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11 Vegan Thanksgiving Sides That Will Impress Everyone — Plus, Advice for the Holiday From Longtime Vegans

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Thanksgiving is not typically the most eco-friendly holiday. On top of all the single-use containers and cookware that many families use, most Thanksgiving dinners are centered around meat — specifically, turkeys. And considering animal agriculture's impact on the environment, eating vegan is one of the best ways to keep your Thanksgiving low-impact this year. It's also a compassionate choice for animals, considering the fact that turkeys are typically slaughtered for Thanksgiving at just 3 to 5 months of age, according to Business Insider.

Luckily, making Thanksgiving side dishes free of meat, dairy, and eggs is much easier than you might think. But to make things even easier, we've rounded up a list of recipes for yummy vegan Thanksgiving sides. Not only that, but we even reached out to a few of the Internet's favorite vegan food bloggers, who each shared with us their personal favorite vegan Thanksgiving recipes — as well as their advice on being the only vegan at the table this Thanksgiving. 

Because while that family member may have the best of intentions (or, at least, humorous intentions), being criticized for choosing not to eat animal products — especially if you do so for ethical reasons — can feel hurtful.

So read on for 11 delicious animal-free recipes for Thanksgiving sides, mains, and desserts that will blow the socks off everyone — meat-eaters included — this Nov. 28. And don't forget to pack your reusable containers, because you're definitely going to want leftovers. 

8-Ingredient Pecan Pie

If blogger Caitlin Shoemaker of From My Bowl could only recommend one of her Thanksgiving recipes, she would hands down go for her secretly-healthy Vegan Pecan Pie, which features a "buttery crust, luscious caramel filling, and crunchy pecan topping," as she tells Green Matters in an email. The recipe includes instructions to make a gluten-free crust, but Shoemaker says you can use any vegan crust recipe you like.

"If you didn't tell everyone this pie was vegan, I don't think they would know!" Shoemaker says. "Everyone loves dessert, and pie, in my opinion, is a great 'gateway drug' into the world of vegan food. Once people realize how easy it is to replace dairy and eggs in recipes and still have them taste delicious, they're much more likely to make the switch."

The recipe developer also has some helpful advice for vegans attending non-vegan Thanksgivings this year. "Enjoy yourself! Thanksgiving isn't about the food, it's about being grateful for what you have and spending time with friends and loved ones," Shoemaker tells Green Matters. Not only that, but use your positive attitude — and cooking skills — to show how awesome being vegan can be. "This is a great opportunity to lead by example and show your family how your kindness extends to all beings — people included. So come with a positive attitude, big smile, and a yummy vegan dish to share," she adds.