Vegan Podcast talks: comfort food
The guests from episode seven of the Vegan Podcast share their top tips for creating the most delicious comfort food possible
Have you listened to the Vegan Life Magazine Podcast yet? If not - you're missing out! Hosted by the hilarious Jake Yapp (check him out on page 114), it covers everything you need to know about vegan food, as well as how to cook and eat it all in one vegan podcast.
With the weather getting colder, many of us are gravitating away from the fresh salads of summer and towards hearty comfort foods - a topic covered in episode seven of the podcast. During the 40-minute show, Jake was joined by vegan chefs Ashley Hankins, Liv B and Sam Turnbull to wallow in the warm, greasy embrace of plant-based comfort food! Post-podcast, we catch up with the guests to delve a little deeper.
What is the essence of a comfort food dish for you?
Ashley: For me, it's something that I ate growing up, anything that reminds me of my mum's cooking; pasta, anything that makes me feel good, warm and cosy. Mostly foods that I grew up eating, before I was vegan.
Liv: I would say the same, although my comfort foods are more desserts, so my mum's cooking; recipes that I've made vegan - my aunt's cobbler, something like that, but usually it's sweet for me. Apple and blackberry cobbler - which I veganised for my book!
What are your top tips for creating the ultimate comfort food dish?
Liv: To start - focus on texture. Most comfort food is gooey, creamy and melty! Whether it's using a high-speed blender for the creamiest sauces, or slightly under baking your cookies to make them extra gooey, nailing the perfect texture will improve and level up any recipe. Also, don't be afraid to add your own flair to a recipe. If you like something extra spicy, extra sweet or extra cheesy, add more ingredients to suit your preference! Comfort food is all about being comforting to YOU!
Sam: When it comes to comfort food, I'm all about focusing on texture and flavour. Whether it's crunchy, gooey, creamy or meaty, salty, sweet, or spicy. I love to layer the desired textures and flavours together for the ultimate experience! One of my favourite comfort foods is nachos, because you get salty crunchy tortilla chips, gooey vegan cheesy, meaty vegan crumbles, and spicy jalapeños. What could be better!?
A lot of vegan cheese shreds don't melt super well, so when making homemade vegan nachos I recommend trying my recipe for Melty Stretchy Gooey Vegan Nacho Cheese found on my blog itdoesnttastelikechicken.com. Making your own cheese might seem intimidating at first but this recipe takes 15 minutes or less and will give you the perfect gooey, cheesey, melty experience for your nachos. Now, that's comfort food!
You've got doubtful non-vegan family over. What comfort food dish do you cook them?
Liv: My go-to for non-vegan family and friends is always my famous chewy chocolate chip cookies. I haven't met a single person, vegan or non-vegan yet that doesn't love these delicious chocolate chip cookies! Once I entice them to try vegan food with a 'I can't believe this is vegan!' dessert, I always have an easier time convincing them to try other recipes like vegan pizza or mac and cheese.
Sam: I think comfort food doesn't necessarily have to be high calories or super gluttonous. When cooking for nonvegans, I often just ask them what their favourite cuisine is and cook something from that cuisine but veganised. For some people that might be a massive meaty vegan cheeseburger, but for others that could be a simple pasta or even a perfectly prepared salad.
When cooking for others I like to prepare foods they already enjoy - just veganised. Often, they are surprised at how good the dishes are and sometimes even say they prefer them without the animal products. That's how I know I'm starting to influence people and breakdown the misconceptions around vegan food.
To listen to the vegan podcast episode and find out more about the guests, visit veganlife.libsyn.com/to-thine-vegan-self-beetroot. And don't forget to send your vegan cooking questions to firstname.lastname@example.org - and subscribe and share the vegan podcast. Find out more at veganlifemag.com/vegan-podcast.