Try These Trendy Vegan Takes On Comfort Food Classics

Photo: Courtesy of Christina Holmes.
No matter your reasoning for going vegan, it's hard to deny that the lifestyle choice once considered restrictive is now a major part of the food scene. Exclusively vegan brands, grocery store product lines, and eateries have been popping up everywhere over the past few years. Not to mention that a plethora of creative vegan cookbooks have also made easy, at-home recipes accessible in kitchens throughout the country. One of the most anticipated of these new cookbooks just debuted — trendy vegan chef Chloe Coscarelli's Chloe Flavor.
This kick-ass vegan recipe book is anything but limiting. Filled with all things saucy, spicy, and crispy, Coscarelli's inspired dishes are inventive and crave-worthy. To prove it, we have three of her meals that reimagine our favorite comfort food classics — from a savory McVegan breakfast sandwich to a dreamy mac and cheese. Scroll on to celebrate the vegan comfort food at its best.
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Photo: Courtesy of Christina Holmes.
The McVegan Breakfast Sandwich
Serves 6

"Drive-thru breakfast, begone! This breakfast sandwich takes first prize in flavor, texture, and nutrition. Okay, I just gave that award to myself, but I promise, this recipe really does deserve it. It looks like fast food and tastes like fast food, but gives you all the energy and nourishment you need to start your day."

8 oz. silken tofu
2 tbsp olive or refined coconut oil, plus more as needed
1 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
2 tsp sea salt
½ tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp garlic powder
1 small onion, chopped
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
8 oz. ground seitan (see tip below)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 (16 oz.) package extra-firm tofu, drained and patted dry with paper towels
5 oz. greens (kale, baby spinach, or chard)
Freshly ground black pepper
6 vegan English muffins or 12 slices of bread, toasted
1 or 2 avocados, thinly sliced
Sriracha or hot sauce (optional)

*Make It Gluten-Free
Serve on gluten-free English muffins and replace the seitan with tempeh.

1. In a blender or food processor, combine the silken tofu, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, nutritional yeast, salt, turmeric, onion powder, and garlic powder. Blend until smooth. If the mixture is too thick to combine, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water and blend again as needed.

2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. When it shimmers, add the onion, mushrooms, seitan, and tomatoes and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until onions are translucent. Using your hands, crumble the extra-firm tofu into the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until lightly browned, adding more oil if needed. Add the greens and cook until just wilted, about 3 minutes. Add the pureed tofu mixture, then reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring often, for 2 to 3 minutes, until the pureed tofu thickens. Taste and season with pepper.

3. Layer the bottoms of the English muffins with the scramble, sliced avocado, and a very light drizzle of sriracha, if desired. Top them with the muffin tops and serve.

*Ground Seitan Tip
If you cannot find ground seitan, you can make your own using seitan of any shape or size (strips, cubes, etc.). Drain your seitan well, then pulse in the food processor until finely ground. Do not overpulse; the seitan should still have some texture.

Reprinted from Chloe Flavor. Copyright © 2018 by CKC Sales, LLC. Photographs copyright © 2018 by Christina Holmes. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.
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Photo: Courtesy of Christina Holmes.
Apricot-Sesame Cauliflower Wings
Serves 4

"This is my go-to appetizer recipe for Super Bowl parties, potlucks, or game nights, and my friends and family request it all the time now. It’s kind of like a fusion of Buffalo chicken wings and orange chicken, so it’s a mega crowd-pleaser. If you don’t like sweet food, this might not be the app for you. I, on the other hand, would prefer that all my savory food borders on the dessert cutoff, so I’m pretty much addicted to the sweet, sticky glaze that coats these wings."

Glaze Ingredients
4 oz. apricot jam
1½ tbsp Sriracha
¼ cup water
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced or crushed
1 tbsp ketchup

Cauliflower Ingredients
1 small head cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets
1 cup rice flour
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp chili powder
½ tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 cups ice-cold seltzer water, plus ¼ cup or more, if needed
Vegetable oil, for frying
Sesame seeds, for garnish
Thinly sliced scallions, for garnish

*Make-Ahead Tip
The glaze can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Glaze Instructions
In a small saucepan, combine all the glaze ingredients. Whisk over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, until just boiling and thickened. Remove the pot from the heat and set aside to cool.

Cauliflower Instructions
1. Fill a large bowl with ice and tap water. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Blanch the florets for 1 minute, then submerge them in the ice water. Drain the cauliflower and pat dry. In a large bowl, toss the blanched cauliflower with ½ cup of the rice flour and season generously with salt. Shake off the excess flour and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, remaining ½ cup of rice flour, the baking powder, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, chili powder, cayenne, and salt. Season with black pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together the sesame oil and seltzer water. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk until it forms a thin batter—some lumps are okay. Place the batter in the refrigerator until ready to fry.

3. Fill a deep high-sided heavy skillet with about 3 inches of vegetable oil. Heat the oil to 350°F, or until a small drop of batter sizzles when added.

4. One piece at a time, dip the cauliflower into the batter, letting any excess drip off. Working in batches so as not to crowd the pan, gently place the cauliflower in the oil—the oil should sizzle. Fry for 45 seconds to 1 minute, turning halfway through, until crispy and lightly browned on the outside. Drain on paper towels. Let the oil return to 350°F between batches.

5. In a large bowl, toss the fried cauliflower with as much glaze as needed. Garnish with sesame seeds and scallions and serve.

Reprinted from Chloe Flavor. Copyright © 2018 by CKC Sales, LLC. Photographs copyright © 2018 by Christina Holmes. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.
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Photo: Courtesy of Christina Holmes.
Fiesta Mac & Cheese
Serves 6 to 8

"This recipe is hearty with a capital H! It’s kind of like a cross between tacos and mac and cheese—make it for your hungriest friends and family members and dare them to say vegan food isn’t filling! The first time my roommate and I made this, afterward, we were so full that we said we would never eat again. Obviously, the next night, we craved it and made it again!"

1 lb. elbow macaroni
1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans or black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup (4 oz.) frozen sweet yellow corn, thawed
2 cups water
2 cups raw cashews (see tip below)
2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
2 tbsp agave nectar
2 ½ tsp sea salt
1 tsp smoked paprika, plus more for garnish
½ tsp ground turmeric
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes, with their juices
2 jalapeños, seeded and chopped
Chopped fresh chives, for garnish
Lime wedges, for serving

*Make It Gluten Free
Use gluten-free pasta.

1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook to al dente according to the package directions. Place the beans and corn in a large colander in the sink. Drain the pasta on top of the beans and corn, and return everything to the pot.

2. Meanwhile, in a blender, combine the water, cashews, nutritional yeast, agave, salt, smoked paprika, turmeric, and cayenne. Blend on high speed for about 2 minutes, until very smooth. Add the cashew sauce, tomatoes with their juices, and jalapeños to the pot with the noodles. Cook over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, until the sauce thickens. If the sauce gets too thick, add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the desired consistency is reached.

3. Top each serving with chives and smoked paprika and serve with a lime wedge.

*Nut Blending Tip
Blending nuts with water is a technique I use often to make luscious, dairy-free creams that serve as a base for sauces, soups, or desserts. If you have a high-powered blender, you can blend your nuts raw without any kind of soaking. If you do not have a high-powered blender, you can try using them raw, but if you have trouble, soak the nuts overnight or in boiling water for 10 minutes, then drain them before blending. This will soften them and ensure a silky-smooth cream once blended.

Reprinted from Chloe Flavor. Copyright © 2018 by CKC Sales, LLC. Photographs copyright © 2018 by Christina Holmes. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.
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Photo: Courtesy of Christina Holmes.
Chloe Flavor by Chloe Coscarelli, $18.29, available at Amazon.
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