We all know that Thanksgiving by true significance is not about the food, but with its heavy focus on it this holiday can be a difficult setting for anyone with dietary restrictions or preferences that stray from the “norm”. In reality, this day is supposed to be one of inclusivity, not separation, and there’s no reason why this year’s dinner can’t provide a sense of togetherness by including options for every guest present. With greater awareness on different diets as well as increasing availability of specialty items, the ability to make crowd-friendly food for all is getting easier and easier.
If you’re someone who is still new to being the ‘outsider’ at family functions, a great way to break the ice is by sharing your own food! Don’t be afraid to make a large dish that others can try. Chances are people won’t always believe you that what you eat is just as good as what they do, unless they try it themselves. The holidays are actually a perfect time to open people’s perspectives; with an excuse to cook something special, it is nice to view these gatherings as an opportunity to share your lifestyle with others, rather than hone-in on feeling excluded.
We’ve collected Thanksgiving recipes to fit many prevalent diets and lifestyles today. So, if you’re hosting this year’s dinner desiring to include any guest(s) with dietary restrictions or are attending a party and know your preferences won’t be met, we’re sure you’ll find something below. Whether it is a twist on a classic dish or a new recipe all of our choices stay in-season and on-theme. Dig in!
Sweet Potato Bacon Biscuits
Even though your paleo friend can’t eat grains, doesn’t mean biscuits are out of the question come Thanksgiving dinner. These use sweet potatoes and BACON, though, who wouldn’t love that combo!? Place these bad boys right next to their plain-jane cousins and see which goes first.
Stuffing without any bread or carb component may seem impossible to most, but this recipe will have you thinking otherwise. With plenty of sausage and seasonings this paleo take on stuffing will fit right in on your dinner table.
Pecan Caramel Cheesecake Bars
No Thanksgiving is complete without dessert, but to many people a dessert without any grains, added sugar or dairy seems nearly impossible. These cheesecake bars will leave everyone stunned with how creamy and satisfying they are – simply use an egg substitute in the crust to make these a vegan friendly dessert, too!
The best damn vegan biscuits
Flaky, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth biscuits – a crowd friendly part of a traditional thanksgiving dinner. These biscuits supply that same taste without excluding your vegan guests and adding them to your menu will be sure to please just about anyone.
Everyone knows not all stuffing is cooked inside the turkey, and this recipe includes all the fall foods you want to see on the table – squash, apples, brussels sprouts. A perfect blend of sweet and savory, this will be a hit amongst all guests not just the vegan ones!
Mushroom Pot Pies with Sweet Potato crusts
So, what do vegans actually eat for their entree on Thanksgiving? Not all are keen to the faux-meat, out-of-a-box type dinners. These pot pies are hearty and flavorful enough to replace the imitations, plus being individually cooked means altering the recipe for your number of guests is quite simple to do.
Butternut Squash Alfredo Stuffed Shells
Having pasta lovers over, or would rather opt for a one pot entree? These stuffed shells will be a true crowd pleaser. The recipe is not originally vegan, but it is super easy to adapt – simply use vegan butter, a vegan alfredo sauce (sold at Cornucopia!), and vegan cheese, if using. This can be gluten free as well if you use gluten free pasta shells!
Spinach dip stuffed mushrooms
Who doesn’t like spinach dip? Whether you’re looking to up your appetizer game, or provide a yummy gluten free option for you guests these mushrooms will be a winner. Easily made dairy-free as well, these will curb any hangry guests until dinner is served.
Wild Rice Stuffing
Alternatively, if you’re looking for a not-so-classic take on stuffing this wild rice version will do the trick. Butternut squash, pears, cranberries and pecans, what more could you want? Add this to your menu for an aesthetically pleasing and unique stuffing that can be enjoyed by anyone.
Butternut squash Pie
There will probably be a classic pumpkin pie on the dessert table, but this butternut squash version may steal some of the attention. This pie offers a rich filling (that happens to be vegan, too!) set inside a pre-made or homemade gluten free pie crust. It’s simple, seasonal, and a perfectly sweet treat to end your meal.
Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes
Instead of the butter-filled, marshmallow-topped sweet potato casserole these twice-baked personal sweet potato boats are just as sweet and easy to make. With only 6 ingredients and little hands-on work there’s no reason not to take the alternative route with this dish!
Put down the jelly from a can, and step away from the sugar ridden cranberry sauces out there. This recipe uses the addition of whole fruit to enhance the sweetness and thicken the cranberry sauce.
Whole30 Mashed Potatoes
No one will know that these super creamy and rich potatoes are sans-dairy. Being Whole30 approved, paleo, vegan, plus gluten free, they’ll be sure to both fool and please every guest.
Green Bean Casserole
Another ever-popular classic is the green bean casserole. This version ups the health game by using cashew cream in place of dairy, a homemade onion topping sans white flour, and plenty of actual veggies. You’ll be shocked just how well this compares to the original.
Pecan Pie is just as common as its pumpkin cousin at the Thanksgiving table, but the normal version is loaded with butter and sugar. This version keeps things a bit cleaner by removing any corn syrup or refined sugars and replacing butter with coconut oil. With the flavor still intact, whip up this recipe to end your Thanksgiving on a sweet, albeit healthier, note.