Pass the stuffing.  Pass the cranberry sauce.  Pass the…tofu?  What’s Thanksgiving without turkey? Splendidly delicious, that’s what.  Sometimes a meal that centers around meat and stuffing can be tricky to navigate when you have a variety of food preferences or allergies at your house.  That’s why we’re extra grateful to have these gourmet options that cater to the vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and just plain picky eaters and will have everyone at the table going “gobble, gobble.”

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Akasha
The Culver City restaurant known for its innovative, sustainably-conscious (also kiddie-friendly!) cooking is hosting a Thanksgiving feast fit for omnivores, complete with vegan and veggie entrees.  Prior spreads included a pie buffet: the current menu is in its final planning stages but reserve now to dine between 1:00 pm – 7:00 pm on a 4-course meal at $65 for grownups and $35 for kiddos 12 and under.

9543 Culver Blvd
Culver City, 90232
Phone: (310) 845-1700
Online: akasharestaurant.com

Tofurkey Vegetarian Thanksgiving

Café Gratitude
Honoring the true spirit of the holiday, Café Gratitude Venice is offering a gratis celebratory supper to community members on Thanksgiving Day.  A composed plate of gourmet vegan fare — complete with a sweet square of pumpkin pie – will be offered first-come, first-served basis without advance reservation, between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm or until the last morsel of stuffing runs out.  Families interested in volunteering to help serve the meal may contact the Venice café in advance to sign up. The original Larchmont locale is closed for the holiday but baked goods can be ordered until Sunday November 24 for pick-up on Wednesday by 10:00 pm, the evening before the holiday.

512 Rose Ave
Venice, 90291
Phone: (424) 231-8000
Online: cafegratitudevenice.com

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Café La Boheme
WeHo’s eclectic mainstay is once again open on Thanksgiving, serving a multi-course menu with vegan and veggie options.  The Japanese pumpkin ravioli and butternut squash & celery root gratin pull double-duty as entrée and side choices.  Who needs anything with feathers?  The dinner is for dine-in guest only from 2:00 pm – 8:00 pm at $45 for grownups and $20 for little ones.

8400 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, 90069
Phone: (323) 848-2360
Online: globaldiningca.com/laboheme

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M Café
Gluten-free tempeh loaf and seitan roast highlight the menu at the Melrose and Beverly Hills locations of M Café. This year’s dinner is take-out only and should be ordered in advance, preferably by Friday, November 22.  Not sure if your pint-sized pilgrims will go for it?  Sample the spread during the two weeks preceding the holiday.  Complete meals range from $65-$70 for a couple or up to $130 for a family of four.  The newest outpost in Brentwood may be getting in on the act but check first before ordering.

Locations in West Hollywood/Melrose, Beverly Hills and Brentwood
Online: mcafedechaya.com

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Real Food Daily
The popular healthy spot is recognized for taking vegetarian dining to new level and Thanksgiving is no exception.  Serving holiday ‘teasers’ throughout the month of November, faux ‘bird’ of tofu and tempeh with sides such as kombacha corn soup and organic mushroom gravy fixings are offered for take-away only at all four RFD locations this season.  Both full meals and a la carte should be reserved by Tuesday November 26, with pick up until Wednesday at 8 pm. See the complete list posted on their website at the beginning of November.

Locations in Santa Monica, West Hollywood and Pasadena
Online: realfood.com

Stuff I Eat
This is vegan comfort food for the soul, prepared with love like trusted family.  Savory specialties like sweet potato pie (vegan or raw), hearty mac n’ cheese, cornbread stuffing and BBQ tofu are a few of the favorites that locals return for, especially for the holiday.  The cozy Inglewood storefront cafe is open for dine in or take out on Thanksgiving Day with hours from noon until 6:00 pm.

114 No. Market St.
Inglewood, 90301
Phone: (310) 671-0115
Online: stuffieat.com

SunCafé
Want to really go back to your roots?  Get raw for Thanksgiving! This award-winning Studio City organic eatery will amend your mindset with its gourmet vegan dishes this holiday.  Available for takeout only this year, make your prepaid orders by Tuesday November 25 for pick up on Thanksgiving Day.  Past menus highlighted butternut squash soup, autumn kale salad with cinnamon pumpkin slaw and polenta lentil loaf; this year again with feature both raw food and cooked vegan options, yet to be announced.  Check the cafe website after the first week in November.

3711 Cahuenga Blvd West
Studio City, 91604
Phone: (818) 308-7420
Online: suncafe.com

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And now for something completely different…a Celebration FOR the Turkeys

Picture a holiday table set with fine linens, seasonally decorated with fall flowers and fruit.  Heaping platters of faves like cranberries, stuffed squash and pumpkin pie are served to hungry guests – and those honored guests are none other than a flock of live turkeys!  On November 9th, Farm Sanctuary in Acton celebrates Thanksgiving by honoring the rescued turkeys that call the place home.  Following a special feeding ceremony, the esteemed poultry are celebrated with presentations about animal protection while attendees of all ages feast on a delectable vegan meal.   Go online for full details and register to participate. Today’s a day when everyone, especially the turkeys, are thankful!

5200 Escondido Canyon Road
Acton, 93510
Online: farmsanctuary.org/events

– Kim Orchen Cooper

What’s on your table for Thanksgiving dinner?  Do you have any favorite spots (or recipes) for turkey-free Turkey Day meals?  Share them with us in the comments!

Photos credits: Cafe Gratitude via facebook, anjenettew via Creative Commons, prideandvegudice Flickr via Creative Commons and M Cafe via facebook