With the crisp cold air and golden leaves of autumn come cozy blankets, hot mugs of tea and cravings for the kind of rich, hearty, filling meals that warm you up in an instant and satisfy you to your very bones. Classic comfort food for cold weather is almost always meat-based, and most people don’t exactly associate it with vegan and vegetarian cuisine, but these 5 fall vegetarian recipes are here to prove that meat-free dishes can be just as delicious.
Rich, Cheesy French Onion Soup
On a cold, rainy day, few things look more tempting than a bowl of rich, hot soup covered in bubbling cheese. French onion soup is almost always off-limits to vegetarians, since it relies on beef for much of its flavor. In this meat-free adaptation from The Curvy Carrot, onions browned in butter take center stage as they should, accented with thyme, dry white wine and Gruyere cheese.
Taking advantage of one of the most iconic flavors of the season, these cute little hand pies really hit the spot. Empanadas are the Latin American version of Europe’s pasties, and traditional versions tend to include beef, chicken or lamb. They’re super-portable – try heating them up, placing them in an insulated reusable container and bringing them along on autumn jaunts like apple-picking. This fun vegetarian incarnation from Vegan Yack Attack fills whole wheat vegan crust with cheesy pumpkin and black bean chili.
Meatloaf is a cold-season favorite for many people, and vegetarian attempts to replicate the moist and savory dish often fall flat. But where others have failed, Heathen and Vegan triumphs (image via Wing It Vegan). This vegan lentil and mushroom loaf gets lots of flavor from garlic, spinach, and a dash of nutmeg, and is filled with creamy mashed potatoes.
Leave it to Martha Stewart to create the perfect vegetarian lasagna for fall, pairing sweet butternut squash with savory sage and enriching the dish with plenty of cheese and cream. The white sauce makes a nice change from classic, tomato-sauce-based lasagna.
Baked, stuffed potatoes are an incredibly simple and versatile dish that’ll fill you up with plenty of starchy goodness. A variation from Lunch Box Bunch adds quinoa, kale salad, chipotle sauce and chives to a baked sweet potato, but virtually any fillings you like will do. No time to sit around waiting for a potato to bake? Try this trick: simply wrap your potatoes in foil and place them in a slow cooker on low. By the time you get home from work, they’ll be ready to go.
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