This Vegan Thanksgiving Menus post showcases all my BEST TIPS for a delicious vegan Thanksgiving! You'll find:
- The best vegan appetizers, mains, breads, side dishes, sauces and desserts to make for Thanksgiving.
- Top tips for preparing, cooking and hosting a Thanksgiving dinner.
- Three different vegan Thanksgiving menus, including a super easy menu, an impressive menu and a budget-friendly menu.
- A step-by-step process of how to effortlessly make an easy Thanksgiving dinner from start to finish, including preparation tips.
- All the recipes are gluten-free and refined sugar free.
Tips for Thanksgiving cooking and hosting
- Make sure to ask in advance what dietary requirements your guests have - if you're unsure, you could send them the recipe you'll be using to make sure they're ok with all the ingredients. If there's a particular part of the meal you're struggling with (eg. dessert), you could always ask them to bring something of their own. For more tips on cooking for people with different dietary requirements, check out this article I wrote for Gluten-Free Heaven magazine.
- Don't feel bad about asking your guests to bring something - if everyone brings a side dish or a dessert, then there's much less pressure on you! Just make sure to co-ordinate who's bringing what, so that everyone doesn't end up bringing the same thing!
- Don't make anything that you'll be making for the first time - it's always best to plan what you want to make and do a trial run first. Not only to make sure you're comfortable with making it, but also to make sure it suits your personal taste preferences.
- When planning your menu, think about your oven space, stove space and how many people you will be serving.
- Try to prepare as much in advance as possible, so check whether some dishes can be prepared ahead of time and make sure you know how best to store and reheat them before serving. I've included this information for each recipe in my round-up of 75 Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes.
- Designate serving plates ahead of time so that you're not rushing around at the last minute looking for serving dishes.
- Set the table as far in advance as you can - this will relieve a lot of last-minute stress on the day!
- Do your grocery shopping as far in advance as possible. Any dry ingredients, tinned ingredients or drinks can be bought weeks before the day. Make sure to buy any fresh ingredients a few days in advance so that you can have the day before free to focus on preparing the food.
- Make a checklist of tasks you need to do on the day so that you don't forget to make/serve something!
You'll want some appetizers for your guests to nibble on, and it's key to choose ones that can be served cold/at room temperature and prepared in advance, as you'll want to save all your time and energy for the main course. For many more appetizer ideas, check out my 16 Vegan Appetizers post.
Candied Nuts: I seriously cannot recommend these enough: they're insanely moreish, can be prepared days in advance and take less than 10 minutes to make!
Pumpkin Hummus: It’s full of flavour, creamy and fragrant, and such an easy make-ahead appetizer!
Cashew Cheese Ball: It's creamy, tangy and honestly tastes like cheese! It can be made in advance, is perfect for sharing and looks beautiful!
Mushroom Pâté: It's rich and meaty, smooth and silky and super easy to make. The flavour and texture is even better the day after it's made so it's great for making in advance!
Crackers: They're crispy and crunchy, super easy to make and so much better than anything you'll buy at the store. Perfect for eating with dips, pâté or cheese!
A vegan main course can be just as hearty and filling as a meat one. Just make sure you make something that contains lots of protein, which will make sure guests are satisfied.
Meatloaf: Made with hearty black beans, earthy walnuts and savoury mushrooms – it’s rich and flavourful and super easy to make!
Wellington: A seriously hearty and flavourful filling wrapped in a crispy and flaky pastry crust. A seriously satisfying plant-based showstopper!
Fish Pie: Slightly unusual for Thanksgiving, but it's the best comfort food! A fragrant, creamy sauce packed with white beans and veggies, under a blanket of mashed potato.
Dinner Rolls: They're yeast-free, no-knead and completely free from sugar.
Garlic Bread: It's crispy, crunchy and super fragrant! It’s seriously easy to make and perfect for sharing!
For even more side ideas, check out my 32 Vegan Side Dishes post!
Pumpkin Quinoa Salad: A super flavourful salad made with creamy pumpkin, nutty quinoa, sweet onions and juicy cranberries. It can be served at room temperature so it's great for making ahead too.
Scalloped Potatoes: Super rich and creamy, soft and tender and super comforting - the most indulgent side dish. For a nut-free version of this, check out my Potato Dauphinoise Gratin, which is a very similar recipe that can easily be made nut-free. The Scalloped Potatoes do taste more indulgent, though.
Stuffing: Packed with seasonal flavours like cranberries, chestnuts, apples and sage, you definitely won't miss the meat! You can use any type of bread to make this and it tastes especially good made with cornbread!
Chickpea Kedgeree: A curried rice to add some varied flavour to your plate! For a similar recipe with a milder flavour, you might like my Yellow Turmeric Rice. Another great rice side dish is this Rice Casserole.
Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese: Rich, creamy and so comforting. For a quicker and easier version, you can use tinned pumpkin purée instead of the butternut squash.
Mashed Potatoes: They’re melt-in-your-mouth creamy, soft and fluffy. Blended cashews create the silkiest texture.
Sweet Potato Casserole: Creamy, subtly spiced mashed sweet potatoes topped with crunchy oats and pecans. The best savoury-sweet side dish! If you prefer a more savoury sweet potato side dish without the spices, you might like these Scalloped Sweet Potatoes.
Green Bean Casserole: Green beans in a rich mushroom sauce topped with crispy breadcrumbs and onions!
Persimmon Salad: It's always nice to have a fresh salad to balance out the richness of the rest of the meal. This one is beautifully colourful, sweet and fruity with a tangy dressing that keeps it light. This Apple Fig Walnut Salad is a good alternative.
Cauliflower Cheese Gratin: The creamy, "cheesy" sauce transforms humble cauliflower and broccoli into something you won't be able to stop eating!
Steamed Mixed Veg: You can use any vegetables you like (cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, green beans, green peas all work well). Instructions included in the recipe at the bottom of this post.
Cranberry Sauce: Every bit as flavourful as the shop-bought version, but this version is refined sugar free. An easy make-ahead sauce.
Gravy: Rich, flavourful, full of umami flavour. Can be made ahead and reheated on the day.
You can never have enough dessert, and this is just the tip of the iceberg - you'll find many more Thanksgiving dessert ideas in my 75 Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes post!
Pumpkin Pie: This is the traditional version, but I also like this No-Bake Pumpkin Pie because it's easier to make and keeps for days without the texture changing! This Baked Pumpkin Cheesecake is another option. If you're not into pumpkin, you might like this Sweet Potato Pie.
Apple Pie: You can never go wrong with a traditional Apple Pie! This one is packed with juicy apples, toasty cinnamon and tastes like salted caramel. For a similar but slightly easier recipe, check out this Apple Galette, or my Apple Pie Bars.
Blueberry Pie: An excellent alternative if you're looking for a fruity pie that isn't made with apples. Another comforting blueberry dessert you might like is this Blueberry Crisp, or these Blueberry Crumble Bars. If you don't like blueberries, this Cherry Pie might take your fancy.
Sliced Baked Apples: Soft and tender, perfectly spiced and they taste like caramel! A seriously low-maintenance dessert and they taste great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Vegan Thanksgiving Recipe Menus
Here are some menu suggestions for what dishes you might want to pair together.
Super Easy Menu
Here's the easiest, most foolproof combination of recipes. They're not all necessarily the quickest ones to make, but the simplest ones that you won't get wrong even if you're a complete beginner!
Bread: Garlic Bread.
Carby side: Mashed Potatoes.
Vegetable sides: Persimmon Salad and Steamed Mixed Veg.
Dessert: Sliced Baked Apples.
These are the most impressive dishes that are guaranteed to have guests saying "I can't believe it's vegan!"
Bread: Dinner Rolls.
These are the most budget-friendly options, but still tasty!
Appetizer: Pumpkin Hummus.
Bread: Garlic Bread.
Vegetable sides: Green Bean Casserole and Steamed Mixed Veg.
Dessert: Sliced Baked Apples.
- If you're looking for Vegan Thanksgiving Leftovers Ideas, be sure to check out this post!
- If you're looking for vegan gift ideas, including homemade edible gifts, vegan cookbooks, kitchen gadgets and vegan food products, be sure to check out my Vegan Gift Guide!
Easy Vegan Thanksgiving Menu (Gluten-Free)
- 1 Sliced Baked Apples (with lots of leftovers)
- Vegan vanilla ice cream (to serve)
The day before:
- Pumpkin Hummus - make and store in the fridge (serve at room temperature)
- Meatloaf - prepare all the ingredients and put in the loaf tin. Store in the fridge ready to bake the next day
- Garlic Bread - make the garlic oil mixture and store in the fridge
- Mashed Potatoes - make the cashew cream and store in the fridge
- Persimmon Salad - make the dressing and store in the fridge
- Steamed Vegetables - wash, peel and chop up all vegetables and store in the fridge
- Cranberry Sauce - make and store in the fridge (serve at room temperature)
- Gravy - make and store in the fridge (reheat before serving)
- Sliced Baked Apples - make and store in the fridge (reheat before serving)
On the day:
- Meatloaf - bake in oven and leave to rest at least 1 hour before serving (otherwise you won’t be able to slice it properly - it doesn’t matter that it’s not steaming hot when serving as long as you have plenty of hot gravy)
- Garlic Bread - assemble and bake before serving
- Mashed Potatoes - peel and chop potatoes earlier in the day but make before serving
- Persimmon Salad - prepare all salad ingredients earlier in the day and store separately from the dressing. Toss together before serving
- Steamed Vegetables - place all vegetables in a pan and add water until just covered. Add salt and bring to the boil. Keeping a lid on, turn down the heat and cook on a low heat for 5-10 minutes until all vegetables are cooked to your liking (cooking time will vary depending on the vegetables you use). Drain as soon as they’re cooked
- Gravy - reheat in a pot on the stove before serving
- Sliced Baked Apples - mix in a tiny splash of water to loosen the sauce. Cover with foil or baking paper and place in oven at 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit) for 20-30 minutes (until piping hot) to reheat before serving. Best served with vanilla ice cream
If you make any of these recipes, I’d really love to see what you come up with! You can show me by tagging a photo @rhiansrecipes #rhiansrecipes on Instagram! Thank you.