First year dairy-free? Or just looking for new recipes? We’ve got Thanksgiving covered. We compiled a list of our favorite foolproof, dairy-free dishes so you don’t have to worry about missing out on the feast. Of course, if you simply must serve your great-grandmother’s mashed potato recipe or your uncle’s favorite pecan pie, check out our comprehensive Ultimate Guide to Dairy Alternatives to find dairy-free swaps for ingredients such as milk and butter. Whether you’re sticking to tradition or trying something new, you’re guaranteed to have a plentiful dairy-free Thanksgiving.
1. Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese
Mac and cheese is a must at many Thanksgiving tables. To keep things in theme, we’re making this creamy sweet potato mac and cheese by chef, restauranteur, and best-selling cookbook author Chloe Coscarelli. You don’t taste the sweet potato, but it lends itself to a decadent and classically bright orange sauce that we will be drizzling over leftovers all week long.
2. Mushroom Gravy
Traditionally, a gravy starts with a roux—or an equal measure of butter and flour cooked down on a stovetop. This flavor bomb sauce directs you to swap in non-dairy butter or even olive oil to replace the dairy, and your guests will be none the wiser. Packed with savory mushrooms and fragrant spices that scream, “Thanksgiving,” this gravy has earned its place in your most treasured gravy boat.
3. Pumpkin Pie
There are so many dairy-free pumpkin pie recipes out there, but this Food Network edition has never let us down. It’s a classic baked pie featuring a flaky crust, a subtly spiced filling, and the perfect texture. The secret ingredient might surprise you—it’s tofu! Help yourself to a second slice—you’re hitting your fiber and protein quota by eating dessert! Pro tip: add just a pinch of black pepper while blending the filling. You shouldn’t taste it, but the spice brings out the pumpkin flavor.
4. Whipped Cream
High-quality, non-dairy whip is available in most grocery stores, but you can also make your own with just two ingredients—coconut cream and powdered sugar. The Trader Joe’s brand of coconut cream is the most reliable, but you can also use any can of full-fat coconut milk—just buy a few cans and stick them in the fridge the night before, as some cans can turn out to be “duds.” Once chilled, simply swipe off the solid cream from the top and whip it with powdered sugar (maybe a little vanilla or cinnamon if you want to get fancy) until it transforms into marvelous, luscious whipped cream. Just make sure you unplug the beaters before you lick them!
5. Cornbread Stuffing
Whether you call it stuffing or dressing, we can all agree this side dish is delicious. We suggest making the cornbread ahead for this one—not only will it save you time, stuffing is actually better when made with nearly-stale or dried-out bread. Serve with mushroom gravy and your favorite cranberry sauce (we won’t judge if that happens to come from a can).
6. Green Bean Casserole
While the green bean casserole can be polarizing (you love it or you hate it), it is a staple on nearly every Thanksgiving table. Ditch the homogenized cream of mushroom soup and make a side dish people will enthusiastically devour—even your four-year-old nephew who has sworn off “green things.”
7. Mashed Potatoes
You do not need to add dairy-based butter to mashed potatoes to make them holiday-worthy. This Food Network recipe infuses the spuds with olive oil and creamy roasted garlic to produce light, fluffy, and velvety potatoes that stand on their own. Of course, a touch of mushroom gravy never hurts!
8. Sweet Potato Casserole
This classically southern—dessert? side dish? both?—is nothing short of indulgent. If you look forward to your marshmallow-topped side every year, opt for this dairy-free version. While some may have scoffed at a sweet potato casserole in previous years, we can almost guarantee they’ll be scooping up seconds of this recipe.
9. Scalloped Potatoes
Can you have too many potato dishes on your Thanksgiving table? Nope! Besides, this dish is all about the cream sauce. It’s thick, garlicky, and aptly mimics a dairy-based cream sauce right down to the bubbling, slightly browned edges as you pull it from the oven. We’re serving this at Christmas, too!
10. Savory Vegetable Pot Pie
This show-stopping casserole can feed a crowd—including all who ask for second helpings. While a far healthier alternative to the dairy-laden dishes on the table, your guests will definitely clean the casserole dish. Packed with fall veggies, a lusciously thick cashew-based sauce, and topped with a “buttery” pie crust, a generous scoop is a meal in itself. Prepare yourself and print out multiples of the recipe—your guests will surely be asking for it.
Photo credit: Food Network