Our Best Vegetarian Comfort Food Recipes for When You Want a Plant-Based Meal
Revisit old classics and discover new favorites with this tasty guide that includes pasta, pizza, chili, bread pudding, and other comforting vegetarian fare.
From cozy eggplant meatball casserole, to a warming bowl of spiced dal, to the panko-crusted, Cheese-Stuffed Portobello Burger pictured here, this collection of recipes shows just how delicious comfort food can be when it's meatless. There's a common thread that many of these recipes share—carbs! If comfort food had a mascot, we think carbs would represent it well. Noodles of all kinds show up in this gallery—from a homemade egg pasta that gets turned into butternut squash ravioli, to chewy rice noodles in a Vietnamese pho. Rice, arguably the world's most enduring comfort food, plays supporting co-star to dishes like black beans and takes its own turn in the spotlight in a summery corn risotto.
When cooking vegetarian, it's good to know about the hero ingredients you can reach for that will take the flavors of your dish to the next level. Coconut milk, for instance, is a great dairy-free way to deliver a creamy texture in dishes like curries and soups. Mushrooms are another high-value addition in dishes where you want to proverbially beef up the flavor. In this gallery, mushrooms do everything: from taking center stage in a "bolognese" sauce, to those portobello burgers, to being one of a few flavor-boosters in a dish like the Artichoke and Mushroom Lasagna. Lastly, where would we be without cheese? Think fluffy grated Parmesan, gooey shredded cheddar, stretchy mozzarella…these cheeses provide texture and flavor to some of the most iconic comfort foods on this list.
You may not be able to have your cake and eat it too, but when it comes to eating vegetarian food, you can certainly stick to your diet while enjoying these classic comfort foods at home.
Vegetarian Bolognese with Bucatini
Warm up with this homemade "bolognese" sauce made from minced mushrooms; it's thick enough to coat long strands of noodles for the ultimate bowl of comfort food pasta.
Roasted Eggplant Sandwich with Soy Lime Glaze
This vegetarian spin on the beloved Vietnamese banh mi will satisfy even the most serious of sandwich cravings. The secret? An umami-rich soy glaze is brushed on the eggplant slices before roasting, imparting an ultra-savory flavor to the sandwich filling.
Weeknight Vegetarian Chili
A steaming bowl of comforting chili can be yours in under an hour when you make it in a skillet, which cuts the simmering time in half. Top it with plenty of cheese while it's still piping hot, for maximum melt.
Cauliflower-Sweet Potato Curry
Baked Mac and Cheese with Broiled Tomatoes
Eggplant Meatball Casserole
Cheese-Stuffed Portobello Burger
With this pan-fried portobello burger no one will be missing the meat. It's a hearty patty thanks to a crunchy panko breading and a hidden surprise of melty provolone cheese in the middle.
Brothy Beans and Greens on Toast
"Quick and Cozy" should be the alternate name for this recipe that brings together garlicky stewed greens and white beans in a quick sauté, then lays them over toasted slices of rustic bread.
Broccoli Frito Misto
Sometimes a comfort food craving can only be satisfied by something fried. This Italian-style appetizer does just that—but it won't sacrifice your serving of green vegetables in the process.
Coconut-Miso Mushroom Soup
Comfort food can come in many formats and believe it or not, doesn't always have to involve heaps of cheese or cream. Case in point, a bowl of this coconut-miso soup keeps things dairy-free and still manages to warm the soul.
Traditional Eggplant Parmigiana
For many meals on this list, cheese is a big part of what makes them so comforting! This eggplant parmigiana doesn't skimp on the gooey cheeses, and it doesn't cut corners either, so plan on spending an afternoon in the kitchen (it's worth it, we promise).
Black-Bean Stew with Rice
Beans and rice are a fortifying and nutritious comfort food across many cultures. In this Cuban-style stew, saucy spiced black beans are served alongside fluffy white rice.
Winter Cobb Salad
Test Kitchen's Favorite Grilled Cheese
Nostalgia is often the main ingredient for some of our favorite comfort foods; this recipe for classic grilled cheese tweaks a childhood standby for more mature palettes by adding a second cheese. For maximum coziness, round it out with a bowl of warming tomato soup.
Mushroom and Celery-Root Bread Pudding
A savory bread pudding like this one can act as part of a side dish to a winter feast or be the anchor in a simple vegetarian meal when served along with a green salad.
If cozying up to a giant bowl of brothy soup is your idea of comfort food, then this pho is just the thing. A mix of dried and fresh shiitake mushrooms infuse the vegetarian broth with a deeply savory flavor.
Butternut Squash Ravioli with Fried Sage Leaves
Immersing yourself in a craft can be a therapeutic way to cope with a stressful time. Why not pick a project that will end with a comforting bowl of ravioli with brown butter and sage? If you're short on time but still want comfort food—check out this shortcut recipe that uses store bought ravioli.
This portable pastry is a beloved comfort food snack in Bulgaria and countries around the Eastern Mediterranean, and like most savory-stuffed pastries, there are many different fillings and seasoning options to choose from. In this recipe, we use buttery puff pastry to encase a simple yet satisfying mixture of potatoes and feta cheese.
Gumbo is an iconic example of Louisiana soul food, and this vegan-friendly version is perfect for when you want a nourishing meal that will warm you from head to toe.
Wild Mushroom Skillet Pizza
On nights when only pizza will do, it's a good thing to have a great recipe in your favorites folder. This from-scratch pie is full of flavorful ingredients like creamy fontina cheese, savory wild mushrooms, and fresh tarragon.
Pressure-Cooker Corn Risotto
Vegetarian Enchiladas Suizas
This skillet dinner is inspired by "Swiss-style" enchiladas and is a vegetable-packed treat that is quick enough to be made on a weeknight. Crema and cheese top layers of poblano peppers, red onion, and zucchini, with soft corn tortillas in between.
Whoever said cobblers were just for peaches has never met this savory summer stunner. Gruyère-flavored biscuits are dropped on a mixture of ripe cherry tomatoes, caramelized onions, and aromatics like garlic and chili flakes before being baked to saucy perfection.
Rich Artichoke and Mushroom Lasagna
Minestrone and Parmesan Biscuit Pot Pie
In this recipe, cozy minestrone soup and tender Parmesan biscuits combine into one super-comforting casserole.