There are some days when you just need something that will comfort you inside and out. It may be your favorite sweats and a big sweater, it may mean a snuggly blanket, and it may mean certain foods that make you feel warm and cozy. On December 5th, we get to indulge in those feelings because it’s National Comfort Food Day.

Comfort foods are different from person to person. For some, it may mean fried food while for others, it may mean a bowl of soup. What they do have in common is that they are foods that bring out emotions in us — nostalgia, safety, sentimentality, calm, or peace. We tend to crave comfort foods when we are stressed or feeling unsure and unsteady.

Another thing most comfort foods have in common is that they are indulgent. They may be salty, sweet, fried, cheesy, or covered in gravy. For recipes, look at these — The Best American Comfort Foods – Veganized, 15 Flavorful and Filling Comfort Foods Packed With Good Carbs, 15 Comfort Foods, and 25 of Your Favorite Classic Southern Comfort Foods Made Vegan. Of course, we can make comfort food healthier and lighter. Check out these 25 Comfort Food Recipes Made Healthier and Lighter. Then, put on your comfiest clothes and get ready to feel all warm and fuzzy with these 15 comfort food recipes that will warm your heart and tummy.

1. ‘Chicken’ and Waffles

vegan fried chicken and waffles

Crispy fried “chicken” on top of a fluffy stack of waffles… What could be better?! Whether it’s the hot sauce baked into the tofu chicken, the sprinkle of rosemary, or the truffle oil in the waffles, this dish of ‘Chicken’ and Waffles is full of tasty surprises. With such beautiful presentation, this is a must at your next weekend brunch. Don’t forget the maple syrup!

2. Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese Casserole

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese Casserole 7

This Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese Casserole is comfort food heaven. Sweet, creamy butternut squash is paired with decadently cheesy macaroni elbows and sealed with a unique flatbread topping. The finishing touches really put it over the top, from the smoky Shiitake bacon to the red pepper flakes and maple syrup. Normally, we’d say this casserole is perfect to make for a week of easy meals, but we know this one will only last a few days.

3. Barbecue Pulled Jackfruit With Roast Potatoes

Barbecue Pulled Jackfruit With Roast Potatoes b

Have you ever had pulled jackfruit? Jackfruit is a tropical fruit related to mulberries, but when you cook it just right, like in this recipe, it has the consistency of pulled pork. This Barbecue Pulled Jackfruit With Roast Potatoes has young jackfruit cooked in barbecue sauce and smoky spices until tender and easily shreddable, then served on a platter with oven-roasted potatoes. This platter makes a fantastic lunch or, if you serve it with chips, it’s an awesome game day snack.

4. Chicago Deep Dish Pizza With Cashew Mozzarella

chicago deep dish pizza

Chicago deep dish pizza: it’s like a pizza and a savory pie all in one. This Chicago Deep Dish Pizza With Cashew Mozzarella is everything a pizza should be. The crust is thick and hearty. The sauce is chunky and spicy. The cashew mozzarella is melty and gooey. The sauce only takes about 15 minutes and you can roll out the dough while the sauce cooks. If you make the cheese ahead of time, this pizza comes together pretty quickly!

5. Patates au Vin: French Potatoes and Mushrooms in Red Wine Sauce

Patates Au Vin

This Patates au Vin is a meat-free spin on coq au vin, or chicken in wine, a classic French dish in which chicken is braised in a red wine sauce with mushrooms, bacon, onions, and garlic. In this version, spiced potatoes take the place of meat and paprika adds a smoky flavor to replace the bacon, so the dish remains flavorful and comforting. Serve this hearty stew with sliced baguette and rice.

6. Creamy Garlic and Thyme Rigatoni With Roasted Cauliflower

Creamy Garlic and Thyme Rigatoni With Roasted Cauliflower 4

This Creamy Garlic and Thyme Rigatoni With Roasted Cauliflower is warm, cozy, and oh-so-perfect for the fall and winter season. Thick rigatoni pasta is tossed in a cream sauce made from almond milk and olive oil and seasoned with thyme and plenty of minced garlic. Roasted cauliflower adds a nice smokey balance to the dish. Enjoy it as is, or feel free to add some more veggies to add some more nutrition and color.

7. Black Bean Garden Burgers on Homemade Buns

Black Bean Garden Burgers on Homemade Buns

These Black Bean Garden Burgers on Homemade Buns give you two recipes, countless combinations, and unlimited potential – now that’s a burger recipe. Let’s start from the bottom. A homemade bun, vegan mayonnaise, fresh green chard, fermented pink kimchi-kraut, and a fresh black bean burger patty. It’s also topped with plenty of veggies and a drizzle of Louisiana hot sauce.

8. Butter Cauliflower Stew With Roasted Garlic Naan

Butternut and Cauliflower Stew With Roasted Naan

This hearty Butter Cauliflower Stew With Roasted Garlic Naan  is inspired by butter chicken, a North Indian dish made by cooking chicken in a mildly spiced curry sauce. Here, cauliflower takes the place of chicken, and instead of curry sauce, it is cooked in a broth spiced with turmeric, garam masala, and more. Red lentils give this stew a boost of protein and make it even more filling. Serve this stew oven rice with a side of roasted garlic naan.

9. Bread-Crusted Creamy Tomato Soup

Bread Crusted Creamy Tomato Soup

For many of us, tomato soup evokes childhood memories of chilly days and warm, comforting dinners on busy days. This Bread-Crusted Creamy Tomato Soup takes it to the next level. Coconut milk makes it creamy and decadent while Thai basil adds a hint of freshness. Then, it’s topped with a pot pie crust, pesto, and a dollop of cool coconut cream. The mixture of the salty crust and the creamy tomato flavors are reminiscent of eating tomato soup with toasted bread.

10. Cheesy Potato Casserole With Cream of Celery Soup

Cheesy Potato Casserole With Cream of Celery Soup b

This combination of a hearty, carb-y Cheesy Potato Casserole With Cream of Celery Soup is a real winner. The soup is light, yet filling and satisfying and so easy to make. After you make the soup, the rest of this recipe is a snap — it’s all just a matter of combining everything in a dish and baking it in the oven until it’s crispy on top and completely warmed through. The casserole is made from hash browns, a bit of the cream of celery soup, dairy-free crèmeFraiche, melty cheese shreds, and crunchy, salty crackers for the topping.

11. Crispy Cauliflower Wings

Crispy Cauliflower Wings 1

Add these Crispy Cauliflower Wings to your snack rotation and watch a night with friends get ten times better. In this recipe, large cauliflower florets are dipped in a thick chickpea flour batter, baked in the oven until crispy, and then doused in spicy buffalo sauce. Serve this with a creamy vegan Ranch to balance out the heat and get ready to lick your fingers from all of the deliciousness!

12. Pumpkin Shepherd’s Pie

Pumpkin Pot Pie

Comfort foods and pumpkins are a match made in heaven. This delicious Pumpkin Shepherd’s Pie is packed with a spicy chickpea tomato filling and then covered with a layer of creamy pumpkin purée. It is the best food to warm you up on a cold windy and rainy day when the salad is no longer an option. Even though the ingredients list is quite a long, this recipe is super simple and easy to make.

13. Fooled Pork Sandwich With Fries

fooled pork

This barbecue pulled jackfruit Fooled Pork Sandwich With Fries is an experience that needs to be had. Young jackfruit is simmered until tender and then broiled in sticky barbecue sauce, allowing it to absorb the flavor. This sandwich is topped with a creamy, crunchy coleslaw that’s a nice contract to the tender barbecue sauce-covered jackfruit. It all comes with a side of crispy oven-baked fries — why not try piling those on the sandwich, too?

14. Japchae: Korean Sweet Potato Noodles With Tofu

Japchae: Korean Glass Noodles With Tofu

Grab a big bowl of Japchae: Korean Sweet Potato Noodles With Tofu. This Korean dish is made by sautéeing clear noodles made from sweet potato starch in a sweet soy sauce with vegetables. Each bite is packed with healthy vegetables and plant protein for a delicious gluten-free meal.

15. Spicy Bean Chili With Leftover Roast Potatoes

spicy bean chili wth roast potatoes

What to do with leftover potatoes? This tasty, hearty, and healthy Spicy Bean Chili With Leftover Roast Potatoes is the answer! A little bit of sweetness and a touch of savory flavor make this spicy chili the perfect go-to meal for cold days and any day you need some serious comfort.

When you need comfort, turn to the foods you love but make them healthier, lighter and plant-based. These comfort foods will have you feeling warm and cozy in no time.

Lead image source: Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese