Vegetarian/Vegan meals that make you happy
June 23, 2020 6:24 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for simple meals that invoke a feeling. I have access to your average, middle America grocery store. Let's say you're spending a few days alone at a cabin in the woods. The weather is beautiful, you're in your comfiest PJs and all is right with the world. What simple vegetarian/vegan meal do you make for yourself?
posted by ChodenKal to Food & Drink (52 answers total) 111 users marked this as a favorite
Shakshuka with good crusty bread.
posted by larthegreat at 6:30 AM on June 23, 2020 [7 favorites]

I love this roasted vegetable salad. (Would suggest holding back the cabbage to add halfway through, along with the halloumi and pita.)
posted by Sweetie Darling at 6:47 AM on June 23, 2020

My cozy vegetarian western style go to is a grilled cheese sandwich and a nice minestrone. Hits that comfort food spot just right.
posted by advicepig at 6:56 AM on June 23, 2020 [10 favorites]

Fresh pasta with homemade pesto... if i have time then the pasta is stuffed wuth grilled veg.
posted by chapps at 7:09 AM on June 23, 2020 [5 favorites]

Somen with Tofu and Asparagus is my current favorite, with a few variations.

I tend to screw up somen, so I've been using linguini, which might be easier to find in your middle American grocery store.
I bake the tofu instead of frying it because I think it's easier (I use parchment paper to keep it from sticking).
I find the tofu absorbs all of the initial marinade, so I end make more of the marinade than the recipe calls for. Also, the marinade is delicious.
posted by FencingGal at 7:09 AM on June 23, 2020 [3 favorites]

Mushroom Risotto or some other creamy pasta sounds good for that!
posted by dawkins_7 at 7:10 AM on June 23, 2020 [8 favorites]

This spicy black bean soup is now in our regular rotation (uses an Instant Pot, but it would be pretty easy to cook on a stove too). I don't normally like bean soup but this one's so creamy and delicious. Goes great with grilled cheese or corn chips.
posted by randomnity at 7:14 AM on June 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

stuffed shells
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:15 AM on June 23, 2020 [3 favorites]

Cuban style black beans and rice!

My wife is getting into Madhur Jaffrey's Indian cookbooks and we just did this Chana Masala the other night and it was out of this world! I could eat it once a week, no problem, and like a lot of these sorts of dishes, it's as good the next day if not better.
posted by jquinby at 7:22 AM on June 23, 2020 [4 favorites]

Chili and cornbread. Veggie shepherds pie.
posted by gnutron at 7:22 AM on June 23, 2020 [3 favorites]

These Dan Dan noodles with a side of leafy greens cooked down are turning into a comfort food powerhouse over here. Finding the pickled preserves sicuan vegetable is worth it.
posted by furnace.heart at 7:24 AM on June 23, 2020 [2 favorites]

Easy to make ahead, delicious on pasta: Pesto(Basil, garlic, oil, grated hard cheese, nuts) or Peanut sauce. Add some pickled jalapenos to peanut sauce.

Curried Squash Soup. Cooked Butternut Squash, roux (olive oil, flour), water or broth, curry powder to taste, blender. If you like yogurt, swirl some in.

Crusty Bread, vegan 'butter.'

My favorite salad of spinach, arugula, orange sections (canned mandarin is fine), almonds, lemon-honey-olive oil dressing.
posted by theora55 at 7:38 AM on June 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

My favorite comfort food veggie dish is eggplant parmigiana. I do it the Italian way, with no breadcrumbs. You do it your way. A good risotto is another option, and right now I'd go for peas and/or asparagus rather than mushrooms.
The kids love it when I make a lasagna with eggplant instead of the meat. (I make it exactly like a classic lasagna bolognese, but with chopped eggplant instead of ground beef).
My favorite vegan foods are probably minestrone and lentil stew made from either Puy lentils or black lentils. If you are doing stew or soup, I think it's nice with some toasts or bruschetta as a side or appetizer.
For a completely different take: an open-faced sandwich with new potatoes, mayo (could be vegan), finely chopped onion and a tiny bit of mustard, maybe chives for color. It is best on a whole grain rye IMO, but I love it on any and all breads.
posted by mumimor at 7:46 AM on June 23, 2020

Hashbrowns in a skillet! Cubed potatoes grilled using some salt, pepper, and oil, with diced onions, peppers, and whatever other veg -- you can put an over easy fried egg on top if you want. The secret to make it extra yummy is adding Pickapeppa sauce halfway through grilling.
posted by Pwoink at 7:48 AM on June 23, 2020 [2 favorites]

Smashed chickpea salad from Smitten Kitchen.
I do add roasted red pepper from a jar on good crusty bread but it's great just by itself and so easy.
posted by BoscosMom at 7:49 AM on June 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

Turns out I just got done eating breakfast. We make our own bread, and it is good. I toasted some, buttered it, sprinkled zaatar on it, and put a fried egg on top. I made one for my sweetie too. It only takes five minutes to make, but It's the best possible breakfast and it made me happy to make it and to eat it both. I recommend having it with good coffee.
posted by fritley at 7:49 AM on June 23, 2020 [2 favorites]

Butternut squash & kale risotto, hands down. It's easy to google a recipe, but I recommend sauteeing or roasting the squash before you put it in at the end, rather than cooking it in the mix (since that's the variation you'll find in recipes). I might also make some chex mix to cozy up with, if we're talking snacks.

Man, now I want to be in a cozy cabin in the woods.
posted by hought20 at 8:05 AM on June 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

My go-to "this is really good and really easy" vegan/vegetarian dinner is as follows:
- Saute a yellow or half a white onion in some olive oil.
- Add several cloves of chopped garlic. Like, a lot. We like bigger bits so don't mince too fine.
- Dump in a drained and rinsed can of cannellini beans. Once the pan looks a bit dry, add some veggie stock (I use Better than Bullion, which is salty enough that I don't add salt otherwise, so if your stock is less salty, add some salt here).
- Once the beans are getting sort of smashed up, add a whole head of kale or Swiss chard, chopped. Put a lid on it and give it a few minutes to wilt. You can cook it over slightly higher heat to dry it out a bit more, or add more stock and make it more soupy, to taste.
- Serve with fresh warm toasty bread.
- If you want, add a poached egg on top.
posted by SeedStitch at 8:12 AM on June 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

Layered dip: bottom is your favorite hummus, topped with tabbouleh salad, smothered with feta and then finished with skinned and diced English cucumber. Serve with sturdy pita chips, pretzel crackers etc.
posted by IndigoOnTheGo at 8:21 AM on June 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

I always go for a red lentil soup like this recipe.
posted by kendrak at 8:38 AM on June 23, 2020

Indian style Dal. Tofu in satay sauce. Vietnamese style garden rolls. Salads with really fresh summer vegetables like Panzanella. The afore mentioned Cuban black beans or New Orleans style red beans and rice (maybe with some etouffee). If you happen to have a Trader Joes as one of your options, their vegetarian chorizo is really good and makes good tacos on a summer evening. West African peanut stew (which typically contains meat but you can find tons of vegetarian/vegan versions). Smoked kales/brocoli/brussels sprouts/etc. Pasta with fresh made pesto.
posted by Candleman at 8:39 AM on June 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

Biscuits and gravy - with options on the gravy. Mushroom if you're into that; asparagus is surprisingly good too.
posted by dbx at 8:39 AM on June 23, 2020

My vegetarian comfort-food simple go-to is pasta with red sauce, specifically ziti with tomato sauce (à la Marcella Hazan). So, large can of peeled whole tomatoes, an onion, a hunk of butter, some pasta, and some hard cheese. Brings me back to my Nanna's kitchen.
posted by niicholas at 8:53 AM on June 23, 2020

3 ingredient tomato soup.

1 carton of veggie broth.
1 can of tomato sauce.
1 can of white beans, drained and rinsed.

Add salt and oregano to taste. Cook for 20-30 min on medium heat until beans are soft.

Sprinkle with a generous helping of parmesan cheese. Eat with some nice crusty bread.

Tastes great on day 2 (if there's any left).
posted by Kitchen Witch at 9:03 AM on June 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

I’d also love a pot pie! Maybe with some really nice mushrooms.
posted by advicepig at 10:24 AM on June 23, 2020

Spring Green Lemon & Basil Pasta from Love & Lemons. Use fresh pasta if you can, and very good olive oil. So long as you have the basil and the lemon, I don't think it matters which veggies you use, though the combination of peas and asaparagus + a leafy green is really stellar.

posted by CiaoMela at 10:26 AM on June 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

McBitty's Bean Burger recipe does this for me, and I like to go wild with the toppings: guac, pico de gallo, sriracha mayo, whatever floats your boat. These are really good served on top of greens as part of a bowl or sometimes we do openface sandos with cheese. Slaw on the side optional but recommended. SATISFYING!
posted by missmobtown at 10:52 AM on June 23, 2020

This sticky rice with squash, sweet potato and broccoli is absolutely delicious and is a one-pot meal.
posted by essexjan at 11:20 AM on June 23, 2020

Tricolour fusili, fried mushrooms and garlic in a (vegan- we use oatly) cream sauce, salad.
posted by Balthamos at 11:21 AM on June 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: You guys are awesome!

I'm at work now, but I'll definitely be saving all of these this evening.

posted by ChodenKal at 12:06 PM on June 23, 2020

Grilled cheese with tomato, on very good bread (probably homemade sourdough), maybe with a side salad or soup.
posted by amaire at 1:28 PM on June 23, 2020

Soba with edamame, add sesame oil and soy sauce to taste! Refrigerated or frozen pre-cooked soba can go into the last few minutes of the edamame cooking water. If you are feeling fancy, you can throw some spinach or matchstick carrots into the last minute of the cooking water as well.
posted by corey flood at 2:44 PM on June 23, 2020
posted by Splunge at 2:47 PM on June 23, 2020

A bowl of Russ Parsons's oven-cooked beans with some nice crusty bread.
posted by Lexica at 2:58 PM on June 23, 2020

Steamed artichokes, new potatoes, still warm fresh baked focaccia, several fancy dipping butters and aiolis, chocolate chip cookies that I then dip in the garlicky butter for dessert.
posted by shadygrove at 3:39 PM on June 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

A whole roasted sweet potato with some kind of flavorful topping. Options include: leftover veg chili; gochujang; curried lentils; caramelized onions; shredded raw cabbage with chili crisp; sesame oil and salt. I have been doing this a lot lately. You can even microwave the potato if you need it fast.
posted by mismatched at 3:47 PM on June 23, 2020 [5 favorites]

Roasted vegetables. Basically pot roast without the meat. Potatoes, onions, carrots, celery, maybe some turnips or parsnips, couple of garlic cloves. Coat with olive oil and add some vegetable stock or onion soup mix and water, put in covered pan and bake until everything’s tender and the spuds are golden brown.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 4:53 PM on June 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

My favourite comfort food: pasta + cottage cheese (or quark or some other fresh white cheese) + breadcrumbs pan-fried in butter. Very quick to make. Best made in single servings so that the breadcrumbs are still crunchy. Much better than it sounds.
posted by confluency at 4:59 PM on June 23, 2020

Farro with honeyed apples, parmesean, and herbs

Honey and harissa farro salad

Taco salad with Trader Joe's soyrizo, ranch dressing, beans, tomatoes, corn, roasted pumpkin seeds, black olives, and the greens of your choice

BLT riff: smokey tempeh, avocado, tomato, lettuce, and mayo on your choice of bread

Cauliflower ragu from Six Seasons with whole what pasta

I feel happy just thinking about these dishes!
posted by esoterrica at 5:28 PM on June 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

Ooh, and it’s getting to be time for Summer Salad!

Canned chickpeas
Cucumbers, peeled and cut small
Red onion, ibid
Tomatoes (usually grape tomatoes, but a cut-up big tomato is fine)
Chopped boiled egg
Maybe a handful of cooked rice or orzo or that little-bitty pasta, or maybe not

Mix together with some Newman’s Own Light Balsamic Vinaigrette. Best if left to combobulate in the fridge overnight.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:07 PM on June 23, 2020

Mushroom toast. Sautee a lot of mushrooms, with or without onions. Apply to good toast. Cheese optional. Thyme or rosemary elevate it.
posted by OrangeVelour at 7:08 PM on June 23, 2020

This Zesty Summer Sandwich is a favorite in our household - lemon, ricotta, tomatoes, avocado and sesame seeds make a surprisingly awesome sandwich. For the preserved lemon I just dice up some lemon with the rind and let it stand with some salt and sugar for a while. Yum!
posted by DingoMutt at 10:02 PM on June 23, 2020

This red lentils and sweet potato stew is an all day in the crock pot meal that feels like a hug.
posted by hydropsyche at 2:55 AM on June 24, 2020

Bear with me...this is the best vegan meatloaf ever. You have to go to a health food store or Whole Foods to get the TVP, and then make sure you take it to your cabin in the woods, but it's worth it. I like to eat it at room temperature.
posted by 8603 at 6:03 AM on June 24, 2020

Angel hair pasta with tons of garlic and olive oil. Grate Parmesan in a gigantic pillowy mountain on top to finish
posted by eggs at 1:08 PM on June 24, 2020

Oh, I just thought of my favorite summer dinner - it sounds weird, but it's tomato peach panzanella. The recipe I usually use is from Forks Over Knives but you need a subscription to their meal planner for it I think, so this one is pretty close. Use really good fresh peaches and tomatoes!
posted by SeedStitch at 6:37 AM on June 25, 2020 [1 favorite]

Stuffed shiitakes with baked sweet potato fries and wilted greens were one of my standouts from just the situation you describe.

For the stuffing, finely dice the mushroom stems and add walnuts and blue cheese and fresh oregano.

(I foraged the mushrooms and stinging nettles since I was in an actual cabin and was avoiding grocery stores, but that's optional.)
posted by joeyh at 7:35 AM on June 25, 2020

Also, have a look through the Purple Carrot recipe stockpile; some of these can be kinda fancy, but there are simpler ones and some of the fancier options can be replaced with something more "mid-america normal" (swap out a fancy squash for something more common, etc.).
posted by aramaic at 8:34 AM on June 30, 2020

I just made the most incredible sandwich today. 1 slice of toasted sourdough bread, two thick slices of tomato from the garden (I used a Lemon Boy tomato because of its citrus -ish taste) and big pieces of fresh basil, also from the garden. It was sammich heaven!
posted by WalkerWestridge at 2:54 PM on June 30, 2020 [1 favorite]

Oh, yeah, this time of year when I was a kid, we’d get a bushel of tomatoes from a nearby farm and just have uncounted tomato sandwiches until they started to get too soft and had to be stewed and frozen. I don’t remember ever getting through the whole bushel, but I think we came close a couple of times. Usually it was just Mom’s homemade white bread and mayonnaise.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:15 AM on July 1, 2020 [1 favorite]

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