Ahh, cold weather!
There’s something about it that just makes us want to stay indoors and cook up a storm. But with so many options available, it can be difficult to know where to start.
Need some inspiration for some delicious, filling comfort food? I’ve compiled my favourite top 10 vegan comfort foods for this winter:
- Spicy ‘Chicken’ Kebabs
- Vegan Pizza
- Ham and Cheese Toastie
- Roast Dinner
- Full English (Vegan) Breakfast
- Mac ‘n’ Cheese
- Raw Cheesecake
- Overnight Oats
- Butternut Squash Soup
- Vegan Chilli and Rice
Be warned – some of these are NOT healthy at all, but they do taste pretty good. Choose what suits!
Spicy ‘Chicken’ Kebabs
These were possibly my favourite thing to eat through the Autumn. So easy to throw together quickly, and no recipe required! All you need is vegan kebab meat + pitta bread + sauce of choice + salad. Simple!
My favourite combination is the Oumph! Spiced Kebab Meat (pictured), in a wholemeal pitta with lettuce, onion, mayo and sriracha sauce. You can find Oumph! in the vegetarian freezer section at Tesco.
Looking for a healthier alternative? Try making your own walnut meat, and pop it in a wrap with salad. It’s so good!
Who doesn’t love Pizza? It’s indulgent, cheesy and created in less than 20 minutes! Vegans don’t have to miss out on the melted goodness.
For a base, I tend to buy from the ‘Free From’ section of the supermarket, or use a vegan naan/flatbread. Spread a layer of tomato puree on top, sprinkle grated vegan mozzarella (Tesco and Asda both sell it), and add the toppings of your choice. Some great options are: vegan bacon, sliced sausage, kebab strips, falafel, mushroom, onion, sweetcorn, spinach, sun-dried tomato, artichoke, and pineapple.
You can also buy ready-made vegan pizzas from the store! My current favourite is the Oumph! Epic Italian Pizza. It’s topped with soya chunks, semi-dried tomatoes and rocket. Do be aware that some shop-bought pizzas don’t have cheese on (Goodfella’s, we’re looking at you), so if that’s a deal breaker for you, check the packaging first! Tesco sells a plain margarita in the refrigerated section along with their Wicked Kitchen range, as well as the Pizza Express Giardiniera in the freezer.
What’s your favourite topping? I love chilli tofu and mushrooms, but I am also partial to a pizza with all of the veggies!
Ham and Cheese Toastie
SO. CRAZILY. SIMPLE. We all have those days where we’re swamped with work, the kids are home from school sick, or college work is piling up. This is the perfect go-to lunch for warmth and comfort. Tasty toastie contents could include: veggie meat, cheese, tomato, mushroom, onion, olives, or rocket.
A little birdy told me that if you grill or fry the Quorn smoky bacon ham slices beforehand, it makes for an EPIC toastie filling. Give it a go!
Just remember to serve it up with a little side salad for a nutrient boost…
As a child, I remember us having a big dinner with all the trimmings every
Sunday, like a ritual. Plates were piled up, and lashings of gravy poured over. I still love them now!
There are a few great centrepieces for a family roast dinner. The obvious one is a nut roast. You can find a nut or lentil roast in most supermarkets now, but for something special try Holland and Barrett. I love the Artisan Grains range they sell, and my ultimate favourite is the Clive’s Nut Roast. If you’re feeling something a little more ‘meaty’, try out the Linda McCartney beef or Tofurkey brand. And if you love being in the kitchen, try out this delicious stuffed seitan recipe.
To accompany, I like mashed potato (made with unsweetened soya milk and cream cheese), roasted sweet potatoes, sprouts baked with pecans, and steamed carrots. You can even have Yorkshire puddings!
Full Vegan Breakfast
A big breakfast is perfect for hangovers, lazy weekends and family brunches. What do you like on yours? I usually pick 5-6 items from the following:
- Linda McCartney sausages
- Cheatin’ bacon rashers
- Scrambled tofu
- ‘Eggy’ bread
- Baked beans
- Grilled tomatoes
- Sliced avocado
- Wilted spinach
- Chestnut mushrooms
What would you mix and match?
Mac ‘n’ Cheese
You can’t compile a list of comfort foods without including pasta, surely? In recent times, the variations of pasta available in stores have really grown. You can buy buckwheat, red lentil, brown rice pasta – all under one roof! That means if you’re also gluten-free, you don’t need to be restricted in choice. To go with the pasta, I’ve been using this 5 ingredient cheese sauce from Oh She Glows for years now. It’s easy to whip up and pour over, in under 10 minutes. Peas and onions taste great in this dish for a little added nutrition. For a ‘carbonara’ feel, slice up some vegan ham too. Feel free to top with vegan cheese for pure indulgence!
It might be a cold dish, but there’s just something about sitting by the fire, looking out at the wind and rain, with a big slab of cheesecake. It feels very indulgent and comforting. Or is it just me?
Perhaps I love it so much because, for the first few years of being vegan, you couldn’t buy vegan cheesecake in the stores, let alone the raw kind! First I stumbled across regular vegan cheesecake recipes, then amazing raw cheesecakes too. With trying to eat healthily, eating raw cheesecake feels like an acceptable naughty treat, as it doesn’t contain refined sugar and is usually based around cashews.
If you do want cheesecake, but don’t want to make it yourself, head down to ASDA. They sell vegan lemon cheesecake in the freezer section (not raw)! Make sure you remember to defrost it first.
Breakfast on the go? No time for morning prep? If that sounds like you, overnight oats are the perfect meal to replace porridge. You do all the prep the night before, can carry it around, and eat at your desk. Just don’t forget your spoon!
Simply add oats and milk (I love cashew or almond) to a mason jar to soak overnight, and add your desired toppings. Some great options are: banana, berries, cinnamon, coconut sugar, maple syrup, nutmeg, coconut flakes, almond butter, or cashews. They will keep you full until lunch.
If you’d like to follow a recipe, check out these vegan overnight oats – only a few minutes prep required!
Butternut Squash Soup
Admit it, we all descend on the soup recipes when Autumn hits. Tomato, lentil, vegetable, curried sweet potato… This craze carries on until the weather warms up, and why not? Soup is so easy to make, you can cook a batch and freeze, plus it’s a great way of getting your 5-a-day.
What’s your favourite soup to make?
My family loves butternut squash. It has a beautiful vibrant colour, but is kind enough on the palette to suit children. If you like heat, try adding a little chilli or curry powder to the Learner Vegan recipe!
Here it is:
Butternut Squash Soup
- 1 medium butternut squash peeled and cubed
- 3 large carrots
- 1 small white potato
- 1 medium sweet potato
- 1 medium white onion
- 500 ml thin vegetable stock or bouillon
- 1 tsp garlic puree
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp single soya cream (optional)
- 1 tsp nutritional yeast flakes (optional)
- Peel and chop your 5 types of vegetable. Boil for 25 minutes.
- Drain and rinse your vegetables. Add to a blender with the stock and blend until smooth.
- Transfer back to your saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes, adding the garlic, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.
- Dish up, drizzling your cream and nutritional yeast over.
Let me know if you give it a try!
Vegan Chilli and Rice
Last, but certainly not least. 3 bean chilli graces the menu of every amateur restaurant, and you can usually make a better version yourself at home. Chilli is a protein-filled meal, that contrary to its name can be quite mild (great for the kiddies) or pack a real punch. It’s a great way of using up tins of beans lurking in the back of the cupboard, too!
I love to use this recipe from Wallflower Kitchen as a starting point, but I’ll often throw extras in too! These could be different kinds of beans, varieties of mushroom, herbs, spices, shallots and aubergine. The more variety you can get into your diet, the better.
Chilli is lovely with brown rice (which is also gluten-free so less bloating) but sometimes I’ll have it with pasta or even quinoa. It’s so versatile!
Looking for something a little healthier? I’ll be doing a rundown of our top healthy vegan meals in a few weeks. Stay tuned.
And if you’re outraged because I missed your favourite meal, let me know what it is below!