5 Turkey Alternatives for a Plant-Based Thanksgiving

by | Updated: October 13th, 2020

In 2019, more families than ever are opting for meatless Thanksgiving feasts. And why not? Preparing a satisfying, plant-based holiday meal is simple. Plus, forgoing the bird is better for the environment, your health – and of course – the animals themselves.

Whether they’re roasted, deep-fried or smoked, turkeys have been the edible centerpieces of dinner tables nationwide – and a core part of the traditional celebration. But as people become more educated about the negative impacts of the animal agriculture industry, many are choosing to tweak their holiday menus to include cruelty-free versions of classic Thanksgiving recipes.

Here, we have five fantastic main dish options to make your vegan-friendly feast the best one yet!

1. Stuffed Acorn Squash

Acorn Squash as Vegan Thanksgiving Main Dish on Serving Tray | Vitacost.com/blog

Loaded with veggies, hemp tofu, flavorful seasonings and pistachios for an added crunch, this stuffed acorn squash makes for a colorful entrée that pairs well with homemade citrus cranberry sauce. Note: This recipe calls for hemp tofu, but regular tofu – or even tempeh – will do!

Stuff & serve >

2. Vegan “Turkey” Loaf

Vegan "turkey" loaf for Thanksgiving | Vitacost.com/blog

If you’re looking for a more traditional, protein-focused swap, this plant-based “meatloaf” is a must. The recipe calls for quinoa, gluten-free oats, walnuts, flax seeds, peas, garbanzo beans and more.

Spread the loaf >

3. Gluten-Free Cauliflower Alfredo & Spinach Pesto Lasagna

Top View of Vegan Lasagna With Pesto and Pine Nuts | Vitacost Blog

Did you know that serving lasagna as a side dish on Thanksgiving is customary in many households? Any other night of the year, lasagna is drool-worthy main dish served on its own – so why not on this festive day of thanks? This dairy-free pesto lasagna will bring a glorious green color to the dinner table that will satisfy your eyes and your appetite.

Pass the pasta >

4. Whole-Roasted Seasoned Cauliflower

Top View Seasoned Head of Cauliflower on Skillet | Vitacost Blog

Depending on how many folks you’re dining with, you may want to make two (or even three!) of these golden-brown, whole-roasted cauliflower heads. Seasoned to perfection, each slice is made even more desirable when doused in mushroom gravy, homemade gravy a more traditional packet of brown gravy.

Savor the seasoning >

5. Curried Chickpea Pot Pie

Homemade Vegan Curry Chickpea Pot Pie | Vitacost.com/Blog

Warm and flaky on the outside, hot and savory on the inside – this meatless pot pie is comfort food at its finest. Although not the most traditional item on this list, it’s an Indian-inspired recipe that will surely bring some flare to your feast. Introduce new flavors, including aromatic curry powder and spicy cayenne pepper, plus a variety of veggies, protein-packed chickpeas, creamy almond milk and cheezy nutritional yeast.

The best part? The entire dish is homemade (and it’s easy!). From the crust to the filling, this perfectly balanced pot pie is a nutritious entree option that will make you and your guests forget about you-know-what.

Try this pie >

Hungry for more? Give these tasty plant-based sides a try!

Walnut, Apple & Cranberry Stuffing

Green Bean Casserole

Buttery Lemon-Dill Potatoes

Quinoa Salad with Pomegranate, Kale & Parsley

Roasted Squash with Candies Pecans & Apple Cider Vinaigrette

Dairy-Free Scalloped Sweet Potatoes Au Gratin (Gluten-Free)

Vegan & Gluten-Free Mac & “Cheese”