This article is part of the “Holiday Recipes Series,” which comprises of 4 articles. Read part 1, part 2 and part 3 for more information.

Here’s some great news: passing on turkey doesn’t mean you have to miss out on your favorite Thanksgiving dishes. These classic recipes are made with a vegan twist that don’t require any sacrifice on either flavor or nostalgia, ensuring a Thanksgiving menu that will be both healthy and memorable.

Vegan Thanksgiving recipe staples

 

vegetarian turkey

Making vegan versions of your favorite turkey day dishes can seem intimidating at first, but knowing the right ingredients to swap can make the process a lot easier and tastier. So keep these ingredients on hand to recreate your favorite at-home recipes with a plant-based twist:

  • Almond or soy milk instead of cow’s milk
  • Vegetable or mushroom broth instead of chicken or turkey broth
  • Flax eggs instead of chicken eggs
  • Vegan butter instead of cow’s milk butter
  • Vegan nut-based cheese instead of cow’s milk cheese
  • Seitan, tempeh or jackfruit instead of turkey
  • Canned coconut milk instead of sweetened condensed milk

The benefits of vegan meals

vegan meal

First off, you do not have to eat entirely vegan to reap the benefits of a plant-based diet. With the exception of a few foods (such as coconut), vegan foods are naturally low or devoid of saturated fats. Saturated fats are the types of fats that we want to avoid in excess, since their consumption is potentially linked to cardiovascular disease. Eliminating or reducing red meat and high fat dairy from your diet is an easy way to control intake.

A balanced vegan diet is centered on plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes. These foods naturally provide fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Research shows that incorporating more plant-based foods into our diets is linked to longevity and decreased risk of chronic disease. Even incorporating one vegan recipe into your Thanksgiving menu or partaking in meatless Monday once a week can have a positive impact on your health.

No turkey, no problem!

This vegan take on classic Thanksgiving turkey is perfect for meat-lovers looking to eat plant-based. Jackfruit has a similar taste and texture to meat and soaks up all the delicious flavors that make turkey coveted on this foodie holiday.

Jackfruit turkey recipe

Recipe: Savory Jackfruit “Turkey”

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep time: 15 minutes
    Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Total time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 can young green jackfruit
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp tamari
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp poultry seasoning (instead of chicken broth)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Directions:

  1. Add oil to a large saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic to the pan and sauté until brown (about 10 minutes).
  2. Place broth, tamari, cornstarch and seasonings into the saucepan and continue to cook for about five minutes.
  3. Drain the jackfruit, rinse well and break apart. Place into the saucepan and simmer over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

These creamy, dairy-free and lower-carb mashed potatoes will have your guests asking for seconds

Mashed potatoes are a classic Thanksgiving comfort food and are typically made with butter and cream. This vegan version uses flavorful but low-calorie vegetable broth and vegan butter to achieve that coveted creaminess. Cauliflower is also added to this mash, which increases the fiber and lowers the carbohydrates. This recipe is such a seamless addition to your vegan Thanksgiving menu that your guests may not even realize it’s entirely plant-based.

vegan cauliflower potato mash

Recipe: Vegan Cauliflower Potato Mash

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep time: 15 minutes
    Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Total time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 3 large russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter
  • 1/4 cup fresh chives
  • 1/2 cup vegetable both

Directions:

  1. Add cauliflower and potatoes to a large pot on the stovetop. Cover with vegetable broth and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce to a simmer and cook until cauliflower and potatoes are tender (about 12-15 minutes). Drain and return cauliflower and potatoes to the pot.
  3. Mash potatoes and cauliflower with a potato masher until fluffy.
  4. Stir in butter, salt and pepper until combined.
  5. Top with fresh chives before serving.

A vegan cauliflower potato mash’s best friend: vegan gravy!

A Thanksgiving menu is incomplete without gravy. This vegan gravy is made with a secret plant-based ingredient – nutritional yeast. This is a good source of energizing B vitamins, including B12, which is hard to get on a vegan diet, since it is mostly found in animal sources.

vegan gravy

Recipe: Vegan Gravy

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep time: 15 minutes
    Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Total time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp gluten-free tamari
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp vegan butter

Directions:

  1. Add vegan butter to a large skillet and place over medium heat.
  2. Add onion to the skillet and sauté for 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in cornstarch, vegetable broth and salt. Continue cooking until it starts to thicken.
  4. Add nutritional yeast and tamari and turn heat to low. Cook for another minute.
  5. Transfer to a serving dish.

Check off a serving of whole grains and vegetables with this plant-based stuffing

Move over white bread stuffing and say hello to your new favorite plant-based stuffing – one that’s made with nutrient-dense ingredients. Unlike refined white bread, whole grain bread is a good source of fiber, vitamins and minerals. Seasonal produce and low-calorie, plant-based flavors from fresh herbs and vegetable broth really take this stuffing to the next level. What’s not to love?

vegan stuffing

Recipe: Vegan Stuffing

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep time: 20 minutes
    Cook time: 1 hour
  • Total time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 6 slices whole grain bread, cubed
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup vegetable broth

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. Spray an 8” x 8” baking dish with nonstick cooking oil spray.
  3. Warm oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, celery, mushrooms and seasonings. Sauté until cooked and tender (about 5 minutes). Pour in vegetable broth and bring to a simmer.
  4. Place bread in a large mixing bowl and pour in vegetable broth mixture. Toss until bread is coated. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes so that bread soaks up the liquid.
  5. Transfer mixture to the baking dish. Cover and bake for 30-40 minutes or until tops are golden brown.

This 5-ingredient gluten-free, dairy-free pumpkin pie is the only Thanksgiving dessert you need

Pumpkin pie that’s vegan AND made with only five ingredients? Yes, please! This recipe uses coconut milk in lieu of cow’s milk PLUS better-for-you sweetener maple syrup, which also adds vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

vegan pumpkin pie

Recipe: 5-ingredient Vegan Pumpkin Pie

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep time: 15 minutes
    Cook time: 45 minutes
  • Total time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 1 15-oz. can pumpkin purée
  • 3 servings flax eggs
  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 vegan pie crust

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Add flax eggs, pumpkin, coconut milk and maple syrup to a food processor and process until smooth.
  3. Pour filling into your vegan pie crust and bake for 45 minutes.
  4. Allow to cool for two hours in the refrigerator until set.

Conclusion

While Thanksgiving usually calls for a decadent and delicious meal, there’s no reason you can’t opt for a delicious, plant-based Thanksgiving menu! Following these relatively simple recipes, you and your friends or family can enjoy an exceptionally nutritious, vegan Thanksgiving meal that might even taste better than usual. Of course, let us know your thoughts (or your favorite dish) in the comment section below.

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