Your 2019 Vegan Thanksgiving Menu
I did all the searching and pinning and testing for you
Any holiday that doesn't involve food...isn't really a holiday, if you ask me.
So, surprising to probably no one, Thanksgiving is one of my favorites.
I've always associated it with the Thanksgiving memories of my childhood, which happened around the big old mahogany table at my grandparent's house, where my aunts, their husbands, first cousins, their kids, significant others, everyone, all piled in each year.
The out of town cousins would camp out in the guest bedrooms, spilling over onto air mattresses and the couch. The house was crowded and one big cousin-fest. We'd sit around the couch, play hide and go seek in the hallways and spare bedrooms, and make our older, super-cool cousins braid and straighten our hair.
There were too many of us to fit even at the giant table, so a card-table for the "kids" fit the extras. The food itself was a joint effort, mostly made by my grandmother, who we called "Mom," my actual mom, and her sisters, and included all the classics: turkey (which my grandpa carved up with a terrifying electric knife that scared all of us), my aunt's super-sweet sweet potato casserole with mini marshmallows, my grandma's cornbread dressing (which we ate with homemade horseradish sauce), collard greens, rolls, green bean casserole, multiple pies, and basically nothing that wasn't drowning in butter or cheese or both.
These were way before my vegan days, but since going plant-based, I've celebrated five Thanksgivings - in South Florida, in my hometown, in Phoenix and Denver with friends, and most recently, a "modern family" version where I made appearances with my boyfriend's family, my mom, and my dad (talk about a full day of eating.)
My Thanksgivings have certainly evolved from the big family affair full of butter and cheese, to traveling Thanksgivings I spent on the road in the company of gracious friends who let me in, to now, where I'm mashing up old traditions, but making them vegan, and adding some of my own favorites, as I do more of the cooking each year.
While our family and traditions have changed, and I'm sure will continue to, I'm excited this year to bring back some old customs of cooking the night before, with my mom, and waking up to run a 5k and watch the parade.
My menu this year will be totally different than normal as I'll be a week out from my second and last bikini show of the year, so I'll definitely be eating lower carb and calorie than usual. I'm not worried about it though! Instead of looking at is as missing out, I'm viewing it as, hey, I've had my years of binging! I know what it feels like to be stuffed. I'm good! This year, I'll have a new Thanksgiving experience. And while part of me misses the old days, the big group of cousins sitting around the living room, braving the Black Friday mall crowds the next day to hit up Bath and Body Works (my aunt's favorite), and coming home to eat leftover broccoli casserole, dressing, and pie, I'm excited for new traditions and new memories, too.
Here's my exhaustive menu of Thanksgiving favorites - some I've made many many times, and some new ones I'll be trying this year.
Spinach Artichoke Dip
We've made this for tailgates to rave reviews. It'd be the perfect thing to stand around and snack on as your company all files in.
I grew up on cornbread, and believe me when I say you cannot tell the difference between vegan and traditional. And I'm from the Deep South, y'all.
You know you want them. Plus, they make the perfect leftover breakfast for the next day.
*Epic Cheese Board
Ok, if we can be real here, this is actually what I'm the MOST excited to put together this year! I've never done a cheese board in my life, much less a vegan one, but I've acquired a weird obsession with saving (hoarding) images of perfect cheese boards lately, packed with crackers and crudites, nuts and olives, dips and spreads. I'll grab a selection of goodies from Trader Joes (crackers and nuts and fruit,) Whole Foods (cheeses and bougie dips,) and probably hit up Target for a massive board or platter to display it all on. Wish me luck!
My Fave Storebought Roast
I haven't yet seen this one at my local TJ's, so fingers crossed they haven't already sold out or won't be carrying it. If you see it, grab one or five - they're SO good!
P.S. If you wanna hear about some other great ready to cook vegan roast options, this video is super helpful!
It's just not Thanksgiving without a stuffing (or is it dressing?) A note: if you have a family recipe for a cornbread dressing, simply make your cornbread vegan with the recipe above, get veggie broth, and you're probably good to go.
*My Second Fave Storebought Roast
Last year we picked up this and don't be fooled by it's small size - it's heavy and lasted us for many meals! Super high protein, yummy, and filling. We found ours at Whole Foods but use the product locator on the site to find one near you.
This is a great anytime dinner but would be perfect around the Thanksgiving table.
*Cauliflower Steaks + Gravy
Cauliflower is going to be a major staple for me this year, since it's inherently so low carb and calorie and totally delicious! I can't wait to try this one out!
*Cream of Mushroom Soup
This is the backbone of many of the following dishes, so I make a triple batch and use it in the hash-brown casserole, the broccoli rice casserole, and the green bean casserole.
This was a new-to-me fave that we made maybe...five times last year alone? My boyfriend is the master at whipping this one up, which is a veganized version of something his family traditionally made (it's his #1 must-have for Thanksgiving) and it always gets voted as everyone's favorite thing on the table, because it's essentially crack in a casserole dish.
Vegan butter 3 tablespoons
Vegan cheddar cheese, 1 cup
Hashbrowns (frozen is what we used), 2 lbs
Green onions, 2
Cream of mushroom or chicken soup (vegan), 3 cups
Cayenne pepper, 1.5 tsp
Combine all in a casserole dish, other than cornflakes. Stir together until combined and top with cornflakes. Cover with foil. Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes at 375 degrees.
*Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
This is a new-to-me recipe I found and am considering bringing to Friendsgiving this year, because...look at it!
Kale Winter Salad
This is another I'm going to be whipping up for a Friendsgiving, where I know I'll be craving something a smidge lighter amidst all the other heavy dishes I'm sure will be there.
* Green Bean Casserole
Certain things I don't want healthified and I don't want to mess with: I want the OG. This is one of those things--straight from the Campbell's Soup website. I simply sub out milk for plant milk, and use the DIY cream of mushroom soup, above. You can adjust ratios as needed, adding less or more milk, less or more (MORE) fried onions, but it's more of a dump-in-a-dish meal than a recipe.
I like to try new recipes each year, but this one's too good to quit. I ladle it over basically everything. I'd suggest doubling this recipe if you have a crowd!
I leave out the last two ingredients on this list.
Brocoli Rice Casserole
A good cheesey broccoli rice casserole was always a staple growing up at our big family Thanksgivings, and basically was just cooked white rice + cream of mushroom canned soup + chopped sauteed celery, onions, and mushrooms + splash of soy sauce + grated cheddar cheese, all mixed up and baked. You can easily make yours vegan using that exact "recipe" or just follow this. It's even better leftover the next day!
You could also make this with half or all cauliflower instead of potatoes, for a lower carb option that's just as delicious!
Mac and Cheese
Add more spices, salt and pepper, lemon, nutritional yeast, as desired! You can also add some turmeric for a more orange color, and you could top with breadcrumbs and bake, if desired!
*Sweet Potato Casserole
I'll be making this one this year with kabocha or acorn (maybe a blend) squash instead of sweet potatoes, if you also want to mix it up!
Vegan Pumpkin Pie
Are you team pecan or pumpkin? Pumpkin is SO easy to veganize, there's just no reason not to! Top with your fave dairy free whipped cream --easy to find next to the dairy whipped cream.
*Vegan Pecan Pie Version 1
I'm not a huge pecan pie fan but Cameron is, so I did quite a bit of internet scouring for a good version. This one has coconut milk and no refined sugar.
*Vegan Pecan Pie Version 2
For a second option, this one features saltines and brown rice syrup. Try em both and have a taste test!
*Vegan Pumpkin Pudding
For when you want just the gooey pie, sans crust. I'm going to top these with coconut whipped cream and chocolate chips, as pictured, but...more of both.
Vegan Pumpkin Bread
I've been making this for YEARS as a breakfast, brunch, potluck dish, Thanksgiving dessert, Christmas morning treat, you name it. It's also a great gift. It just can't be beat - no one's ever NOT loved it...it's that good.
And there you have it!
I hope you find this guide super helpful.
Did I leave out any of your favorites you're dying for a vegan recipe of? Leave me a comment and I'll make sure I get you a recipe!
If you found this helpful, I'd love it if you shared on your own social media or sent to friends and family -- let's spread the word together that we can celebrate Thanksgiving with all the flavors we grew up on, in a healthier, more sustainable, and compassionate way!
Happy Thanksgiving y'all!
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