7 Turkey Alternatives for Thanksgiving Vegan

Introduction – Thanksgiving And Being Vegan

As we covered in ShrinkThatFootprint, a vegan diet reduces a person’s carbon emissions by 50%, cutting the amount of emitted carbon from 3.3 tons of CO2 per year to 1.3 tons of CO2 per year (source). This is because of the lower carbon burden of raising non-meat food sources. Thanksgiving means Turkey, Pumpkin pie, and things you like to eat yearly. Thanksgiving is a festive time to gather with loved ones and enjoy delicious food, but traditional turkey can pose a problem for vegans. So what are some Turkey alternatives for Thanksgiving vegan?

turkey alternatives for thanksgiving vegan

Fortunately, there are a variety of tasty options to serve as the centerpiece of your holiday meal. One option is to create a savory “stuffed eggplant,” using a large eggplant sliced in half and stuffed with quinoa, mushrooms, diced tomatoes, onions, and your favorite veggies. Another delicious choice is to prepare “Thanksgiving bowls” filled with dishes like roasted butternut squash, cranberry sauce, and savory mushroom gravy.

For something reminiscent of a traditional turkey roast, consider making a seitan roast or tempeh roast seasoned with herbs and served with traditional Thanksgiving sides like mashed potatoes and green beans.

7 Turkey Alternatives For Thanksgiving Vegan

Thanksgiving is some of the most enjoyable times for many, especially vegans. Unlike traditional Thanksgiving meals, which are often centered around a turkey dish, vegans can enjoy several tasty options during the holiday season.

Burmese Tofu

One of the most popular turkey alternatives for a vegan Thanksgiving is Burmese tofu, a type of legume product with a rich and savory flavor. To make Burmese tofu, chop up your favorite veggies like carrots, onions, and garlic, and simmer them in oil until they are soft and tender. Then add cubed pieces of firm tofu to the mixture, along with some herbs and spices like turmeric or curry powder. This simple dish can be served as a main course alongside roasted potatoes or sweet potatoes for a delicious plant-based holiday meal.


Look no further than seitan if you’re looking for a carnivore-approved turkey alternative for your vegan Thanksgiving feast. Made from wheat gluten, seitan has a meaty texture and can be easily flavored to taste like everything from chicken to steak. It’s also high in protein, making it a satisfying main dish for any holiday meal. One way to prepare seitan is to simmer it in vegetable broth and spices until it reaches your desired level of tenderness. Then, you can slice it and serve it with gravy or incorporate it into traditional dishes like stuffing or pot pie. Whether you’re hosting or attending a vegan holiday gathering, seitan is the perfect turkey alternative for big appetite satisfaction.


Tempeh is another excellent option for vegans during the holiday season, as it has a rich and savory flavor that works well in many different recipes. This fermented soybean cake originated in Indonesia and has a slightly nutty flavor and firm texture that holds up well in dishes like stir-fries or sandwiches. And with 18 grams of protein and only 160 calories per half-cup serving, it’s a guilt-free addition to any holiday spread. To make tempeh for your thanksgiving vegan menu, simply steam or boil it until it is soft, then chop it into small cubes and mix it with some olive oil and herbs like sage, thyme, rosemary, or basil. This tempeh mixture can be served as a main dish alongside roasted carrots and squash for a hearty holiday meal that is perfect for vegans.

Zucchini Verde Enchiladas

While traditional Thanksgiving meals may center around meat, zucchini enchiladas offer a delicious and satisfying alternative for vegans. These enchiladas are filled with a savory combination of grated zucchini, black beans, corn, and onions, along with fresh cilantro and melted vegan cheese. The zucchini-bean mixture is wrapped in soft corn tortillas and topped with delicious green enchilada sauce for a burst of flavor. Serve alongside Spanish rice for a filling meal that all your holiday guests can enjoy. These enchiladas also make for fantastic leftovers or can be made in advance and frozen for a quick weeknight dinner. Forget Turkey this year; try out these tasty Zucchini Verde Enchiladas instead.

Vegan Lasagna With Roasted Vegetables

This vegan lasagna is the perfect Turkey alternative for your Thanksgiving feast. Start by roasting a medley of vegetables, including squash, zucchini, and eggplant. Layer them with a creamy tofu-based ricotta mixture and whole wheat noodles before topping them with a delicious marinara sauce and vegan mozzarella shreds. Bake until hot and bubbly, then serve with a side of roasted Brussels sprouts or kale salad. It’s packed with flavor and sure to please even the most dedicated meat-eaters at the table. Plus, you’ll feel good about offering a healthier dish that’s kinder to animals and our planet. Give this vegan lasagna a try at your next holiday gathering – it’s guaranteed to be a hit!

turkey alternatives for thanksgiving vegan

Sweet Potato & Chickpea Cakes

These vegan sweet potato and chickpea cakes are the perfect holiday dish. They are easy to make, healthy, and packed with flavor. Start by boiling some sweet potatoes until they are soft, then mash them together with a can of chickpeas, some chopped green onions, and a touch of olive oil. Mix some ground cumin and chili powder for added flavor, then form the mixture into small cakes. Pan-fry the sweet potato cakes until they are golden brown and crispy on the outside, then serve with a side of your favorite dipping sauce. These cakes are perfect for a festive vegan Thanksgiving feast!

Nutty Veggie Burgers

Looking for a delicious main dish to round out your Thanksgiving vegan menu? Look no further than these nutty veggie burgers. These hearty patties are made with a combination of cooked brown rice, canned chickpeas, ground walnuts, and shredded carrots. Season them with some cumin and garlic powder for added flavor, then form them into small patties and pan-fry until golden brown on each side. Serve the veggie burgers alongside some roasted Brussels sprouts or kale salad for a complete meal that is sure to satisfy all your guests this holiday season! Vegan or not, everyone will love these nutty veggie burgers at your Thanksgiving gathering.


Whether you’re hosting or attending a vegan Thanksgiving this year, there are plenty of delicious and satisfying options. Whether you go for zucchini enchiladas, tempeh cubes, or nutty veggie burgers, there is sure to be something for everyone at the table. So get creative in the kitchen this holiday season and try out turkey alternatives for vegan Thanksgiving.

Staff Writer
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