Simple Allergen-Free, Vegan Recipes for Thanksgiving Appetizers, Sides and Desserts

Written by Recipes

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks and get together with friends and family; however, it can be a stressful time for those whose loved ones struggle with food allergies and diet-restrictions.

As a celiac and vegan, I know that my family goes out of their way to ensure I have options at the dinner table. That being said, I never expect that anyone to make special accommodations for me and always make sure to bring my own options. For those looking to accommodate family members with food restrictions, my advice is to take the emphasis off of recreating what they can not have. For example, as a celiac I don’t need a gluten-free bread replacement; I am perfectly happy filling up on other foods. A vegetarian doesn’t need a turkey replacement like “tofurky” to enjoy a great Thanksgiving meal.

Place the focus on vibrant, whole foods and you’re sure to have a winning spread. Whether you are looking for recipes to accommodate your own sensitivities or for a loved one, below are recommendations for sides, appetizers and desserts. They are all simple yet delicious and don’t require a pantry full of alternative food supplies to prepare. Here’s to a happy, healthy thanksgiving spent with friends and family!




1 . Butternut Squash Hummus

Gluten-free, vegan, nut-free, soy-free…. hummus with chopped veggies is probably the most allergen friendly appetizer you can image. This butternut squash hummus is perfect for a Thanksgiving get-together. If time is a factor you can bring store bought hummus and chopped veggies. Serving with gluten-free rice crackers or tortilla chips will make this app an allergy-friendly hit.


2 . Fig and Olive Tapenade

With only 5 ingredients this recipe is fail-proof yet luxurious. The combo of figs, kalamata olives and lemon creates a burst of flavour, and the sav blanc is an added bonus ;). This recipe is best if made a day ahead to give the flavours a chance to meld together. Serve with gluten-free crackers and you’ve got an allergen-free winner!


3 . Veggie Pinwheels

Pinwheels make a perfect, one-bite, portable appetizer. This recipe uses hummus in place of cream cheese to hold the wrap together and makes it a vegan-friendly option. Load your wrap up with whatever veggies your heart desires. If you are entertaining a gluten-free friend you can use gluten-free wraps.


4 . Smokey Harissa Eggplant Dip

Roasted eggplant is creamy, thick and lends itself perfectly to being made into a dip. Roasting the eggplant is easy, then it’s as simple as blending it up with your chosen herbs and spices. This recipe uses spicy chili paste with smoked paprika to achieve a smoky, spicy flavour. It pairs perfectly with chopped veggies, pita, or gluten-free crackers or tortilla chips. If a family member has a nut allergy, the walnuts can be left out without making much of a difference.


5 . Vegan Falafel

Another great one bite app is falafel. Using canned chickpeas is the trick to having these ready in under 30 minutes. Full of fresh parsley and spices, these baked falafels are a great healthy addition to any party. Serve these babies up warm with some tahini or hummus for dipping.




1 . Cranberry Apple Pecan Wild Rice Pilaf

While “wild rice pilaf” might sound intimidating, I guarantee this recipe is simple to make. Sweet and savory, it will make the perfect addition to any Thanksgiving spread. To make this dish truly allergen free, replace the pecans with pumpkin seeds. And if you are entertaining any vegans or vegetarians swap the chicken broth out for veggie.


2 . Loaded Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Butternut Squash

A Thanksgiving spread is incomplete without a butternut squash dish. In this recipe, the cinnamon-spiced roast butternut squash perfectly compliments the roasted brussel sprouts. It’s all brought together with a balsamic maple dressing that will make you come back for seconds. If nuts are an issue replace pecans with pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or any other crunchy bits you might like.


3 . Candied Lime Sweet Potato

This dish is as beautiful as it is delicious. The thinly sliced sweet potato combined with molasses, lime, and ginger gives this dish a unique flair. Try this once and it might just become a Thanksgiving dinner staple!


4 . Vegan Stuffing

This upgraded vegan stuffing is not only packed full of flavour, it’s much healthier than your run-of-the-mill stuffing. This dish goes beyond bread and incorporates butternut squash, brussel sprouts, gala apples and fresh herbs like sage, thyme, and rosemary. To make this dish gluten-free make sure to use gluten-free bread. If nuts are a concern, skip the walnuts/pecans.


5 . Spicy Roasted Cauliflower Salad

Roasted cauliflower is the star of this dish that also features chickpeas and raisins. The recipe calls for grape seed oil, but your average, run-of-the-mill olive oil will work just fine. If you and your family are spice lovers, this is one for the books!




1 .  Vegan Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie

What is Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie?! While this recipe does call for some fancier ingredients (gluten-free flour, vegan butter) it is well worth the extra effort for a treat that everyone will enjoy. This recipe also uses more wholesome sweeteners than your conventional white sugar, making it a great option for everyone, regardless of their food restrictions.


2 . Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

For those of you who want a vegan, gluten-free pumpkin pie without the extra effort, this recipe is for you. With all the right spices, this smoothie/ pudding (depending on the consistency – keeping it thicker makes it into a toppable pudding) tastes just like pumpkin pie. Top with chai spiced granola or coconut whip-cream for an authentic, yet guilt free, treat.


3 . Two Ingredient Chocolate Truffles

Miraculously, all you need to make these indulgent treats is dark chocolate and coconut milk. The less ingredients the better when dealing with food sensitivities and these truffles will appeal to everyone in your family, regardless of their dietary restrictions.


4 . Canadian Maple Pie

Basically a gigantic maple tart, it’s hard to believe this is both gluten-free and vegan. To save time on prep you can buy a pre-made gluten-free crust and use the recipe for the delicious maple filling.


5 . Chai Protein Pumpkin Bars

Nothing embodies fall-time like chai and pumpkin flavours. Here we combine both for an outta this world Thanksgiving treat. Sweetened with maple syrup and full of goodness from with Vega One Chai Protein this dessert is destined for your Thanksgiving table.



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Last modified: October 5, 2017