Converting childhood comfort foods to Vegetarian/Vegan

I love doing this. I have so much fun trying to figure out how to recreate some of my favourite dishes of my youth vegan or vegetarian style. What are some dishes you remember fondly and have gone on to make the veg*n way or at least wish you could.

Mine are:
sloppy Joe’s
tetrazzini ( I make mine without meat substitute, just mushrooms and sometimes peas)
chicken pot pie ( I sometimes use tofu but mostly just use vegetables with a potato focus)
meatloaf (nut loaf, tvp loaf, lentil loaf etc.)
burgers of all sorts
chicken salad (mostly with tempeh)
bolognese (mushroom focused)

My current obsessions are with veganising sandwiches like fried chicken and cheddar / pulled pork and coleslaw / bbq chicken and gouda / Philly cheesesteak / French dip with au jus

Fun! Do you read the PPK blog or have any of Isa’s books? She has some awesome vegan comfort food classics.
What’s almost funny is that even as a kid my favorites were mostly already vegetarian (i went veg around age 11). I don’t remember enjoying actual meatloaf at all- and my mom rarely made it- but i do love a good vegan lentil nut loaf. Same story with burgers, as a kid we went to Wendy’s maybe once a month and i would get their stuffed cheesey baked potato (vegetarian) and swipe a few fries from my sister
My mom loved cream of mushroom soup and that’s what she would use to make a sauce for noodles or rice. My mushroom love is still strong and just a bowl of white rice or noodles with a mushroom gravy makes me very happy :))!
I do still eat eggs sporadically yet can’t handle egg salad-once upon a time there was the best seasoning packet ever made by nasoya for eggless salad to season crumbled tofu- ever since they discontinued that i’ve floundered hitting the right combo myself ;(

I exchanged one sorta-gross-sorta-fabulous food for another. As a kid, I was crazy for turkey roll. Now I get a serious tofurkey jones from time to time. I’m sure they’re equally disastrous to the body and soul, although at least now I’m sparing actual turkeys.

1 Like

Get an Adventist cookbook, they do great pot pies, tetrazzini, gravy. They are the undisputed kings of veganizing homey American food having started in the 19the century. Ten Talents was the book that started it all and now there are more modern ones like Newstart but their soups, pies, gravies are my utter comfort food.


What is “queso”? Yes, of course I know it is the Spanish word for cheese.

Not all of these are things I ever ate; this will depend a lot on where people come from and their personal backgrounds, how old they are (i.e. when they were children) etc.

I went veggie for Lent one year and it really makes you have to think about dishes’

The one childhood comfort food I’ve successfully made vegetarian is shepherds pie. I replaced the meat with puy lentils(they maintain their shape well) and used soaked dried porcinis and the soaking liquor as well as veg stock.

I did add cheese to the mash potato but this could be omitted to make it vegan.

1 Like

I’ve come across the PKK blog a few times when searching for specific things. I’ll check the site out again and browse her recipe section if she has one.

I LOVE mushroom gravy!!

I will indeed! Thanks for the tip, I should have but hadn’t even thought of it.

I’ve literally converted omnis to vegan mushroom gravy!
Start with this one from the ppk- use a mushroom broth (i make a simple one with mushroom stems and dried mushrooms) to take it over the top :))
I often add a splash of soy sauce to this recipe too

Shredded barbecue seitan
This is total junk food, but… cheese"burger" pie. I spent months searching for this dang recipe, and Betty had it all along. substitute crumbles for the beef, obviously
I love Vegan Dad’s Sloppy Joe’s made with red lentils. It takes 20 minutes and it’s wonderful when you need a legume and comfort food fix.

Last night was a vegan version of something akin to Bubble and Squeak:

Tofurky vegan kielbasa, quartered lengthwise and then chopped, sauteed in olive oil, then set aside to drain.

In the same oil I sauteed chopped onions and cabbage, then dumped those in with the kielbasa.

Mixed all that with leftover mashed potatoes (made with almond milk and vegan margarine) and pan fried, repeatedly flipping and breaking apart, into a hash.

Served with roasted sprouts with garlic.


Yes, that’s steam rising from the plate - and the flash skewed the cousin of the sprouts as they weren’t mushy and overcooked.


A comfort food… how about figs in a blanket (get it)? Carrots in a comforter?

I assume the OP meant some version of “queso fundido”, e.g., Queso Fundido with Chorizo and Rajas.

That’s possible but I’m guessing it’s even more likely it’s a version of this, the Velveta and RoTel tomato dip:

the same stuff that Chipotle so epically failed to be able to reproduce last year.

Of course the kind of queso fundido in the Bayless recipe is far more delicious.

I didn’t think to point out that I was linking the “original” of the often-bastardized Americanized “junk food” version, but you might well be right. I have been told that local places often do (or used to) make a halfway decent version somewhere in between the two (basically something along the lines of some of the versions mentioned in the NYer article you linked). But never having been to Texas or the Southwest, I have no idea if that’s really true or just wishful thinking…

1 Like
“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold