Vegan comfort food? What's that? Try:
(I Can't Believe It's) NOT BEEF STEW TWO!
Vegan Spaghetti and Meatballs
None Dare Call It… "Meat Loaf!"
Seitan Pot Roast in the Oven
Fool a Scotsman Vegan Shepherd's Pie
Gourmet Vegan Beans and Franks
Sweet Comfort Cafeteria Chili
Homemade Vegan Chicken and Dumplings that Taste Just Like Sweet Sue® !
"Half Homemade" Vegan Chicken Pot Pie
Mom’s Amazing Tuna Potato-Stick Casserole, This Time Done 100% Vegan!
What Is "Comfort Food?"
The phrase "comfort food" gets bandied about a lot on TV cooking shows these days, graces the cover of many a bestselling cookbook, and even appears on restaurant menus... But what does it mean?
I like this definition from Dictionary.com the best: "Simple, home-style food that brings comforting thoughts of home or childhood.".
I was born in 1962, and did the bulk of my "growing up" in the 1970s, in a Midwest, USA small town. It was a simpler time, and in many ways, a better time. There were only three channels on anybody's TV – NBC, CBS and ABC, and consequently, everybody watched the same shows. We all listened to the same music, went to the same movies and, to a remarkable degree, we all ate the same home cooked meals. And in that inexplicable way the smell of roses can carry you back to the night you first fell in love, or a picture from a childhood Christmas can reduce one to unexpected tears, the home cooked meals we remember from childhood have an almost magical power to transport us backward in time, to the happier, less complicated days of our youth.
That's comfort food. If you're an American Baby Boomer, chances are you and I mean the same dishes when we apply that term – pot roast, beef stew, chicken and dumplings, tuna casserole...
But wait! you might reasonably object at this point, this is a VEGAN cookbook! Those foods are all meat! Is it even possible to live as a vegan in the USA, and still eat any of the foods we grew up with?
Yes it is! You did not exchange your credentials as an American for your "vegan ID." You can be both! This cookbook series will show you the way. The foods you remember from childhood, especially if you grew up in the 1970s, are all here, recreated in a way that preserves their "comfort," but eliminates all animal products. This is guilt-free nostalgia at it's best!
Volume One of the I Can't Believe It's Vegan series explored meals prepared in that 1970s kitchen standard, the Crock Pot. This volume focuses on dinner main courses. Future volumes will explore lunch favorites, desserts, holiday menus, and more.
A Word About Meat Substitutes
American Cuisine is, almost by definition, "meat heavy." You can't just leave the meat out of most classic American dishes and reach the same result. "Pot roast" without the "roast" is just vegetables. Tasty vegetables in gravy, but still just vegetables...
So we turn to meat substitutes. All of the recipes in this cookbook call for one meat substitute or another, so as to keep them vegan, but still grant them their unique American appeal. Some recipes call for readily available commercial products, like Boca crumbles or Morningstar Chik'n Strips. Others tell you how to create your own meat substitutes using tofu, vital wheat gluten, etc.
They way I see it, if people who think they can't live without the taste and texture of meat discover they can satisfy their cravings with plant-based substitutes, more and more people will do so. "Meat substitutes" will eventually become just "meat." One day, no one will even remember that "meat" ever came from our animal friends. That's the dream, anyway. Help me make it a reality!
Felix Whelan blogs about vegetarian cuisine, the Catholic Faith, and his amazing family at www.FelixatFifty.com