posted December 21, 2021
Many people think they have to give up comfort food after they go vegan. Sometimes it’s even used as an excuse: “I could never go vegan! I would miss <insert comfort food here>!”
Well, I have good news. There are vegan versions of just about every comfort food you’ve ever enjoyed. Let’s take a look at the top eleven foods that I enjoy when I’m craving comfort.
There’s nothing like a cozy stew on a cold winter night. My favorite stew recipe is one using beefless tips that I veganized from an old cookbook. “Mama Day’s Beefless Stew” turns into vegan bliss when you add some dumplings to the top while it’s simmering (this recipe can be found in the Main Street Vegan Academy Cookbook).
I’ll admit it, plain pizza without the cheese isn’t all that comforting. But imagine a thick crust piled high with caramelized onions, spinach, and vegan feta cheese. My mouth waters just thinking about it! The sky is the limit when you’re creating your perfect pie.
Burgers and Fries
Sunday night is vegan cheeseburger night at our house and I look forward to it all week long. There are so many delicious burgers on the market right now and so many ways to dress them up. Think smoked vegan Gouda, with crisp red onions, pickles and mayo on a soft ciabatta roll. Serve those bad boys with French fries (I love them air fried!) on the side and dig in.
Chick’n Fried Tofu and Gravy
One of my favorite recipes is this whole food, plant-based version of a southern specialty. The rich, creamy gravy on a side of mashed potatoes will make you feel as comfy as a worn-in flannel. Add some steamed green beans to make it a complete meal.
Macaroni and Cheese
There are many recipes that use butternut squash, like this one, to make a creamy low-fat version of this family favorite, but my kids always request Colleen Patrick Goudreau’s version from her book The Vegan Table. The oil and cashews in her recipe make it higher in fat and calories but oh, so good. I add steamed broccoli right into the macaroni and cheese to add nutrition and color.
Not only does the taste of apple crisp bring back warm, soothing memories but the smell of it baking will go straight to your heart. Vanilla vegan ice cream (and sharing) is optional.
Spaghetti and Meatlessballs
What is it that makes this meal so comforting? Is it the sauce you remember from your childhood, or is it the garlic bread you know you’re going to add to the side of your plate? You can go a cappella with a simple pasta marinara or top with meaty balls from Beyond or Gardein. Mama Mia! I’m feeling better already.
Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup
A lunchtime favorite of all ages, grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup make a winning combination. Luckily, it’s easily made with your favorite vegan cheese (I like to add tomato slices to mine). Don’t hesitate to open up that can of premade tomato soup to save time. Just check the ingredients to make sure it’s vegan.
Loaded French Fries
French fries are a staple for vegans but take your French fry game up a notch and top them with mushroom gravy for the Canadian favorite, poutine — traditionally, fries topped with cheese curds and gravy. Another option: pile chili and cheese sauce onto that plate of fries for your next get-together.
Butternut Squash Soup
There are several iterations of this classic, creamy soup recipe and you can go as decadent as you want. It can easily be kept low-fat, and drizzling a silky cashew sauce over the top may just be exactly what you need to make it special and give it even more comfort food credit.
Vegan Ice Cream
Are you going through a bad breakup? Did you get a speeding ticket on your way home from work? A pint of vegan ice cream and a spoon is all you’ll need to make you forget all about that bad day. Don’t skimp on the toppings! Nuts, chocolate sauce, chocolate chips, and vegan whipped cream will cure the worst moods. While conventional sauces for hot fudge tend not to be vegan, check out these that are: Wildly Organic, Vegan Hot Fudge by Coop’s, or if you’re in the UK Nature’s Charmed Coconut Chocolate Fudge Sauce. Or make your own: a curious Google click will bring up a slew of very comforting recipes.
Chris Day, VLCE is a Main Street Vegan Academy Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator living in Costa Rica with her husband and five rescue dogs. She is a graduate of the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, and holds certifications from Rouxbe Culinary School in both Professional Plant-Based Cooking and the Forks Over Knives programs. Find her at anewdayvegan.net.