13 Plant-Based Thanksgiving Recipes

13 Plant-Based Thanksgiving Recipes

For years, hosting a plant-based Thanksgiving dinner meant two things: Time to pick up a Tofurky and wait for the declined invitations to come rolling in.

No more. You can make plant-based substitutes for carnivorous classics such as turkey and stuffing that are savory and hearty in their own right, without trying to replicate the flavor of meat. And going plant-based gives you a number of appealing, inventive options for delicious lighter side dishes and rich, satisfying desserts that are lower in sugar and fat. (It’s a great way to enjoy Thanksgiving without gaining weight.) Here are some of our favorites.

For more healthy recipes ideas to add to your holiday menu check out Openfit! Sign up for free today. 

 

Instead of Turkey, Try…

plant based thanksgiving- stuffed butternut squash

1. Stuffed butternut squash

“The key to a plant-based Thanksgiving is to ensure that the table isn’t just full of side dishes,” says Sarah Bond of Live Eat Learn. “Fortunately, you can make some gorgeous main dishes using vegetables. I love to make a stuffed butternut squash, which can be sliced up and served like you would a turkey.” You can make it in a sheet pan simultaneously with sides of potatoes and brussels sprouts.

Get the full recipe here.

2.  Pumpkin and lentil shepherd’s pie

Shepherd’s pie, a British holiday favorite, can be brick-heavy. But not the plant-based version from The Smiling Onion, in which cremini mushrooms and lentils stand in for ground beef.

Get the full recipe here.

 

3. Vegan Wellington

Beef Wellington — filet mignon coated with pate and wrapped in puff pastry — is about the meatiest dish imaginable.

Until Elizabeth Schuster, executive chef with Tenacious Eats in St. Louis, created this hearty plant-based version that swaps in mushroom duxelles and sauteed spinach. (And clean energy instead of a beef coma).

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Mushroom Duxelles Wellington

Ingredients

  • 1 lb fresh mushrooms diced
  • 3 tsp vegan butter
  • 2 shallots fresh and minced
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme minced
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup sherry
  • 1 yellow onion small diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 stalk celery small diced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • 4 cups fresh spinach
  • 2 cups potato flour
  • 2 cups brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil

Instructions

  1. To make crust, add all three flours and mix thoroughly, add salt and coconut oil. Knead dough until it feels smooth. Cover with plastic and bench-rest dough.

  2. In a medium sauté pan, add vegan butter on low heat until it melts. Add shallot and cook until opaque. Add mushrooms and fresh thyme. Toss ingredients until coated with vegan butter. Sauté till mixture is almost dry, then add sherry to the pan. Sauté on low until mixture is almost paste-like. Remove from heat and chill prior to adding to Wellington.

  3. In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil. Add onions, celery and carrots. Sauté till opaque and add spinach and garlic. Keep flame to medium and add dried sage. Sauté till moisture has evaporated from pan. Reserve and chill.

  4. Roll out dough on floured surface. Roll it into a rectangle-like piece. Spoon sautéed spinach mixture down the center of the dough leaving 3 inch perimeter. Spoon duxelles over spinach mixture. Left to right fold dough over the top and fold the other side over like a book fold.

  5. Flip Wellington onto greased roasting pan. Make 5 slits in dough for vent. Bake in 350-degree oven until crust is golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.

4. Vegan Lentil Loaf

Carrie Forrest, M.B.A., M.P.H. in nutrition, creator of Clean Eating Kitchen, says she has the perfect loaf for a holiday main course or side. “This recipe is full of flavor and nutrition, plus it’s gluten free.”

Get the full recipe here.

 

5. Hearty Potato Lentil Stew

“I like to make this vegan lentil stew as a main dish instead of turkey for Thanksgiving dinner,” says Bree Sheree of Bree’s Vegan Life. “It’s not at all like turkey, and is very filling.”

Get the full recipe here.

 

Instead of Buttery Mashed Potatoes, Try…

plant based thanksgiving recipes- mashed sweet potatoes

6. Mashed Sweet Potatoes With Butternut Squash

Mashed potatoes are the ultimate comfort food — until the quick-burning simple carbs have you feeling snacky an hour later.

Renata Trebing of Nourish With Renata has created a version using sweet potatoes, which are just as creamy, complex in carbs and rich in vitamin A. “And you can add even more vegetables into it without tasting them,” she says.

(If you’re really watching that butter intake, even on Thanksgiving, you may want to experiment with a lower amount than Renata’s recommendation.)

Get the full recipe here.

 

Instead of Traditional Meaty Gravy, Try…

7. Vegan Mushroom Gravy

“I am a plant-based physician,” says Dana Simpler, M.D., a primary care practitioner at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, “and about five years ago I started making an alternative gravy in addition to the traditional gravy for our family Thanksgiving dinners — of which most of the people are not plant-based. It became so popular that it’s now the only gravy we serve, and I have to triple the recipe.”

Get the full recipe here.

 

Instead of Traditional Sausage Stuffing, Try…

plant based thanksgiving recipes- mushroom stuffing

8. Slow Cooker Mushroom Stuffing

“This slow cooker mushroom stuffing is a delicious, savory substitute for traditional stuffing,” says Kara Lydon, R.D., L.D.N., R.Y.T., of Kara Lydon Nutrition and The Foodie Dietitian. “The mushrooms bring that meaty umami flavor you want out of stuffing. Bonus: It will save highly coveted oven space.”

Get the full recipe here.

 

9. Cauliflower Stuffing

Cauliflower has had a moment over the past few years, becoming a popular substitute for starchy white pizza crust and mashed potatoes. It has a savory heft — not to mention low carbs and plenty of fiber — which makes it a great base for stuffing instead of bread.

Get the full recipe here.

 

For a Healthy Side Dish, Try…

plant based thanksgiving recipes - green bean casserole

10. Healthier Green Bean Casserole

Green bean casserole has been a holiday classic since the 1950s, when it was invented by a soup company to incorporate its factory-processed products. This healthier version uses all fresh ingredients and is just as creamy as its Eisenhower-era ancestor.

Get the full recipe here.

 

For a Lighter, Plant-Based Dessert, Try…

plant based thanksgiving recipes- pumpkin bars

11. Vegan Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie Bars

“No Thanksgiving would be complete without pumpkin pie,” says Alison Corey of Keeping the Peas. “The typical pumpkin pie is made with a flaky buttery crust, and a pumpkin filling made with evaporated milk, eggs, and white sugar. To make a plant-based version of pumpkin pie, you need to find a way to make a crust that doesn’t need butter, shortening, or white flour.

“These easy vegan gluten-free pumpkin pie bars are made with an oat and almond flour crust, and a pumpkin coconut milk filling, topped with a decadent coconut whipped cream and sprinkled with pumpkin pie spice.”

Get the full recipe here.

 

12. Pumpkin Mousse

“This easy four-ingredient mousse captures the flavors of fall, a.k.a. pumpkin and cinnamon,” says Trebing. “It is super-quick to make, and you can top it with your favorite toppings, like pomegranate or pecans.”

Get the full recipe here.

 

13. Chocolate Sweet Potato Pie

“I love making this chocolate sweet potato pie as a holiday dessert. It has a strong chocolate taste,” says Sheree, “and it’s a great substitute for a traditional pumpkin or sweet potato pie.”

Get the full recipe here.

About

Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor who specializes in health, nutrition and lifestyle reporting. Follow him on Twitter.

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