Literally 50 Side Dishes You Can Make Without Animal Products This Thanksgiving

From tiny cornbread loaves to shiitake gravy, I’ve got you covered for a delicious, cruelty-free holiday feast

Marla Rose
Published in
5 min readNov 14, 2019


Image: Pixabay

I get it: Thanksgiving is very serious business in households across the U.S. If you dare to go rogue and stray from Aunt Eddie’s trusted cranberry sauce by using pecans instead of walnuts, grown-ass adults can transform into pouty toddlers faster than you can say “sacrilege.” So, if you suggest replacing the customary dead turkey with a plant-based main dish as the centerpiece, as I did earlier this week, you know things are going to get tense in some families. Buckle up, buttercups!

Take this, for example: Two years ago, a recipe I created that was published by the NY Times for Brussels sprouts sliders inspired such a mass outrage when it was re-posted on Twitter that it very nearly brought our divided country together in a unified, if irrational, voice of righteous disapproval because it dared to suggest these tender flavor-bombs belonged on the Thanksgiving table. Given the fact that I was called out by media outlets as varied as BuzzFeed and Country Living for creating these “abominations,” I have a bit of a personal connection to how wrong — though hilarious — things can go when you try to reinterpret the food around this holiday.

Also, having been vegetarian and then vegan since the 1980s — it was a totally tubular time — I know that people take their Thanksgiving traditions very seriously. There’s nothing like getting the evil eye at a Thanksgiving table to remind you that some people will tolerate your annoying herbivorous self the rest of the year but on the fourth Thursday of November, all bets are off.

Why can’t you vegans just eat around the turkey?

First, um, no. Gross. Would you “eat around” something that disgusts or deeply saddens you? Second, it’s not only the meat industry that brutalizes animals; the dairy and the egg industries not only buttress the meat industry as outlets of profitability for mining what can be extracted from animals’ bodies, but these industries are just as cruel and exploitative as the actual flesh trade. Besides, the animals end up being slaughtered when they are no…