Vegan Noms

Vegan Comfort Food

A bowl of pumpkin soup with a sliced pumpkin and slat jar on the side

Comfort food is a culinary concept that transcends cultural boundaries and connects us with the deep memories of our childhood, family gatherings, or special occasions. These are usually warm, rich, and hearty dishes that provide a sense of familiarity, security, and nourishment and vegan comfort food is no exception.

Think about warm soups, comforting stews, hearty pasta, and crispy vegan fried chicken. Vegan comfort food is all about recreating those memorable dishes in a cruelty-free and healthy way. It might involve using vegetable-based meat alternatives, plant-based milk, or creative substitutions for eggs and flour. The key is to keep the familiar taste, texture, and aroma while enhancing the nutritional content and the ethical value of the dish.

In a world where we are constantly busy, stressed, and disconnected, vegan comfort food offers a way to slow down, connect with our senses, and take care of ourselves, animals, and the planet. It’s a true delight for the taste buds and the soul. So, let’s dive into this vegan comfort food adventure, and enjoy every bite of it!

Benefits of vegan comfort food

Switching to a vegan diet is not only good for your health, but it is also beneficial for the environment and animal welfare. Here are a few advantages of adopting a vegan diet and enjoying the comfort food that comes with it.

Health benefits of plant-based diets:

Studies have shown that a plant-based diet is linked to several health benefits, including a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Animal-based foods often contain high levels of saturated fat, cholesterol, and hormones that can lead to health issues.

In contrast, vegan comfort food is often made with fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and plant-based protein sources that are low in saturated fat and high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

A pot of green soup with a bowl filled with the same, sliced bread, broccoli bits, and garlic on the side.

Therefore, choosing vegan comfort food can help you maintain a healthy weight, boost your immune system, and improve your overall wellbeing.

Environmental advantages of veganism:

Meat production is a significant contributor to climate change, deforestation, water pollution, and biodiversity loss. The meat industry generates more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transportation sector combined. Additionally, it takes much more water and land to produce meat compared to plant-based foods. By choosing vegan comfort food, you contribute to the reduction of your carbon footprint, conserve natural resources, and support a sustainable food system.

Ethical considerations and animal welfare:

Veganism is an ethical and compassionate lifestyle that aims to reduce the exploitation and suffering of animals. The meat and dairy industry often involve animal cruelty, mistreatment, and abuse that contradicts basic animal welfare principles. Moreover, consuming animal products perpetuates the cycle of violence towards animals. Choosing vegan comfort food means that you are making a conscious effort to protect animals from unnecessary harm, and show respect and gratitude towards them.

Vegan comfort food options

Vegan cooking offers endless possibilities for creating delicious and comforting dishes. Whether you are a long-time vegan or new to the lifestyle, there are many different vegan ingredients and substitutes that you can use to create classic comfort food dishes. Here are some of the most popular ingredients and substitutes to keep in mind as you explore vegan cuisine:

  • Plant-based meat alternatives: These can be used in place of traditional meat products to create dishes like vegan burgers, chili, and even vegan fried chicken.
  • Nutritional yeast: This is a popular ingredient in vegan cooking that can be used to add a cheesy or nutty flavor to dishes like vegan mac and cheese.
  • Non-dairy milk: Plant-based milks like almond, soy, and oat milk can be used to replace cow’s milk in recipes.
  • Tofu and tempeh: These plant-based protein sources are versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes, from vegan stir-fry to vegan burgers.

Now that you have an idea of some popular vegan ingredients, let’s dive into some delicious vegan comfort food options:

Vegan Mac and Cheese:

Cooked macaroni in a transparent bowl on a white plate

This classic comfort food dish can easily be made vegan. Instead of using cheese made from animal milk, try using a sauce made from nutritional yeast, cashews, and plant-based milk. Add in some veggies like broccoli or mushrooms to make it even more nutritious.

  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 cups plant-based milk
  • 1 lb elbow pasta
  • 1 cup steamed or roasted vegetables (broccoli, mushrooms, etc.)
  1. Soak cashews in hot water for at least 30 minutes (or overnight).
  2. Drain cashews, and add them to a blender or food processor along with nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, and black pepper. Blend until smooth.
  3. Cook pasta according to package instructions.
  4. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water, then drain the remaining water.
  5. In a saucepan, heat plant-based milk over medium heat until hot but not boiling.
  6. Add the cashew mixture to the saucepan, and whisk until smooth.
  7. Add the reserved pasta water, and whisk again.
  8. Stir in the cooked pasta and steamed/roasted vegetables (optional).
  9. Serve hot and enjoy!

Vegan Chili

Assorted beans in different containers

Chili is a hearty dish that can warm you up on a cold day. To make it vegan, you can use plant-based meat alternatives like Beyond Meat or Impossible Foods, or you can use beans as the protein source. Add in some spices like cumin and chili powder, and finish it off with some vegan sour cream or cheese on top.

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Vegan sour cream or cheese (optional)
  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add onion and garlic, and cook until onion is translucent (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add bell peppers and jalapeno pepper, and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in chili powder and cumin, and cook for another 2 minutes.
  5. Add crushed tomatoes, kidney beans, black beans, and corn to the pot.
  6. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for at least 30 minutes.
  7. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste.
  8. Serve hot, and garnish with vegan sour cream or cheese (optional).

Vegan Pizza

Pizza on a wooden board

Pizza is a classic comfort food that can easily be made vegan. Use a plant-based cheese alternative, and top it with your favorite veggies and plant-based meat alternatives like veggie sausage or vegan pepperoni.

  • Pizza crust
  • Tomato sauce
  • Vegan cheese
  • Your choice of toppings (veggies, plant-based meat alternatives)
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Place pizza crust on a baking sheet or pizza stone.
  3. Spread tomato sauce on the crust.
  4. Add vegan cheese and your choice of toppings.
  5. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and crust is crispy.
  6. Serve hot and enjoy!

Vegan Burgers and Sandwiches

Bread with assorted vegan fillings on a wooden board

These are another set of comfort foods that can easily be made vegan. Use a plant-based patty and add your favorite toppings like avocado, onion, and tomato. For a sandwich, try using hummus instead of mayo.

  • Plant-based burger patties
  • Burger buns or bread
  • Toppings (avocado, onion, tomato, lettuce, etc.)
  • Vegan mayo or hummus
  1. Cook plant-based burger patties according to package instructions.
  2. Toast burger buns or bread (optional).
  3. Spread vegan mayo or hummus on one or both sides of the bread.
  4. Add cooked burger patty, avocado, onion, tomato, lettuce, or your favorite toppings.
  5. Serve hot and enjoy!

Vegan Ice Cream and Desserts

Scoops of ice cream in a white, rectangular plate

Who says you can’t have vegan comfort food desserts? There are plenty of vegan ice cream options on the market, or you can make your own using frozen bananas and plant-based milk. You can also make vegan versions of classic desserts like brownies and cookies by using substitutes like applesauce instead of eggs.

  • 4-5 ripe bananas, peeled and frozen
  • 1/2 cup plant-based milk
  • Your choice of add-ins (chocolate chips, nuts, berries, etc.)
  1. Add frozen bananas and plant-based milk to a blender or food processor.
  2. Blend until smooth and creamy.
  3. Add your choice of add-ins, and pulse for a few seconds.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a freezer-safe container, and freeze for at least 1 hour.
  5. Scoop and serve cold. Enjoy!

As you can see, there are plenty of vegan comfort food options to explore. The versatility and creativity of vegan cooking make it easy to reimagine classic comfort food dishes in a delicious and cruelty-free way. So, grab your apron and start creating!