When we’re craving comfort, we often turn to ‘junk’ food high in fats, sugars, and carbohydrates, or seek out certain forms of food such as baked, sauteed, crispy, melted (fried, anyone?).
Classic comfort foods are often meat-based, but we don’t have to give up comfort food just because we’ve given up meat. Stand-bys like macaroni and cheese, chili, or pizza offer meat-free and even vegan options. And because vegetarian food is often healthier, we can all feel a little less guilty about our comfort food cravings.
Here are a some of our favorite recipes for vegetarian comfort food. All can be easily made at home (saving you from artery-clogging processed, packaged and fast-food options). Simply bookmark this page and use it as your go-to solution on the days when your comfort food cravings are at their peak.
Vegetarian Comfort Food Recipes – Summer
Grilled cheese sandwiches are a comfort food classic, and this Toasted Mozzarella and Tomato Sandwich never disappoints. The secret lies in thinly sliced (and slightly marinated) garden tomatoes, fresh baked bread from the farmers market, whole mozzarella cheese, a heavy nonstick griddle and, of course, extra-virgin olive oil.
Fish and potatoes are the epitome of comfort food. Mashed with sun-dried tomato pesto,these lightly fried, lemony fish cakes are irresistibly tasty on their own, but can be garnished with homemade tartar sauce for extra zing. If you avoid fish as well as meat, simply substitute the fish for white cannellini beans, slightly mashed to retain texture. Perfect with a side salad for a summer evening meal.
These light olive oil – which has a higher smoke point than extra-virgin olive oil – for a delicate crust and a whole host of nutritional benefits. If you prefer roasted potatoes, here’s how they make them in Italy. Either way, it’s a win-win for comfort.
Vegetarian Comfort Food Recipes – Winter
A regional favorite, this hearty dish of Castelluccio lentils (made with Gran Cru olive oil from Umbria) is the perfect substitute for meat-based chili. Relatively quick and easy to prepare, lentils are among the world’s healthiest foods because they are rich in dietary fiber, iron, folate, and magnesium. Plus, lentils stabilize blood sugar and reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Now that’s what we call comfort food!
Minestrone is an Italian staple throughout the winter months, especially if one is feeling under the weather. And since it’s made with vegetables, minestrone is the perfect substitute for the famous chicken soup you had as a child. A base of pasta, potatoes and tomatoes makes this Ligurian recipe extra starchy. The Ligurians also add a dollop of pesto to give it some kick.
Tarts, pot pies, and quiches: rich, filling, and oh so comforting. This red onion, olive and cheese tart is completely meatless and seasoned with fresh chopped rosemary. Eggs, cream, and a homemade crust make it truly decadent.
Consider your comforted!