The Best Vegetarian Comfort Foods

The holiday season is a time for indulgence, and while we’ll always love a good glass of egg nog or a scintillating steak, we also recognize how important it is to stay balanced these next few weeks. We’re turning to InMyBowl’s Alexandra Dawson for help. She’s shared with us four recipes that are chockfull of healthy fats and complex carbs, exactly what you need to simultaneously feel like you’re indulging while nourishing your body. Read Dawson’s recipes below. Be prepared; you’re going to want to add them to your holiday menus….

Spiced Butternut Squash Breakfast Muffins

butternut-squash-muffins

The not-too-distant relative of everyone’s favorite pumpkin cream cheese, my spiced butternut squash muffins are your unprocessed and plant based, though still wonderfully indulgent, autumn alternative. Made with rolled oats and almond flour, those familiar and warming pops of spice, and naturally sweetening medjool dates, serve yours fresh from the oven alongside coffee and Must Try Pumpkin Chai. Topped with a healthful dollop of dairy free cream cheese and a drizzle of local honey, say hello to your new favorite breakfast bite.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons chia seeds
6 tablespoons filtered water
1 cup butternut squash, peeled and cubed
10 medjool dates, pitted
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
¼ cup coconut oil
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup almond flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of ground cloves
dairy free cream cheese + honey to taste 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F, rack in the middle. Line an extra large muffin pan with liners. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together chia seeds and filtered water. Set aside for 10 minutes, or until mixture forms a gel-like consistency.

Meanwhile, in a food processor fitted with an S-blade, pulse squash and dates until well combined and squash is chopped very fine. Add chia gel, almond milk, coconut oil, and vanilla and continue to pulse until very smooth.

Transfer squash mixture to a large bowl and stir in oats, almond flour, baking powder and soda, salt, and spices.

Evenly distribute mixture amongst six muffin holes, and then place in oven. Bake muffins for 30-35 minutes, or until they’re golden brown and semi-firm to the touch (they will continue to solidify as they cool). Serve topped with a smear of dairy free cream cheese and local honey, to taste. Enjoy!

Mediterranean Stuffed Sweet Potato Boats 

mediterranean-stuffed-sweet-potatoes

Taking full advantage of ready made, yet nourishing products, like protein and fiber rich hummus and herby Tabbouleh, and pairing them with one-pan favorites, like roasted sweet potatoes, these Mediterranean Stuffed Sweet Potato Boats are both a culinary timesaver and comforting delight. A budget friendly and no stress recipe for your workweek routine, I love adding a heaping dollop of harissa for that welcomed pop of heat.

Ingredients:

6 medium sweet potatoes
1 can (14 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
¾ cup hummus
¾ cup Tabbouleh
1 cup pitted green olives
juice of 2 lemons
salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F, rack in the middle. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

With a fork, pierce each sweet potato’s skin 4-5 times (going about ½ inch deep). Place potatoes onto the baking sheet and bake for 45-60 minutes, or potatoes are fork tender and just beginning to caramelize. Remove from heat.

To Assemble: 

Slice each potato lengthwise down its center (cutting about 2 inches deep) then press in on their ends to open them up. Fill each potato with equal amounts chickpeas, hummus, Tabbouleh, olives, and lemon juice. Season to taste, serve and enjoy!

Warm Cannellini and Browned Carrot Salad with Dill and Maple 

warm-carrot-salad-in-my-bowl

That sort of life giving meal that trickles its way into every cell, replenishing and restoring, my Warm Cannellini and Browned Carrot Salad with Dill and Maple is a meal even the most devout meat eater will stand behind. Packed to brim with hearty, rooting, and health promoting carrots, protein and fiber rich cannellinis, and warming dill and pure maple, I serve my salad warm, fresh off the skillet, accompanied by toasted pita and a heaping dollop of lemon chickpea hummus.

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound carrots, peeled and sliced ¼” thick on the diagonal
2 cans (14 ounces each) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
¼ cup fresh dill, finely chopped
½ cup (about 3) shallots, very thinly sliced
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
juice of 1 lemon
¼ teaspoon Himalayan sea salt
3 tablespoons sliced almonds

Directions:

In your largest skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat until just hot. Add carrots and sauté, stirring frequently, until carrots are just soft and beginning to brown (about 10-12 minutes). Sit in cannellini beans and dill and continue to sauté for an additional 3 minutes, remove from heat and transfer to desired serving dish.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, shallots, maple, lemon juice, and sea salt.

To assemble: gently toss carrot cannellini mixture with olive oil mixture until vegetables are well coated. Sprinkle with sliced almonds, serve and enjoy!

Baked Butternut Squash Mac N’ ‘Cheese’ with Hazelnut Crumble 

baked-butternut-squash-mac-and-cheese

Undisguised ‘comfort food’ with overtones of nourishment, my Baked Butternut Squash Mac N’ ‘Cheese’ with Hazelnut Crumble is a must-make make-ahead weeknight meal. Instilling those familiar flavors of cheesy gooeyness and warmth, but with an unprocessed and nutrient rich ingredient twist, this mac’s roasted butternut squash, cannellini, and cinnamon sauce, sneaks its way into every noodle, nook, and cranny so every bite is creamy dreamy perfection. Coupled with the savory crunch of a lightly toasted hazelnut and cinnamon crumble, I serve mine fresh out the oven with an extra heap of crumble for good measure.

Ingredients:

2 pounds frozen butternut squash, diced
4 cloves garlic, peeled
3 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
¾ cup + 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, divided
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard 
2 teaspoons sea salt, divided
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1 box (16 ounces) macaroni pasta, prepared according to package directions
1 cup shelled hazelnuts, lightly toasted

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F, rack in the middle. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Toss cubed squash, garlic, and 1 tablespoon coconut oil and bake for 20 minutes, or until squash is very tender. Transfer for a high-speed blender.

Add another 1 tablespoon coconut oil, cannellini beans, ¾ cup nutritional yeast, mustard, 1 ½ teaspoons salt, apple cider vinegar, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, and nutmeg to the blender. With the motor running, slowly add the almond milk until mixture is creamy dreamy and pourable.

Transfer sauce to a large oven safe pot or casserole dish and toss with prepared pasta. Set aside.

Reduce oven heat to 325 degrees F.

In a food processor fitted with an S-blade, pulse toasted hazelnuts, remaining 1 tablespoon coconut oil, remaining 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon until they form a coarse crumb. Sprinkle atop the pasta mixture, then place in oven for 20 minutes, or until pasta is warm and ready to serve. Increase oven heat to broil then broil for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until crumble is golden. Serve and enjoy!

Looking for even more of an indulgence? Check out these warm drinks and our favorite mac’n’cheese recipes.