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And while we often correlate comfort food with meaty, cheesy American classics, there are dozens of recipes that give you all that same nostalgic flavor without breaking your vegan diet. From vegan mac and cheese to vegan biscuits and gravy, keep scrolling for six vegan comfort food recipes to enjoy under 500 calories.
1. Vegan Mac and Cheese
- 472 calories
- 11 grams of protein
Mac and cheese might be one of the most popular comfort foods out there, but if you're on a vegan diet, it can be a bit tricky to make without the gooey cheese. Thankfully, this dairy-free version provides creamy flavor and protein from cashews and nutritional yeast, says plant-based dietitian Amy Gorin, RDN and owner of Plant-Based Eats. "Plus, you get an excellent amount of fiber from the nuts, veggies and gluten-free pasta."
Get the Vegan Mac and Cheese recipe and nutrition information here.
2. All-American Vegan Cheeseburgers
- 433 calories
- 12 grams of protein
"Not all veggie burgers contain a decent amount of protein, but this one does, thanks to the lentils," Gorin says. The best part about any burger recipe, including this one, is you can customize it to your liking. Serve it on a vegan bun or atop a bed of lettuce.
Get the All-American Vegan Cheeseburger recipe and nutrition information here.
3. Vegan Alfredo Pasta
- 280 calories
- 7 grams of protein
Instead of loading up on heavy cream, cheese and milk, this vegan-approved creamy pasta dish calls for coconut milk. "This recipe does contain a higher amount of saturated fat," Gorin warns. "To reduce that, choose a can of lite coconut milk instead." She also notes that this recipe does include a variety of vegetables, which the traditional dish doesn't include. So feel free to load up on additional veggies for more vitamins and minerals.
Get the Vegan Alfredo Pasta recipe and nutrition information here.
4. Vegan Buttermilk Biscuits and Country Gravy
- 448 calories
- 8.5 grams of protein
Don't let the name fool you. These buttermilk biscuits and country gravy are totally vegan (and ready in about 30 minutes). Even though these biscuits call for cashew milk, you can sub it for almond milk if you've got it on hand. "The sodium content is on the higher end, so just minimize the amount of salt added," Gorin says.
Get the Vegan Buttermilk Biscuits and Country Gravy recipe and nutrition information from The Simple Veganista.
5. Vegan Chili Cheese Fries
- 338 calories
- 8.3 grams of protein
There are so many components to these Vegan Chili Cheese Fries, it's like every bite is a new adventure. "I like that these fries combine several fiber-rich veggies, including potatoes and onions," Gorin says. And of course, avocado is a source of healthy fats. Because the fries can be baked or air-fried, you can keep oil to a minimum.
Get the Vegan Chili Cheese Fries recipe and nutrition information from Avocado Centric.
6. Vegan Chocolate Mousse
- 243 calories
- 3 grams of protein
If you've never tried aquafaba, we suggest making this recipe, stat. Aquafaba is nutrient-rich chickpea water (think: the liquid leftover in a can) and it works perfectly as an egg or egg white substitute in recipes, Gorin says. Instead of adding sugar or honey for sweetness, this Vegan Chocolate Mousse uses antioxidant-rich cacao nibs and raspberries, in addition to dark chocolate and maple syrup.
Get the Vegan Chocolate Mousse recipe and nutrition information here.