December 5th is National Comfort Food Day. It’s a day to indulge in whatever foods make you feel warm and fuzzy. Comfort foods are very personal and vary from person to person. For one person, comfort may come in a warm bowl of soup while for another, that bowl is filled with ice cream.
Comfort foods are usually foods that elicit an emotional response from us, whether it is nostalgia, sentimentality, safety, or calm. Certain foods can comfort us when we are feeling bad or stressed and they can be a way we celebrate feeling happy. These foods just make us feel better. Take a look at these 15 Comfort Foods, The Best American Comfort Foods Veganized and 25 of Your Favorite Classic Southern Comfort Foods Made Vegan.
One thing most comfort foods have in common, however, is that they aren’t the healthiest foods. Well, guess what? It’s entirely possible to make our favorite comfort foods lighter. By making just a few strategic changes, we can satisfy our cravings and feel extra comforted knowing we did it in a healthier way. Check out these 7 Tips for Making Your Favorite Comfort Foods Lighter. Then get ready to dig in to these 25 comfort food recipes made lighter and healthier.
1. Life Changing Chili Cheese Fries
Crispy fries topped with spicy chili and beans, topped with a creamy vegan cheese sauce. These Chili Cheese Fries are the ultimate snack food for any party! And the potatoes you use are up to you! You can use white, gold, or any color you like to create a delicious and colorful snack that’ll impress whoever has the pleasure of tasting it.
2. French Onion Soup with Cheese Toasts
French onion soup is a classic, and this vegan version of French Onion Soup with Cheese Toasts is just as delicious and satisfying as the original. Caramelized onions simmered in a rich broth with a piece of cheesy toast on top? Absolutely delightful and comforting.
3. Buffalo Cauliflower Pizza with Blue Cheese Spread
This Buffalo Cauliflower Pizza with Blue Cheese Spread is to die for. It is spicy, savory, and crunchy. The blue cheeze spread really makes this pizza – it tastes really close to blue cheese (most people wouldn’t know, really!). This recipe brings two favorite comfort foods together in one incredible dish.
4. ‘Sausage’ Sweet Potato Breakfast Sandwich with Maple Sriracha Aioli
Salty, sweet, saucy, crunchy, hot, chewy – that is what this ‘Sausage’ Sweet Potato Breakfast Sandwich has to offer. The Sriracha maple aioli gives this sandwich a spiciness not generally found in breakfast foods, but the maple reigns it in to perfection. The breakfast sausage supplies that crave-able saltiness, and the sweet potato coins add texture to make one amazing first meal of the day!
5. Cheesy Baked Kale Artichoke Dip
This Cheesy Baked Kale Artichoke Dip is a version of the classic spinach and artichoke dip that everyone loves! It’s still just as creamy, cheesy, and totally dip-able, but the nutrition is punched up a bit with the addition of kale. Eat with bread, chips, or your favorite sliced veggies.
6. Flourless Dark Chocolate Cake to Die For!
This Flourless Dark Chocolate Cake is the ultimate in rich, chocolate flavor. Feel free to use a lighter percentage of chocolate, but the dark chocolate really makes this dessert ultra-fudgy and intense. It’s grain-free and the frosting is made with banana and avocado. This is a chocolate lover’s dream!
7. Pumpkin Cannelloni with Almond Sauce
This Pumpkin Cannelloni with Almond Sauce isn’t your standard pumpkin dish! Tender cannelloni are filled with savory pumpkin puree and topped with a creamy almond sauce … this is definitely a dish you want as the center of your dinner table!
8. Mashed Cauliflower
Mashed potatoes are one of the ultimate comfort foods. This Mashed Cauliflower is a lighter, healthier take on the dish. It has healthy mashed cauliflower with garlic, leeks, and chives. So flavorful and so delicious, you can feel good about having seconds.
9. Super-Healthy, Ultra-Cheesy Mac and Cheese
You can stop searching … because this Super-Healthy, Ultra-Cheesy Mac and Cheese is the last mac and cheese recipe you will ever need! Why? It’s nut-free, soy-free, and gluten-free (meaning everyone can have it!), ridiculously easy to make, and the cheese sauce is addictive. Seriously, it’s creamy, cheesy, and rich, and comforting – you’ll want to drink this stuff with a straw.
10. Death By Chocolate: Cake, Mousse, and Ice Cream
Brace yourselves – Death By Chocolate is coming! This is the most guilt-free chocolate indulgence you’ve ever had – or made, for that matter. It’s 100 percent vegan and gluten-free, a combination of a chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, and chocolate ice cream – all of it homemade. The fluffy chocolate cake mixed with the velvety mousse and creamy ice cream is absolutely to die for!
11. Smoky Apple and ‘Cheddar’ Stuffed Baked Potato
The combination of flavors in this Smoky Apple and ‘Cheddar’ Stuffed Baked Potato is incredible! The sweet apples combined with the spicy chili powder is so good. Add the smoky and slight maple flavor of the tempeh to the sweet and spicy apple, and the cheddar flavored cashew cheese, and it’s like an overload of OMG!
12. Raw Lemon Lime Cheesecake
Cheesecake can be comfort food, but this raw Lemon Lime Cheesecake is even better. It’s rich and decadent, yet refreshing at the same time! The tart lemon and lime flavors cut through the richness of the cashews and coconut. This is definitely a dessert to show off to all your friends!
13. Quick and Easy Wet Burritos
Skip the drive-thru! These Quick and Easy Wet Burritos can be made in under half an hour. It’s a burrito filled with pinto beans and pumpkin cooked in an easy homemade enchilada sauce and topped with all your favorite garnishes. This is ultimate comfort food!
14. Cheesy Polenta With Creamy Artichoke Pesto
This comforting Cheesy Polenta with Creamy Artichoke Pesto combines all the best things in life: soft polenta, nutty pesto, and artichokes. It’s a great easy dinner when you just need to sit down to something hearty and comforting. Cheesy and creamy are two of the most comforting adjectives that could ever describe food.
15. Pumpkin Peanut Butter Pancakes
Having breakfast for dinner is always comforting and these Pumpkin Peanut Butter Pancakes are the ones you need. There is nothing like a gorgeous, sky-high stack of pumpkin peanut butter pancakes with buckwheat and maple syrup to brighten your day and fill you up!
16. Curry Gravy Vegetable Pot Pie
Pot pies are so comforting with their creamy gravy and flaky crust. This Curry Gravy Vegetable Pot Pie is a healthier alternative to the traditional pot pie. The vegetables in their thick curry gravy are tender and delightful. The pie crust makes the whole meal so special and inviting. Welcome the chill in the air with this warm scrumptious dinner.
17. Show-Stopping Lentil and Eggplant Lasagna
Lasagna may just be one of the ultimate comfort foods … hearty, saucy vegetables layered between noodles? Heaven! This Show-Stopping Lentil and Eggplant Lasagna is wholesome, yet still totally satisfying – whole wheat lasagna noodles, tofu, lentils, and eggplant give this pasta dish a hearty bite and awesome flavor.
18. Black Bean Loaf
Meatloaf is a favorite comfort food and this version is not only delicious, it’s good for you. This Black Bean Loaf has a nice crust and soft interior that just melts in your mouth. It has a coating of ketchup baked into the top. Serve this with your favorite mashed potatoes for a lighter comfort food dinner.
19. Creamy Mashed Potato Soup with Melty Cheddah Cheese Sauce
This Creamy Mashed Potato Soup with Melty Cheddah Cheeze Sauce has all the goodness of mashed potatoes, with a hint of melty, tangy cheddar cheesiness. This will warm you right up on a cold winter’s day! Plus, it’s a great way to use up any leftover mashed potatoes that might need a little extra love.
20. Red Chard Fettuccine
Pasta is one of the ultimate comfort foods, but this Red Chard Fettuccine puts a healthy spin on it. This is a quick, healthy, and beautiful meal. The creamy red chard sauce is packed with great flavor and nutrients, and it can be whipped up in no time at all. Perfect for when you’re craving something Italian, but want to keep things on the lighter side!
21. Peanut Butter Caramel ‘Nice’ Cream Blizzard
If you miss Blizzards, you’ll love this Peanut Butter Caramel ‘Nice’ Cream Blizzard. It has all the sweet, chunky candy-filled ice cream deliciousness without the dairy and sugar. Comfort food was never so healthy or so delicious.
22. Cheesy Sweet Potato Tots
There’s no need to buy frozen tater tots. These Cheesy Sweet Potato Tots are super easy, kid-friendly, and delicious. They taste sweet, cheesy, and “unhealthy,” but are simply a combination of sweet potato, nutritional yeast, and spices.
23. The Best Veggie ‘Big Mac’ with Radicchio Slaw
Forget about those processed frozen veggie burgers you’ll find on any supermarket shelf and make these All-Veggie “Big Mac” Burgers instead! That’s right – nothing that hasn’t grown straight out of the ground was used to make these incredibly flavorful and hearty burger patties. To make them even better, the burgers are topped with a crunchy and tangy radicchio slaw and creamy avocado.
24. Vegan Poutine
If you have never heard of poutine, it’s time to start. Poutine is the ultimate comfort food — French fries smothered in gravy and topped with cheese curds. This Vegan Poutine is made with baked oven fries which are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Then they’re topped with melted vegan mozzarella cheese and smothered with delicious brown “beefy” gravy. This is hot, crispy, gooey, cheesy, and indulgent.
25. Scalloped Potatoes with Seitan Bacon
These Scalloped Potatoes with Seitan Bacon are a beloved comfort food made vegan, lighter and healthier! Soft, bubbling baked potatoes in a cheesy coconut cream sauce topped with crispy seitan bacon … what could be better? Absolutely nothing!
See? You can have your cake and eat it too. When you make a few strategic swaps, you can feel better about indulging in your favorite comfort foods and that is very comforting.
Lead image source: Scalloped Potatoes With Seitan Bacon