3 recipes for vegan comfort food you need to try
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When we think of comfort food, it’s always warm, wholesome and home-made. Visions of steaming bowls of creamy tomato soup, gooey toasted cheese sandwiches or roast dinners may spring to mind as well as a thousand and one other things before the thought of a vegan dish even occurs to you.
This is because of the misconception that the vegan diet is about eating like a rabbit – cold, raw vegetables.
However, in 2021 vegan food options are limitless. Whether it’s the cropping up of plant-based restaurants, an influx of social media posts or a story in the news, veganism has grown in popularity over the past few years.
We’ve seen it displayed in the form of artsy snaps on Instagram, of green bowls packed with quinoa and roasted vegetables, and being punted by celebrities and health fanatics.
Cookbooks, blogs and Instagram pages are also being dedicated to the art of cooking delicious vegan food that closely resembles their non-vegan counterparts.
With that, a broader community of people are learning the art of making plant-based food.
For instance, people are making their own home-made nut milk by soaking, blending and straining nuts in a cloth for a frothy alternative to cow’s milk. They’re also grinding nuts into a fine flour that’s used in pie crusts, cookies and cakes for a gluten-free and low-carb alternative to wheat flour.
Altogether, the deliciously healthy ingredients combine to make rich, decadent desserts and dishes that have flavour and impact.
3 vegan comfort foods to warm up your winter:
Creamy vegan mushroom soup
Soup is the definition of comfort food. Served hot with farm-style bread, lashings of vegan butter and a sprinkling of course salt and pepper and you have an instant mood booster. The mushrooms used in this dish offer it a meaty, earthy flavour while the coconut milk is creamy yet light. You’ll want to mop up every last bit.
50g dried mushrooms
2 tbs oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 onion, chopped
500g mushrooms, chopped
500ml vegetable stock
250ml soy cuisine or coconut milk
salt and pepper
250g mushrooms sliced
Rinse the dried mushrooms with cold water and soak in 500ml warm water for about 30 minutes. Then pour over a sieve and collect the broth.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the garlic and onion and fry for 2 to 3 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Then add the mushrooms and soaked mushrooms, stir and fry for 5 to 8 minutes.
Pour the vegetable stock and the collected mushroom stock into the pot, bring to the boil and simmer gently for about 10 to 15 minutes.
Carefully purée with a hand blender or in a blender until creamy. Return to the saucepan, stir in Soy Cuisine and season with salt and plenty of pepper.
Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet. Fry the mushrooms in a pan with a little oil and season with salt and pepper.
Put the warm noodles in a soup bowl, add the mushroom soup and add the fried mushrooms to the soup. Serve with fresh parsley.
Cauliflower buffalo wings
Chicken wings and dip can be eaten by the dozen, this cauliflower vegan version has all the same elements to satisfy your bar food cravings. The tender morsels are coated in a crispy batter that is packed with flavour and because it’s baked, it’s light and perfect for dipping in some ranch dressing.
1 head cauliflower (medium sized)
1 cup almond milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp fine sea salt
2 tbs coconut oil melted
⅓ cup buffalo sauce
½ cup coconut yoghurt
½ tsp apple cider vinegar (ACV)
½ tsp dried dill
½ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp fine sea salt
Preheat the oven to 190ºC. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Chop the cauliflower head into bite-sized florets and set aside.
In a small bowl, mix together the almond milk and ACV to make buttermilk. Set aside.
In a separate small mixing bowl, combine the flour, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder and salt. Add the buttermilk and whisk to combine.
Dip the cauliflower florets, one by one, into the batter, and roll to coat, using a spoon to scoop the batter into the nooks and crannies. Place the florets onto the baking tray, spreading out so they are not crowded.
Bake for 20 minutes, then flip the florets over to bake the other side for an even bake. Bake for another 20 minutes.
Prepare the buffalo sauce: In a large mixing bowl combine the melted coconut oil and buffalo sauce. Mix until smooth and silky. Set aside.
Prepare the ranch dip: In a small bowl, combine the coconut yoghurt, ACV, dill, onion powder, sea salt, paprika and pepper. Mix to combine.
Once the cauliflower florets are crispy and baked, transfer them to the mixing bowl and toss gently to cover in the sauce. Transfer to a serving platter along with the home-made ranch for dipping.
Vegan chocolate cake
Moist, dark and decadent, this vegan chocolate cake recipe has so many healthy substitutes without compromising on flavour. The tahini icing is soft and fluffy with a sweet, savoury balance that’s super moreish.
¾ cup rolled oats
¼ cup cocoa powder
3 tbs coconut sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1.5 tbs pumpkin purée (can use mashed banana/applesauce)
1 flax “egg” (1 tbs ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tbs water)
¼ cup almond milk
2 tbs peanut butter
½ tsp vanilla
Handful of vegan chocolate chips
Tahini chocolate ganache
⅓ cup cocoa powder
3 tbs tahini
2 tbs maple syrup/liquid sweetener
Preheat the oven to 180ºC and prepare a small loaf tin by greasing it well and lining with parchment paper. Prepare your flax egg as well.
Blend the rolled oats until a flour-like consistency (or use oat flour). Mix in the cocoa powder, baking powder and coconut sugar. Stir in the pumpkin purée, flax egg, almond milk, vanilla and peanut butter. Batter should be thick and fudgy.
Bake at 180ºC for about 25 to 30 minutes, until the middle springs back to the touch -- it should be a little damp in the middle when a skewer comes out. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack and let chill overnight for maximum fudginess.
For the ganache, mix all the ingredients together until creamy and combined.
Ice the cake once cooled and layer together.
Decorate with chocolate chips.