When we think of comfort food, we often picture oozy cheese, lakes of cream and as many carbs as we can fit on one plate. Of course, that kind of comfort food is not likely to leave us feeling, well, comfortable after the moment has passed. In wellness terms, comfort food should be something we are excited to cook, eat and share — not just because it tastes good, but because it brings along a deliciously nourishing experience.
In the new book, 15 Minute Vegan Comfort Food, author and planty food blogger Katy Beskow breaks down the basics of making any food comfort food without making it unhealthy. For many people who are new to a plant-based diet, the thought of a meal made of mostly leaves and other earthy ingredients can sound boring if not just plain unappetizing. We’re always excited to prove that impression wrong with clean meals made just as deliciously as any other foodie-approved dish. These simple tips are applicable to any cooking endeavor. Read up and put them to use all season as we get cravably cozy…
6 Steps To Making Comfort Food
Get Yourself Excited. Buy ingredients that look enticing. Be inspired by colorful, fragrant and seasonal produce, and try new things often. Sometimes this means stepping outside of the supermarket to a local food market where you can smell and feel the products, as well as chatting with the vendor about the locality and sourcing of the produce. Choose vegan alternatives for an ethical and sustainable way to eat. Be excited about your purchases and plan how you will use every last bite to reduce waste.
have some fun. Enjoy being in the kitchen, even if you only have fifteen minutes to spare. Pour yourself a glass of wine or brew a cup of tea — be mindful of recipe following and putting a delicious meal together whether you are cooking for yourself or friends and family. Be spontaneous and adapt recipes to your own preferences, like adding a little extra chili if you like more heat or switching one fresh ingredient for another. Remember, cooking is all about what’s right for you. It’s also about having fun and being creative so don’t take yourself too seriously.
Use What’s Familiar. Plate your food onto your favorite crockery — it could be a plate you usually use for special occasions, an old chipped bowl that reminds you of dinner at gran’s house or load it into lunch tubs to take on a picnic. Eating from your favorite plate or bowl always feels like home — it’s familiar and comforting. And while you are at it, enjoy your meal somewhere you feel happy, perhaps curled up on the sofa or under the tree in a park. There are no rules for cozy comfort.
Come Together. Eat together when you can and turn each meal into a catch-up, celebration or conversation. It feels great to cook a feast for family and friends and have everyone help themselves to a wide array of foods. Set up a table with fresh linens, flowers and plenty of serving spoons for guests to try new dishes. Many times the happiest memories we have are with family, all together around one table enjoying a meal. And remember, this doesn’t have to be only for special occasions or celebrations but for simple, everyday meals spent with immediate family. Eating with this in mind creates memories and a positive, holistic attitude toward food.
Solitary Celebration. Sometimes we choose to eat alone, whether it’s a conscious choice, because of irregular work shifts or just what we need to enjoy a moment of me time. When cooking for yourself, you may be more likely to try something new so use it as an opportunity to choose a new recipe and get creative with the ingredients. Cooking for yourself is rewarding, from the process all the way through to eating the meal. So relax, enjoy the food and savor every mouthful.
be adventurous. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut when cooking for yourself and others by only creating familiar dishes, many times out of habit. So try something new and original! And who knows, it could become your new comfort food classic. Every familiar dish started with an idea, so get creative in the kitchen, break the rules and eat the type of food you love just the way you like it.
Recipe excerpted with permission from 15 Minute Vegan Comfort Food by Katy Beskow, published by Quadrille September 2018, RRP $22.99 hardcover.
Get one of our favorite healthy comfort food recipes here.