We all need comfort food now and then. Whether it’s to deal with a tough day at work, to celebrate a special occasion, or just to satisfy a craving, comfort food is, well- comforting. Being a vegan doesn’t mean you have to give up these treats or classics- just tweak them a bit. With the right substitutes, you can have all the things you crave the most. A bit of tofu, some vegetables, and an order of bulk cashews will have you on the way to making vegan versions of your favorite comfort foods. We’ve chosen some of our favorites to get you started.
Vegan Mashed Potatoes
Of course, potatoes themselves are vegan on their own. But to make them a real comfort food, the addition of butter, sour cream, milk, or even cheese is common and gives them a soft and fluffy texture. Luckily, cashew milk provides the same texture as these dairy options without the dairy!
To make the base of your potatoes, gather the following:
- 2 ½ lb. potatoes (Russet, Yukon, or red), cut into 1 ½ to 2-inch cubes. You can peel or not peel them.
- ¼ cup vegan butter or extra virgin olive oil, room temperature
- ¾ – 1 cup cashew milk
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a large pot, add potatoes and fill with water until they are covered with an extra inch or two on top. Bring to a boil, then partially cover on low heat and cook over a gentle boil for 15-20 minutes. The potatoes are done when tender to the fork.
- Remove from heat and drain water.
- Add the butter or oil immediately, then mash into potatoes. Add non-dairy milk and continue masking until fluffy and creamy. Season to taste.
You could be done here, but many people like to top their potatoes with other flavors. You can pick up some vegan parmesan cheese or blend soaked cashews with water, lemon, apple cider vinegar, and salt to make a quick sour cream substitute!
Vegan Macaroni and Cheese
Maybe the ultimate comfort food, most people love macaroni and cheese. Of course, the cheese is in the name, so finding the right substitute is critical. With a recipe that’s just as simple as a box mix, you can use raw cashews, nutritional yeast, and lemon juice to create a delicious substitute.
For 8 servings of the dish, you will need:
- 1 ½ cups raw cashews (soaked in water for 2 hours prior)
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ¾ cups water
- 1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- 1 clove garlic
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon mustard
- 16 ounces of elbow macaroni
- freshly ground black pepper
- Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain the cashews if they were soaked.
- While pasta is cooking, combine cashews, lemon juice, water, salt, yeast, chili powder, garlic, turmeric, cayenne, and mustard in a high-speed blender until silky smooth. If it is too thick, add 2 tablespoons of water at a time and blend again.
- Once pasta is ready, drain and rinse, then return to pot. Stir in the cheese sauce. Season to taste and serve warm!
Vegan Artichoke Spinach Dip
What better time for comfort food than a party? Dips are a staple at all sorts of events, but many are based in creams and dairy. An artichoke spinach dip is a staple, and with the addition of bulk cashews, you don’t have to give it up!
- ¾ cup unsweetened dairy milk
- 2 ½ – 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1-2 medium to large garlic cloves
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoons dry ground mustard
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- ¾ cup raw cashews, unsoaked
- 2 cups frozen artichoke hearts, partially thawed
- 2 cups spinach leaves
- Preheat the oven to 425 F. In a blender, combine milk, lemon juice, garlic, salt, dry mustard, pepper, and cashews. Blend until very smooth.
- Add artichokes and spinach to blender and pulse, or blend very briefly. You want to keep a chunky texture to the dip.
- Transfer mixture to an oven-proof baking dish, then bake for 17 – 20 minutes. If you bake for longer, the spinach will lose its color.
Serve warm, with raw veggies, chips, bread, or crackers. You can also refrigerate and serve cold later.