Combining vegetarian, healthy and comfort food: yes, it is possible!
For the last several years, vegetarian food has been becoming more and more popular especially with teens. Vegetarianism is a diet without meat or fish, but it can include eggs and dairy products. In fact, there are now several options to replace meat in a recipe, such as tofu, tempeh, legumes and much more. Just you have to know how to cook them.
Often when you think of comfort food, the image of an unhealthy dish comes to mind. But you don’t have to make sacrifices because it is possible to combine health, comfort and even vegetarianism. Actually, vegetarian food is often filling and delicious, so it makes excellent comforting meals. But vegetarian isn’t always synonymous with healthy. You do have to pay attention to what’s in your plate.
Most of the recipes that we’re proposing today are healthy and good for your body. On the other hand, there are some classic comfort food dishes that are a little less healthy, which isn’t bad in itself as long as they’re consumed in moderation.
What makes a meal comforting?
A comforting meal is a familiar dish that evokes a sense of well-being when you eat it.
The idea of what’s a comfort food can vary from one person to the next, but as a general rule, people agree that it’s something warm. When there’s a snow storm or when it starts getting colder in the fall, nothing is more comforting than a hot meal.
To be comforting, a meal must also be satisfying. It’s got to be rich, hearty and tasty. After eating it, there’s often no more room for dessert. Poutine is an example that falls into this category, but there’s always a way to be healthy. So here are 10 poutines with vegetables.
Most of the time, we associate comfort food with dishes that bring us back to our childhood or a fond memory. It could be one of grandma’s classic that she made when you use to visit your grandparents on Sundays or a traditional birthday meal.
Of course, you can’t forget about desserts that also have a great capacity to comfort. Sugar makes many people happy and some need their little daily dose. If consumed in moderation, some rich, moist desserts like brownies can be a good source of comfort.
Comfort food ideas for people who like salty
Even if most of these recipes are traditionally meat-based, it’s really easy to turn them into vegetarian dishes by switching out the meat for veggies or legumes.
Not be confused with rice, orzo is a kind of pasta that looks like a grain. Pasta is probably one of the best sources of comfort. No wonder so many people love it. Rich in fibre and carbohydrates, they satisfy like no other. Plus, an au gratin dish makes everything so much more comforting and indulgent. This orzo gratin will give you all the satisfaction you need in one: pasta, cheese, cream and veggies!
Speaking of pasta, the classic spaghetti sauce is a must in terms of comfort food. You can make a big batch, freeze it, then enjoy it whenever you want. The veggie version that we propose is just as good as the traditional meat version. Black beans are a good substitute for the meat and make the recipe even more comforting.
This Quebecois classic is probably engraved in many people’s childhood memories and keeps its place in cookbooks. Still using a black bean base, this reimagined shepherd’s pie is sure to amaze. It’s warm and comforting, as well as rich and delicious.
4. Cauliflower burgers with spicy mayo
Widely consumed for all kinds of occasions, the burger rates well on the comfort scale. It’s true – it’s rich and oh so delicious! First considered fast food, the burger can be a healthy choice when made with the right ingredients. There are so many combinations, it can be adapted to anyone’s tastes. This cauliflower-based veggie burger is a treat that will satisfy any craving.
In this two-bean chili recipe, you’ll be amazed at how the perfect blend of spices makes you feel warmth and comfort. Legumes – in this case red kidney beans and black beans – are an excellent way to replace meat and vegetize this recipe.
To learn more about the origins of chili and its variations, read our article called, “The chili of all sauces!”
Comfort food ideas for those who like sweets
What’s better than a dessert to lift your spirits after a long, tiring day or after you’ve spent a lot of energy. Sweet little pleasures can be healthy if they’re consumed in reasonable amounts especially if they’re veggie-based. It’s easy to add veggies to a dessert and often you can’t even tell.
Chocolate tends to be a little indulgence for many people. So for sweet comfort food, brownies top the list. Soft and creamy just the way you like, these sweet pea brownies will impress you. Who would have thought that these sweet peas would make such a good dessert?
7. Oatmeal muffins with dates
Muffins fall in the healthier dessert category and they’re really yummy. They’re satisfying, full of flavour and easy to prepare. In this muffin recipe, the combination of oats, dates and coconut are all the rage and no one would suspect they have cauliflower in them. Comforting and healthy as a dessert or snack.
8. Apple and granola crumble by Fourmi Bionique
Throughout the year, apple crumble is a dessert that’s always comforting. It brings back fond memories of apple picking in the fall with family or loved ones. This recipe by Fourmi Bionique is easy to make and will bring a smile to children and grown-ups alike. Give in to temptation!
Banana bread brings back wistful memories for a lot of people. Soft and moist fresh out of the oven, a good banana bread always hits the spot especially when there’s enough for your lunch the next day. The inside veggie mixture makes this sweet treat healthy, tasty and rich. Give it a try!
With or without a glass of milk, these cookies are excellent for anytime of day – as a snack before lunch, a dessert before supper or even as a part of a coffee break in the afternoon. Raspberries go great with chocolate and the red kidney beans give them a terrific texture. For a little dose of comfort, these cookies are just what the doctor ordered.
We hope these comforting sweet and salty recipes bring you warmth and flavour! If you’ve got more of a sweet tooth, our article, “Healthy muffins and light cakes: tricks to improve recipes” will give you plenty of healthy comfort food ideas.
And what’s your favourite comfort food?