Vegetarian Comfort Food Recipes
Recipes Even Meat Eaters would Love
Over the years I realized that I didn't have to give up on most comfort foods; I just had to find alternatives. That said, most of these recipes do not include meat substitutes like soy (tofu) or TVP. They are, however, easy to make, totally satisfying and great meals to serve to your meat eating friends and family.
Vegetarian Comfort Food Recipes - keep in mind, a lot of the classics have no meat anyway - think mashed potatoes, grilled cheese and tomato soup...
© Saxton Freymann
Vegetarian "Chicken" Noodle Soup (optional soy)
Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie* (w/soy)
Vegetarian Cornbread, Apple "Sausage" Stuffing (sub Field Roast's soy-free Smoked Apple Sage vegan sausages)
Vegetarian Eggplant "Bacon" Recipe
- 2 small eggplants - Japanese eggplants work best, but small Italian eggplants work, too. They should be small because the smaller the eggplant, the less seeds it has, and as we all know, bacon has no seeds.
- Bacon Salt
- Oil for frying - It's tempting to use olive oil, but Canola works best since you don't want vaguely olivey bacon.
- Peel or don't peel your eggplant. If you like your bacon more crispy, keeping the skin on will help.
- Slice the eggplant lengthwise, about 1/4" thick (or less). A mandolin helps.
- Arrange the slices in layers, sprinkling copious amounts of Bacon Salt over each one.
- Mix the slices about, making sure each piece of eggplant gets a good coating of Bacon Salt. Let the slices sit for about 30 minutes, up to an hour.
- The salt in the Bacon Salt will draw the bitter liquid out of the eggplant and imbue the slices with bacony goodness.
- Lightly blot each slice with a paper towel to remove the excess bitter liquid. You'll lose some of the seasoning this way, but that's okay.
- Pour about an inch of oil into a frying pan (preferably cast-iron) over medium high heat. (Yeah, you're deep-frying. As when using bacon itself, concern about fried foods shouldn't be your top priority). When the oil is sizzlin', drop the bacon in, a slice at a time, and cook to desired doneness.
- Remove to a paper towel and enjoy! The absorbent quality of the eggplant will give the final product just the right amount of greasy, fatty goodness.
Voila! Excellent on BLTs or as a side with eggs and pancakes, or crumbled over a salad, this eggplant bacon is certain to please even the most dyed-in-the-wool bacon aficionado.
Martha Stewart Vegetarian Recipes
50 of 'em!
Turbo-charge your health - and help the planet - just by incorporating more vegetarian meals into your diet. MarhtaStewart.com gathered vegetarian recipes that the whole family will love.
Instead of putting your meatloaf in a loaf pan put it in a muffin tin. It only takes 20 minutes to cook that way and everyone gets a crispy end piece.
Satisfying vegetarian comfort food! Don't let the ingredients fool you; the flavor and consistency is very much like meatloaf. Kitchen alchemy at its best!
- 16 ounces organic cottage cheese
- 4 organic eggs, slightly beaten
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 packet Simply Organic French Onion Dip (soup) mix
- 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
- 2 cups cereal flakes (I use Nature's Path Organic Flax Plus Multibran Cereal)
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- In a large bowl, combine cottage cheese, eggs, vegetable oil, soup mix, walnuts, cereal and onion
- Spoon into pan (or muffin tin)
- Bake for 60 to 70 minutes (15-20 for muffins)
- Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes
Animal Ingredients to Be Aware of
You've heard it's made of horse hooves, perhaps. But it's actually made from the connective tissues of just about any animal. So it's not meat, per se, it's the stuff boiled down from every part of the animal you wouldn't eat if you did eat meat. So, no more Jell-O, right? Yes, but gelatin pops up all over the place. Here's a list to get you started.
- Some dairy products such as ice cream, sour cream, cream cheese, cottage cheese and yogurt.
- Some frostings and most "frosted" products such as Pop-Tarts.
- Candies such as gummy products (but not my beloved Jujyfruits), jelly beans, Skittles and Starburts, candy corn, and even Altoids.
- Marshmallows (but not marshmallow crÃ¨me) and items that contain marshmallows such as a Southern favorite, Moon Pies and breakfast cereals with "marshmallow bits" or frosting.
- Jell-O, gelatin and some pudding mixes as well as some jams, jellies, and "fruit snacks."
Harvest Direct Soy Pudding Mixes Vegan and Vegetarian Cake Mix
(Banana, Chocolate, French Vanilla, Lemon Creme)
(Available via Dixie Diners' Club)
Dr. Oetker Simple Organics
- Pudding/Pie Filling Mix (Chocolate, Coconut, Mocha, Vanilla)
(avaialable via Vegan Essentials)
Lieber's Unflavored Jel
Vegan and Vegetarian Baking Mixes
(avaialable via Vegan Essentials)
Natural Desserts Gluten-Free Vegan Jel Dessert
(avaialable via Vegan Essentials)
- Vegan Chocolate Mousse Mix
- Vegan Custard Mix
- Many medicines and vitamins, particularly those in capsule or "gelcap" form contain gelatin.
- Some energy and diet bars (though some may list gelatin as "hydrolyzed collagen") as well as some energy/performance drinks.
- A few margarines including the fat-free version of "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" (try Earth Balance, instead). Interestingly, the regular version of "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" doesn't have gelatin.
- Some pre-made guacamole (really, you shouldn't be eating this stuff anyway - it's mostly filler and little avocado).
- Planters Dry Roasted Peanuts and other roasted nuts (but not all Planters nut products).
- Some soups and sauces.
- via Almost Vegetarian
Vegetarian S'mores - With vegan marshmallows
made with Vegan Marshmallows
Dr. Dean Ornish TED talk - The world now eats (and dies) like Americans
Benefits of a Vegetarian Diet
Vegetarian diets are usually rich in carbohydrates, omega-6 fatty acids, dietary fibre, carotenoids, folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium and magnesium. They contain lower levels of saturated fat, cholesterol, and animal protein.
Studies show that the health of vegetarians compares favourably with that of non-vegetarians. British vegetarians have lower death rates than non-vegetarians, although this is at least partly due to non-dietary lifestyle factors, such as a low prevalence of smoking and the generally high socioeconomic status of vegetarians, or to aspects of the diet other than the avoidance of meat and fish.
Notably, a vegetarian diet avoids the negative health effects of red meat. One review found that mortality from coronary heart disease was 24% lower in vegetarians than in nonvegetarians. Studies of cancer have not shown clear differences in cancer rates between vegetarians and non-vegetarians. There is evidence that vegetarians tend to have a lower body mass index, lower risk of obesity, lower blood cholesterol levels, lower homocysteine levels, lower risk of high blood pressure, and lower risk of type 2 diabetes. One large prospective study found that non-meat-eaters had only half the risk of meat eaters of requiring an emergency appendectomy.
Vegetarians are less likely to die by choking on food since the most common food to obstruct the airway is fish which caused about 4,500 accidents a year in the UK as of 1998. Meat, poultry and bones were cited as the next three most common causes of choking, followed by sweets and non-food objects. A 2007 report from San Diego in the US confirms that the most common cause of choking was on meat products.
- via Wikipedia
Vegetarian Diet Resources
Potential Nutrient Deficiencies - some specifics on vegetarian nutrition
image credit: ASU
Poorly planned vegetarian diets can be relatively low in protein, iron, zinc, vitamin B12, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, retinol (vitamin A), vitamin D, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and iodine. Vegans may have particularly low intakes of vitamin B12 and calcium. Nonetheless, well-balanced vegetarian and vegan diets can meet all these nutrient requirements and are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including during pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence.
The typical vegetarian gets adequate protein as long as caloric intake is adequate and a variety of foods is eaten. Vegetarian diets are usually relatively low in protein, which may be beneficial.
Main article: Protein combining
" Virtually all plant foods have all of the essential amino acids; and not only are the amino acids there, they are present in more than enough quantity to meet the needs of normal adults, if you are on a calorically adequate diet." - Keith Akers
Despite a widespread belief that vegetarians must eat grains and beans within a few hours of each other in order to make a 'complete' protein which contains all 9 "essential amino acids", this has never been substantiated by research. The protein-combining theory was brought to popular attention in Frances Moore LappÃ©'s 1971 bestseller Diet for a Small Planet. In later editions of the book, as early as 1981, LappÃ© withdrew her contention that protein 'combining' is necessary.
Meat, fish and poultry are the only sources of heme iron; plants contain only non-heme iron, which is absorbed less efficiently by the human body. However, cereals, eggs, legumes (including peas, beans, chickpeas, lentils and soy foods) and nuts are significant sources of iron, so a well planned vegetarian diet should not lead to iron deficiency.
A study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that while iron-deficiency anemia is not more common among vegetarians, "vegetarian children had ... reduced levels of haemoglobin and iron compared to omnivores" due "to the absence of animal iron sources with high utilizability".
Western vegetarians and vegans have not been found to suffer from overt zinc deficiencies any more than meat-eaters. However, phytates in many whole-grains and fiber in many foods may interfere with zinc absorption and marginal zinc intake has poorly understood effects.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is potentially extremely serious, leading to pernicious anemia, nerve degeneration and irreversible neurological damage. A regular source of vitamin B12 is particularly important for those over the age of 50 years, and pregnant and lactating women (and for breastfed infants if the mother's diet is not supplemented).
Evidence suggests that vegetarians and vegans who are not taking vitamin B12 supplements or B12-fortified foods do not consume sufficient servings of B12 and often have abnormally low blood concentrations of vitamin B12. This is because, unless fortified, plant foods do not contain significant amounts of active vitamin B12.
It is essential, therefore, that vegetarians consume adequate amounts of dairy products, eggs, dietary supplements or foods that have been fortified with B12 (such as certain yeast extracts, vegetable stock, veggie burger mixes, textured vegetable protein, soy milks, vegetable and sunflower margarines, and breakfast cereals).
nori(Seaweed) contains B12 very abundantly. However, plant sources of B12 (or analogues) have not yet been shown to benefit humans. There is a patent for a cultivation method of a mycelium's enriching vitamin B12 of the vegetable.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Vegetarian sources of omega-3 fatty acids include flaxseeds and flaxseed oil, olive oil, walnuts, canola (rapeseed) oil, avocado, and eggs.
Vegetarian sources of omega-3 fatty acids are primarily the short chain variety and likely to have lower concentrations of the particular essential fatty acids (EFAs), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The body can synthesize small quantities of EPA and DHA from other omega-3 fatty acids, such as alpha-linolenic acids, which are present in vegetarian sources of omega-3 fatty acids. The human body can also convert DHA into EPA. DHA supplements derived from DHA-rich microalgae are available. Whilst the human body can in theory do this conversion, in practice modern diets and lifestyles reduce the effectiveness of the conversion systems. Roughly ten times more of the short chain omega-3s must be consumed to have the same effect as the long chain form from fish oil.
While there is no scientific consensus on the role of omega-3 fatty acids, it is generally believed that they may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, lower triglycerides, stabilize mood and help prevent depression, help reduce symptoms of ADD, reduce joint pain and other rheumatoid problems and reduce the risk of dementia in older age.
The human body can synthesize Vitamin D when skin is exposed to ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Vegans who do not eat foods or pills fortified with synthetic vitamin D and with little exposure to the sun's ultraviolet radiation (e.g., those who don't expose their extremities for at least 15-30 minutes per day or those living at latitudes close to the poles) are vulnerable to Vitamin D deficiencies.
Vitamin D acts as a hormone, sending a message to the intestines to increase the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, which produces strong bones. Vitamin D also works in concert with a number of other vitamins, minerals, and hormones to promote bone mineralization. Research also suggests that vitamin D may help maintain a healthy immune system and help regulate cell growth and differentiation.
According the British Journal of Nutrition there is a "potential danger of [Iodine] deficiency disorders due to strict forms of vegetarian nutrition, especially when fruits and vegetables grown in soils with low [Iodine] levels are ingested." Iodine, however, is usually supplied by iodized salt and other sources in first world countries. Additionally, it should be noted that any iodine found in animal products is sourced from plant life (see: Iodine: Sources).
According to the American Dietetic Association, "Some studies have shown vegans to have lower intakes of riboflavin, compared with nonvegetarians; however, clinical riboflavin deficiency has not been observed."
- via Wikipedia