Tips to Plan a Vegan or Vegetarian Thanksgiving

A bowl of cranberries surrounded by leaves and fall fruit.

If you are a vegan or a vegetarian, or if you are planning on inviting one to your home for the holidays, you may want to prepare a vegetarian Thanksgiving meal to accommodate everyone. There are many creative and delicious dishes you can make that will keep your guests satisfied and hungry for more food.


Let your guests know your menu plan in advance. Plan your guest list and decide how many people you would like to invite to your Thanksgiving dinner. This will help you determine how much food you should prepare and what sorts of foods your guests enjoy. You may also want to find out what food allergies your guests have, so you can work around them when planning your meal.


There are many appetizers that do not require meat or dairy-based foods. It is important to choose one or two of these that your guests will enjoy. Consider making an appetizer from another culture as well, as many cultures use soy and tofu products and there are several different recipes from which you can chose. Keep in mind that natural foods like fruits and vegetables are safe for vegans and vegetarians, as are dips such as hummus.

The Main Course

If you want to keep the turkey-theme of Thanksgiving, there are several tofu-turkeys ("tofurkey") that you can purchase and prepare. The best-tasting one will, of course, cost the most, so it is important to splurge a little on your main course. This is a good idea if there will be people who enjoy eating meat coming to your home.

If you do not wish to make a turkey-type main dish, you can make something else to take the main stage. For example, you could make vegetable cakes with beans and fruits, served with pasta for a filling entrée.

Side Dishes

Make sure you have more than a simple salad for your side dish. You can include breads, corn on the cob, collard greens, fresh cranberries, sweet potatoes, and other fruits and vegetables that will liven up your table. The key is to make sure that you have light dishes to go with your heavy dishes. Also, for the tofurkey, there are several recipes available for vegetarian stuffing.


There are several soy-desert recipes you can easily make. To uphold the themes and traditions of Thanksgiving, consider making a soy-based pumpkin pie or soy ice cream to be served alongside fruit.

As with any Thanksgiving meal, its purpose is to allow you, your friends, and your family to get together, have fun, and celebrate. To that end, talk with your guests beforehand to see how they feel about your having a vegetarian Thanksgiving and whether they would like to bring anything or help in any way.