Seeking Comfort Food?
This week has been emotionally draining. There is so much emotion, conflict, and pain being spread over my country and it is hard to separate yourself from that. I see your pain, your fear, your concerns and I also hear the bragging, boastful cursing, and threats. My country is being torn apart and as an American, it is awful to watch.
I wanted to write a post about banding together as humans to support one another, no matter who you voted for. But instead, I am not going to get political. I am going to turn to what I know best… food.
We all have that one dish that we turn to when we are sick, sad, or just need something to make the day seem less frustrating. Our comfort food isn't always the healthiest for the body, but for the soul can't be beaten.
Many times our comfort food has a taste memory associated with it.
My daughter always asks for Mac and Cheese when she needs a pick me up. But she doesn't want my homemade cheesy masterpiece, she wants simple Kraft blue box mac and cheese, little milk, extra butter. For her, it tastes like when she was little and I was cooking for 5 children and a few extras on many days. We didn't have a lot of extra cash, but we never turned away a hungry child. I'd have to make 4 boxes of mac and cheese to feed them all, but I promised that no child would leave the table wishing they had more.
For me, it was always something warm, creamy, and carried the memories of my Gram and her home cooking. Chicken and Dumplings, cornbread, even oatmeal with butter and brown sugar.
So many people are searching for comfort and I know that maybe just one of them is also looking for something that might soothe their families bellies and fears. I hope these recipes bring both.
Our Favorite Gluten-Free and Vegetarian Comfort Foods
Red Potatoes with Crispy Garlic Chips – Gluten Free & Vegan
- 2 lbs. red potatoes diced (6 cups)
- 4 Tbs. olive oil, divided
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
- ¼ cup chopped, fresh parsley
- ¼ tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
1 Preheat oven to 425°F. Line large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
2 Toss potatoes with 2 Tbs. oil on prepared baking sheet, and spread in single layer. Roast 30 to 35 minutes, or until potatoes are browned and tender, turning once with spatula.
3 Meanwhile, combine remaining 2 Tbs. oil and sliced garlic in small skillet. Heat over low heat 10 to 12 minutes, or until garlic is pale brown, swirling pan occasionally.
4 Toss potatoes with garlic and oil, parsley, and pepper. Season with salt, if desired.
Vegan Lentil Soup – Gluten Free & Vegan
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow or white onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 large can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 cup brown or green lentils, picked over and rinsed
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt, more to taste
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup chopped fresh collard greens or kale, tough ribs removed
- Juice of ½ to 1 medium lemon, to taste
- Warm the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. One-fourth cup olive oil may seem like a lot, but it adds a lovely richness and heartiness to this nutritious soup.
- Once the oil is shimmering, add the chopped onion and carrot and cook, stirring often, until the onion has softened and is turning translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, curry powder and thyme. Cook until fragrant while stirring constantly, about 30 seconds. Pour in the drained diced tomatoes and cook for a few more minutes, stirring often, in order to enhance their flavor.
- Pour in the lentils, broth and the water. Add 1 teaspoon salt and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Season generously with freshly ground black pepper. Raise heat and bring the mixture to a boil, then partially cover the pot and reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook for 30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender but still hold their shape.
- Transfer 2 cups of the soup to a blender. Protect your hand from steam with a tea towel placed over the lid and purée the soup until smooth. Pour the puréed soup back into the pot and add the chopped greens. Cook for 5 more minutes, or until the greens have softened to your liking.
- Remove the pot from heat and stir in the juice of half of a lemon. Taste and season with more salt, pepper and/or lemon juice until the flavors really sing. Serve immediately. Leftovers will keep well for about 4 days in the refrigerator, or can be frozen for several months (just defrost before serving)
Avocado Mac and Cheese – Gluten Free
- 1 1/2 cups gluten-free noodle of your choice
- 2 avocados
- 1 lime (juice only)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 handful cilantro
- dash each salt & pepper
- 2 tbsp Earth Balance Butter (or the butter brand of your choice)
- 2 tbsp flour (we used almond flour)
- 1 c. milk (whole or 2% is best)
- 2 c. shredded cheese (we suggest low-moisture mozzarella)
Cook pasta according to directions on the box.
For avocado sauce: Combine avocado, lime, garlic, cilantro, salt, & pepper in food processor or blender. Blend until smooth and creamy.
For cheese sauce: Add flour to melted butter, and whisk to combine. Add milk, and whisk until smooth. Add cheese, and stir gently over medium heat until sauce is fully combined.
Toss pasta with avocado sauce, then cream sauce. Sprinkle with extra cheese, and/or avocado to garnish.
A special thank you to all of these amazing food bloggers for their amazing recipes. Please go check out their blogs and discover their unique food discoveries.