For Cozy Cooking

Winter and comfort food are a perfect match. The dark and cold conditions beckon us to burrow beneath a mountain of cozy layers within the sanctuary of the indoors. Plus, comfort food makes us happy! Often, it brings on feelings of warmth and nostalgia. On a psychological level, enjoying foods that are high in sugar, salt, or fat gives us a temporary mood boost and reduces tension. A rich and warming meal now and again is good for the soul. 

And just because it’s vegan doesn’t mean settling for a mediocre dish—plant-based recipes can be indulgent, too. So, light some candles, preheat the oven, and break out that slow cooker! Here are our favorite vegan comfort food recipes for a cozy night in.

If you’re looking to boost your plant-based recipe library, check out these vegan and vegetarian cookbooks!

1. Vegan Cinnamon-Sugar Soft Pretzels
Recipe by Top With Cinnamon

What’s more comforting than an oversized hot pretzel dusted with cinnamon-sugar? A vegan cinnamon-sugar pretzel, of course. Soft and fluffy dough on the inside with a crispy crust for that satisfying contrast of textures—it’s sweet, savory, and totally comforting. This recipe from Izy Hossack will be one you return to again and again.

Review | “These came out PERFECT! Thanks so much for the recipe! I’ve made them twice in a row!” – Reem

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2. Vegan Chai Latte 
Recipe by Pure Green Magazine

Just the smell of the spices simmering can have you feeling cozy on a cold day. And when that isn’t enough, sipping a warm mug of this thick and creamy homemade chai will do the trick. Opting for a homemade blend rather than a store-bought version is what really sets this recipe apart. We’re willing to bet that you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how simple and easy it is to make on your own. 

Review | “I love my morning homemade chai! Perfect way to start the day. SO SO good!” – Zuzana

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3. Vegan Sweet Potato Chili & Gluten-Free Skillet Cornbread
Recipe by Vidya Living

Winter’s dry and cold conditions call for warming dishes with a bit more moisture, and this vegan and gluten-free chili and cornbread recipe from Claire Ragozzino of Vidya Living is sure to stick-to-your-ribs and stoke your inner fires. Inspired by Ayurvedic medicine, this recipe includes a variety of beans that are great for digestion and nourishment. It’s the feel-good meal you’ll crave.

Review | “Perfect!” – Yvette 

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4. Wholesome Vegan Lentil, Mushroom, & Kale Lasagna
Recipe by The Full Helping

Vegan recipe-developer Gena Hamshaw says this classic dish is “not your mom’s lasagna.” Instead, it’s a healthier take on the winter staple using a satisfying vegan cheese and nutrient-dense plant ingredients to warm you from the inside-out. It’s great when you want to feed a crowd, and it’s easy to freeze—perfect for a healthy and satisfying dinner when you’re in a pinch. 

Review | “I made this tonight. Used your recipe for cashew cheese (which is now a favorite at my house) instead of grated cheese. My husband was leary, but after THREE servings, I’d say it was definitely a winner. Thanks for a great recipe!” – Kirsten

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5. Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies
Recipe by Oh She Glows

A mouth-watering combination of peanut butter, chocolate, and shredded coconut, these flourless cookies rank high on the comfort food charts. This recipe includes brown sugar and maple syrup for a seriously decadent and plant-based treat. 

Review | “These are probably the best cookies I have ever made or eaten … Truly outstanding!” – Antje 

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6. OMG Vegan Butternut Queso
Recipe by The First Mess

Move over cashew; butternut squash is our new favorite ingredient for an indulgent non-dairy cheese. The squash in this recipe is caramelized for a rich flavor and creamy texture, and nutritional yeast delivers that undeniably cheesy taste. Jalapeños give it a spicy kick. Generously smother a plate of tortilla chips with this plant-based cheese and make sure to top with all the fixings.

Review | “This queso is straight-up dreamy!! So creative!” – Katrina

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7. No-Bake Vegan Chai Cheesecake
Recipe by Minimalist Baker

The savory and sweet combination of chai spices is a perfect balance to the umami (a rich, savory quality known as the fifth taste) flavor of cheesecake. And, as you may already know, cheesecake is quite the comfort food, thanks to its high sugar and fat content. However, Minimalist Baker uses natural sweeteners like maple syrup and coconut for a healthier option. Don’t worry; this vegan dessert doesn’t skimp on taste. It’s just as a decadent (if not more so).

Review | “The chai taste was amazing, especially with the caramel swirl mixed in it, and it thickened up perfectly. We loved every bite of it! Thank you for another amazing recipe! :)” – Melissa

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8. Best Ever (Vegan) Waffles
Recipe by Hannah Kirshner

Photo by Bobbi Lin for Food52

Comfort food isn’t just for dinner; you can indulge in warming foods at any time of the day. As Hannah Kirshner’s recipe for Food52 proves, breakfast is the perfect time to indulge, and it is all about the waffles—vegan waffles with tofu. Yup! Don’t worry about carbo-loading, this recipe calls for only a cup of flour and a whole package of tofu. The result is a delightfully chewy waffle with a crispy texture on the outside. Douse in maple syrup, fruit, or coconut whipped cream, and enjoy! 

Review | “Thank you so much for posting this recipe! I just made the waffles for my mom for mother’s day brunch and they were a hit! I didn’t tell her or her boyfriend until after we had finished them that there was an entire package of tofu in the waffles, and they were thoroughly impressed. Before finding out about the ingredients my mom even said “Make sure you save that recipe!” – Nina

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9. General Tso’s Tofu
Recipe by Simple Vegan Blog

Reminiscent of classic Chinese takeout, all this vegan version is missing is the white carton and a pair of chopsticks. This recipe swaps out the fried chicken for cubed pieces of tofu that are sautéed rather than fried for a healthier version of General Tso. Depending on your preferences, you can add more red pepper flakes for spice. Serve on a bed of rice alongside root veggies for a nourishing and comforting dish. 

Review | “This was so delicious!!! I have Celiac and haven’t had general tsos in a very very long time. I was just looking for a tofu recipe that my husband wouldn’t be disgusted by… And this was it. He went back for seconds 🙂” – Leila

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Based in the beautiful city of Portland, Maine, Katherine Oakes Englishman is a writer and yoga teacher with a passion for empowering others to live a more conscious and connected life. She is a contributing writer for The Good Trade, Wayward Collective and pens articles on outdoor travel as the East Coast correspondent at Bearfoot Theory; Katherine is also the former web editor of Pure Green Magazine. Offline, you can find her on a yoga mat or in pursuit of adventure in the wilds of Maine and the neighboring White Mountains.