thanksgiving dishes

Vegans and vegetarians can't go wrong with these five Thanksgiving dishes.

With the holiday season quickly approaching, many students find themselves ecstatic at the idea of sharing the meal with their friends and family. Although most people believe the Thanksgiving meal overwhelming, those with specific dietary restrictions may find the meal to be a true challenge.

Most dishes for Thanksgiving include meat or any animal product in general. Making a meal for those who are vegan or vegetarian requires some creativity. Below is a list of vegan or vegetarian dishes for this upcoming turkey day.

Roasted brussel sprouts

Brussel sprouts are a delicious vegetable that can be prepared in many different ways. For those who are vegetarian, roasted brussel sprouts tossed in olive oil and topped with parmesan cheese will be a crowd pleaser. For students who don’t indulge in any animal products, a simple roasted sprout topped with balsamic vinegar should suffice.


  • 1 1/2 pounds brussel sprouts

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • Salt & pepper

  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

  • 1/4 cups parmesan cheese (optional)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut sprouts into halves and toss in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast the sprouts for 20-30 minutes until they are browned. Cook for longer if you want them extra crispy. Remove from pan and toss in balsamic vinegar. Optional: Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top for those of you who are vegetarians.

Recipe courtesy of

Wild-rice-stuffed butternut squash

This dish can be enjoyed by vegans and vegetarians and can be changed from butternut to acorn squash if preferred. Stuffed peppers or squashes have become popular dishes and would add a festive touch to any holiday meal.


  • 2 medium butternut squash

  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

  • Salt and pepper

  • 1 small onion, chopped

  • 1/2 cup wild rice

  • 1/2 teaspoon mild curry powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 3 tablespoons dried unsweetened cherries

  • 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped

  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped

  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut squash in halves lengthwise, scoop out seeds. Whisk together the vinegar, maple syrup and two tablespoons oil. Brush the squash with maple-oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the squash for about 30-40 minutes, let the squash cool. Heat one tablespoon oil, add onions, stir for about six minutes. Add ice, curry powder, cinnamon, cayenne and salt. Add two cups water, bring to a simmer and cook until rice is tender. Remove from heat, add chunks of butternut squash and remaining maple-oil, cherries, parsley, sage, salt and pepper. Stuff the squash halves, drizzle with oil and bake for about 30 minutes.

Recipe courtesy of

Butternut squash soup

Keeping along with the squash trend, butternut squash soup is a fall staple in many homes. This creamy dish adds warmth to the table.


  • 1 butternut squash

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 6 cups chicken stock

  • Nutmeg

  • Salt and pepper


Cut the squash into chunks. Melt butter in pot, add onion and cook for about eight minutes. Add squash and chicken stock, bringing the mix to a simmer. Cook for about 15-20 minutes, remove squash and place in blender to puree. Add puree squash back to the pot, then stir in nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Recipe courtesy of

Roasted cauliflower

Everyone knows the main Thanksgiving dish is turkey, which vegans and vegetarians can’t partake in. To mimic the large plate, a roasted cauliflower tossed in garlic and herbs is a great substitution.


  • 2 large cauliflower heads

  • 1 clove garlic, halved

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 4 tablespoons Dijon mustard

  • Salt and pepper

  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped

  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan


Preheat oven to 450 degrees, line baking sheet with foil. Trim the cauliflower so that it sits on the baking sheet, rub each head with garlic. Whisk together oil, three tablespoons mustard, salt and pepper. Brush the entire inside and outside of the cauliflower with mixture. Roast for about 50 minutes. Combine parsley and parmesan, brush the outside of the roasted cauliflower with remaining mustard and parmesan mixture.

Recipe courtesy of

Apple crumble bars

A simple but delicious dessert for those subsiding from animal products, apple crumble bars are a satisfying way to end the meal with the cozy apple and brown sugar flavors rolling down one’s taste buds.


Apple date paste

  • 2 cups chopped apple

  • 12-14 pitted dates

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • ¼ cup nut/seed butter


  • 1 cup apple date paste (above)

  • ⅔ cup coconut flour

  • Pinch of salt

Apple filling

  • ½ cup apple date paste (above)

  • 1-2 apples, thinly sliced

  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the chopped apple and lemon juice in a blender, blend until liquified and add the rest of the paste ingredients and blend until smooth. In a mixing bowl, combine 1 cup of paste with coconut flour and salt, mix until clumpy. Press half of the dough into a baking pan lined with parchment paper. In a separate bowl, combine sliced apples with ½ cup of the paste, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. Toss to coat. Arrange apple slices on top of the crust, crumble the remaining crust over top and bake for 30-35 minutes.

Recipe courtesy of

Contact Maddie Eckels at For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter @Breeze_Culture.

Maddie Eckels is a writer for the culture section of The Breeze. She’s a junior Media Arts & Design major with a concentration in journalism and a minor in communication studies.