Veganuary 2023: We’re Here for the (Amazing) Food
Now or anytime you’re learning how to go vegan is the right time for these 18 easy vegan comfort food dishes
Above: Vegan Chickpea and Corn Tacos with Avocado Crema. Photo by Olga Ivanova
So you accepted the 31-day Veganuary challenge (meaning, taking on a vegan diet for the month of January), or at least you’re toying with the idea. Congratulations! But as anyone who’s tried healthy-eating challenges will tell you, the best-made resolutions can give way under cravings and depleted willpower to a temptation to throw in the towel. When pride in your new veganism is shrouded in taco dreams and the irresistible call of a juicy burger, you know it’s time to shake up your strategy.
Somewhere in between reaching your wits’ end with all the usual smoothie bowls, main-dish salads, and veggie soups, and just quitting Veganuary mid-race, lies an opportunity. Unlike challenges with strict restrictions like Whole30 or Dryanuary, there is a lesser-discussed middle-ground — a Veganuary hack, if you will — to get you to the finish line.
Queue vegan comfort food, which is the plant-based way to have your slice of pizza and eat it (vegan) too. While making vegan grilled cheeze isn’t exactly the pinnacle of #cleaneatinggoals, it might just be the trick to keep cravings for the real thing at bay — and keep you on track to complete the vegan food challenge.
And with that, here’s a list of beloved comfort foods made with plant-based foods for your Veganuary pleasure — and for any month of the year, for that matter!
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Here’s where to begin if you’re just catching onto the idea of the Veganuary challenge.
What is Veganuary?
Veganuary is a movement launched in 2014 by a UK nonprofit organization to give up animal products for one whole month. It’s grown so popular that the 2022 campaign inspired over 620,000 people from over 220 countries and territories to try vegan eating
What month is Veganuary
This one’s easy! Veganuary is in January. But that shouldn’t stop you from trying your own vegan eating challenge any month of the year.
How to start Veganuary
A great place to begin exploring Veganuary is with our handy guide, The Vegan Diet: Is it Right for You? You’ll learn everything you need about the health benefits of going vegan, and much more.
18 Comfort food Veganuary recipes
With meat-free recipes this delicious, you’re going to have no problem sticking to your vegan resolutions.
Taco Tuesdays — and any weeknight, for that matter — just got a whole light brighter with these colorful tacos that are fully loaded with sauteed chickpeas and veggies and a generous smear of avocado crema.
There’s no cheese (not even the vegan kind) needed for these Mexican-inspired enchiladas, just black beans, vegetables, and your favorite enchilada sauce.
Thought you’d have to give up lasagna when you went vegan? A creamy (and pretty ingenious) blend of tofu, nutritional yeast, and Italian seasoning stands in here for the traditional ricotta, with spinach in the filling as well, so you can consider this a one-dish meal.
Nothing hits the spot on a wintery day like a big bowl of chili. With all the filling, good-for-you ingredients in this vegan version, including two kinds of legumes, you’ll never miss the meat.
Thick dough meets a saucy interior filled with loads of veggies in this loaded pizza. It’s not exactly what most Chicagoans have in mind, but it will more than fulfill your pizza-eating requirements this month.
Slap some ketchup, mustard, and dill pickle slices on these burgers and you have yourself the meal of your (meatless) dreams. They're not the real thing, but close enough. *drool* If you're concerned about getting enough protein with your new vegan lifestyle, this recipe, made with textured vegetable protein, wheat gluten, and kidney beans, contains 38 grams of protein per serving.
For this recipe, grab your favorite bag of nacho chips (most are naturally vegan) and learn how to make an unripe fruit taste like your favorite protein.
When you make your mac’n’ vegan, all you need is lots of pasta and lots of room in your belly, and you’re golden. Almost all. Stock up on the nutritional yeast, too; not only does it give this vegan recipe plenty of umami, but fortified brands (check the label) include essential vitamin B-12.
Here’s the perfect excuse to eat sauerkraut in a recipe, instead of straight out of the jar. Vegan Reuben Sandwiches call for seitan (a protein based on wheat gluten) and a homemade special sauce, too. Delicious!
10. Sloppy Joes
Cauliflower is the surprise in these vegan sloppy Joes, with cajun seasoning, garlic, vegan Worcestershire, and soy sauce making the thick tomato puree (aka passata) plenty exciting.
Dunking breaded protein (in this case, ground chickpeas with artichoke hearts) in your favorite sweet or spicy sauce? Veganuary approved! But we're guessing you'll want to make Vegan Chicken Nuggets year-round.
Skip the fast-food drive-through and whip out your best taco seasoning. This recipe for Vegan Crunchwrap Supreme, a homemade version of popular plant-based sofritas (spicy shredded tofu) wraps, involves heaps of cashew crema as well as browned and crumbled tofu. Yum!
Pasta, mushrooms, and a pool of coconutty cashew Alfredo sauce add deep flavor to this phenomenal carbonara. If you haven’t tried coconut bacon yet, we predict you’re going to be whipping up a batch for loads more meals than this one.
To make these delectable subs, load up crunchy bread with DIY chickpea meatless balls, herbs, and a blanket of marinara and cashew cheese.
Gochujang sauce meets cauliflower skewers to satisfy your itch for some finger lickin' food in these meatless wings. The texture it takes on is surprisingly close to the non-vegan version.
Nothing beats the crunch of toasted bread against a salty melted cheese. Except maybe Popeye Grilled Cheese, a completely plant-based version that melts in your mouth. That's right, no dairy products here.
Start your morning with Vegan French Toast, a sweetheart breakfast that’s plant-based and only a wee bit indulgent. Ground flax seeds stand in for the usual eggs, almond milk replaces dairy, and the bread can definitely be gluten-free if that’s your jam.
Imagine the beloved appetizer, but made dairy-free and 100% Veganuary approved. Spicy Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip is cheesy, garlickly, and great with any favorite bread.
More easy Veganuary recipes
Looking for more vegan meals? There are thousands of plant-based diet options on Yummly, including recipes made with whole foods like lentils, soy milk, whole grains, and quinoa. You’ll also find ways to use popular vegan products such as seitan and tempeh that are now available in supermarkets. Just type "vegan" into the Yummly search bar. You can also set your overall recipe-search preferences to “vegan” under “Preferences” in your Yummly profile. It's easy to create your own vegan meal plan, too, using our Meal Planner tool and the recipes in the following meal plans.