be a meal, but won’t leave you feeling overly full like some more substantial rice and meat dishes. I love Heidi’s suggestion of roasted pepitas for a garnish – they’re salty and spicy and add that little kick of flavor that make this recipe really special.

Bryant Terry’s Café Brûlot Lace Cookies (Vegan): Kristina introduced me to Bryant’s vegan cooking last year and I’ve been a huge fan ever since. These super easy cookies are a great way to end a holiday meal and they’re that perfect mix of crispy and chewy. I don’t typically like a super thin cookie, but this recipe made me a major convert.

Bryant Terry’s Pan-fried Grit Cakes (Vegan): There’s something about fried anything that makes me feel full and satiated right away. Bryant’s recipe uses rice milk and olive oil to create a creamy-but-crispy grit cake that all of your guests are guaranteed to love. I like to add squash to these (delicata, roasted for 20-30 minutes) for some extra sweetness, but the leeks are a wonderful savory addition that make this a hearty holiday option.

Food & Wine’s White Polenta with Wild Mushrooms and Robiola Cheese (Vegetarian): Mushrooms, when cooked properly, can be one of the most savory, filling and stick-to-your-ribs foods. I love to sauté them in the fall for breakfast, but this recipe adds polenta and cheese for a truly robust holiday option. It can serve as a main dish for vegetarian guests, but will provide a delicious option for non-vegetarian guests, too.

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