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12 Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes Everyone Will Love

Do you want some delicious vegan Thanksgiving recipes? Of course you do. Here are some your whole family will love.

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A delicious vegan Thanksgiving

If you’re a vegan, do you feel a little left out at Thanksgiving? Everyone else’s meal is centered around a whole bird (and equally non-vegan marshmallow-topped sweet potatoes), and vegan options can feel few and far between. Well, stop feeling down and take a look at these 12 very manageable vegan Thanksgiving dishes that’ll make your meal as festive as your poultry-eating family and friends. Plus, these recipes are all approved by registered dietitian nutritionists, and some even come from my own plant-based kitchen.

courtesy Dana Angelo White MS RD ATC

Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce

Homemade cranberry sauce that’s easy to whip up? Yes, please: “I insist on making homemade cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving,” says certified athletic trainer Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, author of The Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook. “It adds the perfect tangy edge to all the savory holiday foods. I recently discovered the most delicious batch of sweet-tart cranberry flawlessness is minutes away—start to finish—using the Instant Pot. Ready for more delish ideas? Here are vegan appetizers anyone will enjoy.

 

Ingredients:

24 ounces fresh cranberries

1 cup granulated sugar

¼ cup orange juice

1 Tablespoon orange zest

Pinch kosher salt

 

Instructions:

Combine cranberries, sugar, orange juice, orange zest, and salt in the Instant Pot’s inner pot. Gently stir to coat the cranberries in the sugar. Cover and lock the lid; set the vent to the sealing position. Select “pressure cook (high);” set timer to 2 minutes. When cook time is complete, allow for five minutes of natural release, then quick release the remaining pressure. Remove the lid, and transfer to containers to cool. Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Makes one quart

eggplant Brent Hofacker / Shutterstock

Harvest Baked Squash

How about a no-hassle veggie side that’ll make all your guests smile? “This side is so easy and delicious,” says Joan Salge Blake, RDN, nutrition professor at Boston University and host of the health and wellness podcast SpotOn! Wondering what vegetarians eat on Thanksgiving (besides these wonderful dishes)?

Ingredients:

2 acorn squash

1 cup water

⅛ cup light margarine (look for one without partially hydrogenated oil)

⅛ cup chopped walnuts

⅛ cup maple syrup

¼ cup apple juice

¼ cup dates

⅛ cup golden raisins

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400° F. Cut squash in half width-wise, and spoon out centers. Cut stems off so each squash half stands upright. Pour water into large baking dish. Place squash halves upright in baking dish; set aside. In a non-stick frying pan, melt margarine. Add walnuts; saute until golden, about 2-3 minutes. Remove pan from heat, and add remaining ingredients. Spoon mixture evenly into centers of squash halves. Bake for 35-40 minutes in covered dish, or until squash is fork tender. Remove from oven. Use a spoon to drizzle a Tablespoon of liquid from the center of the squash halves onto the tops of the squash. Place squash halves under broiler; broil for 2-3 minutes, until golden. Makes 4 servings

carrotscourtesy Leanne Ray, MS, RDN

Sweet & Spicy Turmeric Roasted Carrots

“I love these roasted carrots because they are simple and spotlight all sorts of seasonal flavors like cinnamon and turmeric,” says Leanne Ray, MS, RDN, a Denver-based registered dietitian. “Carrots are generally a well-accepted vegetable, and these are anything but boring.”

 

Ingredients:

1 pound carrots, peeled and sliced into half-inch pieces on a slight bias

1 heaping Tablespoon coconut oil, melted

½ teaspoon turmeric

½ teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch cayenne pepper

2 Tablespoons brown sugar, packed

Flaky sea salt, to taste

 

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425° F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place carrot slices in a medium bowl. Mix together coconut oil, spices, and brown sugar in a small dish; pour over carrots. Toss well to coat, and transfer to baking sheet. Cook 18-20 minutes, or until carrots are slightly tender and browned. Top with a pinch of flaky sea salt to finish. Makes 4 servings

lentil stuffingcourtesy Philadelphia Based Sports Dietitian, Kelly Jones

Lentil Walnut Stuffing

“This lentil walnut stuffing provides a flavor and texture even omnivores will enjoy,” says Kelly Jones, RD, a Philadelphia-based sports dietitian and recipe blogger. “I created it as an alternative to the sausage stuffing my husband enjoyed as a child, and it’s been a hit with the whole family! The lentils and walnuts come together as a replacement for the sausage texture, and herbs like sage and oregano provide the flavor.”

Ingredients:

2 cups raw walnuts

4 Tablespoons vegan butter

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup diced yellow or white onion

½ cup finely diced carrot

½ cup finely diced celery

2 cups cooked green lentils

1 Tablespoon olive oil

2 Tablespoons fresh sage, finely chopped

½ Tablespoons fresh oregano

Salt, to taste

Black pepper, to taste

12 cups cubed whole-grain bread

4 cups vegetable broth, divided

 

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350° F. Toast walnuts on a baking sheet for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat butter in a large saucepan over low-medium heat. Add garlic, stir, and cover for 1 minute. Add onion, carrot, and celery; stir and cover for 5 minutes, or until onions are translucent. Set walnuts aside to cool. Place lentils, olive oil, and cooled walnuts in a food processor. Pulse several times, until a meaty texture is formed. Add lentil-walnut mixture to saucepan, along with herbs and spices. Stir well, and remove from heat. Add cubed bread to a large mixing bowl, along with the saucepan mixture. Toss; pour in 3 cups of vegetable broth. Stir well, until liquid is absorbed. Pour in remaining broth; stir. Grease a 9-inch by 12-inch baking dish with oil; pour mixture in. Cover with foil, and bake for 40 minutes. Increase heat to 425° F, and remove foil. Bake an additional 10-15 minutes, depending on your texture preferences.

saladcourtesy Sarah Gold, MS, RDN, LDN

Shaved Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing

Talk about a tasty holiday salad. “This salad is the perfect complement to an indulgent holiday meal,” notes nutrition blogger Sarah Gold Anzlovar, MS, RDN. “The creamy dressing coats the kale and Brussels sprouts, while the pomegranate and pecans add a burst of flavor and crunch, making every bite satisfying. It’s packed with fiber and a bit of protein, making it a filling vegan side.”

 

Ingredients:

1 large head dinosaur kale

1 Tablespoon olive oil

¼ plus ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt, divided

1 pound Brussels sprouts

⅓ cup tahini

Juice and zest of 1 medium lemon

1 teaspoon maple syrup

¼ cup warm water (more if needed)

1 small clove garlic, grated

1 cup pecan halves

Arils of 1 medium pomegranate

 

Instructions:

Prep the kale by remove stems and chopping into thin strips. Place in a bowl; drizzle with olive oil and ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt. Massage with your hands until olive oil is well mixed and kale becomes about half the volume. Using a food processor with the grater attachment, feed Brussels sprouts through until they become slaw like. Next, whisk together ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, tahini, lemon juice, lemon zest, maple syrup, warm water, and garlic until mixture is creamy. Toast the pecans by placing on the stovetop in a pan over medium heat. Toast until pecans become fragrant and slightly browned, 4-5 minutes. Let cool, and roughly chop. Mix together kale and Brussels sprouts. Top with pecans and pomegranate arils. Toss with dressing. If you are making this ahead of time, leave dressing on the side until ready to serve. Store leftovers in fridge for up to three days. Makes 8-10 servings.

broccoli slawcourtesy Amy Gorin, MS, RDN

Broccoli Slaw Salad with Flax Seeds and Hemp Seeds

We often celebrate broccoli florets. But what about broccoli stems? They make a great base for a holiday salad, and this vegan side dish can be whipped up in minutes. It comes from my own kitchen. Want more healthy meals you can make in 20 minutes?

 

Ingredients:

12 ounces broccoli slaw mix

1 avocado, diced

1 plum tomato, diced

1 Tablespoon rice vinegar

1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil

1 teaspoon maple syrup

2 Tablespoon slivered almonds

1 ½ Tablespoon flax seeds, ground

1 ½ Tablespoon hemp seeds

Salt, to taste

Black pepper, to taste

 

Instructions:

In a large bowl, combine broccoli slaw with avocado and tomato. In a small bowl, mix vinegar, oil, and maple syrup. Toss vinegar mixture with broccoli slaw mixture. Top with almonds and seeds, and sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Makes 4 servings.

saladcourtesy Jessica Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN

Roasted Butternut Squash and Cranberry Quinoa Salad with Cider Dijon Vinaigrette

“Although technically a seed, quinoa is treated like a grain and a high-protein one at that,” says Jessica Levinson, MS, RDN, a New-York-City-based culinary nutritionist. “This is why it makes a great base for vegan salads like this one that’s full of Thanksgiving flavors.”

Ingredients:

¼ cup apple cider

1 Tablespoon whole-grain Dijon mustard

1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar

¼ cup plus 1 Tablespoon and 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided

2 Tablespoons plus ½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Cooking spray

4 cups diced butternut squash

1 ½ cups fresh or frozen cranberries

1½ cup chopped shallots

1 teaspoon maple syrup

1 cup uncooked white quinoa

2 cups water

1 ½ teaspoons lemon zest

1 tablespoon thinly sliced sage, cut chiffonade style, divided

2 Tablespoons toasted pecans, chopped

 

Instructions:

In a bowl, whisk together apple cider, mustard, apple cider vinegar, 3 Tablespoons olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper. Set aside. Preheat oven to 425° F. Line a large baking sheet with foil; coat with cooking spray. Toss diced squash with 2 tablespoons olive oil, and spread in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Roast 15 minutes until squash is tender and starting to brown. Toss cranberries and shallots with maple syrup and remaining oil. Add to baking sheet, and toss with the squash. Roast 10-15 minutes, until squash is crisp and browned on the outside, the cranberries have started to soften and burst, and shallots are caramelized. Meanwhile, prepare quinoa. Combine quinoa and water in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until all water is absorbed, about 10-15 minutes. Transfer quinoa to a bowl, and let cool about 5-10 minutes. Toss quinoa with lemon zest, most of the sage, and half the dressing. Add in roasted vegetable mixture, the remainder of the dressing, remainder of salt, and black pepper. Toss, and garnish with remaining sage. Top with pecans, and serve warm. Makes 12 servings.

soupcourtesy Julie Hartigan

Cauliflower and Chickpea Stew

“This hearty vegan stew makes an excellent and unexpected starter for Thanksgiving!” says Julie Hartigan, a healthy chef in Hoboken, New Jersey. “It uses cauliflower two ways, roasted and curried for depth of flavor, and pureed for a rich silky finish.” What’s more, you’ll probably end up with leftovers for perfect light meals following Thanksgiving.

 

Ingredients:

8 cups bite-sized cauliflower florets, divided

Cooking spray

1 Tablespoon curry powder, divided

1 teaspoon salt, divided

1 teaspoon coconut oil

2 cups diced onion

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon minced ginger

1 teaspoon mustard seed

1 teaspoon cumin seed

4 cups vegetable broth

1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained

1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

2 cups green beans, cut into bite-sized pieces

5-ounce package baby spinach

1 Tablespoon lime juice

Cilantro, optional for garnish

Lime wedges, optional for garnish

 

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 450°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place 4 cups cauliflower in a large bowl, spray with cooking spray, and toss with 2 teaspoons curry powder and ½ teaspoon salt. Spread on prepared sheet, and roast for 30 minutes, stirring once halfway through. While cauliflower is roasting, heat coconut oil in a large soup pot. Add onion and remaining salt; cook for 5 minutes, or until slightly softened. Add garlic, ginger, mustard seed, cumin seed, and remaining curry powder; cook for 1 minute. Add broth and remaining cauliflower florets, and bring to a boil. Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until cauliflower is extremely soft. Use an immersion blender to puree mixture. Stir in tomatoes, chickpeas, green beans, and spinach; simmer for 5-7 minutes, or until green beans are tender. Stir in lime juice and roasted cauliflower; simmer for 1 minute to heat through. Serve garnished with optional cilantro and lime wedges. Makes 6 servings.

sheperds piecourtesy Culinary Director at TriadtoWellness.com

Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

Here’s a vegan spin on a Thanksgiving favorite. “This casserole can serve a crowd, and it is delicious and nourishing with lentils, parsnips, and potatoes,” says Tracee Yablon Brenner, RDN, culinary director of Triad to Wellness in Nyack, New York.

 

Ingredients:

2 pounds potatoes, peeled and quartered

1 cup parsnips, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces

3 Tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, diced

6 cloves garlic, minced, divided

1 teaspoon sea salt, divided

Black pepper to taste

¼ cup rice milk

1 ¼ cups dried lentils, rinsed, or 2 cups cooked lentils

4 cups water

1 bay leaf

1 cup onion, diced

3 ounces baby bella mushrooms, diced

1 cup carrots, diced

1 teaspoon cumin

¾ teaspoon turmeric

½ teaspoon thyme

1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar

¼ teaspoon red chili flakes, optional

 

Instructions:

Place potatoes and parsnips in a large saucepan, and add enough cold water to cover them. Bring to a boil; reduce to a light simmer until tender, about 15-25 minutes. Using a ladle, reserve ¾ cup of the water in a bowl; drain potatoes and parsnips and return them to the pot. Mash potatoes and parsnips with a potato masher or hand-held mixer until no visible lumps exist. Do not use a food processor, as the potatoes will become gluey. Add 2 Tablespoons olive oil, 4 cloves garlic, ½ teaspoon sea salt, and pepper; mix together. Slowly add rice milk and ¼ cup of reserved water at a time until potatoes are light and fluffy. While potato mixture is cooking, add lentils, 4 cups water, bay leaf, and ¼ teaspoon sea salt to a saucepan; bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for 30-35 minutes, until lentils are tender. Omit this step if you are using canned or packaged lentils. In a medium skillet, heat 1 Tablespoon and 1 teaspoon olive oil, and add onion. Saute over medium heat, until translucent. Add mushrooms, carrots, cumin, turmeric, thyme, red chili pepper, remaining garlic, and remaining salt. Stir, then cover skillet halfway. Occasionally stir for 8-10 minutes, until mushrooms and carrots are soft. In a medium bowl, mix lentils and mushroom mixture together. Add 1 cup of mashed potatoes to lentil mixture, and stir together. Preheat the oven to broil. Use remaining olive oil to lightly grease a 2-quart (preferably round) casserole dish. Ladle in the lentil mixture then spread potato mixture evenly over the top. Broil for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes begin to turn golden and slightly crusty. Let stand for 5 minutes, then cut into wedges to serve. Makes 6 servings

apple pie nachoscourtesy Kara Lydon, The Foodie Dietitian

Apple Pie Nachos

“Nachos just reached a new level,” says Kara Lydon, RD, RYT, a dietitian, yoga teacher, and nutrition blogger. “These vegan apple pie nachos are a healthier spin on traditional apple pie. Wow your holiday guests this year with a fun, innovative dessert.” Go ahead and grab yummy vegan holiday dessert recipes.

 

Ingredients:

4 mini whole-wheat pita breads

⅓ cup coconut oil and 2 Tablespoons coconut oil, divided

2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided

2 teaspoons coconut sugar

¼ teaspoon salt, divided

4 apples, cored and cut into 1-inch cubes

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ cup pecans, chopped

Vegan vanilla ice cream

¼ cup maple syrup

3 Tablespoons almond butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

¼ teaspoon coarse sea salt

Vegan vanilla ice cream, optional

 

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350° F. Melt 2 Tablespoons coconut oil; set aside. Cut each pita into 8 triangles. Place pita in a gallon-sized zip-top bag. Add melted coconut oil, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, sugar, and ⅛ teaspoon salt to bag. Shake until pita is evenly coated. Transfer pita to a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake, flipping halfway through, for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned and crispy. In a microwave-safe large mixing bowl, toss apples with nutmeg, remaining cinnamon, and remaining salt until coated. Microwave, stirring at 2-minute intervals, for 6 minutes or until apples are warm and tender. In a small saucepan, heat pecans over medium-high heat until fragrant. In a microwave-safe medium mixing bowl, heat maple syrup and remaining coconut oil and for 1 minute, or until melted. Whisk in almond butter, vanilla, and sea salt until smooth and creamy. To assemble nachos, layer pita chips, apples, caramel sauce, pecans, and an optional dollop of vegan ice cream. Makes 4 servings.

raspberry barscourtesy Desi~licious RD, Shahzadi Devje

Raspberry Vegan Bars

Why not whip up a dessert that’s full of berries? “These deliciously nutty no-bake bars are creamy, tangy, and jam-packed with antioxidants,” says nutrition blogger Shahzadi Devje, RD. “They contain no refined sugar but tons of flavor and goodness!” Want 12 healthy desserts that can actually help you lose weight?

 

Ingredients:

⅓ cup almonds

⅓ cup hazelnuts

⅔ cup dates, pitted

⅛ teaspoon salt

1 cup cashews, soaked overnight

2 Tablespoons and 1 teaspoon lemon juice, divided

2 Tablespoons coconut oil

1 Tablespoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 ½ cup raspberries

1 teaspoon agar-agar

 

Instructions:

Add almonds, hazelnuts, dates, and salt to a food processor; pulse until very fine. Press mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch by x 5-inch loaf pan lined with parchment paper. Place crust in the freezer while you prepare the filling. Clean the processor to use for the filling. Rinse and drain the water from soaked cashews. Add cashews to food processor, along with 2 Tablespoons lemon juice, coconut oil, maple syrup, and lemon zest. Blend until creamy. If needed, add 1-2 Tablespoons of water to achieve creamy consistency. Pour filling into the crust; using a spatula, spread across the pan evenly. Place in the freezer while you prepare the raspberry topping. Blend the raspberries and remaining lemon juice. Add mixture to a small pan over medium heat. Stir in the agar-agar. Bring to a slight simmer, and remove the pan from the heat. Pour the raspberry topping over the cashew filling. Cool for 15 minutes, and place in freezer for 2-3 hours, or until mixture is firm. Thaw for 10-15 minutes; use a knife to separate bars from the edge of the pan. Pick up the bars using both sides of the parchment paper. Cut into bars using a sharp knife, and serve cold. Makes 8 servings

cheesecakeOksana Mizina / Shutterstock

No-Bake Vegan Cheesecake

“This cheesecake has a velvety smooth, rich texture that is the perfect balance between tangy and sweet,” says Maggie Farley, a nutrition blogger in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Ingredients:

1 ½ cup dates, pitted

1 ¾ cup pecans

1 teaspoon salt, divided

5 sheets graham crackers

1 ½ cup cashews, soaked overnight

1 cup coconut milk

½ Tablespoon lemon zest

¼ cup lemon juice

3 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted

⅛ cup maple syrup

⅛ cup corn starch

Instructions:

To make the crust, place dates and pecans in a food processor; process until crumbly and soft. Add in ½ teaspoon salt and graham crackers; pulse until mixture is sticky. Once crust is processed to desired consistency, press into bottom of a springform pan and chill for at least 20 minutes. Place cashews, coconut milk, lemon zest, lemon juice, coconut oil, maple syrup, remaining salt, and corn starch in a blender; blend until smooth and no lumps appear. Remove springform pan from freezer; pour blended cheesecake filling into the pan. Freeze for at least 4 hours. Remove cheesecake from the freezer 5-10 minutes prior to serving. Add whatever jam or fruit you’d like for a topping. Makes 16 servings.

 

Amy Gorin is a freelance writer, registered dietitian, and owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in the New York City area. Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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