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35 plant-based Thanksgiving recipes that are sure to please everyone

Thanksgiving is almost here. As we gear up for the big day, we’re sharing some of our favorite holiday dishes from The Oregonian/OregonLive’s Recipe Box. Today, we’ve got celebratory dishes that are perfect for a meat-free holiday meal. If you’ve got vegans or vegetarians coming for Thanksgiving dinner, here are 35 recipes for main dishes and sides that are sure to leave them feeling truly thankful.

Chocolate-Cranberry Coffee Cake

Chocolate Pecan Cranberry Coffee Cake, from “Vegan Chocolate,” by Fran Costigan.Kate Lewis, Running Press

Here’s a perfect way to start Thanksgiving day. This chocolately coffee cake from vegan baking expert Fran Costigan features cranberries, pecans and oats. This is the perfect thing to munch on while watching the Macy’s parade on TV.

Recipe: Chocolate Pecan Cranberry Coffee Cake.

Pumpkin, cranberry and chocolate muffins

Spiced Pumpkin-Cranberry Muffins With Chocolate Chips and Pecans

Spiced Pumpkin-Cranberry Muffins With Chocolate Chips and Pecans.Grant Butler, The Oregonian/OregonLive

Here’s another great way to start Thanksgiving morning. These delicious pumpkin, cranberry and chocolate muffins are loaded with chocolate, and they also could be served for dessert after the big meal. And they can be made in advance, which helps cut back on kitchen work on Thanksgiving.

Recipe: Spiced Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins With Chocolate and Pecans.

Maple Pumpkin Bread

Dairy-free Maple Pumpkin Bread

Dairy-free Maple Pumpkin Bread, a recipe by Kitchen Scoop columnist Alicia Ross. Alicia Ross, Kitchen Scoop

Here’s another great way to start Thanksgiving Day. Kitchen Scoop columnist Alicia Ross came up with this easy pumpkin quick bread to satisfy guests with a dairy allergy. Applesauce and pureed pumpkin take the place of eggs. Serve it warm out of the oven with spiced apple cider or hot coffee.

Recipe: Dairy-free Maple Pumpkin Bread.

Pumpkin Seed Pate

Vegan Thanksgiving options

Pumpkin Seed Pate. (Yuki Sugiura) Yuki Sugiura

Here’s a dynamite appetizer that’s perfect to serve on Thanksgiving when the football-watching guests are waiting for the big meal. The recipe comes together in just 10 minutes, and is perfect with crackers, vegetable sticks, or on large lettuce leaves. It will help cut the hungries until it’s meal time.

Recipe: Pumpkin Seed Pate.

Mushroom and Kale Galette

Mushroom and Kale Galette

Mushroom and Kale Galette, a recipe from “Food is the Solution: What to Eat to Save the World” by Matthew Prescott.Matthew Prescott, Flatiron Books

This show-stopping galette is savory, made with mushrooms, kale, eggplant and capers, plus some non-dairy yogurt for creaminess. It’s perfect for Thanksgiving, when you want a pretty centerpiece meal that’ll be sure to please.

Recipe: Mushroom and Kale Galette.

Polenta With Wild Mushrooms, Hazelnuts and Figs

Polenta With Wild Mushrooms

Polenta With Wild Mushrooms, Hazelnuts and Figs, from “Pure Vegan” by Joseph Shuldiner.Emily Brooke Sandor, Chronicle Books

Here’s a vegan main dish that’s so jaw-droppingly beautiful it’s sure to be the star of the Thanksgiving table. The combination of wild mushrooms, hazelnuts, figs and thyme evokes the earthy flavors of the Pacific Northwest. The preparation is elaborate, but this is Thanksgiving, when we go all out. To save time, you can prepare the polenta and lentils a day ahead.

Recipe: Polenta With Wild Mushrooms, Hazelnuts and Figs.

Spicy pumpkin bisque

Soup makes a great first course for Thanksgiving, and this spicy soup from Melissa d’Arabian is a time-saver because it can be made the day before and rewarmed just before serving. There’s a bonus to making it in advance, too: The flavors of the Thai red curry paste have time to meld with the pumpkin and apple, creating a harmonious, balanced soup.

Recipe: Pumpkin Peanut Curry Bisque.

Sweet Potato Bisque

Sweet Potato Bisque

Sweet Potato Bisque, a recipe by Kitchen Scoop columnist Alicia Ross. Alicia Ross, Kitchen Scoop

Soup is an often-overlooked opening course at the Thanksgiving table, but this glorious soup from Kitchen Scoop’s Alicia Ross should seal the deal, offering a spicier sweet potato dish than what traditionally part of the holiday menu.

Recipe: Sweet Potato Bisque.

Good for any holiday

The Ultimate Christmas Roast

The Ultimate Christmas Roast, from “Vegan Christmas” by Gaz Oakley.Simon Smith, Quadrille Publishing

YouTube star and cookbook author Gaz Oakley created this roast as a way to celebrate a proper Welsh Christmas. But it’s a perfect option for ambitious cooks wanting to make a dramatic Thanksgiving centerpiece.

Recipe: The Ultimate Christmas Roast.

The dramatic centerpiece

Roasted Stuffed Pumpkin

Roasted Stuffed Pumpkin, from “EatingWell Vegetables,” by the editors of EatingWell.Photo by Meredith Corporation

Normally, the focal point of the Thanksgiving table is a roasted turkey. But this showstopping stuffed pumpkin, which can easily be adapted from vegetarian to vegan using egg and dairy substitutes, features a wonderfully seasoned bread and mushroom stuffing. Want a real splurge? Use wild mushrooms from the farmers’ market instead of crimini for added foresty flavor.

Recipe: Roasted Stuffed Pumpkin.

Beet Wellingtons

Beet Wellingtons

Beet Wellingtons, a holiday recipe created by Portland cookbook author Ivy Manning. Motoya Nakamura, The Oregonian/OregonLive

Portland cookbook author Ivy Manning came up with this vegetarian riff on traditional Beef Wellingtons, with golden beets and portobello mushrooms taking the place of the beef. If you eliminate the goat cheese and the egg wash, the dish is vegan.

Recipe: Beet Wellingtons.

Baked Tempeh and Butternut Squash

Apple-Braised Tempeh and Butternut Squash Bake

Apple-Braised Tempeh and Butternut Squash Bake, a recipes from “The Easy Vegan Cookbook” by Kathy Hester. Ann Oliverio, Page Street Publishing Co.

This protein-packed dish from cookbook author Kathy Hester works as either a side dish or an entree, and is a great choice if you’ve been asked to bring a dish to a Thanksgiving potluck, because it travels well and its preparation couldn’t be easier. In just a few minutes, you assemble all the ingredients in a baking dish, then pop it in the oven. In an hour, you’ve got an with all the must-have flavors of fall.

Recipe: Apple-Braised Tempeh and Butternut Squash Bake.

Hasselback Potatoes

Hasselback Potatoes

Hasselback Potatoes With “Cheese” Sauce, from “Vegan Christmas” by Gaz Oakley.Simon Smith, Quadrille Publishing

Here’s another Gaz Oakley recipe that brings elegance to the Thanksgiving table.

Recipe: Hasselback Potatoes With “Cheese” Sauce.

Next-level sprouts

Sexy Sprouts with Coconut Bacon

Sexy Sprouts with Coconut Bacon, from “Vegan Christmas” by Gaz Oakley.Simon Smith, Quadrille Publishing

Gaz Oakley’s take on holiday Brussels sprouts adds coconut bacon, which adds a delicious bit of salt and sweetness to the savory sprouts.

Recipe: Sexy Sprouts with Coconut Bacon.

Another take on sprouts

A skillet of Brussels sprouts being stirred with a spatula.

Skillet-Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Pomegranate and Pistachios, a recipe from “The Complete Autumn & Winter Cookbook” by America’s Test Kitchen, 2021.Steve Klise, America’s Test Kitchen

This recipe from America’s Kitchen comes together quickly, and offers an interesting contrast of sweet and savory flavors, plus textural interest from the pistachios.

Recipe: Skillet-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate and Pistachios.

Squashy ‘Mac & Cheese’

Better Not Squash Mac and Cheese

Better Not Squash Mac & Cheese, from Maya Sozer’s “Easy Vegan Breakfasts & Lunches.”Maya Sozer, Page Street Publishing Co.

Macaroni and cheese is a common Thanksgiving side dish in some parts of the country. And why not? It’s rich and comforting, and in this squash-loaded version from cookbook author Maya Sozer, it’s completely vegan-friendly.

Recipe: Better Not Squash Mac & Cheese.

Nutty Curry-stuffed Pumpkins

Nutty Curry-Stuffed Pumpkins

Nutty Curry-Stuffed Pumpkins from “Big Vegan” by Robin Asbell.Katie Sears, Chronicle Books

These colorful, single-serve stuffed pumpkins from cookbook author Robin Asbell are speckled with golden millet, green jalapeño and crunchy nuts, and finished with just a touch of coconut. They are a perfect main course for Thanksgiving, and are a fun way to use the mini pumpkins you find in a lot of grocery stores right now, though you can use other small squashes.

Recipe: Nutty Curry-stuffed Pumpkins.

Butternut Squash Crepes

Butternut Squash Mushroom and Sage Crepes

Butternut Squash, Mushroom and Sage Crepes, “Candle 79 Cookbook,” by Joy Pierson, Angel Ramos, and Jorge Pineda.Rita Maas, Ten Speed Press

This elegant entree from New York City’s acclaimed Candle 79 restaurant features key Thanksgiving flavors, including sage and squash. Splurge a little on high-quality wild mushrooms to achieve the greatest depth of flavor.

Recipe: Butternut Squash, Mushroom and Sage Crepes.

Roasted Acorn Squash With Sesame Seeds

Roasted Acorn Squash With Sesame Seeds and Cumin

Roasted Acorn Squash With Sesame Seeds and Cumin, from “Martha StewartÕs Vegetables” by the Editors of Martha Stewart Living.David Prince, Penguin Random House

Here’s a dandy Thanksgiving side dish from the new “Martha Stewart’s Vegetables.” The beauty of acorn squash is that its skin is tender when roasted, making it totally edible. Acorn squash also adapts to a wide variety of flavors. Here, sesame seeds and cumin give it the warmth of the Mediterranean.

Recipe: Roasted Acorn Squash With Sesame Seeds and Cumin.

Salt-baked potatoes

Salt Roasted Potatoes

Salt Roasted Potatoes, Shallots and Chestunts, from “Martha StewartÕs Vegetables” by the Editors of Martha Stewart Living.Marcus Nilsson, Penguin Random House

Here’s a side dish from Martha Stewart that’s perfect for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Fingerling potatoes, shallots and chestnuts are roasted under a blanket of coarse salt, which locks in flavor and moisture. When the roasting is done, discard any excess salt, slice the potatoes and serve.

Recipe: Salt-baked Potatoes, Shallots and Chestnuts.

Sweet potato soup

Vegan Thanksgiving options

Sweet Potato, Lime and Peanut Soup, from “A Modern Way to Cook” by Anna Jones, 2016, Ten Speed Press. (Photo by Matt Russell)

We do some disgusting things to sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving, dousing them with sugar and marshmallows, then baking them until they’re mush. Here’s a better option: A rich, silky soup with a crunchy topping of peanuts and fried shallots. It’s a great opening course for the rest of the holiday meal.

Recipe: Sweet Potato, Lime and Peanut Soup.

Soy Curls and Mushroom Gravy

Thanksgiving Soy Curls With Mashed Potatoes and Mushroom Gravy

Thanksgiving Soy Curls With Mashed Potatoes and Mushroom Gravy.Grant Butler, The Oregonian/OregonLive

The flavors of Thanksgiving come through in the seasonings for this soy curl and mushroom gravy combo. Serve over fluffy mashed potatoes, wild rice or your favorite stuffing.

Recipe: Thanksgiving Soy Curls With Mushroom Gravy.

Stuffed acorn squash

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Winter Citrus, Mushroom and Farro Stuffed Acorn Squash.Matthew Mead, The Associated Press

Here’s a great vegan entrée that’s worthy of the Thanksgiving table. Roasting acorn squash brings out its natural sugar, which is accentuated by lemon, and given a savory counterpoint with umami-rich mushrooms and nutty farro.

Recipe: Winter Citrus, Mushroom and Farro Stuffed Acorn Squash.

Roasted squash tart

Roasted Butternut and Herb Tart

Roasted Butternut and Herb Tart.Matthew Mead, The Associated Press

Butternut squash is one of the flavor workhorses of the Thanksgiving table, though it’s rarely as elegant as this side dish, which layers paper-thin slices of squash and Yukon gold potatoes.

Recipe: Roasted Butternut and Herb Tart.

Cranberry Compote

Cranberry Compote

Cranberry Compote, from “Home: Recipes to Cook With Family and Friends” by Bryan Voltaggio. Reprinted with permission from Little, Brown and Company. (Photo by Ed Anderson) Ed Anderson

Celebrity chef Bryan Voltaggio (of “Top Chef” fame) shares this terrific addition to Thanksgiving dinner. It gets layers of flavor from chamomile tea, jalapeño and spices like allspice and cinnamon. Sweet reisling brings it all together. This is the new gold standard for cranberry side dishes.

Recipe: Bryan Voltaggio’s Cranberry Compote.

Cranberry Pecan Relish

Looking for an easier approach to Thanksgiving cranberries? This relish from David Sapp is sweet and crunchy, offering a nice flavor counterpoint to the richness of the holiday table. And it’s easy to make, coming together in just 10 minutes.

Recipe: Cranberry Pecan Relish.

Green Rice Casserole

Green Rice Casserole

Green Rice Casserole, a vegan adaptation of a rice dish originally served at the Kansas City restaurant Stephenson’s Apple Farm.

The original recipe for this dish dates back more than 50 years and comes from the long-gone Kansas City-area restaurant Stephenson’s Apple Farm. This updated version uses plant-based substitutions for the dairy and egg, without compromising the dish’s vibrant flavors.

Recipe: Stephenson’s Apple Farm Green Rice Casserole.

Charred Bruss

Ned Ludd's Charred Brussels Sprouts

Charred Brussels sprouts makes a perfect Thanksgiving recipes, thanks to their simplicity. (Dave Killen, The Oregonian/OregonLive)LC- The Oregonian

Brussels sprouts get the respect they deserve from Portland chef Jason French with this perfect Thanksgiving side dish. He flash-roasts them in a searing-hot cast-iron skillet, which turns them into sweet, charred beauties that diners gobble up like candy. The crowning touch is a finish of fresh lemon juice, which brings the dish’s flavors all together.

Recipe: Charred Bruss.

Here’s a 1-minute video showing how to make Charred Bruss.

Baked Penne With Pumpkin Cream Sauce

Baked Penne With Pumpkin Cream Sauce

Baked Penne With Pumpkin Cream Sauce, a recipe from Portland cookbook author Julie Hasson’s “Vegan Casseroles.”Felicia Perretti, Running Press

This casserole dish from Portland cookbook author Julie Hasson is a new favorite. The sauce has a hint of sweetness from the pumpkin but has a nice savory flavor from the sage and onions.

Recipe: Baked Penne With Pumpkin Cream Sauce and Buttery Crumb Topping.

Beet salad

Salad often is overlooked at Thanksgiving. After all, how can a bowl of blah greens hope to compete against all the other dishes? But it gets some respect with this flavorful salad, featuring robust roasted beets and the zing of citrus.

Recipe: Roasted Beet and Citrus Salad.

Couscous in squash

This Thanksgiving dish features cinnamon and orange, and is the perfect blend of Moroccan and autumn flavors. You can use smaller squash like delicate for individual servings. Or use butternut squash, which will make four to six servings. You can substitute regular couscous, rice or quinoa for the Israeli couscous, if you like.

Recipe: Toasted Israeli Couscous in Winter Squash Cases.

Green Beans With Mushrooms

An alternative to the classic green bean casserole that’s made even better if you spring for porcini or chanterelles, which are more expensive than your garden-variety mushrooms, but have a more intense foresty flavor.

Recipe: Green Beans With Mushrooms.

Cranberry-Orange Relish

Vegan Thanksgiving options

Cranberry-Orange Relish.

This recipe has been a favorite since it was first published in Martha Stewart Living magazine in 1995. It’s unique because it has jalapeño in it, though the heat mellows significantly if you make the relish a day in advance, which helps the flavors combine.

Recipe: Cranberry-Orange Relish.

Miso-glazed Green Beans

Miso-Glazed Green Beans

Miso-Glazed Green Beans

This recipe from cookbook author Jill Nussinow is a lighter side dish option for Thanksgiving (it has less than a gram of fat per serving), but it’s loaded with flavor, thanks to its glaze made with white miso and Medjool dates.

Recipe: Miso-Drizzled Green Beans.

Pumpkin Crunch Pie

Pumpkin Crunch Pie

Pumpkin Crunch Pie.Matthew Mead, The Associated Press

It’s not Thanksgiving without at least one slice of pumpkin pie. This recipe from Melissa d’Arabian uses silken tofu as a magical substitution for eggs and cream. Your guests will never guess there’s tofu in this dessert – unless you tell them.

Recipe: Lightened Pumpkin Crunch Pie.

— Grant Butler

[email protected]

503-221-8566; @grantbutler