Winter is truly a magical time. During the colder months, we do a lot of wonderful things: We spend cozy nights by the fire, wear fuzzy pajamas, attend holiday festivities with friends and family, watch the falling rain and snow, and—perhaps most importantly—enjoy lots of delicious feasts. Yep, that’s right: FEASTS.
Once I begin making food for Thanksgiving dinner, I just can’t stop cooking. The stuffing, mashed potatoes, and vegan holiday roasts jump-start my cravings for comfort food. What goes better with a warm fire than a hot pizza? What goes better with a rainstorm than loaded potato skins? What goes better with a snow day than chili? Well, I’m here to tell you: NOTHING. Nothing goes better with this lovely, shimmering, freezing-cold season than your favorite comfort foods. So, peta2 is here to hook you up with our guide to classic comfort foods—veganized! Check it out:
1. Mac ‘n’ ‘Cheese’
This dish has it all: It’s cheesy (vegan cheesy, duh), it’s carby, and it’s creamy—which makes it perfect. Don’t have a bae to snuggle up with this season? That’s OK, because you have mac ‘n’ “cheese.”
Make your own: Get yo’ mac on!
Or you can buy some AWESOME boxed Vegan Cheddar Mac & Cheese from Earth Balance. It also comes in a vegan white cheddar flavor. You need to try both—just trust me on this one. If you can’t find this gem at a store near you, you can order it through Amazon. (Can I get a YAAAAAAAS for technology?!)
2. ‘Mozzarella’ Sticks
Vegan mozzarella sticks are a personal favorite of mine. The filling in these bad boys is made with hearts of palm, making them both absurdly delicious and a bit healthier than most of the other foods on this list. (But comfort foods aren’t SUPPOSED to be healthy. They’re supposed to make you feel cozy. That’s what makes ’em so comforting—especially when they’re eaten in sweatpants.) Don’t forget to warm up some of your favorite vegan marinara sauce for dipping!
Click here to get the recipe.
Think about it: Chilly weather means chili in your bowls. It can be made spicy or mild (shout out to chili for being so versatile!). And since it’s made with beans, it’s packed with protein, which means that you can store up some energy for that Netflix marathon, Chanukah candle lighting, or Christmas tree decorating!
Want to make your own? Just click here.
Don’t feel like taking the homemade route? Amy’s makes delicious canned vegan chili that you can find at most grocery stories. If you have trouble tracking down the Amy’s brand, try Hormel’s vegetarian chili instead!
Soup is SO underrated. Can you think of anything that’s more appropriate for this snuggly season?! No? I didn’t think so. Soup is perfect: It’s warm and comforting, not to mention it’s extremely versatile. So put on your favorite fuzzy socks (just make sure that they aren’t wool!), kick your toasty feet up, and indulge by eating all the soup your heart desires.
Click here to see our vegan soup guide!
5. Potato Skins
To whoever thought of loading up a baked potato skin: I tip my hat to you, good sir or madam, for you are a true pioneer. These tasty morsels—made with nondairy cheese, “bacon” bits, and vegan sour cream—will get you through any rainy night!
Get the recipe right here. You can thank me later.
Let’s take a second to talk about quiche. When you hear the word “quiche,” you may be intimidated, thinking that a vegan quiche is too time-consuming or difficult to make. But guess what? It’s NOT! Yep, that’s right, folks. We have an easy and super-delicious recipe for vegan quiche that’ll quickly turn this dish into your new go-to comfort food. And you can even mix up the veggies that are used in this recipe if you aren’t a fan of the ones mentioned below—this quiche is totally cool ‘n’ flexible:
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Yukon gold potato, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup sliced sweet onions
1 cup spinach
10 oz. extra-firm tofu
2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
2 Tbsp. plain almond milk
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
Garlic powder, to taste
2 small pinches turmeric
Salt and ground pepper, to taste
1 store-bought frozen vegan pie crust
2 Tbsp. chopped green onions, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F
- Heat the olive oil in a large frying Add all the veggies to the pan and sauté until cooked through. Set aside.
- Blend the tofu, nutritional yeast, almond milk, cornstarch, garlic powder, and turmeric together in a blender. Season with salt and pepper, then pour into a large bowl.
- Fold in the sautéed veggies, then pour into the vegan pie crust, making sure that the mixture lies nice and flat.
- Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. (Be sure to check on it after 40 minutes to avoid burning.)
- Let cool for about 15 minutes before serving. (I know this is difficult, but it’s important to let it sit for a while. Learn from my mistakes.) Garnish with the chopped green onions.
Makes 8 slices
7. Fried ‘Chicken’ With Mashed Potatoes
Nothing says “comfort” quite like a plate of classic Southern-fried vegan chicken and mashed potatoes. And there’s nothing quite like throwing on some sweatpants (bonus points if they’re fresh outta the dryer and still warm—you know the feeling!) and binge-watching Netflix with a huge plate of carbs and fried food. This combo can be made even better by tossing in a few extra sides, like an ear of corn and a biscuit.
For the fried “chicken,” try Gardein’s Seven Grain Crispy Tenders—they’re super-easy to prepare, and you can find them at most grocery stores. For those of you with a little extra time on your hands or who have skills with a skillet (see what I did there?), I definitely recommend checking out this recipe!
Let’s take a sec to appreciate mashed potatoes for being one of the most important comfort foods of all times. *moment of silence* For your side of potatoes, use this easy recipe.
And if you want to get real legit with this dish, throw some Pillsbury Original Crescents in the oven (yep, they’re vegan!) or check out this super-easy and perfect-in-every-way recipe for classic “buttermilk” biscuits!
8. The BLAT (aka, ‘The Vegan Bacon, Lettuce, Avocado, and Tomato’)
This sandwich is a comfort food if I’ve ever seen (or in this case, eaten) one. It’s easy to make and even easier to eat. Looking for something that you can take with you to school or work? The BLAT is where it’s at. Here’s the recipe:
4–5 slices vegan bacon (try Tofurky’s Smoky Maple Bacon Marinated Tempeh)
2 slices your favorite bread
Vegan mayo (try Vegenaise or Just Mayo), to taste
2 leaves romaine lettuce
1/2 tomato, sliced
1/2 avocado, sliced
- Cook the vegan bacon according to the package directions and set aside.
- Toast the bread. (Optional, but it’ll taste better!)
- Spread some vegan mayo on one slice of bread, then load it up with the vegan bacon and the rest of the fixin’s. Place the other slice of bread on top.
- Eat and be merry!
Makes 1 serving
How can one even begin to describe the awesomeness of pizza? It’s a doughy vessel for all your favorite toppings. It’s there for you when no one else is. And it’ll stick by your side when the rain falls or you get snowed in or when you finally decide to have friends over for the first time all winter and you need some moral support (because hosting is HARD, OK?!). Anyway, pizza, thanks for being so awesome.
Get the recipe for a classic vegan pepperoni pizza here.
And while most of us can agree that there isn’t much out there that can top pizza, I know of one thing that may make it even better: a pizza waffle (yep, you read that right).
Nachos are a perfect comfort food: They’re dripping with warm “cheese” and you can shovel them shamelessly into your mouth without using any silverware! Click here for a classic vegan nacho recipe that’s SURE to become your new favorite snack or meal this season.
Wanna know what I appreciate most about enchiladas? They really understand what it means to be a comfort food. They take their job seriously. Not only are they smothered in delicious sauce and filled with WHATEVER you want (literally, anything you want—one time, I put Tater Tots in my enchiladas … no joke), they’re also surprisingly easy to make.
For a classic vegan red enchilada recipe, click here. Or if you wanna get fancy, try out these Green Tofu Salsa Enchiladas. Of course, feel free to mix up the fillings—potatoes, black beans, Soyrizo (vegan chorizo), vegan taco meat, and sautéed veggies are all great options.
12. Blueberry Pancakes
Did you think that I forgot about breakfast? YOU CAN’T FORGET ABOUT BREAKFAST. Comfort food can be had at any time—day or night—so these pancakes are key to have in your arsenal. Personally, I’ve always loved blueberry pancakes, but if you’d like, you can leave the blueberries out of this recipe. These pancakes are fluffy, sweet, and filling—what more can you ask for?
13. Chocolate Chip Cookies
You know the feeling you get when pull freshly baked chocolate chip cookies out of the oven. Your kitchen is warm and toasty, and the air smells like sugar and melted chocolate. You’ve been waiting patiently by the oven, and you have a glass of cold almond or soy milk ready for dunking. Then you see the glory of your cookie labor, and it’s magnificent. That is what it’s all about, my friends. So, get on it and try this super-easy and classic recipe.
If chocolate chip cookies aren’t your thing (who ARE you?!), check out an equally delicious sugar cookie recipe here.
Where would the world be without comfort food? I don’t even want to think about it! Hopefully, these recipes will become staples for you and yours and help you get through the colder months.
And don’t forget: While you’re busy grubbin’ out on some delicious carbs, starches, and vegan cheese, animals all over the world are suffering. Since you’re already eating cruelty-free meals, take the next step and start helping animals right from your phone—you can literally hold a slice of pizza in one hand while you save animals with the other, so it works out perfectly!