It’s that time of the year, get your blanket ready for ‘comfort food on the sofa’ season.
Days are not getting longer yet, temperatures are dropping and the sunny days are long gone. The only thing we are going to look forward to this winter (except sale shopping, of course!) are cosy nights spent on the sofa, with some delicious food in hand and a new (probably addictive) Netflix show on the screen.
January being Veganuary, it seems like the perfect time to try some heart-warming plant based recipes. Whichever type of food is your favourite – from mouth-watering vegan curries to meat-free kebabs and even vegan pancakes – we have got you covered. So, without further ado, here are Stylist.co.uk’s favourite vegan comfort food recipes.
Smoky stuffed vegan roast with pine nut, lemon and herb
Home-smoking is very easy and adds a deep layer of flavour to lots of dishes, including homemade vegan meats or cheeses. I use a large lidded pan (only used for smoking) and a steamer basket – the kind that makes a raised layer and adjusts to the size of the pan. Smoking chips are available from cook shops or online. You can cheat by adding smoked essence to the mixture, but this doesn’t infuse in the same flavourful way as actual smoking. This recipe serves 7–8.
For the roasting pan:
- 1 litre/1 quart vegetable stock
- 2 onions, quartered, skin on
- 1 glass of white wine (optional)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- handful of fresh herbs, such as thyme and rosemary
- 1 garlic bulb, halved
- 1–2 lemons, halved
- 1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- For the stuffing:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 small onions, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 slices white or brown bread
- 12 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon chopped zest and freshly squeezed juice of ½ lemon
- ½ -1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 50 g/⅓ cup pine nuts
For the dry rub:
- 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons dried herbs
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the roast:
- 400 g/14 oz. vital wheat gluten flour
- 45 g/⅓ cup chickpea/gram flour
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoons Herbamere seasoning
- 1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs
- 60 ml/1/4 cup tahini
- 280–400 ml/10–14 fl. Oz. vegetable stock
- 2 teaspoons smoked essence (optional)
- large muslin/cheesecloth sheet, approx. 60 cm/
- 24 inches square twine or string
- large handful of smoking
- chips and foil (or substitute 3 teaspoons smoked essence)
- large lidded pan and metal steaming basket
What to do
Preheat the oven to 180˚C (350˚F) or Gas 4. Add all the roasting pan ingredients into a large deep pan with 1 litre/1 quart water and set aside.
To make the stuffing, in a large frying pan/skillet, add the olive oil, onions and garlic and fry over a low heat for about 8–10 minutes until well softened. Turn up the heat to medium-high and continue to fry the mixture so that the onions start to brown slightly.
Remove the pan from the heat and tip the contents into a large bowl. Leave to cool.
Blitz the slices of bread in a food processor to make fine breadcrumbs. Add these to the stuffing mixture, along with the sage, lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper. Roughly chop the pine nuts and add to the bowl. Mix well with your hands and set aside.
To make the roast, mix together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. In a jug/pitcher, mix together the tahini and stock (add the smoked essence at this point if using). Make a well in the centre of the bowl, and pour in ⅔ of the stock mixture. Combine the ingredients to make a stiff dough. Add the remaining liquid if needed; the dough should be nice and firm. Knead well for a minute or two, then leave to rest for 5–10 minutes.
Place the dough on the work surface and roll out to an oblong shape about 2–3 cm/3/4 –1 ¼ inches thick. It is very springy to work with so you will need to be patient and firm. Mix together the dry rub ingredients and scatter on the work surface. Place the flattened dough piece onto the dry rub. Press down slightly, then lift and place, rub-side down, onto a very well-oiled muslin/cheesecloth.
Recipe from Vegan Mock Meat Revolution: Delicious Plant-Based Recipes by Jackie Kearney, Ryland Peters & Small, £16.99. Photography by Clare Winfield.
Cauliflower & Coconut Soup with Lime & Crispy Cauliflower Croutons
The is one of the simplest and most satisfying recipes around. Admittedly, pairing curry and cauliflower isn’t really groundbreaking but the crunchy lime and garlic croutons really lift this dish to another level. Plus, it only takes 30 minutes to make. This recipes serves 4-6 people.
What you’ll need
For the soup:
- 3 tbsp Virgin coconut oil
- 5 shallots, roughly chopped
- 3 celery sticks roughly chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, crushed
- 3 tsp Madras curry powder
- 11/2 tsp ground coriander
- 11/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1.2 litres vegetable stock
- 11/2 x 400ml cans coconut milk
- 1.5kg cauliflower florets, roughly chopped
- 4 – 6tbsp coconut-milk yoghurt
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the cauliflower croutons:
- 1 cauliflower broken into florets
- For the seasoning flour:
- 200g corn flour 200g plain flour
- 8 tsp paprika
- 4 tsp dried thyme
- 4 tsp garlic granules 2 tsp sea salt flakes 1 tsp onion powder 1 tsp celery salt
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1⁄2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
For the vegan buttermilk:
- 1tbsp lemon juice up
- 240ml coconut milk
What to do
Pre-heat the oven to 200oC or Gas 6. Heat the coconut oil in a large pan on a medium heat. Add the shallots and celery and soften with a pinch of salt, for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, curry powder, ground coriander and cumin and stir for about 30 seconds, until the aroma from the garlic and spices is released, then add the stock, coconut milk and cauliflower. Bring the soup to the boil, then reduce the heat, pop the lid on and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower is tender, for about 20 minutes.
In the meantime, make the garlic croutons. Put the crouton ingredients plus a pinch of salt and pepper into a freezer bag, then seal the bag, shake it and turn it upside down to fully coat the cubes of bread in the oil and seasonings. Tip out onto a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 50-6 minutes until crispy and golden. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Use a stick blender to blitz the soup until smooth, the season to taste. Serve the soup in individual bowls, topped with a dollop of the yoghurt and scattered with the cauliflower croutons.
For the croutons, break the cauliflower into small florets, par-boil for 5 minutes, until a fork can easily pierce it. Season well with salt. Mix the lemon juice into the coconut milk to create the buttermilk and then leave it for 10 minutes to curdle. Whisk together all the dry seasoning flour ingredients. Dip the floret into the seasoning flour mix, then into the buttermilk, then back into the seasoning flour mix. Deep fry until golden and crispy. Drizzle with agave syrup, sprinkle over a pinch of cayenne pepper.
Recipe by Shivi Ramoutar, chef of The Rum Kitchen.
Vegan aubergine lasagna
Just like Brits have Sunday roast, Italians go-to for a Sunday lunch family reunion is a delicious, heart-warming lasagna. Better if it’s in the middle of the dining table, to share with family and friends, with a good glass of red wine. Renouncing the traditional ragù sauce is easier when you have a perfect alternative to the classic Bolognese recipe. I’m are sure this aubergine bake will be your favourite go to for a meatless lasagna.
What you’ll need
- 2 big aubergines, sliced lengthwise
- 2 tins chopped tomatoes
- 1 tin coconut milk
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Olive oil
- Fresh basil
- Brown rice lasagne sheets
What to do
In a pan heat a tiny drizzle of olive oil and add in the onion and garlic. Fry those for a few minutes before adding in the paprika, dried herbs and chilli flakes. Next add in the tomato paste, tinned tomatoes, coconut milk, vegetable stock and season it with salt and black pepper. Combine well, bring up to a boil and then leave it to simmer for around 10 minutes or until thicken.
In the meantime spread sliced aubergine out across 2 lined baking trays and brush each slice both sides with olive oil. Pop these in the oven to roast for 10 minutes, then flip them over for another 10 minutes. Next, add the nutritional yeast to the sauce along with handful of fresh basil torn up.
Now get your baking dish and layer in ⅓ of the sauce, then layer ⅓ third of roasted aubergines, then layer on some brown rice lasagna sheets. Repeat 2 - 3 three layers like that, depending on the size of your baking dish. Once all done, pop in the oven to bake for around 30 minutes. Serve with fresh basil on top.
Recipe and photography by Hedi Fountain.
Oyster mushroom po’ boy
I wanted to make a vegan alternative because this types of sandwiches are all over America, not just in New Orleans (where this specific sandwich originated). So sink your big mouth into this sandwich and tell me being vegan ain’t the greatest! Welcome to flavour town. This recipes serves 4 people.
What you’ll need
For the fried oyster mushrooms:
- 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
- 6 tablespoons water
- 225 ml/8 fl oz unsweetened non-dairy milk
- 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons vegan oyster sauce or vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 teaspoon ground white or black pepper
- 225 g/8 oz oyster mushrooms
- (16 – 20)
- 1 – 1.4 litres/1¾ – 2½ pints vegetable oil, for frying
For the breading:
- 20 g/¾ oz panko-style breadcrumbs
- 25 g/1 oz polenta
- 35 g/1¼ oz plain flour
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cayenne
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
For the sandwiches
- 4 hot dog-style buns
For The Thousand Island sauce:
- 190 g/7 oz finely chopped Cos lettuce
- 3 vine tomatoes, thinly sliced
- 3 gherkins, sliced into rounds
- For the Thousand Island dressing:
- 227 g/8 oz vegan mayonnaise
- 4 tablespoons sweet green relish
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sambal oelek (chilli paste) or hot sauce
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 tablespoons nely chopped chives
- 1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground pepper
What to do
To prepare the mushrooms, mix together the ground flaxseed and water in a bowl and leave to stand for 10 minutes to thicken.
In another bowl, mix together the non-dairy milk, vinegar, oyster sauce, garlic powder, basil and pepper. Add the flax mixture and pour the marinade over the mushrooms in a large ziplock bag, making sure they are well submerged. Chill for at least 20 minutes. Or you can leave it overnight.
Heat the oil in a heavy-based pot to a temperature of 185°C – 190°C/365°F – 375°F on a deep-frying thermometer. The oil should be heated to the right temperature just as you’re about to bread the mushrooms.
To make the breading, mix together all the ingredients in a bowl. Remove a few mushrooms from the marinade and place directly in the breading, coating evenly on all sides using your hands. Place each piece in the hot oil and fry for 2 – 3 minutes. Place fried mushrooms on kitchen paper to absorb excess oil. Continue to bread the mushrooms and fry in small batches.
To assemble the sandwiches, cut the buns in half and toast, if you like. Spread some Thousand Island – to prepare the dressing, you only need to stir all the ingredients together in a bowl – on the inside of each roll. Layer the Cos lettuce, tomato slices, gherkins and fried mushrooms on one half of each roll. Add more of Thousand Island, if you like. Serve immediately while the oyster mushrooms are still warm. Reheat leftover fried mushrooms in a 220°C/425°F/Gas Mark 7 oven for 10 – 12 minutes until crispy.
Recipe extracted from Vegan Comfort Classics by Lauren Toyota (Ebury Press, £16.99). Photography by Vanessa Heinz.
Falafel is a mainstay in many a vegan’s weekly menu plan. A lunchtime fallback and perennial ‘we don’t know what else to serve you’ favourite, it’s become something of an unofficial running joke in vegan circles. I too was becoming a wee bit tired of consuming yet another falafel-and-salad-stuffed pitta and honestly didn’t believe ‘poaching’ them would make that much difference. Or so I thought. Letting these chickpea-filled beauties steam until fluffy and virtually melt-in-the-mouth delicious in a sauce so good you’ll be licking the pan was an absolute revelation. In fact, my love affair with these wondrous little veg-balls has officially been reignited – I’ll never look at a falafel the same way again. This recipes serves 4 people.
What you’ll need
For the falafel shakshuka
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 small aubergine, sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 scant teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon tomato purée
- 200g passata (sieved tomatoes)
- 400g can chopped tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes or 1 red chilli, chopped
- pinch of sugar
- 12 shop-bought falafel
- sea salt flakes and black pepper
For the tahini sauce
- 2 tablespoons light tahini
- ½ tablespoon pomegranate molasses
- 1 teaspoon agave nectar
- juice of ½ lemon
- 1–2 tablespoons water
- pinch of fine sea salt flakes
- 8–10 taco-sized tortillas or flatbreads
- handful of pomegranate seeds
- handful of tarragon, torn
What to do
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion to the pan, season and sweat for 2–3 minutes until it begins to soften. Add the aubergine and stir to combine. Sauté for 2–3 minutes, then add the garlic, sprinkle over the smoked paprika and cinnamon and stir to coat. Cover and cook for another 2–3 minutes, or until the aubergine has started to soften. Add the tomato purée, passata and chopped tomatoes to the pan. Fill the tomato can with water and add it to the sauce together with the chilli and sugar. Season generously and simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes, or until the sauce is rich and bubbling. Place the falafel in the pan, making sure not to cover them with the sauce – they should be peeking out! Cover and simmer gently for a further 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the tahini sauce by whisking the ingredients together in a small bowl until smooth and glossy. Griddle or toast the tortillas and keep warm under a clean tea towel.
To serve, drizzle the tahini sauce over the shakshuka and garnish with the pomegranate seeds and tarragon. Put the pan in the centre of the table along with the tortillas and let everyone help themselves.
Cook Share Eat Vegan by Áine Carlin, is published by Mitchell Beazley £20. Photography by Danielle Wood.