19 Healthy Dishes To Satisfy Your Vegan Comfort Cravings
Oftentimes, we try to fight our food cravings, but registered dietitian Jess Cording, M.S., R.D., CDN, encourages us to be curious, not critical of them. If you're craving comfort foods more than normal these days, it may be stemming from an emotional place rather than physical hunger.
Whichever the case, it's important to identify the source of your craving and find a healthy way to satisfy it. These 19 vegan comfort foods may be a good place to start:
This vegan pesto recipe incorporates cashews and swaps Parmesan for nutritional yeast to maintain pesto's cheesy flavor and creamy texture.
But the secret ingredient for this delicious pesto is mindbodygreen's organic veggies+ powder. It features a blend of USDA-certified organic sea vegetables and dark leafy greens that are packed with vitamins and minerals, while the addition of antioxidants, like turmeric and ginger, may reduce inflammation.* Plus, it contains digestive enzymes and prebiotic fibers, which can nourish your gut's microbiome, support healthy digestion, and help encourage your body to absorb nutrients more effectively.*
Mashed Celery Root
Traditional mashed potatoes are generally loaded with multiple dairy products: butter, cream or milk, and cheese. This "cheesy" mashed celery root, on the other hand, uses oat milk and nutritional yeast to replicate the flavor without the added lactose. Celery roots supplement traditional potatoes, providing extra vitamins and antioxidants to the dish.
Vegan Portobello Pot Roast
This portobello mushroom "pot roast" requires only one pot and 10 minutes of active cooking. It combines dark beer and vegan Worcestershire sauce to create a hearty, rich flavor akin to traditional pot roast. The meaty texture of portobello mushrooms will almost make you forget this dish is vegan.
Gluten-Free Vegan Pot Roast
If you want a vegan pot roast but can't eat gluten, skip that last recipe and make this one instead. Instead of beer and flour, this wild mushroom pot roast gets its richness from olive oil, vegetable broth, and a variety of mushrooms.
Pumpkin Penne Pasta
Pumpkin, maple, and pasta—three completely delicious and comforting ingredients wrapped into one dish. This fall dish is also rich in three sources of the antioxidant beta-carotene thanks to pumpkin puree, butternut squash, and carrots.
Vegan Chili Mac
Both mac 'n' cheese and chili are two quintessential comfort foods, and this vegan chili mac manages to combine them into one bowl. It also swaps all the traditional animal-based ingredients (cheese, ground meat) for plant-based alternatives (nutritional yeast, legumes) without sacrificing any of the flavor. It's filling, fibrous, and packed with protein.
Lentil & Eggplant Ragú
Just the smell of this lentil ragú is comforting, thanks to the garlic, fennel seeds, and onion. The flavor is enhanced even further with saucy tomatoes, rich eggplant, and hearty lentils. The combination of vegetables provides vitamins C, K, and B6, to name a few.
Creamy Kale Pasta
This kale pasta gets its creaminess from a can of fiber-filled white beans and its "Parmesan" flavor from the anti-inflammatory antioxidant turmeric. The sauteed kale is rich in iron and vitamins A, K, C, and calcium and provides a variety of health benefits.
Vegan Cinnamon Roll Pancakes
The nostalgic flavors of childhood breakfasts come together in this vegan cinnamon roll-pancake hybrid. The batter uses almond milk in place of cow's milk and coconut oil in lieu of butter. Feel free to swap out the light brown sugar for coconut sugar, or another sweetener of your choice.
Smoked Tofu With Hot & Sour Zoodles
Chinese takeout is a pinnacle of comfort food, and this smoked tofu with hot and sour zoodles meets the indulgent criteria without excess grease or carbohydrates. Just be aware, the Sichuan peppercorns, red chili, and chili oil can be pretty intense if spice is not your thing.
Smashed Sweet Potatoes
These maple-smashed sweet potatoes may be reminiscent of Thanksgiving, but you can enjoy them year-round. The sweetness from the maple and potatoes is balanced with the spice from ginger and chipotle peppers.
Miso soup on its own is highly nutritious. The probiotic food has gut-friendly benefits and is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. This miso soup recipe enhances the nutritional value by adding sea veggies, like kombu, nori, and wakame, for a boost of fatty acids and dietary fiber.
Pizza is a classic comfort food, but it's not always the most nutritious or easy-to-digest option. This healthy pizza, adapted by registered dietitian Amy Shapiro, R.D., uses an almond flour tortilla as the base, a vegan mozzarella cheese, and an array of chopped veggies—chef's choice.
Sweet Potato Soup
A large pot of creamy spiced soup, like this vegan sweet potato option, will satisfy both hunger and vegan comfort food cravings. The nutrient-dense sweet potatoes combined with the antimicrobial properties in ginger and turmeric can help support a healthy immune system, according to functional medicine doctor Mark Hyman, M.D.
Black Bean Burger
The satisfaction of biting into a thick, juicy burger is hard to rival, but this vegan black bean burger hits the spot. The protein and fiber from both black beans and quinoa will leave you feeling satiated, while the combination of ground spices leads to a flavor even meat-lovers will crave.
Vegan Buffalo Mozzarella
Cheese is a vital part of most comfort foods, which can be challenging when you don't eat animal-based products. Enter: This cashew-based buffalo mozzarella, which works just as well on pizzas, pastas, or by itself on a cheese board.
Vegan Broccoli Cheddar Soup
This vegan broccoli cheddar soup uses cashews and coconut yogurt to create a rich, creamy texture without any dairy. The cruciferous broccoli florets, tomatoes, and onions provide ample amounts of antioxidants for a hearty but healthy bowl of soup.
Almond Butter Bars
Comfort foods are not limited to warm bowls of soup and pasta. In fact, sometimes all you need is an easy-to-make bite of chocolate and salt. These no-bake almond butter bars check all of the boxes for a melt-in-your-mouth dessert.
Not only will this vegan coconut loaf satisfy your sweet tooth, but the combination of piña colada ingredients (coconut flakes, pineapple, and lime) will instantly transport you to the beach. And let's face it—we could all use a vacation right about now.
Abby Moore is an editorial operations manager at mindbodygreen. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from The University of Texas at Austin and has previously written for Tribeza magazine. She has covered topics ranging from regenerative agriculture to celebrity entrepreneurship. Moore worked on the copywriting and marketing team at Siete Family Foods before moving to New York.