Vegan Thanksgiving Sides You Need To Try This Year

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Every year at Thanksgiving when families and friends gather, tons of fabulous foods make their way to the table, and the vegan dishes are a real perfect addition!

Anytime I’ve been invited to a Thanksgiving dinner, those hosting have always provided bountiful vegan Thanksgiving sides, even when meat eaters get the main course!

It’s a great way to accommodate guests with vegan diets and make sure they have a tasty, comfortable Happy Thanksgiving.

Nothing beats the special time of year when the whole family gets together. Since some family members of mine have a plant-based diet, we coordinate who will be bringing what to the Thanksgiving table: vegan appetizers, sides, and even the vegan butter!

That’s why I figured it would be wise to construct a list of the best vegan Thanksgiving sides that use simple ingredients and can be made even with little to no experience with vegan cooking.

Vegan Thanksgiving Sides

Cranberry Sauce

You simply can’t come to the table without a good side of cranberry sauce; it’s one of my personal favorites!

Such a side rarely (if ever) includes animal products, so little has to be changed from many other delectable cranberry sauce recipes out there, only instead of granulated sugar, this easy recipe sweetens things up with maple syrup!

Ingredients

  • 24 oz fresh or frozen cranberries
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 orange for juice and zest
  • 1 medium cinnamon stick
  • 1 piece of fresh rosemary
  • ⅓ cup red wine (or orange juice for an alcohol free recipe)

Stovetop Directions

Wash and dry cranberries and rosemary, reserving 1 cup of the berries and adding the remaining portion to a medium saucepan filled with all other ingredients.

Heat over medium heat for about 15 minutes or until the sauce thickens into a jam. Take off heat and carefully remove the cinnamon stick and rosemary.

Taste test this tart concoction with caution as it is hot and add more maple syrup if necessary until sweetened to your liking. Add reserved cranberries and you will have yourself the best way to enjoy one of the most classic side dishes.

Creamed Spinach

Offering healthy recipes to your plant-based options like this quick creamed spinach is a great idea that only has to be made a little bit before the meal. Most creamed spinach dishes use cream cheese, but I like to lighten things up with this recipe’s creamy sauce instead!

Ingredients

Directions

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, then add in the spinach and toss until wilted. Squeeze out excess water in a strainer and add more olive oil to the pan to cook shallot and salt for 5 to 8 minutes. Add garlic, coconut milk, mustard, and the cornstarch mixture and combine well. Mix in the lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper.

It will be done cooking in 15 minutes, so this simple recipe can be made right around the same time as the dinner rolls! During the holiday season, it’s too hard not to always jump on the chance to do some healthy eating. Besides, seeing this at the Thanksgiving feast is good news for anyone who prefers spinach over brussels sprouts!

Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole

A real crowd-pleaser that you should consider adding to the vegan Thanksgiving menu is this sweet potato casserole. Being gluten-free and dairy-free, the vegan version of this side usually grabs all the attention at the table because of its crispy pecan crust! Afterall, it’s the best part!

Ingredients

For Filling

For Pecan Topping

Directions

For Filling

In a large pot, bring the sweet potatoes to boil as they are submerged in the water by 2-3 inches. Drain when fork tender and transfer to a large mixing bowl, adding all other ingredients. Mash until smooth, then pour into an 8×8 baking dish and smooth down.

For Pecan Topping

Take a medium bowl and combine ingredients. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, sprinkle topping onto the filling, cover with foil, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 25 minutes, and as the pecan nut roasts, you’ll start to notice them begin to brown. If that happens too quickly, cover with foil again.

Truth be told, the first time I made this, a vegan friend of mine called it the vegan sweet potato pie! Having the perfect appetizer before a bite of any main dishes is great, and it seems as though everyone is always out to get every last morsel of the delicious sweet potato casserole during the holiday season! There’s never a bite left after the meal once we begin diving into desserts like vegan pumpkin pie.

Recommended Read: Southern Style Candied Yams

Mushroom Gravy

Paired with fluffy vegan mashed potatoes or a mashed cauliflower recipe, this yummy mushroom gravy is the icing on the cake for vegan Thanksgiving side dishes if you really want to wow guests. I use the same easy vegan gravy for my vegan pot pie and vegan meatloaf from time to time, so it deserves its own slot on this list and at Thanksgiving dinner. Vegans recipes this good have even meat eaters thinking it’s super savory!

Ingredients

  • 16 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ tablespoon tamari sauce (I like using this as well if you are avoiding soy products)
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • ½ tablespoon chopped rosemary
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste

Directions

Over medium heat, heat the oil in a large skillet and cook the shallot first until soft. Add the mushrooms and cook for 8 to 10 minutes until they’re soft as well, then add tamari, garlic, rosemary, and thyme. Gently sprinkle the flour and stir for 1 minute, then pour in the broth and stir, whisking and simmering for 20 minutes or until thick. Salt and pepper to taste.

Vegan Mac and Cheese

Of course, the perfect side to almost anything is (you guessed it!) macaroni and cheese! On this vegan mac lies a buttery breadcrumb topping that might make this the best of the vegan Thanksgiving side dishes. Pair with a savory side of lentils or roasted veggie to accentuate those hearty fall flavors that pop in root vegetables.

Recommended Read: Macaroni & Cheese Recipe with Breadcrumbs

Ingredients

For Breadcrumb Topping

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish. Soak cashews in a covered pot in boiling water for 5 minutes and cook pasta according to box instructions.

Drain cashews and mix with 2 cups fresh water and all other ingredients in a blender and then combine until smooth. Mix the noodles and cheese mixture into the baking dish.

To make the breadcrumb topping that makes this one of the best vegan Thanksgiving recipes out there, mix all ingredients with the melted butter in a bowl and sprinkle over noodles.

Bake for 15 minutes, and broil for a few minutes before removing from the oven completely for that golden brown crisp on top!

Vegan Green Bean Casserole

Nothing says Thanksgiving classics like a green bean casserole, right? Well, as this happens to be in the top three of my favorite vegan Thanksgiving recipes, I have to mention it. Making a vegan green bean casserole with fresh green beans tastes so delicious!

Ingredients

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Salt water well and bring it to boil in a large pot, and add in the green beans and cook for 5 minutes.

Place them an ice bath to stop the cooking, then drain. Next, over medium heat, take a skillet with the vegan butter and toss the shallot and garlic in salt and pepper for 3 minutes, then add mushrooms and more salt and pepper. Lightly brown for 4 minutes.

Whisk in flour slowly for 1 minute and then pour in the vegetable stock and almond milk. Salt, pepper, reduce to a simmer, and allow to thicken for 5-7 minutes.

Season as needed. Toss with green beans and most of the fried onions, reserving ⅓ cup for topping later. Bake the vegan green bean casserole for 15 minutes, topping with the remaining onion crisps once it’s out of the oven.

So many of the best vegan recipes for sides can be added to the meal plan for Thanksgiving! Honestly, I make a lot of these vegan Thanksgiving sides for home cooked meals often. You just can’t beat the best recipes!

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