Yes, a vegan Thanksgiving is possible...and it can absolutely be filling and delicious. Hearty plant-based recipes including a vegan twist on Shepherd’s pie, squash soup, sourdough bread, and wine-poached pears will pretty much guarantee everyone will forget all about the turkey. 
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No one will have ruffled feathers about the MIA roast turkey when you pile your Thanksgiving table full of these vibrant vegan Thanksgiving menu ideas. Even meat-eaters will be satisfied by these protein-rich, fall recipes that feel celebratory enough for a holiday, but are easy enough to whip up for any Sunday dinner. (Good thing, because if you're anything like us, you're about to get hooked on the cozy vegan soup recipe and the decadent vegan Thanksgiving dessert!)

Vegan Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes

Savor a plant-based feast—and avoid feeling like you're missing a thing—with this hearty, harvest-season Thanksgiving menu.

See photos and learn more about each of these vegan Thanksgiving recipes below.

White Bean Arugula Crostini
Credit: Andy Lyons

Appetizer: White Bean Arugula Crostini

Ahh, crostini. It's crowd-pleasing, customizable, and a cinch to make for a date night or a large gathering. Many versions naturally fit a vegan diet, too. Welcome guests with a platter of these surprisingly satisfying toasts, which score a protein boost from beans. Sweet-tart sun-dried tomatoes, peppery arugula, and earthy fresh parsley turn up the flavor volume—no cheese required.

mushroom sweet potato moussaka
Credit: Carson Downing

Entrée: Mushroom-Sweet Potato Moussaka

Think of this Thanksgiving casserole like the plant-based cousin of one of the best classic comfort foods: shepherd's pie. While eggplant- or potato-based moussaka is also big in Egypt and parts of the Middle East, it has become to the Greeks what lasagna is for Italians—a go-to cozy casserole. Author Mark Bittman swaps in mushrooms for the traditional lamb in his take on moussaka, then tops things off with a perfect-for-Thanksgiving sweet potato mash.

overhead view of 5 bowls of thai peanut soup with edamame
Credit: Jason Donnelly

Soup Side Dish: Thai Peanut Squash Soup

Now that the sweet potatoes are covered, what other traditional Thanksgiving elements are we missing on this vegan Thanksgiving menu? Squash, of course! Use cubed pumpkin, butternut squash, or anything marked "cubed winter squash" in the freezer section as the base for this silky coconut milk soup. Red curry paste ($3, Target), fresh ginger, and a small scoop of peanut butter lend loads of warming Thai vibes. Serve with sriracha sauce and chopped fresh cilantro so guests can top as desired.

Get the recipe: Thai Peanut Squash Soup

Cinnamon-Spiced Brussels Sprouts
Credit: Andy Lyons

Vegetable Side Dish: Cinnamon-Spiced Brussels Sprouts

Green beans or Brussels sprouts (or both!) are essential on any Thanksgiving spread. This unique salad is an ideal complement to the other warmly spiced recipes on our vegan Thanksgiving menu. (In case you missed it, cinnamon also stars in the entrée, and will make an appearance in our Thanksgiving drink pairing.) Ready in just 15 minutes, this lemon juice-dressed Brussels sprouts recipe will act as a refreshing, crunchy counterpoint to the creamier, heartier main dish and sides.

Artisan Sourdough
Credit: Dera Burreson

Bread Side Dish: Artisan Sourdough

Although sourdough starter bubbles, evolves, and acts like it's alive, it's actually just wild yeast from the air, flour, and water. We put some of that starter to scrumptious use in this chewy Artisan Sourdough. The flavor is delightfully nutty thanks to a scoop of whole wheat flour in the mix. Admittedly, this bread recipe is a labor of love. But it is a holiday, after all, and you can certainly make this a day or two in advance to cut down on Thanksgiving Day stress.

Get the recipe: Artisan Sourdough

Poached Pears
Credit: Blaine Moats

Dessert: Poached Pears with Vegan Ice Cream

Even if other guests are scooping up slices of Thanksgiving pie, we bet they'll be eyeing your delightful pear dessert—that just so happens to be vegan. Since they simmer slow and low on the stovetop instead of taking up precious oven real estate, we adore the concept of poached fruit in any form as a holiday dessert idea. Choose from a juice- or vegan wine-based poaching liquid, then infuse it with our suggested mulling spices before adding the peeled and halved fresh pears. The day before (or up to 3 months in advance!) you can churn up your favorite flavor of homemade coconut milk ice cream. Might we recommend adding a dash of cinnamon to the custard?

Get the recipe: Poached Pears 
Get the recipe: Vegan Ice Cream Base

pomegranate-cider sangria with cinnamon sticks
Credit: Brie Passano

Drink: Pomegranate Cider Sangria

Raise a glass to a vegan Thanksgiving meal well executed with this oh-so fall sangria recipe. You'll likely have all of the spices required—whole anise and cinnamon sticks—on hand already for your poached pears. Combine those with apple cider, pomegranate juice, pomegranate molasses ($17, Walmart), citrus, and brandy, if you like, and you have one of the best make-ahead Thanksgiving sips ever.

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