Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

A Vegan Thanksgiving Everyone Will Love

By Winnie Hsia, November 12, 2012  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Winnie Hsia

T-minus 10 days til Thanksgiving and still wondering how to break it to your family that you’re not going to be serving turkey? Never fear, we have just the plan for creating a plant-powerful meal that’ll wow even the most diehard carnivores in your clan.

First, serve a show-stopping main course. Try these ideas that’ll harmonize nicely with classic holiday sides:

  • Serve an autumn vegetable stew or ragout in a hollowed-out pumpkin; place the pumpkin on a baking sheet, brush it lightly with oil and sprinkle the interior with sea salt. Bake at 350°F until just softened, about 35 minutes for a small pumpkin, 50 to 60 minutes for a medium one. Fill with hot stew.
  • Use an oversized tart pan (12 inches in diameter or larger) to make a jumbo version of your favorite savory vegetable tart.
  • Make up a big batch of homemade veggie burger or falafel mixture and stir in diced onion, celery, and thyme or savory. Form the mixture into a loaf or roast shape and bake in a 350°F oven until lightly browned on the outside and heated through. Slice and serve with a rich, flavorful mushroom gravy.
  • Try this hearty and tasty Butternut Squash & Macaroni Casserole for a simple, but satisfying and crowd pleasing main dish.

Now, for the easy part of your vegan holiday menu…all those glorious side dishes! How closely you stick to the traditional roster of supporting dishes is a matter of choice. Serve the classics if your fellow diners are less than adventurous, or take the opportunity to branch out. Check out our collection of side dish recipes includes both the classics and some eclectic dishes; most are naturally vegetarian or vegan or easily adaptable.  We love Wild Rice and Cranberry Stuffing with Walnuts!

Rather than reinventing the wheel, try changing up some ingredients in your holiday favorites to adapt them to your new eating habits. Try these handy tips and substitutions.

  • Puree silken tofu in a food processor and use it in place of dairy products like sour cream in dip recipes.
  • Try sunflower oil to replace butter in vegetable sides; its light, nutty flavor generally blends better with traditional holiday flavors than olive oil.
  • Panko-Crusted Green Bean CasseroleUse coconut milk in place of cream to enrich soups, purees, sweet potatoes or pumpkin pie.
  • Replace honey with sorghum or cane syrup; you can also use maple syrup in desserts and other dishes where its distinctive flavor won't be overwhelming.
  • You don’t have to make everything! Check out your local Whole Foods Market for a wide variety of vegan main dishes, side dishes and desserts for your holiday table. Also, why not let your guests share some dishes for a potluck Thanksgiving?

Whether you’re a plant-happy holiday pro or a veggie newbie, we hope these ideas will help you enjoy a stress-free vegan holiday with your family and friends!  What are your favorite tips for vegan holiday meal planning?

Category: Holiday 2012




Heather says ...
Love this! Thanks so much for sharing some great vegan recipes and ideas!
11/13/2012 3:37:48 PM CST
Mary Calamonaci says ...
I love the idea of a veg stew served inside a squash shell...a main dish with presentation flair! I am bringing balsamic roasted brussels sprouts, millet stuffed squashes, and orange glazed beets to a Thanksgiving feast this year. Happy Turkey Day everyone!
11/13/2012 6:33:48 PM CST
Chai says ...
kinda skimpy in the vegan recipe department :(
11/14/2012 10:24:40 AM CST
Margie says ...
I wish you had a pamphlet with all those recipes!
11/14/2012 11:40:44 AM CST
Brandi says ...
What is the dish in the very bottom photo? Looks yummy!
11/14/2012 11:57:24 AM CST
Abby Bean says ...
Thanks for remembering your vegan customers!
11/14/2012 12:08:27 PM CST
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@BRANDI - Doesn't that look delish?! That photo is from the recipe PANKO-CRUSTED GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE. If you click directly on the photo, you will be directed to our recipe site so you can make this wonderful dish. Let us know how it turns out!
11/14/2012 3:37:51 PM CST
Tara says ...
I am very surprised the folks at Whole Foods couldn't be more creative than this. Love y'all as a store but not very impressed with these recipes or ideas. Happy Thanksgiving <3
11/14/2012 7:02:52 PM CST
nancy wilkinson says ...
love-love-love whole foods!!
11/14/2012 9:28:06 PM CST
Jesse says ...
I am having a vegetarian Thanksgiving meal, as I am a vegetarian every day. Thanks for the tips. I am going to try coconut milk in my pumpkin pie.
11/14/2012 9:33:55 PM CST
Cindy Schoonmaker says ...
The recipe for the green bean casserole pictured, as is, is not vegan. Must substitute Earth Balance for the butter. :)
11/14/2012 11:00:18 PM CST
Dyaeli Meneghini says ...
I love these ideas. As a Newbie vegetarian. i find I used to plan all my meals around meat. This meal plan has given me some hope that everything does not have to revolve around meat especially around thanksgiving
11/15/2012 12:44:51 PM CST
MyVeganJournal DotCom says ...
thank you SO much for posting vegan thanksgiving dishes! I haven't eaten a dead bird in over 35 years and I love the festive foods I eat! lets make this a compassionate holiday for all! <3 happy thanksgiving!
11/15/2012 12:56:18 PM CST
Ruth says ...
Thank you for remembering your vegan customers!
11/15/2012 2:18:41 PM CST
Judy says ...
marshmellows aren 't vegan, vegetarian or kosher and they are in one of your recipes!!
11/15/2012 5:15:33 PM CST
Susan says ...
11/16/2012 3:16:11 PM CST
Jacki says ...
Why would you want to replace honey? It's healthy & vegan. And especially why would you replace it with syrup - which is NOT healthy? I dont get it.
11/17/2012 7:45:28 AM CST
Lillian says ...
Would love to see some holiday recipes!
11/17/2012 8:03:52 AM CST
Katharine says ...
An article for vegans with the picture of a not-vegan dish.....
11/17/2012 8:44:39 AM CST
Constance Jones says ...
Hey vegan grl, thought u might like these lil numbers
11/18/2012 9:40:47 PM CST
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@JACKI - Thanks for your comment. There are a lot of our vegan customers that consider honey to be an animal product, and therefore they do not consume honey as part of their diet. We wanted to list a substitute for those customers.
11/19/2012 4:46:24 PM CST
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@KATHARINE - The first 2 photos are vegan recipes. The last photo, of the green bean casserole, does have butter in the recipe, however the intention was to coincide with the paragraph to the left that mentions how you can edit recipes to make them vegan.
11/19/2012 4:50:25 PM CST
marmaladesky says ...
This has been super helpful...many thanks! Your Lentil Loaf has been a hit every time!
11/21/2012 1:56:48 PM CST
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@JUDY - Some of our stores do carry vegan marshmallows. Check with your local store to see if they have this option, if not, express your interest and they'll be happy to look in to it for you!
11/23/2012 11:30:19 AM CST
Ashley says ...
Do you have a recipe for the vegan quinoa stuffing you sell in the store?
12/19/2012 4:57:34 PM CST