How to Plan a Vegan Thanksgiving

Think planning the perfect Thanksgiving is hard? Try planning and cooking for a vegan no-turkey day.

When I say “We’re hosting a completely vegan Thanksgiving this year” some people throw their heads back and laugh. But why? Some of those Thanksgiving staples – stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole – can all be made vegan! Planning that perfect vegan Thanksgiving can be overwhelming, here’s how to start.

Come Up with a Menu

Planning the perfect turkey dinner is hard enough with everyone’s likes and dislikes. But when there is no turkey to plan around you can find yourself at a loss on what to cook. Never fear – I’ve got you! *no Tofurkey included!*

Our goal is to create a vegan version of 3-4 of the regular Thanksgiving staples – green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, and stuffing. Then we layered in dishes that aren’t crazy but are generally not associated with Thanksgiving but have all the makings of a holiday classic – broccoli rice casserole, panzanella salad, sweet potato and adzuki bean casserole.

Of course, you need to have plenty of carbs. My husband makes a wonderful artisan bread that will appear on our holiday table this year.

  • Green bean casserole
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Stuffing
  • Broccoli rice casserole (a vegan-ized Ree Drummond Thanksgiving recipe)
  • Panzanella salad
  • Sweet potato and adzuki bean casserole (The New Vegan by Aine Carlin)
  • Rolls and bread
  • Sweet bread

Notify Family

We have several vegan-skeptics in our family. After letting them know that we would host Thanksgiving at our house, I sent out an email at the beginning of November advising of the menu. Since we have a young baby, we also asked that if they are coming, to please bring a dish. Nothing huge or fancy, but it would help out with feeding a crowd.

Last time we hosted, our family brought a huge turkey and a giant ham. That was way too much for a party of 10. This year, they intend to bring dishes such as cornbread casserole (served chilled), a turkey breast (not a whole turkey), and a variety of desserts.

We purposefully did not plan on making many sweets ourselves as this is something easy that any member of our family can make.

A downside to notifying your family of the menu or that it will be an all-vegan Thanksgiving (minus what they bring) is that your well-meaning relatives can show up at your house with a brown bag of fast food. Politely try not to smack them and ask why on earth they showed up, but instead ask that they at least make a small tasting plate of the food you slaved over made.

Get cooking!

We buy our frozen (no judging!) green beans and sack of potatoes several weeks in advance. The rest of the items go onto a master grocery list. I head out to the grocery store on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving early in the morning to avoid the chaos.

Tuesday every piece of produce is washed, bread and cookies are made, and the tables are set up.

Wednesday all the produce is chopped, dishes that can be easily reheated (think mashed potatoes) are made, and any last minute items I forgot are purchased.

Thursday morning, 2-3 dishes at a time will go into the oven and rotate through until they are all cooked. Mashed potatoes will be in the crock pot on the “keep warm” setting. The tables will be set and the parade will be turned on the TV for guests that arrive in the morning.

The Thanksgiving feast will be served at 1PM!

It may look like there is a lot to get done, but with prep work done the day before it takes a lot off your workload Thanksgiving day!

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