How to Survive Thanksgiving as a Vegan

You sit down at the groaning table, weak with the weight of dishes for fifty. The smells gathering by your nose put a smile on your face. Then you remember, you’re a Thanksgiving vegan. The vegan of the family and today you’re not going to be able to eat any of the dishes on the table. You stand up and head to the kitchen for some lettuce and fruit. Not a great meal by any means, but you wouldn’t trade this time with family for anything.

Thanksgiving is upon us and with it comes an onslaught of cuisine that is likely not compatible with your vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free/dairy-free needs.

Being a vegan on Thanksgiving is a challenge. Almost everything Grandma’s cooking has butter at the very least. Here are some helpful tricks to help you.

First, figure out who is hosting this year. If it’s you, game on. Someone else? Make sure you communicate with the host to figure out what you can bring so they know you’re planning on contributing a specific dish. You’ll likely need to bring your own dishes, a difficult order in itself. If your family is anything like mine, your hosts don’t want you to feel pressured to cook, but will forget that you can’t eat what they plan on cooking.

For starters, your host will likely be serving a salad. Depending on your level of comfort, you can ask your host to make a vegetarian salad and not put any dressing on it if the planned dressing has dairy. Bringing a dish is a great way to make sure there is something delicious and properly holiday themed for the vegans at the feast.

If you’re hosting, you might want to make a turkey substitute. Whether you’re making it from scratch or buying from a store, here are some great options.

Dessert is a must have at any Thanksgiving feast, and you’ll likely need to make some for yourself. Something simple is often best; I recommend cookies. Or something more traditional with the holiday flavors of pumpkin.

The following website has many good options for every part of your meal.


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