Vegan Holiday Recipes + My Tips For Navigating the Holidays as a Vegan

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on November 19, 2012


While many of you in the US are putting the finishing touches on your Thanksgiving plans, many of us Canadians are already starting to think about our December menus. Here are some of my favourite vegan holiday recipes that could suit many holiday meals, or perhaps simply a comforting dinner on a cold night!

See below for my tips on navigating the holidays as a vegan.

Soup & Salad:

Mushroom Millet Soup with Cheezy Garlic Bread


Holiday Soup for the Soul 


Spiced Red Lentil, Tomato, and Kale Soup


Holiday Salad with Cranberry Apple Orange Vinaigrette

IMG_4567 IMG_4495

Main Course:

Glazed Lentil Walnut Loaf


High Protein Mashed Potatoes (also see my red lentil version on VegNews)


Cranberry, Apricot and Pecan Wild Rice Pilaf

vegan pilaf-4411

This Ain’t Grandma’s Sweet Potato Casserole 


Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts with Rosemary and Garlic


Roasted Butternut Squash with Kale and Almond Pecan Parmesan


Herb & Cheese Drop Biscuits



Vegan & Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie

vegan pumpkin pie gluten free-4759

Serve with Whipped Coconut Cream if you’d like…


Sinless Sticky Toffee Pecan Pudding


Pumpkin Gingerbread with Spiced Buttercream 


Pumpkin Pie Brownies



What to do with leftover pumpkin pie? Meet Vegan Pumpkin Pie Breakfast Casserole!

leftover pumpkin pie casserole-4775

Baked Apples Stuffed with Cinnamon, Date, Pecan Oatmeal


Sweet Potato Breakfast Casserole


Gift Ideas:

Slow Cooker Naked Apple Butter


Maple Cinnamon Almond Butter with Hemp, Flax, and Chia or 2-Minute Apple Cinnamon PB


Homemade Pumpkin Butter From Scratch (or from a can)


I’ve received many questions over the years about how to navigate the holidays as a new vegan. The first year I was “coming out” as a vegan, I recall being so anxious about holiday get togethers! It was the first time I was seeing many family members and I was nervous about explaining it to everyone. Thankfully, I anticipated it to be much worse in my own mind than it actually was, but that isn’t to say that I didn’t have my fair share of critics, comments, and questions too.

Here are some of my tips for navigating holiday dinners as a vegan:

1. If you will be eating at a family members house, let them know well in advance that you eat a vegan diet so there aren’t any surprises on the day of. Don’t be afraid to explain it clearly as it’s not unusual for someone to think a vegan still eats butter or eggs. It’s also helpful to remind them what you DO eat! Often people can assume that vegans have a super restrictive diet, so it’s helpful to let them know all the foods that you do eat – vegetables, fruit, legumes, beans, grains, nuts/seeds, oils, soy, herbs/spices, etc or remind them of foods that are naturally vegan.

2. After letting the hosts know, offer to bring a couple vegan dishes so they don’t feel like they have to scramble to find vegan recipes. A couple good options are the lentil loaf and the Cranberry, Apricot and Pecan Wild Rice Pilaf. For the lentil loaf, I suggest slightly undercooking it the first time if you plan on reheating it in the oven just before serving (so it doesn’t dry out). If you are traveling from afar, offer to help prepare a couple vegan dishes the day before. This again would be helpful to plan out before you arrive.

3. What if you are hosting the meal as a new vegan? When I hosted my first vegan Thanksgiving back in 2010, I let my guests know that the meal would be 100% vegan – and of course delicious! If you don’t want any animal products at your meal, make this clear in advance or you might find Uncle Ted showing up with his turkey the morning of.

4. Challenge some of your open-minded guests to “veganize” one of their favourite recipes and bring it to the dinner. Make this into a competition for the “best vegan dish” at your holiday meal and award a prize to the winner each year! How fun would this be?

5. What to do about naysayers? There will always be naysayers, comments, or questions about why you eat a vegan diet – and it’s good to be able to explain it to others in a few words. Just like they tell entrepreneurs to be able to describe their business in a single sentence, it’s important to be able to communicate why you are a vegan. Plan for these questions and you won’t be thrown off by them at the dinner table. If you are feeling really uncomfortable or cornered by a critic, you can always suggest that you discuss it after the meal. It’s easy to feel outnumbered as a vegan around the holidays, so I like to keep my sense of humour. Crack a joke right or sarcasm right back to a naysayer. It doesn’t need to be so serious.

6. A delicious vegan dish can tame even the toughest critic. Win them over with the food. ‘Nough said!

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic as well! Do you find it difficult to navigate the holidays as a vegan? What tips would you give to new vegans?

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{ 131 comments… read them below or add one }

Anele @ Success Along the Weigh November 19, 2012 at 10:39 am

I’m SOOO making the pumpkin gingerbread load with spiced frosting!! Those fingerlings and brussels are mouth watering! Thanks for all of the great tips/recipe round up!


Tanya @ playful and hungry November 20, 2012 at 7:39 am

Those are the two recipes I like best, too! =D


Rachel (Two Healthy Plates) November 19, 2012 at 10:58 am

Everything looks so delicious but I seriously want one of those pumpkin pie brownies right this minute!


Geanna November 19, 2012 at 11:01 am

Thanks for the awesome recipe ideas and suggestions. I hosted a vegan thanksgiving last year and it went surprisingly well, even though it included family members I had never met. I think it’s all about attitude – if you show that you are content and excited about the menu – the naysayers can’t help but get excited too (at least enough to try it!).


Heather November 19, 2012 at 11:04 am

thanks for this post! My sister and I are planning to make some of these dishes this holiday. I’ve been vegetarian for 18 years (though I was vegan for 3 of those years–before and during my first pregnancy!). I’d say I got comments for the first, oh, 10 years. No joke. But the past 7 years or so have been great and I usually bring my own dishes, with enough to share if people want to try them out. For me, being the only veggie at the party, I just felt better about bringing my own food, because I would know what was in it and I knew I’d at least be able to eat. Hope you have a great holiday! and thanks for such an awesome blog!!!


Jen November 19, 2012 at 11:06 am

I plan to try several of these recipes and at least do a half vegan christmas this year. What one liner do you suggest as an explanation? I go back and forth, because I want to get my point across, but I also don’t want to offend anybody. Thanks for the recipes!


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 19, 2012 at 12:53 pm

I usually just say something like, “I started eating a vegan diet for health reasons and I stick with it because of how great I feel and the positive impact I can make on the system.” Obviously, a vague statement, but if they are curious as to other reasons, I’m happy to explain that I’m an ethical vegan and feel it’s the best choice I can personally make for animal rights and the environment. I also don’t pass judgments on what others eat and hope for the same respect.


Audrey November 19, 2012 at 2:28 pm

I like that response, Angela!


Andrea @ Vegvacious November 19, 2012 at 11:10 am

Thank you for all the great recipe ideas Ang! I’m the only vegetarian in my family and even though it’s going on 3 years, some members of my family still find it a wee bit confusing as to what I do and do not eat. I always offer to bring a couple of my fave dishes, so that people can try them and realize that you don’t give up flavour or quality when you give up meat!


Mimi November 19, 2012 at 11:13 am

Thank you for this. You site is well of delicious, bright and cheerful information. I’m going to make some of these recipes for my in laws this Christmas, who are all hunters and serious meat eaters. They have known me as a vegetarian up until now, which was challenging enough for them and one person in particular has a hostile reaction to my choices. This is my first Holiday as a vegan, and I want to bring food (I have no choice anyway) and share it with them. So thanks!


[email protected] The Frosted Vegan November 19, 2012 at 11:17 am

I needed this! Sometimes it’s hard for people to understand what vegans DO eat. Mainly I would just like to inhale those mashed potatoes and every single one of the desserts!


Lauren November 19, 2012 at 11:22 am

This is my first holiday as a vegan and I’m terrified. I don’t know about Canadians but these American folks, ESPECIALLY TEXANS, are down right crazy about their meat! In fact, for Thanksgiving with my husbands family there will be turkey AND ham, not to mention all the buttery cheesiness going on. I’m afraid of looking like a judgemental snob for not eating majority of what is being served. Especially since I’ve eaten it for years in the past.


Mimi November 19, 2012 at 12:19 pm

First of all, congratulations for your ethical and compassionate choice! Being vegan in an animal-eating world can feel lonely no matter where you are, especially when people respond with hostility. I’m always amazed at how hostile and defensive people can get when faced with someone who, in the end, has made decisions based on compassion, peace and the environment. People who react aggressively to this are usually projecting something within themselves that they don’t like. They might feel like you are coming along and breaking traditions, or that you are bringing up issues they are not willing to confront. Or some people (most people, actually) think vegans are radicals, etc. Just know it is not personal. Your being vegan confronts others in their ethics and personal choices. If you are confident about your choices and why you have decided to become vegan, don’t let yourself be deterred by your meat-eating family. Eating meat is not a religion, and being vegan is not a religion (although it can be spiritually uplifting). The best way to face hostility is with humour, as Angela pointed out, and with love and compassion. When asked a question about being vegan (and you WILL be asked questions), you can choose to say it’s for “personal reasons”, or “health reasons”, or, if you feel there is a real openness to know, you can talk about animals, health, the environment, etc. I know Texans have a bad rap, so good luck to you! I am also going to face this for the first time this Holiday season. Bring it on, I say. : )


Mimi November 19, 2012 at 12:34 pm

As for the food, you don’t have to apologize for your choices. Bring some of your own (let them know in advance) or have a double serving of vegetable side dishes. If they were cooked in or served with butter, and it’s the only non-meat choice you have, the decision is up to you. : )


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 19, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Great tips, thank you Mimi!


Audrey November 19, 2012 at 1:18 pm

I can totally relate! I don’t even know if many of my relatives know that I’m vegan. I’m pretty shy about stirring up hostilities–although of course I don’t eat the non-vegan food. My family also usually has the turkey and ham, except this year they are replacing the ham with sauerkraut and sausage. In any case, not vegan-friendly. :) I’m going to bring a bean and veggie salad, a lettuce salad + dressing, and maybe a dessert (I’m thinking mini pecan pie tarts). I would love to bring something more adventurous for the main course, but I’m kind of afraid of how it would go over with my very carnivorous (not to mention hunting and fishing [!]) family. Maybe at the next family gathering. I just didn’t want to bring anything that they might see as too “weird.” We might have to work up to the lentil loaf (even though I love it). Whew, it’s good to ‘talk’ about this, because I’m actually really nervous about how it. I’m probably just not going to talk about the fact that I’m vegan unless someone asks. I’m most scared about questioning if the squash has butter in it, because I don’t want to look like veganish is hard, and that I’m a super-fastidious person. For the most part, I’m just going to try to focus on my family, the conversation, and keep things friendly and light. But I’m not going to be ashamed of being vegan, either. If someone asks, I’ll definitely give an answer. Does anyone have ideas for a succinct, maybe humorous, answer?


Matti November 19, 2012 at 1:21 pm


As a fellow Texan, I feel your pain! I have had great success bringing several of Angela’s dishes to holiday events. Sticky toffee pudding in particular! I have also shared her creamy barley risotto to a meat eater crowd with lots of success. I usually tell people I have learned eating this way is the best choice for my body so I am happy with it. I have never gotten a negative reaction to that comment. Good luck!



Jazz November 21, 2012 at 11:08 am

As a Canadian (non vegan) married to a Texan, it’s definitly a meat fest when we go home for Christmas.. and they think I’m crazy for not wanting to eat out for EVERY meal, but prefer to cook for myself.. I had to fix the oven last time so I could bake because they don’t use it often enough to bother fixing it!! Best of luck, and don’t mention Obama.


Donna November 25, 2012 at 4:25 pm

I’m not Texan, but I am Southern, and that last part made me LOL. So true. : )


Amber from Slim Pickin's Kitchen November 19, 2012 at 11:25 am

Wow, Angela! All of these recipes look amazing, especially the Holiday Salad, Wild Rice Pilaf, and the Pumpkin Pie breakfast casserole! I’m tooootally going to be trying these recipes out. Can’t wait to try them :)


Shira November 19, 2012 at 11:27 am

What a fabulous round up of recipes! Biscuits are high on my list this week after your last post ~ and that squash is looking outrageous! :)


Lia November 19, 2012 at 11:29 am

I liked #5 the best. I think that is the scariest part for new vegans and the part that can ruin the whole day for them too. I agree that having a short concise, non-attacking reason for it is best. I’ve always used the “It makes me feel amazing so I stick with it” as my foundational reason, with the other more arguable ones as supports. People can’t really argue with personal feelings of wellness. And making sure that you point out you are not attacking their beliefs. That’s where the attacks come from. The other people think that you are bashing their way of eating simply by you being vegan. I always immediately let them know that they can do as they wish, I have no problem with that and they shut up. I’ve been put in charge of more and more of the main dinner parties we have, so I veganize the dishes and when I tell people after the meal they are blown away and reconsider their preconceived notions about it. That’s the BEST way to make a point!


Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table November 19, 2012 at 11:29 am

I love these round ups – your walnut-lentil loaf remains one of my favorite recipes. This is going to be the year I make the pumpkin-brownies. I’d had them pinned forever!


Julie November 19, 2012 at 1:27 pm

I also love the lentil walnut apple loaf. I took it to work the other day for a pot luck and it was a big hit. Now I have made it for my non-vegetarian/vegan family and will be taking it with me. Hopefully, it will be a hit with them as well!


Willow November 19, 2012 at 11:30 am

Great advice! I’m not vegan, but I have enough experience with restricted diets to know what this is like… and you’re so right about needing a short, one-sentence way to explain yourself. It can be way too easy to get long-winded about all the reasons.


Beks November 19, 2012 at 11:41 am

I’ve actually made a few of your dishes for my family (and followed the recipe to the letter!), and no one knew that it was vegan. They didn’t suspect that your chocolate mousse torte had avocado, or you sweet potato caserole was free from eggs. Rave reviews, too. :-D


Marissa November 19, 2012 at 11:43 am

I like your tip #5. Humor is such a great way to deal with someone who is teasing or criticizing your diet. Since my whole family gets together only a few times a year, the last thing I want to do is get into a debate with someone who thinks they already have all of the answers. A succinct response that shows that vegans have a sense of humor, too, (why is that such a novel idea?!) usually bypasses any heated discussion.

Great roundup of holiday recipes. I must be in a soup mood because all of them are especially enticing today!


Erica @ Coffee & Quinoa November 19, 2012 at 11:44 am

Thank you for all the delicious holiday recipes, Angela! These are my first holidays as a vegan, and I know it’s going to be… interesting. So far everyone is very understanding, and I feel like if everyone is flexible and keeps an open mind (myself included), things should go smoothly. Also, I agree that a delicious vegan dish silences all criticism!


[email protected] SavyNaturalista November 19, 2012 at 11:49 am

Vegan breakfast casseroles sounds so yummy for breakfast; I am going to half to make one for the morning after. I never thought about having a vegan Thanksgiving if I did not have plans in place I would definitely have a vegan Thanksgiving. I know I will defiantly have one next year…


Robin November 19, 2012 at 12:06 pm

I was just looking for a good sweet potato recipe! I volunteered for it when my host told me they make the kind with marshmallows. Bleh!


allison November 19, 2012 at 12:09 pm

I have found the best thing is to bring something you can eat and share…people are curious. :-) The hardest comment i’ve dealt with is people saying i’m starving my boyfriend…or my kids :-( But the best is when they back it up…like my boyfriend saying no i choose vegan too..or my daughter saying mom’s food is amazing….(my kids aren’t vegans but I don’t make two suppers…come on.) I like that…tell them because it makes me feel amazing. No one can argue that. :-) I am hosting xmas eve this year. Vegan perogies and cabbage rolls and baking. It will all be excellent :0) Alberta’s a lot like Texas. haha We seem to have a bizarre obsession with our meat.


Robin November 23, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Do you make your own perogies? I’m looking for a good vegan recipe. What you put in your cabbage rolls? I did some last year with mushrooms and barley that were very yummy.


Katie November 19, 2012 at 12:10 pm

I think you are so right in that you can totally win anyone over with the food! I find that by offering to bring a dish (or multiple dishes!), the guests are more willing to try what I bring and they often ask for the recipe. I’m thinking the Sinless Toffee Pecan Pudding will be on the list this year =)


Lisa November 19, 2012 at 12:37 pm



Herbivore Triathlete November 19, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Great round up! I’ve made several of these recipes and they’re all great. The sweet potato casserole will be on the table on Thursday, along with your pull-apart dinner rolls! This is my first holiday season as a vegan, but I am the cook so dinner will be vegan as well. My family has definitely been pleasantly surprised at how delicious plant-based foods can be. Thanks Angela.


DIANE November 19, 2012 at 1:07 pm

So what are some of the specific things people say as their “elevator pitch” about their decision to go vegan?


Audrey November 19, 2012 at 1:21 pm

I would love to have some ideas, too. :)


allison November 19, 2012 at 4:40 pm

I say it was a personal choice and nutritional decision and then I ask if they want the long or short version :-) They often follow it with what about protein and I like to answer that one with “where do you get your protein?” or “how much do you think we need?”…depends…if the person is being pushy or really just wants to know. And I usually follow it up or end it with “i dont’ really miss meat, sometimes i miss cheese and sometimes eggs” and that usually does it. :-) I have all the time in the world to talk about it, but zero time for the pushy types. :-)


Angela November 19, 2012 at 8:37 pm

I love that – “elevator pitch” :)
Great advice Allison – I love that you ask about the long or short version. I will have to try that next time. What do people usually respond with to you?


Sarah L. November 19, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Love your tips, Angela! I eat a mostly vegan diet at home, but give myself a little leeway on special occasions such as the holidays. Only butter available? I’ll put a tiny bit on my bun. Eggs and/or dairy was used in making the pie? Just a small slice then. But I’ll definitely fill up on the vegan fare, and make sure I let the cook know how much I enjoyed it, so that they don’t feel offended when I pass up the turkey. :)

This might not work for everyone, but for me, I’d rather not make a big deal of it and know that I’ll have my diet back on track when I get home. Luckily, my family is really easy going and they LOOOVE the lentil loaf!


allison November 19, 2012 at 4:42 pm

I do that too. If my daughter makes cookies…I have one..I never want to discourage someone for cooking for themselves. I won’t eat meat or cheese…but I may eat some butter or eggs…or something cooked with milk. And then load up on the veggies.


Angela November 19, 2012 at 8:34 pm

I’m glad you’ve found what works for you. I love reading everyone’s unique approach, as I’m sure do others. Thanks for sharing!


LeeAnn November 21, 2012 at 10:18 am

Thanks for that, Sarah. Your comments have helped ease my mind and helped me make some decisions. This is my first holiday (U.S. Thanksgiving) as a vegan, and I am hosting the family. I’m going to make Angela’s butternut squash-kale-almond-pecan-parmesan dish for myself and to share, of course, but everything else will be the traditional meal. I’ll pass on the turkey and gravy, but I’ll have small amounts of dairy-containing foods. As you say, I’m not going to make a big deal of it. I also won’t impose my new way of eating on the rest of my family who are naturally expecting a traditional dinner. And now I won’t have to boil up that wretched turkey carcass for soup!


Sarah L. November 21, 2012 at 10:59 am

Good luck, LeeAnn! I’m not a fan of imposing my way of eating on my family either, but rather making kick-ass vegan sides and entrees that always get them asking for the recipe. Secretly seducing people to make more vegan meals is my specialty, muahaha! :)


Allie November 19, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Oh Ange, this post shows just how talented you are at cooking! I want to make EVERYTHING!

The holidays as a vegan can be tough, but more often than not people can accomodate it and I try and make them feel less anxious about it by bringing some of my own dishes. The lentil walnut loaf was a hit at our Thanksgiving in October.


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 19, 2012 at 5:16 pm

I’m so happy to hear it was a hit. I’ll be making it for Christmas and I already can’t wait for it. hah. It will be hard to share…


Christa @ Edible Balance November 19, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Thankfully, because I was diagnosed with Celiac over 11 years ago, my family has been absolutely great and accommodating since transitioning to vegan. Yes, I do have to remind them of eggs, butter and dairy but I’m blessed to have a family that understands. This is my first Christmas completely plant-based, so this is when I will FINALLY make that delicious lentil loaf and make your sweet potato casserole again. It was a huge hit at Thanksgiving with all my family. Even my brother who can’t stand sweet potatoes!!

Fabulous tips, and glorious looking recipes as always, thank you Angela!


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 19, 2012 at 5:20 pm

That is exciting! You’ll have to let us know how it goes. :)


Lana B November 19, 2012 at 2:37 pm

That post has just made me so hungry!!! I really want to make that Pumpkin Gingerbread with spiced frosting too, it looks so good!!! :)


Kelly B November 19, 2012 at 2:46 pm

I was just bringing a green salad to Thanksgiving but this post has challaged me to bring and share more yummy vegan dishes. My 7 yr old yesterday asked me “what my favorite Thanksgivnig food was and I can’t say salad”. Even though greens are great I need to share more vegan dishes with relatives.


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 19, 2012 at 5:23 pm

That is such a great attitude! What do you think you will bring?


Kathleen November 19, 2012 at 3:12 pm

Angela, thanks so much for this post! I was actually already planning on making your lentil loaf as my main course when I saw your post on it a little while back. It looks amazing, can’t wait to see how it turns out.


laura November 19, 2012 at 3:35 pm

Great post! This will be my first christmas as a vegan. :)


amanda jelm November 19, 2012 at 3:38 pm

I already have my lentil loaf , aint your grandmas sweet potato casserol, and a slice of pumkin brownie made and in the freezer for me to take with me!!!


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 19, 2012 at 5:25 pm

you are so prepared!!! That’s impressive. Thanks for trying the recipes!


Sarah @ November 19, 2012 at 4:16 pm

Those photos are UNREAL… I think I need to figure out how to start taking better photos of my food..! I’m not a vegan myself but some of your dishes look unreal and I will definitely be trying them out! Thank you for sharing! :)


eatingRD November 19, 2012 at 4:36 pm

Drooling over all these wonderful recipes!!! They all look fabulous and delish. Happy Holidays!


Benna November 19, 2012 at 4:54 pm

I’m preparing a full spread and taking it to our family Thanksgiving. My fiance is excited that he’ll essentially be getting two delicious meals in one day (he eats vegan at home but eats meat when he’s around family/friends/coworkers) and I’m excited to show off some delicious vegan recipes. Rather than restrict myself to eating only vegetable side dishes (most of which will have butter all over them), I prefer to spend Wednesday in the kitchen so that I can enjoy Thanksgiving to the fullest extent- entree, main course, sides, dessert… I feel like it’s an opportunity to show what’s possible and to create more options for everyone. Since it’ll all be mixed together on the same table, I think some people might be suprised what they end up wanting for seconds :)

And of course I’m lucky to have a family that accepts food offerings as a positive and doesn’t think I’m trying to upstage the turkey…


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 19, 2012 at 5:14 pm

That is fantastic! It sounds like your family is in for a real treat. You’ll have to report back.


Hanna M. November 19, 2012 at 5:32 pm

Great tips! I’m not vegan (hate labels), but love to eat vegan most of the time. I’m thinking about arranging a 100 % dinner for my meat and fish loving family during the Christmas holiday, so I’m really grateful that you gathered this to one post!
Just a comment on the red lentil mashed potatoes: I see that others have commented that the texture became gluey and not very attractive when using the blender, just like my mash (glad I didn’t try it the first time for an important dinner!). Next time I’ll blend the lentils etc, and mash in the potatoes manually. Perhaps this could be commented on in the recipe?


Hanna M. November 19, 2012 at 5:33 pm

100 % VEGAN dinner, that is. *facepalm*


Angela November 19, 2012 at 8:39 pm

Yes, I will see if that can be added to the recipe for sure. I didn’t experience this problem, but I can see how that could be possible if processed too long. Have fun with your dinner!


Laura November 19, 2012 at 5:46 pm

The best thing for the naysayers, I have found, is to just be 100% confident in all of your decisions and rationales to pursue whatever food/diet choices you have chosen. This helps me feel less bothered when people start criticizing or questioning my choices. I also just like to make awesome vegan dishes that no one knows are vegan and then follow through with tip number 6. Thanks Angela!


Cassandra @ TheScienceofFood November 19, 2012 at 6:21 pm

I LOVE your table setting…and the photography! Great job on both!


Katie @ Fun Fearful Female November 19, 2012 at 6:41 pm

Thanks for the great recipes, Angela! This will be my first holiday season since I’ve begun following a plant based diet & although there’s a bit of anxiety around it, I’m confident that my choice to not eat meat/dairy is the right one for me. Like you I explain that following a vegan diet makes me feel so much better physically & mentally, and I don’t judge others for their food choices. I’m looking forward to trying these recipes. Happy holidays to you and your family!


Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat November 19, 2012 at 6:53 pm

Ok, I have a painter in my kitchen right now so I can’t make dinner until he leaves, and you have just made me INSANELY hungry!!!! I love the setup of the first shot, and all the food ones of course! That holiday soup for the soul is exactly what I need right now. As you know, I’m not vegan but having an all-vegan Thanksgiving is perfectly fine by me…. especially when you’re cooking!


Angela November 19, 2012 at 8:47 pm

We will have to do it again soon!!! Seriously that was so much fun. :)


Stefanie @ Thin Vegetarian November 19, 2012 at 8:25 pm

I had just become a vegetarian a month before Thanksgiving last year so I modified the stuffed peppers recipe I used to make to be vegan. Stuffed veggies are always a winner even amongst the carnivores!


Angela November 19, 2012 at 8:48 pm

That is a great idea…I hadn’t thought of that but yes they are always a hit, aren’t they?


Catherine November 19, 2012 at 8:47 pm

Although I’m an omni & will be partaking in some “traditional” Thanksgiving foods, I can honestly say I’d prefer these dishes than some of the ones I will be eating. I enjoy finding new vegan recipes almost daily; it’s such a healthy, fresh, natural way of eating! My family is very traditional, but like I have for the past couple years, I’m going to contribute a vegetable dish. Last year it was roasted acorn squash, this year it will probably be roasted brussels sprouts. I will definitely incorporate some of these dishes into other meals this holiday season, though. I think any omni would love these dishes!


Angela November 19, 2012 at 8:49 pm

I hope so too. You certainly can’t go wrong with roasted squash and/or brussels sprouts. Happy Thanksgiving Catherine!


mick November 19, 2012 at 10:04 pm

This is a great post, Angela! I’m not vegan but vegetarian for the past 2.5 years, and last year I hosted my first Thanksgiving for my family. We got a free range organic turkey from a local farm for the non-vegetarians that my mom cooked, and I made your vegan lentil walnut loaf for me. It was delicious! Your recipes and outlook really inspire me, and I’m thinking more and more of making the switch to a vegan diet. I’m also an ethical vegetarian, and I love your response to others. I don’t judge them, either, but I think a lot of people fear that vegans/veggies will. Thanks for the great tips! I’m going to troll through your blog for tips on going from vegetarian to vegan now :)


janie Kiaser November 19, 2012 at 10:16 pm

So many good ideas! I am still deciding what I will make… although I am really only cooking for me (all non-vegan family). At least I will have plenty of leftovers!!


luv what you do November 19, 2012 at 10:18 pm

All of your desserts look amazing! But that soup for the soul looks so heart. I will have to make that this winter!


Crista November 19, 2012 at 10:26 pm

this post has really inspired me as a blogger and as a vegan. thank you :)
I’m going to use a few of your recipes for my Thanksgiving dinner this year.


Kelly @ Laughter, Strength, and Food November 19, 2012 at 10:28 pm

What a great collection of recipes! They all look so delicious!


Suzanne November 19, 2012 at 10:49 pm

Hi Angela,
I actually have a question regarding your Thanksgiving recipes. I just made your recipe for the apple, lentil, and walnut loaf and popped it in the freezer for Thanksgiving. My husband and I took a nibble and it was SO good – especially the glaze.

So I know that the loaf freezes well, but I’m also making your recipes for sweet potato casserole and vegan pumpkin pie. (My non-vegan parents LOVE these!) My question is: can I freeze these too? Or is it better not to? If not, how long do they keep in the fridge before Thanksgiving?

I’m trying to space out all of the cooking so I don’t go too crazy the day of. :)


Anna @ The Guiltless Life November 20, 2012 at 12:51 am

I am seriously loving the lentil walnut loaf – I can’t wait to try it this year, after many years of failed vegetarian meals!


Kari @ bite-sized thoughts November 20, 2012 at 1:50 am

I love this post – so many great recipes and really helpful advice both for vegans and friends/family of vegans :)


Averie @ Averie Cooks November 20, 2012 at 4:03 am

Although I’m not vegan anymore, I am vegetarian and don’t eat animal flesh and so turkey is not happening for me but luckily…it’s just our little family of three. So there’s no one to answer to! Or explain things to. But yes, it’s hard when I’m with people who I don’t know for the first time, I have to start from ground zero and explain things.

This is a great post, Angela! I’ll take one of everything – especially the desserts!


Sandra Tranmer November 20, 2012 at 6:02 am

We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in the UK but, having seen your beautiful and mouth-watering recipes, I won’t be able to resist preparing a little Thanksgiving feast for my son and I on Thursday. I just know he will love the pumpkin pie brownies :) and as he is the thing I am the most thankful for in the world, it seems very fitting :) xxx


Kirsten November 20, 2012 at 7:03 am

My issues is not the family as a whole, it’s that I know my boyfriend would never be supportive of me making the vegan jump, he has issues with the thought of me going back to being vegetarian (wasn’t for a few years, including when I met him). Sadly he also doesn’t take my current dietary restrictions seriously, and they are medical (Gluten and Dairy!). Any tips for that situtation?


Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers November 20, 2012 at 7:48 am

Angela, Everything looks amazing! I want to come over to your house for Thanksgiving.


Natalie @ FreshLifeFindings November 20, 2012 at 7:52 am

I think I’ll just come over to your place for Thanksgiving. Your recipes are divine and I love all the creativity you put into them! I’m definitely going to make jars of the pumpkin butter for gifts, perfect idea!


Heather November 20, 2012 at 8:06 am

Can I please please please come over for thanksgiving? I will do all the cleaning and won’t make a peep!


Ruth November 20, 2012 at 8:19 am

Thanks so much for providing these yummy recipes Angela. I do eat meat but I can’t have dairy, gluten or refined sugars cause they mess with me! I dread holidays because sweet things and dairy and gluten filled baked goods are all around me and I find it hard to say no and my body really pays the price. I feel much better now that I’m armed with your delish recipes!


Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers November 20, 2012 at 9:11 am

I’ve made your rice pilaf numerous times, and it always comes out great. I’ve also made that gingerbread loaf, and it’s wonderful too!


Alexis @ Hummusapien November 20, 2012 at 10:35 am

What a fabulous list + tips! I made your pumpkin brownie pie last year and it was super tasty :) Can’t wait to try more recipes this year!


Lauren November 20, 2012 at 10:46 am

What is that amazing-looking gravy on the mashed potatoes?


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 21, 2012 at 10:07 am

Hey Lauren, It’s a gravy I adapted from Dreena found here:


Tina November 20, 2012 at 10:46 am

Mmmm it looks so great Angela. I am making the Glazed Lentil Loaf for sure. I also want to make the Apple Sage Field Sausages as you and everyone else say they are so delish. Do you have any tips on how to best prepare them and what to serve along with them, I would like to have them whole. Thanks, ideas are happily taking from others as well.


Ashlee November 20, 2012 at 12:29 pm

Last year I made your pumpkin gingerbread, holiday salad and sweet potato casserole and they were ALL huge hits! That is saying a lot since I live in Texas and my whole family is meat and taters kind of usually doesn’t fly with them unless it is fried and covered in butter!


Grandma Carol November 20, 2012 at 2:20 pm

Hi Angela, I am attempting a vegan Christmas this year for my family. I have been a vegetarian for three years but always make a traditional meal for my children and grandchildren and I just eat sides. This year I am going to shake things up….hehehe. Other than the roasted fingerling potatoes with brussel sprouts, could all or most of these recipes be made in advance and frozen?


Michele November 20, 2012 at 3:14 pm

I say I am “mostly” vegan, for people that want to slap a label on me. I eat vegan, but on Thursday we’ll be making turkey and having meat for the first time in a long time. It felt weird taking the little guy (6 pounds, don’t want infinite leftovers) out of the freezer, but I’d told my husband that I’d do that on major holidays if he came along for the ride…and he’s been a real trooper. Every side dish will be vegan, so I consider it a good compromise.

To make a light joke about my food choices with one of the “where do you get your protein?” people, I’ll say “I decided to cut out the middleman. I get my protein from plants and you get yours from animals that eat plants!” Of course it’s all in the delivery, no judge-y or preachy tones allowed. Always gets a laugh. I usually tell them that I’d of thought they were crazy if they had told me I would one day not eat meat or dairy (this says I was one of you) but I can’t deny that I have never felt better, inside and out…so I decided I could let it go and I haven’t missed it. Well, sometimes cheese… That gets a laugh too.


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 21, 2012 at 10:06 am

I love that response, will definitely use that sometime. ;)


Michele November 21, 2012 at 2:57 pm



Emily November 20, 2012 at 3:53 pm

This post has made me unbelievably hungry. I’m new to this blog, but I’m so happy that I’ve found it! I have no idea what I’m doing in the kitchen, and it’s nice to have recipes available (with great pics!) that are tried and truly delicious. Thank you, Angela! Happy Thanksgiving!

for those who love animals and fashion


Brooke melikidse November 20, 2012 at 5:08 pm

I am just in awe of your food and photography! All of it is just beautiful! Thank you!


Mandy @ Eat Pray Grow November 20, 2012 at 6:45 pm

Totally not a vegan and I’m drooling over these. I don’t even know where to start! The wild rice pilaf is definitely up there…but oh, the soups and deserts! I’m converted.


Nicole Marie Story November 20, 2012 at 7:42 pm

“Eating animals doesn’t make me happy, so I don’t eat animals.”
This statement normally does the trick.
If they want more information, I direct them to my blog. ;)


Stephanie November 20, 2012 at 9:06 pm

I think I just spent an hour reading through these recipes – will definitely be making some of these – yum!


Kacey November 20, 2012 at 10:01 pm

This will be my first Thanksgiving completely vegan. I’ve been a vegetarian for a long time and I’ve been basically transitioning to veganism for like the last two years, but I’m not too worried about this Thanksgiving since I managed to veganize a lot of our family recipes last year. My main non-vegan eating was just pie. I only made one last year (your pumpkin one :) ) but this year I’m aiming for at least five, if not six…we’re kind of crazy pie people. It’s my mom and I that do pretty much all of the cooking, and she’ll be sleeping after a night shift for at least part of the day, so basically all of our side dishes will be prepared by me–and vegan!

I think I’m going to do a stuffed squash as my main dish this year. I’ve had your lentil loaf for the past two years (totally one of my favs), so this year I’m going to switch it up. Ugh, now it just needs to be Thanksgiving already!


Vera Jones November 21, 2012 at 4:47 am

Angela, this table looks really great! Thanks for sharing your recipes, the photos are great and the food looks really tasty! Great job.


Jessca November 21, 2012 at 6:15 am

Although I’m not a vegan or even a vegetarian, plenty of what I cook is one or the other. However, I would never use the word “vegan” to describe anything that I make. A salad can just be a salad without being a vegan salad. I think if you’re worrying about how your family will react, the word “vegan” can be off-putting because it sounds foreign and makes people think of things like tempeh. Fruit and beans and veggies and nuts are all things that most people eat. Just use words that people can relate to.


Joanne (A Nicer Choice) November 21, 2012 at 8:12 am

There are some fantastic tips here, thank you Angela! This is my first Christmas as a vegan. We will be having Christmas dinner at my parent’s house. I’m going to take along my own main instead of turkey (with enough to share) so that I can enjoy all the (vegan) trimmings without my mum having to do anything extra. I can’t wait to browse these recipes for ideas!


Kimmy November 21, 2012 at 11:31 pm

Oh that mushroom millet soup is one of my favourite soups ever. It’s so good!
Can’t wait to try out some of these other recipes =)


[email protected] November 22, 2012 at 6:53 am

Way too many delicious recipes to choose from! We don’t have Thanksgiving in Ireland but so many keepers for Christmas!!!


Moni @ {Meals Meals} November 22, 2012 at 10:31 am

An amazing post Angela. Just beautiful and stunning. My best tip is if you put it out–people eat it, no matter what their diet is!


Susmitha - Veganosaurus November 22, 2012 at 10:47 am

OMG this is a FANTASTIC post!! The photographs are so very gorgeous. I want to ear everything right now!! YUM!


Susmitha - Veganosaurus November 22, 2012 at 10:48 am

Damn! I meant EAT everything, not ear. haha Guess all the deliciousness is throwing my typing off. :oP


Jillian November 22, 2012 at 4:20 pm

I made the lentil loaf last night and had it today for Thanksgiving—it was amazing and my non-vegetarian family members enjoyed it as well! Delicious!


Julie November 23, 2012 at 9:33 am

I made the sweet potato casserole yesterday and it was the best sweet potato dish I’ve ever made. The lentil loaf was excellent also. As the sole vegan in a house of meat-eaters, it was wonderful to have plenty of beautiful dishes to look forward to on Thanksgiving instead of cobbling together a salad and one or two sides.

I’ve been a vegetarian for 30+ years and a vegan for 2. Your recipes have inspired me to get creative and excited about food again. Thank you!


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 25, 2012 at 10:18 am

Hey Julie, Thanks for your lovely comment. I’m so happy you enjoyed the recipes! Happy belated Thanksgiving!


BeCe November 23, 2012 at 10:17 pm

Just found your website, due to a friend of mine. She has Candida an is always loking for help in supporting her need to modify her diet to help her get rid of it w/o any of the MD type attitudes that people qlways come up with. I would like to help her if I can. Do you have any suggestions for her that would help her. She is consulting with an hebalist within our church structure, and has been helped in that way. But, since the diet that she must be on is quite restictive of even some of the vegan foods that we both eat, it is quite a challenge to stay on the diet 100% of the time.

I also am a vegan male, widowed, and finding my culinary skills quite rusty to say the least. I have gone to the beans in a heavy way, along with the raw fruits and vegetables, grains and all. But along with my diabetes I have to be very selective of the foods that I consume, since I am trying to combat it with my diet and exercise. I am not on medication for treating just my diet and exercise, as prementioned. I’ve had it a long time, am under a physicians care that goes along with me and helps me as well. It seems to be working, and I am enthused.

I had a slight stoke here about five years ago, did not opt for surgery, and went vegetarian, but, foundout that this was only the beginning. I went through the CHIP program endorsed and conducted by Dr. Hans Diehl out in California. I live in Maine and was helping out in the program at our local church. However, I found out that I needed more than that to keep me motivated, so I became a vegan. I cook my own meals, and help out some times with the vegan cooking programs offered here in my local area. Suffice it to say, I believe that it is working for me, and always looking for more, better, and ideans as to how to bump my knowledge and diet up another notch, to make it give me the help that I need and desire to get my diabetes under control, w/o ever going back to the meds for this desease. They do not help, they only cover it up, and are only treating the symptoms.

Thanks for your website, and see if there is anybody out there that can help me or my friend. Bill Cox – Thanks again.


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 25, 2012 at 9:33 am

Thanks for sharing your story! I am emailing you to put you in touch with a friend.


Sarah November 24, 2012 at 8:08 am

Looks so delish!! Have a question as a fellow vegetarian…..what are your thoughts on all the bad press for brown rice. Am torn because my family and I eat a lot of brown rice, i use brown rice syrup at times to sweeten my kids baked goods or puddings. They love rice noodles, cereal, cakes, teh works. Curious what others think of arsenic issue in brown rice.


Meg November 25, 2012 at 7:50 pm

“Win them over with food” is right! My fiance and I are eating more meatless dishes (we aren’t vegan, just trying to eat healthier over all), and inviting family over for hearty, filling meatless meals or bringing a tasty meatless side to a family gathering is a nice, non-combative response to the family carnivores. It’s hard to keep up the “rabbit food” jokes if they’re munching on yummy, filling meatless dishes.


Radhika Sarohia November 26, 2012 at 2:53 am

Lovely pics!! Your vegan holiday dishes look scrumptious :-D


Andrea November 26, 2012 at 4:56 pm

Angela, Thank you! The holidays are a very hard time to be vegan, you’re used to being surrounded with the love and support of your family at this time of year, but on this issue we’re often left in the cold! I got around this by bringing my own vegan dinner to our family Thanksgiving, since the only thing I could eat otherwise was green beans! However, your glazed lentil loaf & sweet potato casserole were big hits! Thanks for all the virtual support & great recipes!


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 27, 2012 at 9:23 am

Aw that is so awesome, thanks for letting me know!


Jackie November 26, 2012 at 9:33 pm

I made the pecan pumpkin brownie pie and everybody loved it. I never told them it was vegan!


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 27, 2012 at 9:15 am

Im happy it was enjoyed Jackie!


schmei November 27, 2012 at 1:30 pm

I’m not vegan but I’m responsible for organizing a lot of work get-togethers and I make an effort to serve food everyone can eat, so we usually have a lot of vegetarian/vegan offerings. My tip for new vegans is please give your host/ess feedback! If there is something at an event that you can eat and that you enjoy, say something about it! Sometimes clueless non-vegans need a little encouragement and feedback to know if we’re on the right track or if that vegan squash soup is a terrible idea. :-)


Julie R. November 27, 2012 at 9:18 pm

I made your sweet potato casserole for Thanksgiving and everyone (none of us are vegans) raved about it! Even I was amazed. I doubt I will ever make it the “old” way again, with eggs and all the other stuff. Yours was just too good! And easy, so thanks. I am enjoying gradually trying out your recipes. The ones I have tried have been delish. Going to try the red lentil/kale soup soon!


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 28, 2012 at 9:08 am

Im so glad to hear that Julie!


Christina December 12, 2012 at 6:49 pm

Hi Angela! I really enjoy looking at all the recipes on your website and trying them. There have been days when I live off your recipes. :)

I would like to become more confident making up my own recipes. Salads and veggie dishes are easy, but I don’t have a lot of knowledge about baking (cookies, cakes, etc.) and I don’t know what ingredients to use and how much. Would you make a post with your tips and instructions on how to make up your own recipes, particularly baked goods? That would be great!


Sara December 16, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Wow, how did I not find your blog until now? I LOVE your taste in food! I will need to bookmark so many of your recipes! I am a new almost-vegan (and new vegetarian in general!) and definitely looking to build my recipe stash! I might have to make the mashed potatoes, rice pilaf, and maybe even the pecan dessert to contribute to my omnivore family’s dinner…. BTW I blog about my new lifestyle and will definitely link to your recipes if I make any of them if that’s okay!

And to the Texans, I’m an army wife and stationed here for awhile. I love Texas a lot, but I know what you all mean about them adoring meat and butter!! I went along with family to a very rustic Texas BBQ place (for quality time!) and the guy working there looked at me like I had 10 heads when I politely declined a free sample of meat due to being vegetarian, LOL!


Beth September 21, 2014 at 4:59 pm

I really enjoyed this page and I gave credit to you on my blog. I have a lot of trouble dealing with holidays and I am a struggling Vegetarian. My family is less than supportive and I am over whelmed with stress from sept until about jan 15..due to the various birthdays AND holidays all lumped together.


mollie October 14, 2014 at 8:19 am

Hi! Thanks so much for this master post! I’m not feeling quite as overwhelmed and anxious. We’ll be doing a ‘everyone brings something to the table’, but none of it will be vegan, so I’ll be bringing several dishes (and I like to give homemade cookies and such as gifts as well), that I want others to enjoy as well. I’m feeling very nervous and uncomfortable about it, but now I’m seeing all of these great options and am more confident it’ll all work out :)


Lyn November 5, 2015 at 10:35 pm

So follow up question: I generally make my own stuff to eat, and EVERYONE asks me about it and this actually makes me really upset, singled out, and uncomfortable, but can’t think of a good way to get everyone to BACK OFF. I DON’T want people asking about my food, I DON’T like being singled out like that… short of bursting into tears in frustration or eating in a corner by myself how do I make it STOP?


Zara Stone December 12, 2015 at 9:03 am

These recipes are wonderful and they are so many! Whoever says that vegan diet is limitted must be crazy :) Thank you!


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