Literally 50 Main Dishes You Can Eat Instead of Turkey This Thanksgiving

TBH a dead turkey is BORING in comparison to such feasts as stuffed seitan, a mushroom and onion tart, or a potato and portobello gratin

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Photo: Pixabay

will start this bluntly and unappetizingly: For the Thanksgiving holiday alone in the United States, approximately 46 million sensitive, innocent birds who have been intentionally bred for painful and short lifespans in cramped, miserable environments will be killed for meals in households across the country. A much smaller number of turkeys will be slaughtered against their will on smaller farms and in nature. Why? Because somehow eating a turkey’s body has come to mean celebrating gratitude in this country on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States. Given the needless brutality inflicted on millions of animals that this tradition requires, perhaps it’s time we reassess how we engage with the spirit of gratitude.

A turkey’s carcass is literally just that, but with a plant-based main dish, you can enjoy such varied complex and captivating flavors and textures from vegetables, fruits, legumes, grains, herbs and on and on, whether it’s in the form of a traditional roast, a savory pie or something altogether different. When you think of it like that, doesn’t a beige slab of a tortured animal’s flesh seem kind of boring in comparison?

Every year at Thanksgiving, I feel grateful that there are more options than ever that are delicious and do not require anyone’s suffering and death. There is something for every palate and cooking skill level listed here.

1. Lentil Walnut Apple Loaf (Oh She Glows)

2. Sauteed Seitan-Stuffed Filo Purse (Healthy Happy Life)

3. Tofu Turkey (The Spruce)

4. Beefless Wellington (Vegan Mos)

5. Cozy Butternut, Sweet Potato and Red Lentil Stew (Oh She Glows)

6. Roasted Butternut Lasagna with Crispy Sage (Spabettie)

7. Apple, Feel and Sage Lentil Loaf (Simple Veganista)

8. Sumac Ginger Tofu, Quinoa, Broccoli and Mushrooms (Healthy Happy Life)

9. Seitan Stuffed with Walnuts, Dried Cranberries and Mushrooms (Fatfree Vegan Kitchen)

10. Pumpkin-Pecan Crusted Tempeh (Healthy Happy Life)

11. Seitan Roast with Shiitakes and Leeks (Buzzfeed)

12. Citrus and Garlic Basted Holiday Roast (Meet the Shannons)

13. Thanksgiving Meatless Loaf (Fatfree Vegan Kitchen)

14. Lentil Shepherd’s Pie (Fatfree Vegan Kitchen)

15. Thanksgiving Nut Loaf (Ordinary Vegan)

16. Creamy Pumpkin Penne (Love and Lemons)

17. Mushroom Onion Tart with Goat Cheeze (Oh She Glows)

18. Acorn Squash with Walnuts and Cranberry (Let the Baking Begin Blog)

19. Mushroom and Stout Pot Pie with Sweet Potato Crust (The First Mess)

20. Roasted Squash with Shallots, Grapes and Sage (Martha Stewart)

21. Herbed Nut Roast with Mushroom Gravy (Mind Body Green)

22. Roasted Acorn Squash Stuffed with Wild Rice Salad (This Mess is Ours)

23. Maple Glazed Tempeh, Squash and Brussels Sprouts (Bite Me Vegan)

24. Potato and Portobello Mushroom Gratin (Yummly)

25. Hearty Vegetable Pot Pie (VegKitchen)

26. Pueblo Corn Pie (VegKitchen)

27. “Three Sisters” Stew (VegKitchen)

28. Pumpkin and Sage Risotto (One Ingredient Chef)

29. Smoky Mac-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes (Vegan Yack Attack)

30. Pumpkin Stuffed with Vegetable Stew (Epicurious)

31. Seitan Roast En Croute (Plant Power Couple)

32. Festive Chickpea Tart (Plant Powered Kitchen)

33. Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Creamy Makhani Sauce (Vegan Richa)

34. No-Fu Lentil Loaf (UC Davis Integrative Medicine

35. The Whole Shebang Vegan Thanksgiving Roast (Vegan Street)

36. Savory Holiday Pie (Vegan Street)

37. Lentil Loaf (Porsche Thomas)

38. Vegan Turkey with Crispy Skin (West Coast Melting Pot)

39. Stuffed Roasted Butternut Squash (It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken)

40. Seitan Roulade with Sage and Sweet Onion Stuffing (Olives for Dinner)

40. Thanksgiving in An Hour (Isa Chandra Moskowitz)

41. Butternut Squash Lasagna Roll-ups (Veggies Don’t Bite)

42. The Gentle Chef’s Succulent Seitan Turk’y Roast (Skye-Michael Conroy — and this is actually a whole free holiday recipe PDF!)

43. Stuffed Roasted Butternut Squash (It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken)

44. Vegan Wellington with Mushrooms, Lentils and Veggies (Vegan Richa

45. Three Mushroom, Squash and Chestnut Wellington (Soy Division)

46. Lentil Puff Pastry Pockets (VNutrition)

47. Savory Vegan Shepherd’s Pie (Robin Robertson via VegNews)

48. Butternut Squash, Mushroom and Sage Crepes (Candle 79 via Oregon Live)

49. Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese (Delish Knowledge)

50. Thanksgiving Meatless Loaf (Fatfree Vegan Kitchen)

Written by

Marla Rose is a Chicago-area writer and co-founder of and

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