Fancy one-bite creations have their place in culinary cuisine, but sometimes, it’s the hearty, carb-loading dishes that you reach for when you need comforting; and American foods provide just that.
Comfort foods evoke a sense of nostalgia, and when you’re feeling ill, mom’s “chick’n” noodle soup sounds good. And for days when you’re missing home, making a veganized version of your grandma’s meatloaf with some creamy mash potatoes sure sounds nice.
From New York-style pizzas to larger than Texas-sized steaks (plant-based, of course!), we’ve got a list of the best American comfort foods — veganized.
1. Veggie Loaf
A vegetarian meatloaf will not only satisfy your comfort food craving, it will leave you feeling full with fiber-filled ingredients like lentils and oats. Make a festive, walnut-infused Holiday Nut Loaf for your next family get together. Here’s a Lentil Loaf that uses rolled oats and flaxseeds for a crowd pleaser. (I can attest to this, I made it for last Thanksgiving, and the meat-eaters thought it was real meatloaf.) Not a fan of tofu, no problem. Here’s a loaf made with lentils, wheat, oat, and chia seeds:
From fried to mashed, potatoes are so versatile and are a staple to carb-loaded comfort foods. Make some Ketchup Baked Home Fries for a finger-lickin’ snack. Bake Fingerling Potato Rounds for a healthier alternative, made with coconut oil. Maybe some Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Apples and Bourbon is more of your thing. This pairs well with Lentil Loafs above. Or how about this classic:
3. Vegan “Ribs”
Get ready to put on your adult bibs because you’re about to dig in to these amazingly delicious vegan ribs — meat-eater approved. No knife and fork required, just hands for these babies. Try some Braised Seitan Short Ribs in Spicy Chile Sauce on top of those mash potatoes mentioned in picture two. Or how about this two comfort food mashed into one — Grilled “Cheesy Mac n’ Ribs” Pizza? And who can say no to this:
A favorite among kids and adults alike, pizza seems like a staple in American cuisine. Plus, there are so many variations on this classic. Since ordering vegan pizza still is a bit challenging, and if you want gluten-free, well, that’s usually out of the question, make your own homemade pizza. You get to customize it however you want, whenever you want. Here’s a Raw Vegan Pizza with Spinach, Pesto, and Marinated Vegetables. Or how about this baked Whole Wheat Vegan Pizza with Caramelized Onions, Figs, and Arugula? And if you’re feeling adventurous, why not make your own customization, with a recipe for Whole Meal Pizza Dough, Gluten-Free pizza dough, and one to make Thick Vegan Pizza Sauce? Here’s another inspiration:
5. Macaroni & Cheese
A childhood favorite and classic comfort food, macaroni and cheese makes a perfect side or even a main meal. Add some veggies in there for an added nutritional bonus for the little ones. Here’s a mac and cheese that uses pumpkin puree — Mac ‘N Squash. Here’s a Extra Creamy Vegan Mac and Cheese. And for a healthier version of the nostalgic mac and cheese out of that all too familiar blue box, try this one:
6. Biscuits (& Gravy)
A side that usually accompanies “meat” loaf or other meat-heavy dishes, this combo is a winner. Biscuits and gravy also work well for Sunday morning brunch. Try these “Buttermilk” biscuits for relaxing mornings with some veggie sausages and a tofu scramble. These Vegan Biscuits with Sausage Gravy are a mouth-watering combination. For more flavor, give these Flaky Vegan White Bean Biscuits with Rosemary Butter a try. They make for a fancy accompaniment to veggie loaf and other dinner dishes. This is a sure winner in our book:
7. Pot Pies & Shepherd Pies
From chicken-less pot pies to shepherd’s pies, these baked dishes are a sure hit among family dinners. Easy to make into individual ramekins or a big casserole dish, these are perfect go-to recipes for fancier week nights and enjoyable weekend dinners. Make an gluten-free Easy Veggie Pot Pie if it’s your first time tackling these. Or make mini Lentil and Veggie Shepherd’s Pies for all your friends. And if you like tofu, there’s a tofu shepherd’s pie for that too. For something a little untraditional, try this Indian Tikka Masala Pot Pie. And for a hearty, “meaty” dish, try:
Chilis keep us warm on those cooler evenings and they work great for game nights too. Or how about a mug of chili on those nights spent outdoors stargazing out in the open. This is the perfect comfort food to spice things up with a bit of chile, chipotle, and cayenne powder in this Chipotle Chocolate Chili. Serve some warm corn tortillas with this “Chicken” Green Chili and Hominy Posole. Here’s a classic recipe — Chipotle Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili. Or try this healthy take on chili:
Casseroles, like pot pies and shepherd’s pies, are great main dishes for dinner parties. They are easy to make and feed an army. There’s nothing fishy in this Vegan Tuna Casserole. Or try making this — The Best Fall Casserole — it doesn’t have to be fall to enjoy this hearty dish. For a side casserole, this Green Bean Casserole is a good choice. For those who likes sweets, try this Low Carb Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole. Or recreate this elegant dish:
No list is complete without soups! On days when you feel ill or days where you need some comforting, soup seems to heal the soul. Have a Hearty Barley-Lentil Soup with Potatoes. Here’s a classic — Quick and Rich Tomato Soup. For a twist on another classic, try Thai Carrot Soup. Make a Smoky Roasted Corn and Sweet Pepper Soup for cooler nights. And enjoy the following for the start of the new season:
Lead image source: Meatless No-Fu Love Loaf