Simple Recipes for Vegetarian Comfort Foods

Vegan Burger

Many people switch to the vegetarian diet because they believe it to be a healthier option than the standard American diet. It is true that plant-based diets are associated with reduced cholesterol levels, lower body weights, and a reduced risk for chronic disease, but you can still be unhealthy on a vegetarian diet if you don’t watch what you eat. Just because you switch to the vegetarian diet, however, doesn’t mean that you have to give up your favorite foods – being a vegetarian isn’t just about eating vegetables. In fact, there are a variety of comfort foods that can be made with vegetarian-friendly ingredients!

Below you will find three tasty recipes for vegetarian comfort foods including cauliflower mac and cheese, chipotle chickpea burgers, and chili cheese fries.

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

A tasty blend of healthy and satisfying, this cauliflower mac and cheese is sure to hit the spot. Loaded up with two kinds of cheese and topped with crunchy breadcrumbs, what could be better?

Ingredients: 

• Cooking spray
• 1 cup whole-wheat elbow pasta, uncooked
• 2 cups finely chopped cauliflower florets
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
• ¼ to ½ cup panko breadcrumbs, plain
• 1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic
• 1 small yellow onion, chopped
• ¾ cup shredded gruyere cheese
• ¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese
• ½ cup fat-free sour cream
• ¼ cup whole milk
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 1 teaspoon dried parsley

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and lightly grease a square 9-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil then add the pasta.
3. Cook the pasta to al dente according to the instructions, about 8 to 10 minutes – add the cauliflower during the last 3 minutes.
4. Drain the pasta and the cauliflower then set it aside.
5. Heat half of the oil in a large skillet on the medium-high heat setting.
6. Stir in the breadcrumbs and cook for 2 minutes until toasted then spoon off into a bowl.
7. Reheat the skillet with the remaining oil and add the garlic and onion.
8. Sauté the garlic and onion for 4 to 5 minutes until softened then stir in the pasta and cauliflower.
9. Add the cheese, sour cream, and milk then season with salt and pepper to taste.
10. Cook the mixture until the cheese is melted then stir well and spread it in the prepared baking dish.
11. Top with dried parsley then bake for 10 to 15 minutes until hot and bubbling.

Chipotle Chickpea Burgers

Loaded with vegetarian protein and dietary fiber, these chipotle chickpea burgers are full of flavor with a bit of a kick. Top them off with pepper jack cheese and your favorite burger toppings!

Ingredients: 

• 3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
• ½ large yellow onion, chopped
• 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
• 1 cup fresh diced tomatoes
• 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained well
• 1 medium Yukon gold potato, peeled and shredded
• 2 chipotle chilies in adobo, chopped
• ¼ teaspoon chipotle chili powder
• ½ cup plain yellow cornmeal
• 4 toasted sandwich buns
• 4 slices pepper jack cheese

Instructions: 

1. Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat.
2. Add the onions and cook for 4 to 5 minutes until softened then stir in the jalapeno.
3. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes more than stir in the tomatoes – cook for 2 minutes then remove from heat.
4. Pour the drained chickpeas into a food processor and add the potatoes, chipotle chilies and chili powder.
5. Pulse the ingredients until smooth and well combined then blend in the onion mixture.
6. Shape the mixture into four even-sized patties by hand.
7. Spread the cornmeal out in a shallow dish then coat the patties in the cornmeal.
8. Heat the remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
9. Add the burger patties and cook for 3 to 5 minutes on each side until golden brown.
10. Serve the burgers on toasted sandwich buns with a slice of pepper jack cheese and your favorite burger toppings.

Chili Cheese Fries

A delicious twist on a classic, these butternut squash fries are piled high with cheese and vegetarian chili – a recipe that is sure to soothe and satisfy you!

Ingredients: 

• 1 large butternut squash
• ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 teaspoon chili powder
• ½ teaspoon paprika
• ½ teaspoon garlic powder
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 1 tablespoon coconut oil
• 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
• 2 small red peppers, cored and diced
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 1 (11-ounce) package meat-free crumbles
• 1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
• 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
• ¼ cup tomato paste
• 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
• 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
• 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
• 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment.
2. Cut the squash in half then scoop out and discard the seeds.
3. Slice away the peel and cut the flesh into fries.
4. Toss the fries with the oil, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder and salt then spread on the baking sheet in a single layer.
5. Roast the fries for 20 to 25 minutes, turning once halfway through, until browned and crisp.
6. Meanwhile, heat the coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
7. Add the onions and peppers then season with salt and pepper to taste.
8. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes until softened then stir in the meat-free crumbles and beans then cook until heated through.
9. Stir in the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, maple syrup, vinegar, and paprika.
10. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes until thickened.
11. When the fries are done, spread them on an oven-proof serving platter and spoon the chili over them.
12. Top with shredded cheese then place back in the oven for a few minutes until the cheese is melted.

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