Comfort-food staples like waffles and chicken pot pie probably don’t hold much of a spot in your weight-loss plan. Enter: Vegan cooking.
By slashing the calories and cholesterol of meat and dairy, you can make rich, savory, comforting classics that’ll slim you down. Whether you’re a meat lover, hardcore vegan, or just looking for #MeatlessMonday inspiration, these simple plant-based recipes show how you can healthify mac and cheese, burgers, pancakes and more.
ORANGE SWEET POTATO WHOLE GRAIN PANCAKES
There’s no shame in devouring a stack of these pancakes made with whole-wheat flour, sweet potatoes, applesauce, orange juice and other wholesome ingredients. Top them with fat-fighting fruit for a breakfast worth waking up for.
3-INGREDIENT POTATO-LESS MASHED POTATOES
Creamy, buttery mashed potatoes may be a “yes, please” for your mouth, but a “heck no” for your waistline. But you can get a fix by using zucchini and olive oil in place of spuds and butter. (Yes, really.) Zukes blend to a velvety texture, and they’re loaded with vitamins, minerals and freshness. For more zucchini-based breakfast ideas, check out these 12 Amazing Recipes for Zoats!
EASY MACARONI AND “CHEEZE”
What’s more comforting than a heaping helping of mac ‘n’ cheese? Not much — until the guilt sets in. In this slimming alternative, swap dairy cheese for “cheezy” nutritional yeast, creamy tahini and spices. (If you choose a “nooch yeast” that is fortified with B12, you’ll also get 100% of your RDA for the essential vitamin.) Low-fat and low-sodium, the resulting dish will be your new classic.
COCONUT YOGURT CHERRY PARFAIT WITH PUMPKIN SEEDS
Sometimes only an ice-cream sundae will suffice. Until you try this yogurt parfait with cherries, granola, crunchy pumpkin seeds and a hint of cinnamon, that is. It works for breakfast just as well as dessert. Quercetin-rich cherries (which fight inflammation) complement chewy unsweetened coconut flakes perfectly. You can also add trendy chia seeds for a fiber boost.
VEGAN POT PIE
Who would’ve thought that a comfort food staple that relies on meat and dairy can be transformed into a vegan winner? Here, sweet potatoes and tofu (along with the traditional trio of onion, carrots and green peas) snuggle in a flaky, golden-brown crust. You won’t miss the meat and cream (or the attendant calories). For extra flavor, sprinkle in dried herbs like tarragon, oregano and rosemary.
WHITE BEAN-DILL SPREAD
Some things in life just go together. Peanut butter and jelly. Fall and football. Ranch dip and just about anything. Unfortunately, it’s often loaded with sodium, calories and fat. This healthy alternative made from just a handful of ingredients. Cannellini beans (which are ideal in meals for weight loss) mingle with olive oil, lemon juice, fresh dill and black pepper. It pairs wonderfully with veggies and crackers, and even as a topping for toast.
Healthy chocolate cornbread? S-O-L-D. This gluten-free vegan stunner includes raw cacao nibs (one of our 9 Favorite Superfoods to Add to Almost Any Meal), which packs magnesium, iron and antioxidants. Chili powder and cinnamon provide a spicy kick—along with a metabolism boost.
CHICKPEA BURGERS WITH TAHINI SAUCE
You’re likely to abandon carnivore tendencies after your sinking your teeth into this hearty chickpea burger spiked with coriander, cumin and cayenne, and dressed in rich tahini with cucumbers. The flavors in this dish are so bold, you won’t even miss that this falafel-inspired sammy isn’t deep fried.
HEALTHY CHIA WAFFLES
The brunch staple gets a healthy vegan makeover with whole wheat flour, chia seeds and almond milk, in what is bound to become your weekend regular. There’s also an added nutrient boost from flaxseed meal, which is rich in heart-protective, fat-burning omega-3 fatty acids.
QUINOA PASTA WITH FRESH TOMATOES, GARLIC AND BASIL
Spaghetti and meatballs. Fettucine alfredo. Bolognese. Pasta, we can’t count the ways in which we love you. Turns out, you can eat your pasta and keep it plant-based too. There are countless stellar vegan pasta recipes, but we love this garden-fresh version with quinoa linguini. No basil? Wilted spinach works great as well.
Although Indian food is typically made with ghee, a.k.a. clarified butter, this savory entree substitutes healthier vegetable oil. Freshly grated ginger, cayenne and turmeric spice up rice, lentils and veggies like eggplant, sweet potatoes and green peas. Feel free to add whatever fresh or frozen veggies you have on hand.