Thanksgiving can still be a feast for vegans and vegetarians


Not everyone loves the bird for Thanksgiving. For vegans, vegetarians, and anyone looking to shake up the holiday and go meat-free this year, PACIFIC has rounded up a cornucopia of delicious choices.

Act quick on ordering and reservations, because some of these places will sell out or book up.

Veggie Grill

Prepped for all levels of holiday eating, this UTC favorite has everything including a Turkey Dinner Sandwich, Thanksgiving Plate, and full-on Thanksgiving Feast. The sandwich comes with roasted “turkey”, stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce, with a side of cauli-mashed potatoes with porcini gravy (available Nov. 9 through Dec. 31). The Plate provides a full dinner with roasted “turkey,” cornbread stuffing, green bean casserole, mashed yams, and a side of cauli-mashed potatoes with porcini gravy and cranberry sauce. Available on Thanksgiving Day only from noon to 8 p.m.

This year the Grill unveils the Thanksgiving Feast for in home enjoyment. For $69.95 the Feast includes a stuffed holiday “roast,” cornbread stuffing, green bean casserole, mashed yams, cauli-mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and porcini gravy. Available for online pre-order through Nov. 19, and for pickup in store on Nov. 22.

4353 La Jolla Village Dr., University Town Center, 858.458.0031,

Café Gratitude

Back this year with the second annual community Thanksgiving meal (it’s been going for 14 years at the original San Francisco location), Gratitude offers an incredible organic, plant-based Thanksgiving lunch for free. On Thursday, Nov. 23 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the first-come, first-served basis meal is provided by volunteers of all ages. The mouthwatering, health-conscious menu features red lentil holiday loaf, raw pecan, cranberry and apple stuffing, mushroom gravy, and holiday more surprises waiting in the wings. The restaurant is expecting to serve between 800 to1,000 people in the four hour period. In addition, the restaurant will be selling their popular raw and vegan holiday pies, including pecan, pumpkin and chocolate coconut cream. All proceeds will be donated to Ambulante, to rebuild hospitals, schools and homes that have been severely affected by the recent earthquakes in Mexico.

1980 Kettner Blvd., Little Italy, 619.736.5077,

Farmer’s Table

Full of autumn goodies and holiday-inspired treats, the restaurant offers a perfect Thanksgiving meal from beginning to end. Start with the Burnt Carrots, made with local avocado, red onion, cilantro, feta and citrus thyme vinaigrette, then dive into Butternut Squash Ravioli, with brown butter sage and topped with parmesan. Finish off your holiday meal with a comforting bread pudding or a slice of Julian apple or pecan pie.

8141 La Mesa Blvd., La Mesa, 619.724.6465,

Native Foods Encinitas

Head up to North County for a smorgasbord buffet of vegan delights this holiday. This yearly event is popular and has limited seating, so plan to get there early. On the buffet lineup are: Native Wellington, Shepherd’s Pie, Apple Cider Braised Brussel Sprouts, Polenta Butternut Squash Terrine, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Native Stuffing, Mushroom Gravy, Pumpkin Pie, and more.

Open noon to 7 p.m. only. Cost: $29.99 per adult, $14.99 for 12 years and under.

To make reservations, call: 773.669.6778

Want to celebrate at home? Order the Native Wellington with seitan, stuffing, orange glazed sweet potatoes, kale, and herbed mushrooms ($34) or Native Pies ($20) online at

127 N El Camino Real, Encinitas,

Note to vegans and vegetarians: Vegan and vegetarian friendly restaurants Kindred and True Food Kitchen are both closed on Thanksgiving Day.