The Ultimate Vegan Thanksgiving Menu

Hey sweet peas! How's November treating you? If you're like me, you've already begun to think about the deliciousness that is Thanksgiving. Mmmm, nothing satisfies like a well planned Thanksgiving dinner! And in my world, that dinner has been a vegan one for the last 20 years. Granted, I didn't always host my own vegan dinners, but over the last 10 years (ever since I moved to Colorado), I've had a vegan Thanksgiving dinner at my home. Most years, we invite good friends over and they all bring vegan dishes to share. Many of my friends aren't vegan (or even vegetarian!), but they're all cool enough to be psyched to have a delicious meal with friends and not care that it's animal-free.

So, what does a vegan eat on a day that is usually all about eating turkeys? PLENTY. We eat a-plenty. In fact, I always try to get in a good workout the morning of, so that I can give myself room to enjoy all that amazing food!

On Thanksgiving this year, there will be a dozen of us gathered at my home. Several vegetarians, three vegans (myself, my daughter, and a friend), and a few meat-eaters. We don't really do much other than talk, laugh, and eat. For us, it's a day of homey kitchen fun, warmth, laughter, and damn good food.

So, I know what you're thinking now... "Enough talk! Tell me what you eat! I want details. Specifics." Yes, I hear you, and I shall comply! Here goes...

Our Vegan Thanksgiving 2011

* Tofurky: Yes, tofurky. I do realize many people mock the idea of having a "fake turkey" but really, I don't think of it that way. First of all, it's DELICIOUS. And secondly, it's REAL food, not fake. In fact, if it tasted like turkey, I personally wouldn't like it! But it's made from real foods like tofu and garbanzos, and makes for a great main dish that's easy to put together. I like to baste my tofurky roasts with a mixture of orange juice, olive oil, and tamari and add lots of trimmings to the pan - potatoes, lots of garlic cloves, sliced onions, and carrots. And oh mama! When the roast is done, you have all those yummy caramelized veggies on your plate.

* Some kind of warming winter soup must make an appearance, and this year I think that soup needs to be my Carrot Ginger Lime Soup from my newest book. But, since I love this recipe so insanely much, I also shared it here. You must try it! Pictured below.

* Garlic Mashers: Basically, my yummy mashed potato recipe from Radiant Health, Inner Wealth

* What goes on the mashed potatoes and tofurky? Why, none other than my pride and joy, Scrumptious Shiitake Gravy. Seriously, even if you eat meat and hate mushrooms, you'll want to eat this stuff with a spoon! The recipe is also from Radiant Health, Inner Wealth, but also on my blog here.

* Another huge crowd-pleaser is my recipe for phyllo wrapped asparagus. Trust me, you'll have stalkers if you serve these (pictured below). Again, this is a recipe from my first book that I also shared on my blog here.

* This year, I'll be making the Roasted Rosemary Butternut Squash from Radiance 4 Life. I made this for a cooking class last weekend, and everyone wanted seconds (and thirds, but at that point, it was gone!)

* Cranberry sauce of some form must happen. I'm sort of traditional that way. Sometimes, I cheese out and buy pre-made organic cranberry sauce, but this year I'll be making this recipe from VegWeb. I've tried it before, and it's really unusual and delish!

* My recipe for Roasted Cauliflower actually won an award! It's CRAZY good. It's in the sides chapter of Radiant Health, Inner Wealth and also here on my blog.

* Warm bread of some kind is a must, so this year I will be making a whole grain cornbread. YUM.

* My friend Elaine is bringing one of her magic salads (her salads are unreal!) this year, but normally I make either my Spinach-Strawberry Salad (pictured below and SO good!) or something along those lines.

* This year, a friend is making the citrus beets with maple glazed pecans from my book Radiance 4 Life. SO glad I invited her! I'm literally drooling, thinking about this one.

* Finally, we always make sure to have some ridiculously delicious desserts on the table. I'll be making a pumpkin pie (using my recipe from RHIW) with the beautiful local organic pie pumpkin I picked. Woot! Also, I think we'll make some Apple Puffs with Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce (also from RHIW and pictured below) just to round things out. They're easy to make, but sooo impressive and delish!

Well, that's about it! I feel like I'm forgetting something, but if so, I have a feeling we'll somehow have enough to eat! So, howzabout it? Let us know what's on YOUR menu this year!!

And THANK YOU to Olga Vasiljeva and Michelle Bebber for their beautiful photographs!


  1. Going away this year, but when I do cook here..

    -red pepper hummus & veggies
    -Lundberg rice blend dressing (basically the directions on the back with lots of celery, onion, mushrooms, walnuts w/o teriyaki, but added cayanne
    -sweet potato french fries
    -beet salad
    -fresh green beans
    -spinach salad
    -YOUR rosemary pumpkin biscuits
    -cranberry applesauce
    -pumpkin pie

    Last year at my aunt's house we had a really yummy raw butternut squash salad. I think it had ginger and raisins in it.

  2. I wish I could come to your house for Thanksgiving dinner Tess.

    But I'm in The Netherlands as you know and I'm going to a normal Thanksgiving dinner a sort pot luck here. I just discussed it with my partner and we spoke of how other people will be bringing there own dishes as well as turkey and not being able to know what'll be in their ingredients!

    So I've decided to make our own dinner and find a way to keep it warm and also make a vegan dish for the other people.

    PS No Tofurky in this part of the world.

  3. SJW: If you don't have access to tofurky, there are lots of other great things to do as a main dish. My tempeh puffs from RHIW are really nice and also the tempeh cutlets (from RHIW, the recipe for crunchy tempeh w/ mango salsa) are great for Thanksgiving, with gravy instead of salsa. Or you can do some kind of veggie loaf. The options are endless! I'm getting hungry... ;-)

  4. ...that sounds SOOOO good Tess!...we're hosting this year..for my hubby's brother & family and his folks..I just LoVe all the flavors and colors of Fall!...hubby is grilling a local, free range turkey, mainly for guests (sigh)...(man did he make a beautiful tofurkey a couple of years back @ Christmas!).....anyways...the rest of the meal is vegetarian/vegan: homemade stuffing from Joy of cooking (minus the egg), green beans with toasted almonds, a chopped veggie salad, mashed yukon gold potatoes, ginger roasted sweet potatoes, fresh cranberry orange relish, homemade rolls, maybe a fresh Mooregold pumpkin: cooked, scoop out amazingly yummy inside, remove seeds, mash with some cinnamon...sooo delish!....guest bringing pies...I made ginger snaps, sugar cookies....have frozen the cookies, made/frozen the relish, cut/toasted bread for stuffing, also frozen (thank goodness for extra fridge!)....OH! I also made a quadruple batch (seriously)of your maple glazed walnuts from Radiance 4 Life!!! have on the table for munching..if I am on top of it, will also make the beets :)..hmmm...wonder if there will be any walnuts left for the guests...!...Deb

  5. Make a sauce without meat vegetarian is more art than exact science, as the timing, stirring and heating is all that you want to add more or less liquid as necessary. As usual with the sauce, however, your vegetarian sauce thickness slightly as it cools.