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Ten best meatless, gluten-free Thanksgiving side dishes

No holiday happens at our house without a bowl of Grandma's applesauce on the table. Make this days ahead of time. #vegan #glutenfree

Do you remember Norman Rockwell's painting "Freedom from Want"? Also called The Thanksgiving Picture, it depicts mom (or grandma) carrying a large turkey on a platter to the holiday table, around which the entire smiling family waits eagerly for the turkey carving to begin.

That was 1942, but today, no holiday host gets off as easily as that. Where are the vegetarian alternative, the vegan and gluten-free side dishes, the tofurkey? Where's the stuffing made without cornbread? Where are the mashed potatoes made without milk for the dairy-free guests? Good grief, Thanksgiving is challenging!

We're here to help, with ten of our favorite meatless, gluten-free Thanksgiving side dishes listed in somewhat alphabetical order. Some are vegan, some are not, but all can be adapted for your particular needs. For even more ideas, comb through our Best Thanksgiving Sides Pinterest board, where top bloggers have posted some of their favorite recipe ideas, and check out our own Thanksgiving Favorites in the recipe index at the top of the page.

No holiday meal in our house would be complete without a bowl of my grandmother's applesauce. I love that it's sweetened only by the apples themselves, though of course you could add a bit of honey. Grandma used cinnamon and cloves to heighten the flavor. There is something so right about having fruit on the holiday table.

Broccoli slaw salad made with dried cranberries and almonds looks lovely on the table! #vegetarian #glutenfree

Broccoli slaw salad with dried cranberries, almonds, and yogurt dressing is easy on the host, and naturally gluten-free.

Make this warm Brussels sprouts salad with or without the cheese. #glutenfree

For your vegan guests, you can make this warm Brussels sprouts salad with maple-mustard dressing without the goat cheese. My husband ate an entire bowl of this for lunch, so it could even be a holiday main dish. It's that good.

Sweet and sour slow cooker red cabbage cooks itself, while you're busy doing other things. Delicious with roast turkey! #vegan #glutenfree

Ignore the hot dog! It's the sweet and sour red cabbage on top that belongs alongside roast turkey on your holiday table. It's made in the slow cooker, so it cooks itself while you're busy with the rest of the meal. And you can double the quantity easily (cook in a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker).

Roasted carrots taste like candy! #vegan #glutenfree

Carrots, filled with natural sweetness, turn sweet as candy when roasted in the oven. I guarantee that these oven-roasted carrots will please children of all ages.


Serve chickpea gremolata with green olives, pine nuts and raisins as a side dish, or a vegan main dish, or even an appetizer. It's a little bit crunchy, and a little bit sweet. Best of all, the pressure cooker makes it fast, from scratch.

Sauteed escarole brings some dark leafy greens to your table. #glutenfree #vegetarian ThePerfectPantry.com

Most often we serve escarole in soup, but it makes a fine side dish in this sautéed escarole with garlic and parmesan cheese. Omit the cheese to make it vegan. Omit the red pepper flakes, or add more, to your taste.

For the holidays, you have to have mashed potatoes. These sweet potatoes with garlic add color and zing to your menu! ThePerfectPantry.com

Mashed garlic sweet potatoes bring a bit of color and zing to your table. My family isn't big on sweet potatoes, but mashed potatoes? Oh, yes!

Roasted potatoes with lemon thyme vinaigrette, easy on the cook and sure to please! ThePerfectPantry.com

Speaking of potatoes, nobody can resist potatoes when they're roasted in the oven until the edges are crispy brown. These roasted potatoes with lemon thyme vinaigrette offer a bright flavor, and if you're lucky enough to have fresh thyme in your garden, even better.


Gluten-free brown rice and almond pilaf goes with almost everything. It's a hearty side dish served with turkey or with roasted vegetables.

Happy menu planning! Please tell us what side dishes will be on your holiday table this year.

For even more ideas, check out my e-cookbook, Meatless Holidays: Fun, festive recipes for vegetarians and vegans, and the people who cook for them. Most of the more than 100 recipes are gluten-free.

10 Best Holiday Side Dishes: Meatless & Gluten-free! from ThePerfectPantry.com

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


Great collection, and so many people need these options. I'm going to my sisters for Thanksgiving and I'm still trying to decide what I should bring.

Kalyn, any of these sides would be a welcome contribution from a guest!

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