Vegan Comfort Food

It is fall, the nights are chilly and my “to do” lists are terrifying. It is, in short, time to introduce some comfort food into my cooking and baking repertoire.

I have scanned many cookbooks and websites for a vegan version of mac ‘n cheese. Most have long lists of spices that include things like curry, mustard seed, cumin, etc. While I’ve got nothing against spices, I tend to be a bit of a fusspot when it comes to my comfort food. I want comfort, straight up and not too complicated. After making a highly unsatisfying and distinctly uncomforting batch of vegan mac and cheese (from a recipe book that shall remain nameless) I decide to take matters into my own hands and make my old stand-by stovetop cheese sauce, but with vegan ingredients. So: 2 tablespoons of Earth Balance (instead of butter), melted, 2 tablespoons of flour stirred in. Next up was to add in about 1 – 1 1/2 cups of soy milk (whisking, whisking, whisking all the time until the sauce starts to thicken up) and about 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast. Then I whisked in about a cup of cheddar-style Daiya shreds (side note: I love, love, love Daiya and was delighted to hear that it is now available through Canadian grocery retailers!!). The cheeseless cheese sauce thickened up just like the traditional version used to and I poured it over cooked macaroni, topped with buttered (er… Earth Balanced?) bread crumbs and baked it at 400 for 15 or so minutes. Delicious and exactly what I had been craving!

On a similar note, I also spent time this weekend searching for a simple biscuit recipe (again, not too tarted up with too many flavours — remember, I’m going for pure uncomplicated comfort food!). VegWeb had a recipe for Biscuits Like Mom Never Made (sorry mom, that’s the name of the recipe! Nothing personal!) This ended up being a great recipe — fantastic hot out of the oven with a bowl of soup. Perfect for a chilly fall evening!

3 thoughts on “Vegan Comfort Food

  1. If you want comfort food, you need vegan chicken and dumplings. I’m not vegan (just veggie), but I’ve made this vegan on many occasions. I don’t have a recipe–I just modified what I’ve seen my grandmother do, but here’s a stab at it:

    sautee in a big pot with olive oil:
    1 onion, chopped
    2 stalks of celery, chopped
    3 cloves of garlic, diced

    2-3 bay leaves
    1 Tbsp sage (I’m guessing with the spices because I measure using my hand–the main thing is more sage than the others)
    1/2 Tbsp oregano
    1 tsp thyme
    1 tsp basil
    2 cups of veggie broth ( I use veggie bullion to make the broth)

    vegan chicken substitute of your choice, chopped to bite size pieces (I like 1 box of Quorn nuggets, but they contain egg whites)
    3-4 more cups of water
    salt and pepper to taste

    When the water is boiling, add dumplings. Boil until dumplings are cooked and broth thickens–at least 30 minutes.

    I use my grandmothers biscuit recipe (modified) for the dumplings. It’s basic:
    sift 3 c flour, 4 tsp baking powder, and 1 tsp salt
    cut in vegan shortening (I like Smart Balance)
    add 1 c soy milk

    turn onto floured board and knead lightly
    section into workable pieces and roll to 1/4 inch thickness
    sprinkle with pepper and pat it into dough
    slice dough into 1 inch wide ribbons
    drop into boiling broth in 1 1/2 -2 inch lengths

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