Vegan Winter Recipes to Warm the Soul

When winter has you chilled to the bone, it’s a great time to be vegan because there are so many awesome choices to warm you through and through. Here are a few quick suggestions to make for one or feed to your entire family:

1. Soups:

With the right combination of veggies and savory notes brought to you by onions, garlic, or both, you’ll have homemade soup to keep everybody warm all winter long. Chunky-style vegetable soups, like minestrone, are a delightfully complete meal in a bowl, while puréed soups are always comforting, especially with fresh bread and a salad or steamed vegetable.

One quick and easy option is zucchini-potato soup. Heat a chopped onion in a large pot with a little oil, then peel and chop two zucchinis and four potatoes. Add them to the onion along with four cups of water or your favorite vegetable broth. If you use plain water, a little bit of soup mix can add a flavor boost. Boil until the vegetables are tender, then purée with a hand blender. Serve with a sprinkling of croutons, toasted ramen noodles, or any other topping you enjoy.

2. Potato Bar:

There’s nothing quite so warm and comforting as potatoes, and they’re also a terrific canvas to highlight a world of other flavors. Try serving up a vegan baked-potato bar. Scrub a few potatoes, rub them down with olive oil and salt, poke them a few times with a fork and toss them into a 425 degree Fahrenheit (a little over 200 degrees Celsius) oven for about 45 minutes. (You can also try this with sweet potatoes.)

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After that, the sky’s the limit. Top with whatever strikes your fancy, sprinkle with olive oil, add guacamole, or go all out and heat up a ready-made or homemade chili to make it an even more complete meal. Drizzle with tahini or your favorite dressing to kick up the flavor. Or go in a completely different direction and top them with coconut-milk curried peas or spinach. You can add your favorite cheese or sour cream substitute, but you don’t have to. These baked potatoes are absolutely heavenly all on their own.

3. Beans and Legumes:

Beans and legumes have to be the world’s most versatile foods. Simmered in a soup or nestled inside a tortilla wrap, they’re all hearty, sustaining winter warm-up possibilities. Save money with dried beans if you have time, or use canned beans if you’re in a hurry.

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One of the easiest main dishes is falafel, and you can make your own in minutes using canned chick peas. Drain the chick peas and pulse in the food processor with a little olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, salt, pepper, cumin, and turmeric. The last two are the secret to that distinctive Eastern flavor. A few tablespoons of flour can help hold the falafel together.

With moistened hands, form into balls on a baking sheet and spray with canola oil. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit (just under 200 degrees Celsius) for 10 minutes, then flip and spray the top side with canola oil. Bake another 10 minutes, adding 5 minutes if they’re not brown and crispy yet. Now, just grab your favorite pita, adding tomatoes, cucumbers, and any other fresh veggies you enjoy. Toss in the falafel, a little tahini and hot sauce if you like it for good measure, and enjoy.

If the weather where you are is blustery and mean, take comfort: summer will be back before you know it. In the meantime, dress warm, stay dry, and happy vegan eating!