Vegan, Paleo and Gluten-Free Friendly Thanksgiving Recipes

Well, Thanksgiving has come and gone. It was my first time cooking a full on Thanksgiving meal. I usually still have made turkey and ham and alllll the animals for Thanksgiving dinner even though I’ve made vegan dishes for O. Do you want to know one of the first things I thought of when we all gave up meat in August? Thanksgiving. It popped in my head and made a pit in my stomach and I began scheming pretty much right away. Here are the recipes I used this year including some old favorites and some recipes I took a chance on that were a hit! 

Update: this post from 2017 has been a real hit around this time of year. This post was written a few months before I found out I have Hashimoto’s and had to completely stop eating grains. As you can imagine, this drastically changes the menu. For nearly a year now the kids and I have been eating meat as well which is also a drastic change. Even with those factors, O is still vegan and I tend to make these exact recipes for him every Thanksgiving. Here is the original post with the addition at the end of some things I’m looking forward to incorporating for the kids and I this year–our first Thanksgiving with meat in years! 


I’ve realized, over the years, that Thanksgiving dinner is a meal based fully off nostalgia. Since O is a Nigerian guy born and raised in Canada where Thanksgiving isn’t quite as big of a deal as it is here (and also, its in October ) his Thanksgiving was really different from mine. My mom is from Michigan and the land of classic American meals and my dad is from Sunnyside, Houston-the land of serious soul food. This left us with a Thanksgiving dinner that looked a bit like this: macaroni, collard greens, black eyed peas, cornbread, turkey, ham, stuffing, green bean casserole, pecan and pumpkin pie. O’s Thanksgiving looked more like this: turkey, stuffing, beans, plantain, rice, stew, and pecan pie. When O and I got married, he had a few requests and said wherever else I wanted to make, he’d be more than content with…but there had to be 1. Stuffing 2. Caramel Cake 3. Plantain.

I’m still working out this plant based thing and usually, until I’ve tested a recipe I never make it for people outside my own little team (a.k.a O and the babes) but our friends and their littles are vegan too so I thought “why not?” We had such a good time- such a good time, in fact, that I have pretty much zero photos to show for it. That never happens! Here are the recipes I used, the changes I made and more changes I plan on making next year.

Black Eyed Peas:

Don’t forget to soak these overnight the day before you need them. I made the stove-top recipe and it took bout 1hr 45min. I added two bay leaves, half vegetable broth and half water to cook in rather than just water, onions and lots of seasoning. Next time I’ll probably add sriracha and even amp up the herbs a bit more. It’s really a blank canvas so add whatever you’d like! Make sure to keep checking it and adding more water as needed. I’ve totally burnt these on Thanksgiving day before…no fun.

Caramel Cake:

I made this into a cake instead of cupcakes! It was so, so yummy. I poured the batter into two 5″ cake pans rather than cupcake tins. I also doubled the frosting and had just the right amount. Please make this and eat it with Nada-Moo Vanilla Bean ice cream. Yummmmmm. My only regret is that I wish I made 15 of these.

Cranberry Apple Sausage Stuffing:

For this one, I subbed the meatless veggie sausage we use instead of pork sausage and since they rely on the moisture of the pork in this recipe, you’ll need to add more liquid to make up for not having it. The flavor was absolutely incredible but it could have been more moist. I’d probably add an extra cup of vegetable broth next time! Instead of using 2 eggs, I made 2 flax eggs instead (1 tbs. flax meal + 2.5 tbs. of water= one flax egg) and instead of regular unsalted butter, I used Earth Balance dairy-free butter.

Corn Soufflé :

I just substitute the sour cream for Tofutti dairy-free sour cream and this is fantastic. It’s a favorite in our house.

Sweet Potato Casserole (no egg):

I made this with no pecans just because. I added the crumble topping from the casserole recipe below this and can’t recommend it enough.

Sweet Potato Casserole (with egg):

I know this isn’t vegan, but the kids and I still eat eggs about once a week. You can easily sub with a flax egg or no egg at all if you don’t eat them! O doesn’t, so that’s why I made the other one as well. I subbed plain almond milk for regular milk, the Earth Balance dairy-free butter for regular butter and I also topped half of this with mini marshmallows over the crumble topping. It was fantastic!

Green Bean Casserole

My friend made and brought this and it was so, so good!

Lentil Stuffing:

I make this one so the kids can have a gluten-free stuffing. I use a loaf of gluten-free bread and lots of seasoning. I don’t like stuffing whatsoever but the two on this list smell absolutely amazing.


The title is a bit much, but these are just the best. These are my go-to biscuits. They’re so easy-easy enough to whip up right before dinner and I make them often!

Apple Pie:

This is the apple pie I’ve been making for 6 years now and it’s never failed me. I usually use a store-bought crust to save time and get an extra one to be able to decorate with! It calls for 16oz of applesauce but for me that is WAY too much. I use about 3-4oz instead. And for the butter to dot the top with at the end, you guessed it, Earth Balance.

We have a tradition of having Cinnamon Rolls the day after Thanksgiving and starting our Christmas decorating, so you can see my favorite recipe HERE

All of these recipes are perfect for any winter meal, so if you want to make a part of your holiday meal plant based, these are a great place to start! Let me know if you give any of these a try- you won’t be disappointed!

2019: As a reminder, I don’t eat gluten (or any grains for that matter including corn rice and oats,) soy, legumes/beans, corn, or dairy. I also limit refined sugar in a big way. I mostly fall into the ‘Paleo’ category with a could more restrictions. My best friend come Thanksgiving is the Against All Grain ‘Celebrations’ Cookbook. These recipes are all incredibly friendly for me and the kids who are also gluten and dairy free. If you have any similar food restrictions and are still scratching your head thinking next Thursday is going to be a sad day, order this book on Amazon Prime today and see how wonderful holiday cooking can be!

Sides: I’ll be making this incredible vegetable side dish as well as the vegan green bean casserole above. For the casserole, I find gluten-free onion topping and plain almond milk to be perfect substitutions. You can make whatever substitution you need to be sure the recipe works for you and your family but it won’t disappoint- I promise. I want to be sure we have fresh, bright sides to reach for because you can also be sure the sweet potato casserole is still happening.

Biscuit: I’ve been making these dinner rolls from a box and they’ve been a true lifesaver. They’re so quick and easy and only have a couple ingredients- all of which work for my food restrictions. I’ll serve them warm with butter and a side of honey.

Meat: Since my mom makes an incredible turkey and ham every year but it’s dripping in luscious dairy butter, I won’t be partaking. Instead, I plan on making these delicious thyme pork chops from bon appetit that I just cannot quit. I make them with Miyokos vegan butter and they’re perfect every single time. They’re festive enough to pass for Thanksgiving but fast enough (10 minutes) to not add any hassle to the menu.

Dessert: You know I love a Sweet Laurel moment because every item is Hashimoto’s friendly. I’ll be making a few desserts but you truly cannot go wrong with any recipe. If you’re absolutely desperate, you can order a pecan pie or cake for delivery here!

I hope you find this helpful for any food restrictions you may have and if I’m missing a favorite of yours, please let me know in the comments below!






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