Whether this is your first vegan Thanksgiving (or "Thanksliving" as it's also known) or simply the latest in a long line of animal-friendly celebrations, there are always new and exciting recipes to bring to the table. Below are some of the more mouthwatering dishes we spied while searching the web. Some might be familiar, while others are downright groundbreaking. And don't worry, we went light on the tofu.


A bowl of homemade vegan guacamoleThis is guacamole done right. (Photo: Jaymi Heimbuch)

If you're someone who likes to serve some small dishes to guests while the rest of the meal is a work in progress, check out some of these fantastic starters. There's plenty here to keep everyone content before the main event.

World's Best Vegan Guacamole
MNN's Jaymi Heimbuch offers up this fantastic guacamole recipe that's as healthy as it is delicious. It features jalapenos, fresh tomatoes, a little onion and cilantro. Want to keep the spicy kick but drop the peppers? Substitute some cloves of garlic for the jalapenos. Warning: This one will be scooped up fast, so make sure you save a few bites for yourself!

Spring Rolls with Carrot-Ginger Dipping Sauce
Leave it to Martha Stewart's cooking gurus to come up with this delicious spring roll/combo. While the vegetable-rich, rice paper rolls are delicious by themselves, the complement of the ginger-soy dipping sauce really tickles the taste buds. Having guests over who enjoy a little heat? Add a jalapeno or two to each roll.

Deviled Tomatoes
Deviled eggs are a treat, but this vegan alternative may just be better! Featuring vegan mayo, chives, nutritional yeast and chickpeas, the flavor combo here is simply delicious. Better yet, everything can be made at home, including the tasty vegan mayo.

Tempeh Fries with Horseradish-Dill Mayonnaise
If you expect your guests to save room for dinner, only make a small amount of this irresistible appetizer. Our friends over at VegKitchen have combined sauteed strips of tempeh with a nose-clearing horseradish-dill mayonnaise. If you're not game for a repeat helping of vegan mayo, you can substitute with some delicious cashew cream.


pear soupCurl up on a cold day with a hot bowl of this comforting winter soup. (Photo: Jaymi Heimbuch)

Ready for your first course? These soups will warm everyone up and are a great way to settle into the day's festivities. Just be sure to have plenty of vegetable stock on hand.

Pear and Potato Soup with Sage
Never combined potato and pear in a soup? Prepare to be pleasantly surprised. Not only does this recipe have a sweet and hearty combo perfect for the start of any meal, but the flavor is heightened with the addition of sage and, yes, maple syrup. Keep this one vegan by dropping the butter in favor of some olive oil.

Curried Cauliflower Soup
Need something that will rock their taste buds but don't have a lot of time? Try this curried cauliflower soup, which features coconut milk, a generous helping of white wine, red curry and fresh cauliflower. It's incredibly easy to make (my last run took less than 30 minutes) and the end result will be nothing short of "more, please."

Lentil and Coconut Soup with Cilantro-Habanero Gremolata
Gremolata, a traditional Italian condiment of chopped herbs, is the pièce de résistance of this hearty soup. Yes, the habanero adds a hot streak to this one (make sure to wear gloves when handling!), but the delicious mix of lentils, coconut milk, ginger, garlic and coriander offers more than enough balance. Want to make it a bit heartier? Add some chopped potatoes to the mix.

Holiday Soup for the Soul
From OhSheGlows comes the kind of soup that not only sounds delicious, but will also likely help you better organize your spice cabinet. This one has it all — from cinnamon to saffron, nutmeg, curry and much more. Throw in a wide array of veggies (red quinoa, spinach, zucchini) and you have something that's sure to be a hit whatever time of the year you serve it.


couscous saladYou don't want to let this salad sit for more than a couple of days, but after you taste it, it'll be hard to resist it for that long. (Photo: Jaymi Heimbuch)

Almost as enjoyable as the main course are the various side dished passed around the table. In fact, if your Thanksgiving is anything like mine, it's usually these that fill you up more than anything else. Below are four incredible options that will leave your dining companions fighting over seconds.

Couscous and Avocado Salad
For a classic cold dish to pass, try this incredible couscous and avocado salad. While the two main ingredients need no introduction, you'll love the addition of red pepper, onion and olives. Paired with a dijon-thyme vinaigrette dressing, this is one side that likely won't be joining the rest of the leftovers.

Baked Mushrooms and Potatoes with Spinach
This one features simple ingredients that magically turn into a powerhouse of flavor once combined. Portobello mushrooms, potatoes, half a dozen cloves of garlic, spinach, tomatoes, and –– wait for it –– toasted pine nuts. Yes! Chuck in a handful of herbs and spices, bake it up, and you've got something that'll make everyone's nose turn towards the kitchen.

Vegan Almond Butternut Squash au Gratin
No Thanksgiving spread is complete without an appearance by butternut squash. This delicious recipe takes about an hour to prepare, but the baked sweetness of the squash combined with the crunchy almond layer on top make it all worth it.

Grilled Garlic Artichokes
Don't put that grill away just yet! Send it off to winter storage in style with this mouthwatering dish of grilled artichokes with a lemon garlic basting and dipping sauce. Don't have a grill handy? Just broil the artichokes on high for 20 minutes. You're guests will be impressed with this unique (and extremely healthy) side dish.


Time to bring out the big guns! Below are several animal-friendly main dishes to try that will leave your guests asking for more and forgetting all about the lack of turkey.

Zucchini Rolls with Blackberry Compote
Want to surprise your guests with something completely different? Serve them these zucchini rolls with a compote of blackberries, onion and balsamic vinegar. Cutting through the glaze, they'll discover a tasty mix of quinoa, celery, apple, onion and cherries.

Glazed Lentil Walnut Apple Loaf
While this dish is labor-intensive, the end result is apparently well worth the effort. Angela, founder of the vegan recipe juggernaut OhSheGlows, says it easily ranks in her top 10. With a delicious combination of sweet apples, lentils, shredded carrots, toasted walnuts and much more topped with a balsamic apple glaze, we can see why! Pro tip: For best results, use a greased loaf tin.

Savory Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
As big on presentation as they are in flavor, these stuffed sweet potatoes include kale, tofu, onion, garlic and a variety of other herbs.

Holiday Stuffed Pumpkin
Looking for your main to make a big impression? Check out this decadent stuffed pumpkin, featuring quinoa, kale, mushrooms, cranberries, onions and almonds. It's all almost too beautiful to eat.


lemon cupcakesYou won't be disappointed by Lemon Cupcakes with Blackberry Filling. (Photo: Jaymi Heimbuch)

Hope you saved room. Pour the coffee, tea, or an after-dinner cocktail and get ready to dig into one of these sweet finales.

Lemon Cupcakes with Blackberry Filling and Lemon Buttercream Frosting
I can't even type the above without my mouth starting to water. Basically, these sound amazing. And for anyone with a love of tart and sweet flavors, a dream come true. Total time to cook and prepare amount to about an hour (owing largely to the berry filling), but like all of the other recipes on this page, you won't be disappointed.

Chilled Dark Chocolate Pie
What would a Thanksgiving menu be without at least one pie? Believe me when I say you're going to want to try this one. Yes, it has chocolate, but it also features a gluten-free, toasted almond crust and a strawberry vanilla compote. Can you say instant hit?

No-Bake Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecakes
No, these don't have real cheese in them, but guess what is included? Oreo cookies. Yes, Oreos are vegan! The Minimalist Baker uses these classic cookies to bring to life an incredible vegan cheesecake recipe that's made for pure indulgence.

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

Recipes for a vegan Thanksgiving buffet
Looking to throw a planet-friendly celebration to ring in the holiday season? We've got you covered!