Author/Chef: Amber French
Comfort food is what most people assume plant based peeps (such as myself) miss, living in this crazy world of no-face food.
You would think eliminating cheese and meat would take things like meatloaf, chicken noodle soup and mac ‘n’ cheese off the table. In fact it is the exact opposite. The years I spent being a good little fitness enthusiast/instructor I diligently ate my clean chicken breast, steamed broccoli and brown rice.
I still struggled with my weight and fatigue. I lived in a constant state of deprivation. I by-passed the mac n cheese and the ribs and the gravies….. and a lot of other yummy goodness that we were raised on, in the name of eating healthy.
When I made the change to plant based, I was amazed that those comfort foods came back easily (and healthfully) in to my repertoire. Easy substitutions like using cauliflower and almond milk to make super velvety “white sauce” and mushrooms to make easy killer gravies and learning how to make ANY kind of sauce you can imagine through plant based sources (yes even nacho cheese). I could also have meatloaf (lentil style) and Chicken Strips for the kids (panko encrusted tofu!). I immediately started to love food again, I was excited to experiment and have continued to include the wild and crazy vegan dishes alongside my tried and true (healthy) comfort food.
I quickly discovered that whole foods used to create delicious meals couldn’t go wrong in my weight loss journey. It is now only when I stray towards “convenience” foods, which oddly enough take the same amount of prep and usually longer cooking times, that I start to struggle with my clothes fitting and the lethargy returning.
Don’t let the cold temps and winter blues knock you off your game. By all means curl up with creamy soups, gather the fam for potatoes and gravy and stews. Because how you prepare your food and the whole “real” ingredient you use are the only thing stopping you from enjoying your favorites, or relishing in the nostalgia of a big old bowl of macaroni and cheese.
Please enjoy my weeknight (read: SUPER EASY) Un-Chicken Noodle Soup recipe. For fabulous vegan comfort foods drop me a line, I would love to take a crack at healthifying your favorite comfort Food. Put the nutrients back into your favorite foods by loading up on the veg and cutting back on the prepackaged.
Weeknight Un-Chicken Noodle Soup – 6 Servings
½ large yellow onion
2 stalks celery diced
½ Tbsp. thyme
2 cloves garlic diced
6 cups Veggie Broth (divided)
2 large carrots peeled and diced
3 medium potatoes
1 cup uncooked brown rice elbow pasta (or whole wheat if gluten isn’t an issue)
Can of chickpeas OR veggie “chicken” tenders (president’s choice is my favorite)
Line your soup pit with a thin layer of veg broth and add onions, celery, Thyme and Garlic. Simmer until onions have gone translucent and celery is soft. Add remaining veg broth (minus ¼ cup) and carrots, continue to simmer. Add potatoes to a small pot with salted water to bring to a boil and let simmer until potatoes are soft. Elbow macaroni can be cooked in another pot as per package instructions. Keeping the potatoes and macaroni keeps your both clearer and allows for additional seasoning. Here is where you get to choose; you can sauté the chickpeas in the remaining ¼ of veg broth or you can dice the veggie chicken and sauté that in the veg broth. Once the chickpeas or “chicken are warmed through, add them and your drained potatoes and macaroni to your soup pot.
Stir to combine and simmer for 5 mins.
Serve piping hot and with your favorite crusty bread.