There are some Thanksgiving tropes we've come to accept as just the way of doing the holidays: too much butter in just about everything; more turkey than we'd ever willingly eat any other day of the year; the mix of giblets and juices we know as "gravy"; whipped cream and ice cream on the dairy-laden dessert table. But Thanksgiving doesn't have to be that way—you don't have to be bogged down by meat and cream and butter.
The best thing about cooking a Thanksgiving meal is that you can take matters into your own hands, beginning with a whole new take on the Thanksgiving spread. With plant-based and vegan diets picking up in popularity, maybe you've spent the year cutting down your meat consumption; maybe your sibling's new vegetarian partner is visiting this year, and you want to make sure they eat more than just dry dinner rolls. Maybe you're just tired of the typical holiday meal.
For all of those examples and more, we've put together some of our favorite vegan recipes that would be a perfect fit for Thanksgiving.
Orchard Smoke Cocktail
Sometimes you need a stiff drink to settle into those holiday vibes. Evoke the smells of autumn with cinnamon, smoky whiskey, maple syrup, and apple cider in this seasonal whiskey cocktail, and get ready to chat up all those cousins you haven't seen since last year.
Maple Roasted Root Vegetables Recipe
There's nothing quite like maple sugar for instantly boosting the autumnal vibes of your Thanksgiving sides spread. This easy roasted vegetable dish is one you'll barely have to think about: chop 'em, bake 'em, and dig in.
Vegan Corn Pudding Recipe
This vegan corn pudding has creamed corn, corn starch, corn flour, cornmeal, and corn kernels all baked into one block of extremely corny goodness. Your family's bad jokes could never!
Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole
Do marshmallows belong on the dinner table? There are a lot of things you can fight with your family about at Thanksgiving, and that doesn't need to be one them. Serve this vegan sweet potato casserole instead; with its toasty spiced pecan topping, nobody will miss the marshmallows.
Vegan Green Bean Casserole Recipe
The words "green bean casserole" may evoke images of soggy canned beans floating in bland dairy, but we promise that this vegan green bean casserole is all flavor. With soy sauce, cremini mushrooms, and crispy onions, these green beans become perfect little sticks of umami.
Brussels Sprouts, Kale, and Citrus Salad Recipe
Hey, did you know that the funky smell of roasting Brussels sprouts is purely optional? Shave those little guys razor thin instead, and eat them raw as the base of a citrusy kale salad perfect for cutting through the richest Thanksgiving dishes.
Vegan Shepherd's Pie Recipe
There's no need to sacrifice a lamb to have a decent meat pie, so leave the Biblical symbolism out of the equation for this pagan celebration and throw together this vegan shepherd's pie. It's a hearty main that, if well-executed, will confound even the most carnivorous of dinner guests.
Wild Rice Stuffing Recipe
Not only is this wild rice stuffing vegan, but it's gluten-free, too. The vegetables listed here are a loose guideline—bulk it up with any fall vegetables you want. This side is as satisfying as the starchiest stuffing, but it packs a way deeper punch of flavor thanks to dehydrated mushrooms.
Cranberry Citrus Sauce Recipe
Who says cranberry sauce needs to sit on dried-out turkey breast? A great cranberry sauce is a side dish unto itself and a garnish for any food you see fit. This version is seasoned with cinnamon, cloves, and orange, putting it head and shoulders above the canned stuff in terms of flavor.
Vegan Pumpkin Pie Recipe
It's silken tofu to the rescue for the filling of this vegan pumpkin pie. Then, top your slices with coconut cream, a dairy-free substitute for whipped cream that tastes even better than the stuff from a can.
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