You know what I hate? When you look up an online recipe and there is 1,000 words of preamble and 14 ads before the actual recipe shows up. Let’s skip that and get right to the Thanksgiving vegan recipes! If you’re interested in why we are encourage vegan recipes for Thanksgiving, scroll all the way to the bottom.

Main Courses

Seitan (Vegan Turkey) from The Edgy Veg:

Here’s the recipe for The Edgy Veg’s seitan turkey and a video tutorial. She recommends making this a day ahead and reheat it, as letting it cool improves the texture.

Video from YouTube.

Vegan Shepherd’s Pie from the Minimalist Baker:

The next several recipes were recommended by my salmon surveying partner, Grace. She noted that most Thanksgiving sides can become vegan recipes just by using vegan butter, coconut milk, or vegetable stock in place of animal products. Check out Vegan Haven in University District for those products.

With just nine ingredients (including salt and pepper), the Minimalist Baker’s Vegan Shepherd’s Pie is simple, hearty and delicious. It calls for lentils in place of animal protein and takes just 15 minutes to prepare (or 57 minutes if you’re like me). Put it together the day before and schedule 45 minute of oven time on the big day.

Vegan recipes for sides

Sides are the best part of Thanksgiving. There, I said it. Many of them are already vegan or just an ingredient or two away. Whether you’re trying establish yourself as a signature-dish-bringer, or just trying to survive meat-heavy Thanksgiving gathering, keep these vegan recipes nearby.

Marshmallow-Topped Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole from Connoisseurus Veg:

Coconut milk and vegan marshmallows are all that separate keep traditional sweet potato pie from being vegan. Follow this recipe and I’ll bet no one even notices the difference. Check Trader Joe’s or Vegan Haven for gelatin-free vegan marshmallows.

Vegan Green Bean Casserole from The Minimalist Baker:

I refuse to have a Thanksgiving without green bean casserole, and this vegan recipe from The Minimalist Baker makes it possible for everyone to enjoy. The Minnesotan in me cringes at the idea of not using cream of mushroom soup (our blood runs think with it), but maybe it’s time to move on. Simply substitute vegan butter and unsweetened almond milk for animal products to make an Earth-friendly green bean casserole. If you plan far enough ahead, say eight months, and you can use home grown green beans!

Get to the Desserts!

Easy Vegan Pumpkin Pie from It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken:

Remember Grace’s advice about coconut milk? Here it is again. Vegan Pumpkin Pie can be as simple as blending nine ingredients and pouring them into a store-bought pie crust, or a little more advanced with this vegan pie crust recipe. You can’t have Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie, and that goes for vegans, too.

Don’t forget the whipped cream!

Vegan Pineapple Upside Down Cake from Connoisseurus Veg:

You might as well just stock up on coconut milk, because here it comes again. This Pineapple Upside Down Cake is a chance to show off your baking skills and put a stamp on a signature dish. Call it “Pina Colada Cake” to trick your aunts and uncles into enjoying a vegan dessert.

vegan recipes
Image from Connoiseurus Veg.

Why try vegan recipes for Thanksgiving?

On the surface, Thanksgiving is simple. Eat food, be pleasant and don’t forget to take home leftovers. However, and I hate to be the one to say this, between the travel and the turkey alone, Thanksgiving is not a great day for the environment. Here’s why:

  • Based on Environmental Working Group’s Meat Eater’s Guide the carbon footprint to produce 1 kilogram of turkey is 10.9 kilograms CO2 equivalents (or 25 car miles).
  • Assuming 1 kilogram = 2.2 pounds, 20 pounds of turkey produces the equivalent of 218.45 pounds CO2 equivalents or 227.25 car miles.
  • In 2017, Americans ate 45 million turkeys. At 20 pounds per turkey (a low estimate), that comes to 9.8 billion pounds of CO2 equivalents or 10.2 billion car miles.

On top of that, AAA projects 55 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more during the long weekend.

Like I said, I hate to be the fun-squasher. I certainly won’t discourage gathering for the holiday (although I do encourage carpooling!). Instead, use these vegan recipes to cut back on Thanksgiving-based animal product emissions.

Submit your favorite vegan/vegetarian holiday recipes in the comments section, on Twitter (@emeraldology) or by contacting us here.

Feature photo by Brandless on Unsplash.