We understand how hard it can be for vegans and vegetarians to find proper substitutes that taste good, especially during Thanksgiving, a holiday dedicated to gorging yourself on some of the most unhealthy and meat-based foods we have to offer in America (turducken, anyone?). Your extended family treats not eating turkey on Thanksgiving as some personal affront to them (parents just don’t understand). But lucky for you, we’ve created this handy dandy guide to finding some of the best vegetarian and vegan options in the DC area for Thanksgiving so that you don’t starve when your family “forgets” to make the meal without meat.
The Vegetarian Society of DC is hosting a Thanksgiving dinner from noon to 4:00 p.m. Registration is closed, so I hope you already registered. Just so you know what you’re missing out on though, they’re having mushroom ravioli, green bean casserole, vegan pumpkin pie and more.
Thanksgiving Day hours: 12pm to 4pm
This is hands down my favorite bakery in Columbia Heights, possibly in the DC area. You know after all of that tofu turkey you’re going to want dessert. Sticky Fingers will be open from 8am to 3pm and they’ll have bourbon pecan pie, apple pie and pumpkin pie. Also, they have sweet potato maple cupcakes with toasted marshmallows. I don’t know how they taste and whether I actually like the idea of that, but it’s Sticky Fingers. I don’t think I’ve ever not liked something from there.
Thanksgiving Day hours: 8am to 3pm
For the vegans who miss macaroni and cheese, look no further. This restaurant makes a soy mac and cheese that the chef claims is delicious. And instead if a turkey, there will be a meatless, gluten-based roast with stuffing, cranberry sauce and other side dishes.
Thanksgiving Day hours: 10am – 5pm
Busboys & Poets’ menu includes a few vegetarian and vegan options. Mainly pasta and a few tofu entrees.
Thanksgiving Day hours: 8am to midnight
As a vegetarian, if you’re tired of always being hungry on Thanksgiving because you can’t find anything meat-free to indulge in, head over to Founding Farmers for a meatless “turkey” meatloaf option as a main course. According to the chef, it tastes just like the real thing because of all the herbs and spices and gravy they use. They also have sides of roasted sweet potato with fig and pecan butter, and chestnut cornbread stuffing. And if dessert is your favorite course, choose from an assortment of pies: pumpkin, pecan, apple caramel, chocolate or coconut cream.
Thanksgiving Day hours: 12pm – 8pm
Smoke & Barrel isn’t just for vegetarians, but they have plenty of vegetarian food, including smoked vegan wings, veggie chili, BBQ nachos with tofu and a BBQ smoked tofu sandwich. They can make some vegan tacos and sweet potato donuts for you too. Sure, tacos and doughnuts aren’t Thanksgiving food, but guys, it’s tacos. Also, they have bourbon. When you can’t deal with your family, go get some bourbon here too.
Thanksgiving Day hours: 5pm to 11pm
If you’re already sick of the cold, go to this restaurant and pretend you’re relaxing in the Caribbean. The vegetarian options are all Caribbean-inspired, including barbecue vegetarian steak and jerk mock shrimp.
Thanksgiving Day hours: 10am to 9pm
If you’re sick of American Thanksgiving food, go to Mandalay for traditional Burmese food, which has an entire menu of vegan options. Highlights include vegan ice cream and Mandalay tofu.
Thanksgiving Day hours: 11:30am to 9:30pm
The great thing about this place is everything on the menu is vegan so no guessing or asking questions, plus they cater so you can enjoy your vegan Thanksgiving from the safety and warmth of your own home. For your main dish, you can order a herb infused seitan roast or a pineapple-glazed ham, plus a variety of side dishes.
Thanksgiving Day hours: 3pm to 7pm (catering orders must be placed by Wednesday)
Loving Hut has all-vegan Asian-inspired cuisine. They specialize in mock-meat versions of traditional Vietnamese favorites and they always have vegan doughnuts available!
Thanksgiving Day hours: 11am to 9pm
They have a rotating menu and food and juices made fresh each day. Try the ’fried’ plantain or the Almond Hemp Burger.
Thanksgiving Day hours: 11:30am to 8:30pm