While many of us (myself included) associate winter with meat- and dairy-rich comfort food—slow-cooked meat sauces, cheesy casseroles, thick beef stews—you don't have to load yourself with animal protein to enjoy a hearty meal. Whether you're full-on committing yourself to animal-free eating or simply trying to incorporate more plant-based foods into your diet, we've got a wide range of recipes for dishes that are both satisfying and vegan—as well as cooking techniques to help you get creative with old favorites. Among them, you'll find instructions for making vegan ingredients that mimic meat or dairy ones, like our nut- and potato-based cheese sauce or tofu chorizo. But most of the 14 options below, including stir-fried lo mein and pasta with roasted vegetables, are vegan just by chance—and delicious by design.
Pasta With Rich and Hearty Mushroom Bolognese
Shiitake mushrooms and eggplant give meaty texture and body to a slow-cooked vegan Bolognese that's unbelievably comforting on a cold day. Plenty of olive oil and red wine turn it rich and rib-sticking, while a bit of miso paste and soy sauce add extra savoriness—they're two of our most invaluable ingredients when we're cooking vegan.
Pasta With Chickpea Sauce
Cook chickpeas with aromatics until they're tender, then purée them until smooth, and you'll end up with a creamy sauce that's perfect for coating pasta. It's an inherently simple, undemanding recipe, so take the extra time to start with dried chickpeas: Canned will work, but the flavor won't be the same.
Zucchini and Roasted Tomatoes With Pasta and Dried Olive Flavor Shake
Traditional pasta dishes tend to be heavy on noodles and light on sauce, which can bring your plate dangerously close to carb overload. This recipe flips the formula, bringing zucchini and cherry tomatoes to the fore in a flavor-packed marinara and pairing them with a relatively small amount of pasta. As a replacement for grated Parmesan, we top the pasta with a bit of our Dried Olive and Miso Shake, a super-savory blend of olives, miso paste, rosemary, and lemon zest.
Stir-Fried Lo Mein With Charred Cabbage, Shiitake, and Chives
Taking a similar approach, this colorful, flavorful lo mein dish brings the proportion of noodles and vegetables into balance, packing in shiitake mushrooms, nutty-sweet charred cabbage, and sliced chives. A light sauce—made with soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, sesame oil, and white pepper—is just enough to coat the ingredients.
Vegan Stovetop-Style Macaroni and Cheese
If making a vegan version of stovetop mac and cheese that's as rich and creamy as the original sounds impossible to you, you're in for a real treat. Building on our vegan nacho cheese recipe, we use almond milk, cashews, and potatoes to make a vegan cheese sauce that's gooey and silky-smooth.
Tuscan Pappa al Pomodoro (Tomato and Bread Soup)
Think of pappa al pomodoro as gazpacho's heartier cousin, made by simmering crushed tomatoes and torn rustic bread into a stew and topping it all off with olive oil. Because the tomatoes are cooked here (unlike in gazpacho), canned tomatoes work just as well, meaning this is a dish you can happily make all winter long.
Pasta e Fagioli (Italian Bean and Pasta Soup)
This Italian classic of tender cooked beans and small pasta in an aromatic broth is almost a meal in one bowl. For the best flavor, start with dried beans, like cannellini or kidney beans, and cook them longer than you think they need so they end up smooth and fully soft inside.
The Ultimate Rich and Creamy Vegan Ramen With Roasted Vegetables and Miso Broth
For me, a good bowl of ramen is all about a rich, complex combination of flavors, and this meat-free version more than delivers. The broth is made with fresh, dried, and charred vegetables and flavored with a shiitake-soy tare, then drizzled with a mushroom-scallion oil and topped with togarashi-roasted sweet potatoes and mushrooms, simmered shiitake caps, and charred eggplant. Sure, it's a process—but doesn't the description alone make it sound worthwhile?
This is the slow-cooked sauce you'll want to make a lot of and keep in your freezer all winter. Tomatoes, white wine, and aromatic vegetables all contribute to its flavor, but it's a mix of fresh and dried mushrooms—plus the liquid the dried mushrooms are rehydrated in—that gives it so much depth. Try serving it over polenta or pasta.
Easy Vegan Pressure-Cooker Miso Risotto
In this dairy-free risotto, miso paste isn't just a supporting player—it's the star. We use a generous amount of the powerful umami flavor-booster in this risotto, along with soy sauce, lemon, and sake in place of white wine. A pressure cooker makes it easy and fast—sweat the aromatics directly in the cooker first, toast the rice, then heat it all at low pressure for just a few minutes.
Vegan Quinoa, Broccoli, and Kale Curry
For a filling and nourishing vegan meal in less than half an hour, this recipe combines sweet caramelized broccoli and cauliflower with quinoa, cumin, onion, and wilted kale. A good amount of curry powder, lime, and cilantro give it some piquancy.
Carrot and Rye Berry Salad With Celery, Cilantro, and Marcona Almonds
We love whole grains for their versatility, their variety of flavors and textures, and their health benefits—so much, in fact, that we created a whole guide to them. Here, we pair chewy, earthy rye berries with tender cooked carrots, onion, cilantro, celery, and toasted Marcona almonds, then dress the salad with a simple vinaigrette for a tasty weekday lunch or dinner.
Crispy Potato and Chorizo Tacos
No, this isn't a mistake—you can indeed make these tacos with pork chorizo, but they're also a great candidate for veganizing using our homemade vegan chorizo. Made with tofu, lentils, tempeh, and shortening, and seasoned with a variety of smoky and fruity peppers, it cooks up just like the original. To turn it into tacos, serve it on warmed tortillas with crispy potatoes and chopped onion and cilantro.
Vegan Spinach and Hominy Enchiladas With Spicy Cashew Cream
These vegan enchiladas start simply enough, with a filling of spinach, hominy, garlic, onions, ancho chili powder, and cumin. The tricky part is topping them off: Many vegan enchilada recipes call for store-bought vegan "cheese," but we prefer to skip the artificial stuff and instead spoon on a cashew cream sauce, flavored with chipotles in adobo.