Naperville Vegans & Vegetarians: How To Have A Yummy Thanksgiving

vegan thanksgiving in naperville

Thanksgiving is “Turkey Day” to many people.  But if you eat a vegan or vegetarian diet, this particular holiday doesn’t really do it for you at the dinner table.

So, if you’re looking for a meatless feast or even just some meatless options – whether you’re trying meatless for the first time or have been meat-free for a while  – here are a few ideas to change up what goes on your plate yet still have a satisfying and yummy Thanksgiving.


I’m going to start off with the only item on this entire list that’s going to take some advanced planning: non-dairy cheese.  Cheese and crackers are a great way to get the party started for any get together and you can still do it with non-dairy cheeses you can make yourself via the recipes in the book Artisan Vegan Cheese.  With only about 90 minutes of work spread out over 1-3 days, you can have any number of great-tasting cheeses that give their dairy counterparts a run for their money.

Side Dishes

I think I could live on mashed potatoes and I never pass them up at Thanksgiving.  Of course, you need the gravy and stuffing, too.  So, here are a few ways to easily make these Thanksgiving staples without the need for meat or dairy.

Mashed Potatoes with Onion Gravy (or Mushroom Gravy or Earth Balance non-dairy buttery spread)

Walnut Apple Stuffing

Cranberry Apple Chutney

Main Dishes

If you’re looking for a turkey alternative, you could always go the Tofurky route.  But, let’s be a little more adventurous!

Here are some alternative recipes that will take just a little time (probably a lot less time than doing turkey) plus be hugely satisfying and tasty!

Hearty Vegetable Pot Pie

Tempeh Stew with Wine and Shiitake Mushrooms

Thanksgiving Torte

Butternut Squash and Mixed Mushroom Lasagna


When you sit down to watch the Thursday football game or chit-chat around the table, you need some dessert to finish off this fine eating experience.  Take your pick from these super-delicious sweet ideas.

Chocolate Pumpkin Pie

Pear & Apple Crumble

Double-Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake

Yes, Thanksgiving can be crazy delicious even without the traditional turkey.  Even if you’re not a full-fledged vegan, pick one or two of these recipes and give them a try.  You might be surprised at how yummy they are – and your guests will have no idea that they’re meat and dairy free.

If you want to add another twist or two to your traditional holiday, try these ideas as well:

Eat Out Vegan-Style – If you like going out instead of cooking in, check out Chicago Diner’s annual Thanksgiving feast.

Adopt A Turkey – Consider saving our feathered friends by adopting a turkey from a friendly animal sanctuary.

Make a Gratitude Tree – Perhaps your tradition is to go around the table saying what you’re thankful for.  Try taking that a step further and make a gratitude tree, an especially nice activity for kids.

Stay Home on Friday – Resist the temptation to get a dvd player that you’ll never use just because it’s $29.  Instead, sleep in, relax, and hang with your friends and family.

If you have any other ideas to making Thanksgiving unique and fun, please leave a comment below!

About John Reh

I moved to Naperville in 1981 and I love this city. As a Naperville-focused real estate agent, I publish this website to promote our community and help current and soon-to-be residents discover the best of Naperville homes and lifestyle. Contact me at any time.

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