If you have vegetarians or vegans at your Thanksgiving table, you may think the abundant number of side dishes is enough to satisfy. But often these traditional holiday recipes include ingredients like chicken broth, butter, and cream. Thankfully, there are plenty of potato and sweet potato recipes, fall-themed vegetable side dishes, and green bean casseroles that are appropriate for a vegetarian or vegan diet, and delicious enough for everyone to enjoy.
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Potato and Mashed Potatoes Recipes
Many people feel that Thanksgiving isn't Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes on the table. But since almost all recipes contain butter and milk, and many include cream or sour cream, a bowl of luscious mashed potatoes may seem unattainable for vegans. A recipe for vegan mashed potatoes, however, achieves the same texture as the traditional using the leftover potato water and vegan margarine. If you make a vegan gravy to serve alongside, everyone can enjoy this quintessential pairing.
Variations on potato dishes are endless, from the simple—like easy oven-roasted baby potatoes, and roasted rosemary potatoes—to the more complex, such as vegan potatoes au gratin, vegan scalloped potatoes, and spicy vegan scalloped potatoes with green chilies.
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Traditional Sweet Potato Casserole
Sweet potatoes or yams are a longstanding Thanksgiving tradition, in just about any form. You can make whipped sweet potatoes, baked sweet potatoes, oven-roasted, or use them in a casserole. Vegan mashed sweet potatoes with coconut milk creates a creaminess as does vegan sweet potato casserole with pecans.
Oven-roasted mixed vegetables with a maple glaze is a great dish for anyone as it doesn't include any butter or dairy. The vegetables are roasted in vegan margarine and then drizzled with maple syrup. And for something different (and to free up some oven space) try some grilled sweet potato fries coated with a lime-oregano oil.
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Green Beans and Green Bean Casserole Recipes
Green bean casserole is, for some reason or another, a traditional Thanksgiving side dish all over the United States. But it is usually made with cream of mushroom soup and milk, which means vegans have to steer clear. This vegan version, however, creates the same creamy texture and umami flavor with a margarine roux, soy sauce, and garlic and onion powders. Adding the crispy fried onions on top will remind you of the one Mom used to make.
If you're not a fan of green bean casserole but want to include green beans on your Thanksgiving table, there are several interesting ways to prepare green beans, including vegan Asian green beans, and roasted green beans.
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Simple Carrot Side Dishes
For a simple and familiar Thanksgiving side dish, carrots are a popular choice. Whether roasted or glazed with sugar or maple syrup, carrots will add some color and nutrition to your plate. If you are cooking vegan, butter may be the "forbidden" ingredient you encounter most often with carrot recipes, but if you replace it with vegan margarine, as in easy caramelized carrots, everyone can enjoy.
The recipe for vegan maple-glazed baby carrots uses vegetable oil instead of butter and cooks the carrots along with maple syrup until nicely coated, finishing with a dash of salt, pepper, nutmeg, and cinnamon.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
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Cranberry Sauce Recipes
Cranberries, in one form or another, are practically a requirement at any Thanksgiving table, and, cooking them from fresh or frozen doesn't need to take too much time or energy. Most of the time, cranberry sauce is appropriate for a vegan diet—even the kind from a can—but a more interesting version would add a special touch to the Thanksgiving table.
It is the apple in spiced cranberry sauce with apple and orange that is unexpected and creates an added texture and fall flavor to this quintessential Thanksgiving condiment. Almost like a mulled wine version of cranberry sauce, vegan cranberry sauce with Cabernet combines the red wine with orange juice and zest, cinnamon, sugar, and a pinch of cayenne to add a little kick. And cranberry sauce with blueberries brings the fresh taste of both berries together along with a bit of vanilla for added sweetness.
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More Thanksgiving Side Dish Ideas
There are a wide variety of regional traditions when it comes to Thanksgiving side dishes across these United States, but sometimes we need a little inspiration—especially if this is your first time making a vegetarian or vegan Thanksgiving (or at least a few dishes). Considering corn was at the first Thanksgiving, it only seems fitting to serve today, and a vegan creamed corn is a wonderful way to do that. Of course, winter squash is always welcome at the feast, so why not make a baked maple and brown sugar butternut squash or butternut squash casserole. If you are looking for something green, but also comforting, a quick vegan creamed spinach or fried Brussels sprouts should do the trick. And a cranberry, wild rice, and barley pilaf salad is a nice addition, especially for the vegans and vegetarians who aren't eating turkey.