Vegan Comfort Cooking: 75 Plant-Based Recipes to Satisfy Cravings and Warm Your Soul

Vegan Comfort Cooking: 75 Plant-Based Recipes to Satisfy Cravings and Warm Your Soul

by Melanie McDonald
Vegan Comfort Cooking: 75 Plant-Based Recipes to Satisfy Cravings and Warm Your Soul

Vegan Comfort Cooking: 75 Plant-Based Recipes to Satisfy Cravings and Warm Your Soul

by Melanie McDonald


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Hearty Plant-Based Indulgences for Every Day of the Week

When Melanie McDonald first became a vegan, she was disappointed in the lack of vibrant, flavorful vegan recipes available—so she created her own. Now, she shares all her favorite homey recipes, ensuring that everyone can enjoy tasty plant-based dishes.

Pump up your mornings with Black Forest Breakfast Crepes or Rustic Skillet Potato and Greens Hash. Gather around the dinner table with family and friends to enjoy favorites like Soul-Warming Stew and Dumplings, Sticky Sweet-and-Sour Tofu and Rich and Saucy Bolognese. And satisfy all those between-meal cravings with sweets and snacks like Bangin’ BBQ Cauliflower Wings and Sky-High Apple Pie.

No matter the meal or occasion, Melanie’s recipes prove that the vegan versions of familiar favorites leave you feeling nourished and satisfied.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781624147791
Publisher: Page Street Publishing
Publication date: 07/09/2019
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 508,190
Product dimensions: 7.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Melanie McDonald is the founder of A Virtual Vegan. Her work has appeared in Parade, Vegan Food & Living, Reader’s Digest, Better Homes & Gardens, Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan and more. She lives in British Columbia, Canada, with her husband and son.

Read an Excerpt


first, we brunch

I love nothing more than a long, lazy breakfast or brunch. Sitting around a table filled with amazing food, pots of hot coffee, freshly squeezed orange juice and laid-back chat is the way I like to start my weekends.

As they say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, we need to make sure it counts. In this first chapter you will find all sorts of tasty delights, ready and waiting to fill your tummy and your soul.

Your mornings will be a whole lot better when they include any of these must-try recipes. We're talking comfort to the max with everything from perfect fluffy pancakes to the breakfast casserole. There is even cake! Because this is my cookbook, and if I can squeeze more cake into my day, I will.

Of course, we don't always have the time to linger for hours over breakfast, which is why I have also included plenty of make-ahead, grab-and-go options, too.

Oh, and just because these recipes appear in the brunch chapter does not mean they need to be restricted to mornings only; many make great lunch box stuffers or snacks. And breakfast for dinner, or "brinner" as I like to call it, is always a good thing!


yield: 3 or 4 servings

2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil, divided
1 lb (454 g) potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/8" (1-cm) cubes
1 tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp smoked paprika or chipotle powder
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
2 bell peppers, seeded and cut into 3/8" (1-cm)-wide slices (use 2 different colors)
1 bunch (about 7 large leaves or 450 g) lacinato kale (a.k.a. dinosaur, Tuscan or black kale), stemmed and chopped into bite-size pieces About 30 cherry tomatoes, halved (1½ cups [225 g])

to serve Salsa Chopped avocado

When we want something savory, filling and comforting for brunch, this hash is one of our favorites. It transforms a few simple, fresh ingredients into a rustic, tasty skillet of super colorful deliciousness. Smoked paprika is my favorite of all the spices. It brings a unique smokiness to dishes and works really well with the crispy potatoes and tender veggies in this recipe. What's even better is that it reheats really well, so you can make a big batch during the weekend and enjoy leftovers for days after. It's one of those brunch recipes that makes a great dinner, too!

In a heavy-bottomed skillet, heat 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the potatoes, salt, black pepper and smoked paprika and toss to coat. Cook for around 20 minutes, or until the cubes are golden brown on all sides. Try to keep them in a single layer in the pan and don't move them too frequently. You want a nice golden crust to develop on each side.

Transfer the potatoes to a small bowl and set aside. Add the remaining tablespoon (15 ml) of oil to the pan and sauté the onion over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, or until translucent. Add the garlic and bell peppers and continue to cook for another 5 minutes, or until the bell peppers are just tender. Add the kale and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes, or until tender, then return the potatoes to the pan and add the cherry tomato halves. Toss everything together and let the potatoes and tomatoes warm through for a few minutes.

Serve drizzled with salsa and a scattering of chopped avocado.

Reheat leftovers in a skillet over medium heat, or microwave for a couple of minutes.


yield: 6 large crepes


1½ cups + 3 tbsp (210 g) all-purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
¾ tsp baking powder
½ cup (120 ml) aquafaba (see note)
1¾ cups (420 ml) nondairy milk
2 tbsp (30 ml) mild olive, vegetable or sunflower oil, or melted coconut oil,
plus more for skillet cherry sauce
4 cups (620 g) frozen cherries
3 tbsp (24 g) arrowroot powder or cornstarch
5 tbsp (60 g) cane or granulated white sugar
2 tbsp (30 ml) water or fresh orange juice, plus more to thin, if necessary
1 tsp vanilla or almond extract Pinch of salt

easy chocolate sauce

1/3 cup (27 g) unsweetened cocoa powder (spooned into the cup, not scooped)
Pinch of salt
¼ cup (60 ml) boiling water
3 tbsp (45 ml) pure maple syrup
½ tsp vanilla extract

Vegan whipped cream, yogurt or ice cream, to serve

I can't imagine how anyone could resist a hot crepe straight out of the pan, but please try, so that you can fill a few of them with vegan whipped cream, yogurt or ice cream, my super-yum cherry sauce and a drizzle of bittersweet chocolate sauce. Want perfect crepes? Be sure to let the batter rest, cook them very quickly and don't sub the aquafaba with anything else! (See my note if you are wondering what the heck aquafaba is!) Never made crepes before? No worries — they are really easy. You will be tucking into a hearty, sauce-drizzled pile of them in no time!

To prepare the crepes, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder. In another bowl, combine the aquafaba, nondairy milk and oil. Stir together, and then pour into the flour mixture. Whisk until the batter is well mixed and most of the lumps have gone. A few small lumps are okay. Leave to rest for at least 10 minutes.

While the batter is resting, prepare the cherry sauce. Place the frozen cherries in a saucepan and sprinkle with the arrowroot powder. Stir to combine. It will look lumpy and strange. Add the sugar, water or orange juice, vanilla and salt. Stir as well as you can; then place over medium heat. The cherries will start to defrost after about 5 minutes and you will be able to stir them more easily. Keep stirring every few minutes until the cherries are soft and the sauce is bubbling and thickened, about 10 minutes. Keep cooking until you get the texture you prefer. The longer you leave the sauce, the jammier it will get. If it gets too thick, add a drop of water and stir to thin it out. Once done, remove from the heat and set aside, uncovered.

In a small bowl, mix together the cocoa powder and salt; then add the boiling water and stir. It will become a really thick paste. Add the maple syrup and vanilla — stir it all really well and it will thin out. Set it aside while you make the crepes. The chocolate sauce will thicken as it sits but can be thinned with a drop more of water, if necessary, just before serving.

Place a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Any size skillet is okay; the finished crepes will be the diameter of the skillet you use. Add some oil and wipe it around the pan with a paper towel to coat the whole surface, being careful not to burn your fingers.

Once the pan is really hot, you are ready to make the first crepe. Pour the batter into the middle of the pan. I like to use a ladle to do this. In a 10-inch (25.5-cm) pan, you will need about ½ cup (120 ml) of batter per crepe. Immediately pick up the pan and swirl the batter around so it runs around and coats the surface of the pan thinly. You need to do this quickly. Put the pan back on the heat and leave the crepe to cook for between 30 seconds and a minute. Turn back a little of an outside edge to look under and flip or turn the crepe when it is golden in places and some brown spots have appeared. Cook for about another 30 seconds on the other side, or until golden and spotty, too. Then remove from the pan.

Repeat until all of the batter is used, adding another drop of oil and wiping it around the pan before cooking each crepe. You can feed the crepes to the waiting hoards as you cook them, or you can set a plate in a very low oven (about 225°F [110°C]) and place each finished crepe there so they keep warm until you are all done.

Serve the crepes filled with some vegan cream or yogurt, some cherry sauce and a drizzle of chocolate sauce. For dessert, some vegan ice cream is nice, too!

Unused crepe batter will keep in the fridge for a few days. It might thicken up a little, and if it does, just whisk in a little more nondairy milk to thin it out. Cooked crepes can also be kept in the fridge for a few days and reheated quickly in a skillet over medium heat.

Leftover cherry and chocolate sauce will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week. Cherry sauce can be reheated in a pan on the stovetop or in the microwave.

tip: The crepes are great with all sorts of sweet and savory fillings, so have fun and get creative!

note: Aquafaba might sound fancy but it is, quite simply, the liquid hiding in your can of chickpeas. It has a very similar consistency to raw egg white and works incredibly well as an egg replacer. It can also be used when baking such things as homemade fries or roast potatoes, instead of using oil. If you have to open a can of chickpeas just for the aquafaba, once you have drained off the liquid, you can freeze the chickpeas in an airtight container or freezer bag until you need them. If you end up with leftover aquafaba, it freezes very well, too. I tend to use a silicone ice cube mold to freeze it in, so that I have small amounts on hand at all times.

If you cook your own dried chickpeas, you can make your own aquafaba. Boil the chickpeas as usual until just tender, and then leave them to cool in the water they were cooked in. Then, refrigerate overnight. The liquid will become thick and starchy. Drain them, catching the precious aquafaba, and rinse the chickpeas in a sieve. They are ready to use. If the homemade aquafaba is egg white-y in texture, it is fine to use right away. Sometimes it is still a little thin. If so, reduce it in a pan over medium heat until it has thickened up. Remove from the heat and let cool; then use or store until needed.


yield: 8 large rolls


¼ cup (55 g) vegan butter, plus
1 tbsp (15 g) for baking dish
4 cups (500 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1 slightly heaping tbsp (10 g) instant or fast-acting yeast
1½ tsp (8 g) salt
1/3 cup (67 g) cane or granulated white sugar
¾ cup (180 ml) unsweetened nondairy milk
¼ cup (60 ml) aquafaba (see note here), for the softest, fluffiest results, or use more nondairy milk
1 tsp vanilla extract


1/3 cup (67 g) soft room-temperature vegan butter
1 cup (220 g) dark brown or coconut sugar
2 tbsp (15 g) ground cinnamon Pinch of salt


1 (8-oz [227-g]) package vegan cream cheese
½ cup (110 g) room-temperature vegan butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp (15 ml) pure maple syrup Pinch of salt
3 cups (360 g) powdered sugar

Oh my goodness. I go weak at the knees at the mere thought of these cinnamon rolls drowned in their ridiculously delicious "cream cheese" frosting. They are soft, fluffy, crusty in all the right places, super sticky and ooey-gooey. They will bring on those warm and fuzzy feelings that only home baking can, and turn your kitchen into a place where everyone wants to hang out. If you have a fear of baking with yeast, you must conquer it so that you can satisfy your sticky bun cravings. Stat.

First, prepare the dough. Melt ¼ cup (55 g) of vegan butter gently and set aside to cool. In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the flour, yeast, salt and sugar. In a small bowl, mix together the melted butter, nondairy milk, aquafaba and vanilla; then pour into the flour mixture. Attach the dough hook and knead on medium speed for 8 minutes. Alternatively, you can knead the dough by hand for 10 to 15 minutes. The dough should form a nice, smooth, supple, very slightly sticky ball. If it feels dry, add more milk, 1 tablespoon (15 ml) at a time, kneading it in between each addition. If the dough feels too sticky, add a tablespoon (8 g) or two more of flour and knead again to incorporate.

Transfer to a greased bowl, cover with a clean, damp towel or plastic wrap and leave to rest for 15 minutes. While it's resting, use the reserved tablespoon (15 g) of butter to grease an 8-inch (20.5-cm) square baking dish.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and roll it out into a roughly 9 x 14–inch (23 x 35.5–cm) rectangle. Stretch out the corners a bit with your hands as you go to help make the dough rectangular.

Prepare the filling. Slather the top of the dough with the softened vegan butter. In a small bowl, mix together the sugar, cinnamon and salt, and sprinkle it evenly over the buttered rectangle, leaving about a 1-inch (2.5-cm) margin around the edges.

Starting from the long edge, roll up the dough into a sausage shape as tightly as you can; then slice it into 8 equal pieces with a very sharp serrated knife. Place each piece, cut side down, in the prepared baking dish. Cover the dish with the damp towel or plastic wrap you used earlier and leave to rise in a draft-free place until doubled. This usually takes 60 to 90 minutes. If you want to speed things up a little, you can put the rolls in the oven with the light on to provide a little warmth.

Once almost doubled, preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C). If the rolls were rising in the oven, be sure to remove them first. Bake for 22 minutes, or a little longer if you want them a bit crustier.

While they are baking, prepare the frosting. In a large bowl or a stand mixer, beat the vegan cream cheese with the vegan butter, vanilla, maple syrup and salt until smooth. Then, gradually add the powdered sugar, about ½ cup (65 g) at a time, beating between each addition, until you have a thick, velvety smooth frosting.

Remove the rolls from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes; then slather them generously in the frosting. Alternatively, if you are not going to be eating them all right away, let them cool completely and add the frosting just before you serve them.

tips: If you are unable to get vegan cream cheese, frost the cinnamon rolls with 1 cup (130 g) of powdered sugar mixed with 1 to 3 tablespoons (15 to 45 ml) of nondairy milk.

Return leftover cinnamon rolls to their ooey-gooey state by reheating them at 350°F (176°C) for 5 to 6 minutes or by microwaving for 20 to 30 seconds.

Leftover frosting will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 1 week. It's great on cupcakes, pancakes, French toast or used as a dip with fruit or cookies.


yield: 6 large slices

1 cup (240 ml) nondairy milk
½ heaping, very packed cup (4.6-oz [130-g]) extra-firm tofu (regular, not silken)
2 tsp (10 ml) vanilla extract
2 tbsp (25 g) cane or granulated white sugar
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
1 tbsp (15 g) vegan butter, plus a little more, or mild oil, for brushing the griddle/pan (optional)
6 (1" [2.5-cm]-thick) slices hearty, crusty vegan white bread (for best results, make sure it is a couple of days old)

This recipe will up your brunch goals in style with its golden, crispy, buttery edges, and perfectly custardy insides. It's great for those times when you feel like eating something elaborate but you're too lazy to give too much effort. Just blend the custard, dip some stale vegan bread slices into it and pan-fry until deeply golden. Tofu might seem like a funny ingredient to add to the custard, but it's what sets this French toast apart from other recipes. Once cooked, the texture is just like that of French toast made with eggs. Accompaniments can be as simple as a generous drizzle of maple syrup or a tumble of fresh berries, but the cherry sauce from my Black Forest Breakfast Crepes or the berry sauce from my Dreamy Baked Berry Cheesecake are also fantastic with it.

In a blender, combine all the ingredients, except the bread, and blend until completely smooth.

Heat a griddle or skillet over medium heat and brush with a little vegan butter or mild oil. If it's a really good nonstick one, you can get away without greasing it, but the toast won't be quite as golden.

Pour the blended tofu mixture into a wide bowl or a rimmed plate and dip the bread into it. Leave the bread to sit in the mixture for 20 seconds; then turn it over and do the same on the other side. Lift it out and quickly dip all around the edges of the crust, too. Then place each "custardy" slice on the hot griddle. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes on each side, or until very golden — then remove from the griddle and serve immediately.

Leftover "custard" will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.


yield: 8 large muffins

A little vegan butter, coconut oil or any other neutral oil, for pan (optional)
3 medium very ripe and spotty bananas, divided
¼ cup (64 g) soft, drippy room-temperature cashew butter, almond butter, pecan butter or coconut oil
1 tbsp (22 g) blackstrap molasses
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup (100 g) cane or granulated white sugar, plus more for sprinkling tops (optional)
½ tsp salt
2 cups (230 g) spelt flour
2 tsp (8 g) baking powder
½ cup (50 g) chopped pecans or walnuts, plus more for sprinkling tops (optional)

You won't find any mini muffins around here. If you are going to indulge in a banana-pecan muffin for breakfast, it needs to be worth your while. We're talking big, hearty and satisfying. Perfect as they are, but even better split and smeared with nut butter!


Excerpted from "Vegan Comfort Cooking"
by .
Copyright © 2019 Melanie McDonald.
Excerpted by permission of Page Street Publishing Co..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Title Page,
Copyright Notice,
Rustic Skillet Potato and Greens Hash,
Black Forest Breakfast Crepes,
Ooey-Gooey Cinnamon Rolls,
The Ultimate French Toast,
Blissful Banana-Pecan Muffins,
Tofu in Purgatory,
Best Ever Fluffy Pancakes,
Loaded Zucchini Breakfast Casserole,
Feelin' Fruity Yeast Bread,
Chocolate-Studded Pumpkin Bread,
Berry Good Breakfast Cake,
Full English Frittata,
Zesty Orange Olive-Oil Muffins,
Legit English Muffins,
Tofu Benny with "Hollandaise" Sauce,
Crispy Cornmeal Waffles with Maple-Roasted Cherry Tomatoes,
Go-To Tofu Scramble,
Pear-fect Baked Oatmeal,
Speedy Mushroom Stroganoff,
Soul-Warming Stew and Dumplings,
Hearty Portobello and Ale Pot Pie,
Mom's Spaghetti and "Meatballs",
Rich and Saucy Bolognese,
"I Can't Believe It's Vegan" Roasted Garlic Alfredo,
Sweet and Smoky Glazed "Meatloaf",
Heavenly Veggie Hot Pot,
Spicy Chili with Cornbread Crust,
Next-Level Mushroom Lasagna,
The Best Baked Mac and "Cheese",
Sticky Sweet-and-Sour Tofu,
Awesomely Easy Crispy Potato Tacos,
Super Creamy Butternut Squash and Sage Risotto,
Shepherdless Pie with Root Veg Mash,
The Whole Enchilada Casserole,
Smoky Tomato and White Bean Soup,
Feel-Good Potato and Chickpea Curry,
Cauli-Power Burgers,
Showstopping Baked Spinach and Artichoke Dip,
Bangin' BBQ Cauliflower Wings,
Kicked-Up Creamy Tangy Potato Salad,
Pizza Party Pull-Apart Bread,
Gloriously Garlicky Paprika Fries,
Mind-Blowing Jalapeño Queso,
Smash-'em-Up Salt and Vinegar Potatoes,
Miracle No-Knead Focaccia,
"Ale, Yeah" Rosemary Onion Beer Bread,
There's No Such Thing as Too Much Garlic Bread,
Quick and Crispy Zucchini Fritters with Avocado Crema,
"Kale Caesar!" Pasta Salad,
Down 'n' Dirty Taco Fries,
Dreamy Baked Berry Cheesecake,
Jam-tastic Victoria Sponge Cake,
Sinfully Sticky Toffee Pudding,
Crazy Good Carrot Cupcakes,
Drool-Worthy Cinnamon Donuts,
"I Only Have Pies for You" Sweet Potato Pie,
Sky-High Apple Pie,
The Great British Bakewell Tart,
Luscious Lemon Drizzle Cake,
Peanut Butter Nutter Chocolate Cake,
Saucy Salted Caramel Chocolate Brownies,
Ultra Decadent Peanut Butter Ice-Cream Cake,
Baked Creamy Coconut Rice Pudding,
Rockin' Rhubarb Crumble,
Legendary Chocolate Chip Cookies,
Zesty Lemon Cheesecake Sandwich Cookies,
Upper-Crust Bread and Butter Pudding,
Simply Perfect Snickerdoodles,
Crispy Crunchy Caramel Popcorn,
Life-Changing Vegan Butter,
Cheesy Brazil Nut "Parm",
Tastiest Onion Gravy,
Simple Pastry Pie Crust,
Basic Crusty White Bread,
Easy Garlic Ranch Dressing,
Thank You,
About the Author,

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