I've flirted with vegetarianism since I was a teenager, but thanks to the support of my fiance-turned-vegan-fiance I've been meatless since January of this year. Despite being meatless, I still sometimes crave "comfort" foods from my childhood - some of which included meat. Thankfully, the faux meat industry has revolutionized since I was a kid, and one of my favorite brands is gardein. They're 100% plant-based (vegan), offer a lot of variety, and are pretty tasty.
Tonight, I tried one of their newer products: turk'y cutlets. The crispy oven-baked breading makes it heavier than I'd like, but at 250 calories for two cutlets they're still reasonable for an indulgent comfort food meal. I paired the cutlet with some baked delicata squash, mashed potatoes and fresh tomato slices. Gardein's homestyle gravy is insanely good (and I'm not a huge gravy fan), but it also packs on the calories, fat and sodium. True of typical "comfort food."
Food being tied to a feeling like comfort is at once obvious and strange. Why is it that food elicits in us emotional responses instead of just providing us the energy we need? I have no clue, you should tell me in the comments if you know. :)
One of the biggest challenges I've had over the years to maintaining a meatless lifestyle is that emotional response to food in the form of family holidays. It's really kind of fascinating when you think about how seeped our family traditions are with food. For my family, holiday meals gravitate around meat. Luckily, I've got open-minded parents and extended family and an inspiring fiance who have helped transform the traditional holiday meals into vegan friendly tables recently. Check out our fun vegan easter brunch or thanksgiving.
You can take comfort in knowing a plant-based, meatless meal is not only comforting to you, but also to the animals. Now, that's real comfort food.