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Feb 19, 2012 08:48 PM

Vegetarian comfort food

Thoughts? I'm thinking of recipes that mimic the real thing successfully. (To be clear: I don't miss meat at all; in fact, I feel like I was really born to be a vegetarian. However, I do like hearty meals that mimic the weight of traditional comfort food meals.)

Some of mine:

nutloaf( with roasted garlic gravy and mashed potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts

vegetarian gumbo (


mushroom bourguignon---truly outstanding! (


spaghetti with an excellent, bright, homemade marinara, tossed with whole slow-sauteed mushrooms (they should be very dark brown)... the mushrooms take the place of the meatballs if you buy the big ones. Served with large green salad and garlic bread.

Any others? I am always looking for more excellent ideas like these.

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    1. Felafel instead of meatballs could work. Just made a batch and was thinking how similar they cook up.

      1. There are a couple of dishes I make with TVP that are very pleasing, including moussaka and shepherd's pie. Lately, my go-to comfort dish is nothing like a meat dish, though - saute onions and garlic in olive oil. Add garbanzo beans (I use canned beans which I drain and rather compulsively remove the membranes), a block of cubed tofu. Season this with nutritional yeast flakes, some Braggs, and further season with curry powder, turmeric, cumin, some cayenne, and salt and pepper. When the tofu and beans and rather browned, add a green leafy vegetable 'til nicely wilted (chard or spinach or whatever); serve next to beans and rice or other grain.

        1. eggplant parm
          potato gratin
          hearty lentil and spinach soup

          1 Reply
          1. re: Novelli

            Macaroni and cheese, nut loaf and mashed potatoes, split pea soup, cheese enchiladas, vegetarian chili and cornbread, bean casserole with cornbread topping, potato kugel, carrot cake with cream cheese frosting :).

          2. This lentil soup (black, not red) is a go-to:

            A vegetable soup with "ecstasy" in the name can't be all bad:

            Not whole meals, but things I'm partial to: a small bowl of silky braised leeks always makes me feel better, as do baked fries with a spicy aioli (for us egg-eaters). Ever made a Hasselback potato or braised chard (, slipped a poached egg on top,) and sauced with a balsamic reduction?

            5 Replies
            1. re: megjp

              I make a delicious escarole soup with barley and mushrooms that people freak out over. It fills you, you enjoy every bite, but you lose weight at the same time. I should call it Miracle Soup.

              1. re: coll


                I would be so grateful for the recipe for the escarole soup with barley and mushrooms. I've been making all sorts of vegetarian soups all winter and yes, you do lose weight and very painlessly. My favorite has been Hazan's cannelini, chard and barley soup.

                1. re: onefineleo

                  I give it out so much, I have it on file!

                  ESCAROLE BARLEY SOUP

                  2 Tbsp olive oil
                  1 onion (or shallot) chopped
                  1 or 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
                  Stalk or two of celery (or fennel) chopped (I sometimes use baby bok choy or a bit of cabbage instead)

                  Sautee onion and garlic for 5 to 10 minutes.
                  Add celery for 3 more minutes.

                  Then add:
                  I small can of V8 juice and can of diced tomatoes (Rotel brand if you like spicy)
                  Quart of any broth you like, I use chicken or beef
                  ¾ cup dry barley
                  1 head of escarole, cleaned and chopped
                  2 carrots, peeled and sliced thin

                  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 45 minutes. Meanwhile season with: a bay leaf (remove before serving!), parmesan (grated, or a rind if you have one leftover), a dash of worcestshire sauce, some dried dill, dried mint, lots of pre-packaged fines herbs blend (in the spice section) and salt and pepper to taste.

                  While it is simmering, add a package of any fresh mushrooms you like, sliced thin, plus if you have some dried exotic mushrooms, soak in some sherry or whatever liquid you prefer for 15 minutes and chop and add too. Simmer another 30 minutes after adding the mushrooms.