Mains & Sides to Impress

Freedom from Want, Norman Rockwell

What would a modern-day Normal Rockwell Thanksgiving painting include? Perhaps that iconic turkey. But at least one, probably a few, at the table would not eat it.

Listen up, Thanksgiving hosts! For everyone at your table to be satisfied, you have two options (neither requires you to torture a non-meat substance into resembling a turkey).

  • Wowza! Vegan Main Course: A sure-fire way to say, “I care” to a vegan at your table.
  • Plant-Based Side Dishes: Thanks to Miyoko’s butter, traditional standards are easily vegan-ized. No one will know (except, of course, the vegans, when you discretely whisper in their ears during cocktail hour, “you can eat the sides.”).

My Go-To Main Course: Mushroom Wellington

My style is to go with the wowza! main course, one that makes the non-vegans jealous. Mushroom Wellington, my go-to holiday meal, always impresses, and is easier to make than you imagine. Use frozen puff pastry, available everywhere. Brands like Pillsbury and Pepperidge Farm are (without fanfare) vegan. The recipe calls for Beyond Meat sausage, which I don’t eat (though I’m glad it exists). Instead, I use Field Roast vegan sausage, which has more flavor, and is made from real food. (Though not gluten-free).

Newsflash! This year, I’m switching it up, skipping the faux sausage altogether, and going with Vegan Richa’s Wellington. Richa’s recipes never disappoint. And her Wellington video won’t leave you wondering, “how the hell do I do that?


Easy-to-Veganize Classics

A safe bet for a successful holiday meal is recreating classic dishes with a plant-based spin. Mashed potatoes, cornbread, pumpkin biscuits, and stuffing are easily (and sneakily) veganized. Not even Uncle Joe and Aunt Arlene, visiting from Texas, will know.

The Vegan Butter Tip You Need

Buy a block of Miyoko’s salted butter to use in your meal prep, and put it in the butter dish on your table. Not one person I’ve ever hosted has noticed it’s 100% plant-based. Everyone is shocked when I tell them.

3 Best Vegan Thanksgiving Recipe Websites

  • Rainbow Plant Life: Nisha Vora is a peripatetic, high-achieving recipe-developer (former lawyer), who nails every dish. Though many of her recipes are, for lack of a better word, time-consuming (hey, that’s what holiday cooking’s about, right?), she holds your hand throughout the process, with step-by-step directions, photos, and how-to videos.
  • Love and Lemons: When I’m looking for twists on familiar salads and healthy, lighter meals, this is where I search. The recipes tend to be more quietly flavorful than brazenly bold.
  • Vegan Richa: Richa got her start cooking Indian food, then took on the world. Her curries hooked me. As she expanded her repertoire to include more soups, salads, bowls, and non-Indian main courses, I happily followed her lead. If you’re looking for gluten-free or soy-free tasty Thanksgiving options, you’ll find them here.

Do you have a favorite vegan Thanksgiving dish? Share your go-to recipes in the comments below.