Just because you skip out on animal products shouldn’t mean that you don’t get to let loose on a junk food feast every now and then. The days of a vegan diet are no longer tied to old fashioned ideas of snacking on sunflower seeds and bland vegetables. Anyone who is vegan already knows, there's a ton of ways to get creative with ingredients and to whip up a storm of good stuff that doesn't have any lentils in sight. Not that we don't love lentils but sometimes we just crave something loaded with fat and protein to get us feeling good.
There’s nothing like chowing down on a juicy burger, fries, chicken wings and guilt fueled sweet fodder – especially when you are having a bad day and just want to binge on some comfort food. Fortunately, plant power is increasingly popular which means that even for vegans there are some drool-worthy dishes out there to feed your junk food needs. Here are our favorite vegan junk food recipes fueled fully by plants.
1. Oreo Milkshake
Find it here: Loving It Vegan
Easy, creamy, and crammed with all those calories that you need, the Oreo milkshake is a combination of all things loved. Super simple, to create this delicious thick glass of sweetness all you need is 2 cups of your fave vegan vanilla ice-cream, 1 cup of non-dairy milk (think coconut milk for added flavor or oat for extra creaminess), and 8 Oreo cookies for that dark chocolate dream.
Blend up the milk and ice-cream until smooth, add 6 of the cookies to the mix and pulse. Don’t over pulse as you want to keep it thick and crumby. Pour into a glass and crush the extra 2 cookies for a decorative top.
2. Cauliflower Tacos
Find it here: Vegan Heaven
Skipping fish and meat leaves your taco looking kind of empty, but not when you turn to the wonder of the humble cauliflower as a staple in your comfort food recipes. Grab a head of cauliflower and break into florets. Make a vegan-friendly batter with flour, non-dairy milk, water, garlic, and seasoning. If you want it spicy, add a dash or two of sriracha. Dunk the florets until covered and then roll them in panko breadcrumbs. Lay them onto parchment and place in the oven for 20 mins until golden brown.
Stuff your tacos with shredded lettuce and red cabbage, green onions, lime juice, cauliflower and a generous drizzle of vegan yoghurt and garlic sauce. Crack a cold beer and enjoy!
3. Carrot Hot Dogs
Find it here: Nutritionist Meets Chef
It may sound utterly bizarre and as far from junk food as you can get but slather these carrot hot-dogs up and you could swear they are the real deal. The first step is to poach whole carrots in hot water seasoned with juniper berries, chili, fennel, and allspice. Leave to boil for a good 20-40 mins, so they are super soft and nearly ready to fall apart.
In the meantime make a mustard parsley dressing by combining whole grain and Dijon mustard with fresh parsley and whipping it up. Place your carrot in a hot-dog bun, pile on the mustard dressing, add lots of crispy fried onions and head out to the ball game.
4. Loaded Chili Fries
Find it here: Evergreen Kitchen
Load up your fries with gorge worthy goodness. This epic plant-based recipe makes two different kinds of fries and layers them with smoky chili, cooling avocado cream, and even vegan sour cream or cheese if you so wish to go wild. Cut your fries from a combination of russet and sweet potatoes, rinse under the cold tap for a minute, pat dry and lay out on a baking tray. Toss in oil and use your hands to toss in a spice mix made from paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder. Bake in the oven for 30 mins until all fries are golden brown
In the meantime whip up simple chili using soft onion, garlic and jalapenos, pulpy tomatoes, kidney beans, chipotle chili, stock, and bay leaves. Let the chili simmer for a good 40 minutes until thick. Create avocado sauce by whipping up an avo in the blender with a dash of lime, salt, and water.
Finally, assemble your fries – pile ‘em high with chili and avocado cream and top with cilantro, more lime, vegan sour cream and any other gorgeous garnishes you see fit.
5. Vegan Grilled Cheese
Find it here: Peas and Crayons
There is nothing that can quench salty junk food cravings quite like the beauty of grilled cheese sandwiches. Gooey, melty goodness caught between door wedge slices of bread and some extra toppings like spinach and basil pesto or a red onion jam.
Sautee your spinach in some olive oil with salt and pepper. Spread the pesto onto each slice of bread and layer up with your favorite vegan cheese and the sautéed spinach. Heat a pan on medium and add some coconut oil. When the pan is hot you can start frying up your sandwich until it goes golden brown on both sides and the cheese is all gooey. The best thing about this tasty treat is you can totally dress it up. Whether you want to add a mushroom, a handful of chips, top with a jalapeno popper or ten, or serve with onion rings, this is forever a delicious lunch or late-night snack.
6. Black Bean Burger
Find it here: Minimalist Baker
Black beans are delicious and hearty and make the perfect patty shaped filling for your beloved junk food vegan burger. The best thing about the black bean version is that it's a far cry from the usual greasy burger and will leave you full without feeling gross.
If you want your black beans to keep their form better you can mix them with sweet or mashed potato so your burger doesn't fall apart. The black bean burger goes delicious with those bright, earthy, and zesty flavors found in Mexican spices.
Place a tin of pre-cooked black beans in the food processor with some boiled or baked sweet potato chunks, garlic, onion, chipotle spice, a little flour, and whatever flavors you want. Pulse quickly until you can form a patty that holds. Cook the patty your favorite way and serve on a bun with salad, onion rings, and your favorite toppings for burgers.
7. Vegan Tortilla Pesto Pizza
It's super easy to make a vegan option of everyone's favorite movie night treat. A vegan version of pizza simply means swapping out the mozzarella and cheese for vegan versions. There are tons of tasty vegan cheeses on the market or you can skip the cheese altogether and add a sprinkle of nutritional yeast. This yeast has a natural cheese-like taste and is so crammed with B vitamins that it can turn your favorite junk food into healthy food with just a sprinkle.
For those who don't want to go through the motions of making dough, you can even turn a ready-made tortilla into a perfect thin crust pizza base. Blend up a handful of basil, garlic, olive oil, and cashews in the food processor and spread the pesto paste on top of your tortilla base. Top with caramelized onions, kale, edgy veg, and sprinkle with the cheesy yeast before popping into the oven for 5 minutes. This is vegan comfort food that is stuffed with feel-good vibes.
8. Vegan Loaded Nachos
Can we get a hell yeah in the back for the ultimate junk food treat - vegan nachos. Nachos are never a bad idea but these bad boys are next level especially when served with these mad yum vegan cashew less queso that cuts out the nut and turns eggplant into cheese. What kind of magic is this?
Load up them nachos with black beans, guac, chunky salsa, sliced red onion, and hot sauce and cilantro and you have a plate made in heaven. Once your queso is made you can go ahead and start heating your beans (season with a little salt, garlic, and cumin). Smash up your avos with oil and lime to make guacamole and then piece the whole thing together.
Scatter your chips on a big plate, add all the toppings and finish with a sprinkle of fresh cilantro.
9. Vegan Maple Syrup French Toast
Find it here: Nora Cooks
Breakfast has never been better than this vegan junk food delight of towering toast (no eggs) served with syrup. Sweet sticky and sublime, this kind of toast is the equivalent of having dessert for breakfast and that's what adulting is really all about.
Crisp on the outside, creamy on the inside, and with a magic array of textures that melt in the mouth, is it any wonder that this dish makes us swoon? So, how do you make batter without the eggs? Basically, you need to whisk together non-dairy milk, cornstarch, a teaspoon of ground flaxseeds to thicken the mix, and half a teaspoon of baking powder. Voila.
Whip up the mix and then dip your bread in until fully covered and let soak on both sides for 10 seconds. Cook in a pan (with a little coconut oil) for 3 minutes or more on each side until the bread foes golden brown.
Serve with a generous drizzle (or pour) of syrup, some powdered sugar, and even some fresh fruit if the fancy takes you.
10. Vegan Mac and Cheese
Find it here: Vegan Richa
Bring memories of your childhood swimming back with the oh so moreish comfort food of mac and cheese. This vegan style supper is so delicious it should come with a health warning as it calls on the gooey delight of a vegan-friendly cheese sauce, sweet squash, or pumpkin, and bubbling baked pasta. Mmm.
Start by cooking up your pasta before rinsing in cold water and setting it to one side. Next make a delicious sauce by blending up pureed pumpkin or butternut squash, your fave non-dairy milk, 2-4 tablespoons of nutritional yeast, garlic, salt, thyme, and black pepper. You can even add a little wholegrain mustard and smoked paprika to truly bring out the depth of taste.
Tip your pasta into a lightly olive oiled baking dish, add the sauce, and give it a good stir. Sprinkle sage and breadcrumbs over the top and pop it all in the oven for 20-25 minutes until bubbling and golden brown.
11. Kale Chips
Find it here: Joy Food Sunshine
A good sharing snack for friends, we adore the taste of kale especially when its salted and baked and served in the place of chips. While we may be celebrating all things junk food right here, baked kale is actually pretty good for you. These crispy baked kale chips are simply made from chopped kale with their stalks removed, massaged in extra virgin oil, and sprinkled with garlic salt.
If you want to add extra crunch you can also coat your kale in almond meal too. Spread the chips out on a baking tray and place in the oven for 25-40 minutes or until your chips start to turn an appetizing shade of brown.
12. Vegan Onion Rings
Find it here: Ela Vegan
Whether as part of your sandwich topper, a sassy side dish or just as a snacking plate to serve alongside an ice-cold beer and vegan ranch dressing, onion rings are forever a favorite for everyone. These crunchy golden onion rings are even gluten-free and come baked instead of fried to make them only borderline junk food.
These tasty rings invite you to load up. Start by cutting your onions into half-inch rounds and pull the rings apart. Set the oven to 400f and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Make a batter with chickpea flour, cornstarch, water or veggie broth, sea salt and smoked paprika. Dip your onion rings into the batter and then into another bowl with breading. You can make the breading from ground or blended up oats and spices including nutritional yeast. When battered and breaded place your rings on the tray and bake in the oven for 15 minutes before serving up with your favorite dips.
13. Crispy Tofu and Sweet Chili Sauce
Find it here: From My Bowl
Tofu may not sound like a comfort food treat but you will find it in every single vegan cookbook out there. It's awesome when baked in a sticky sweet chili sauce to be all crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Be sure to grab some extra-firm tofu for that meaty like texture and a hint of tamari will also bring a hint of umami to help balance out the sweetness of the chili sauce.
Pre-heat your oven to 425F, line that baking tray with parchment and cut your block of firm tofu into 8 cubes. Dump the cubes into a big bowl and add in a tablespoon of tamari or soy sauce, four tablespoons of sweet chili sauce, and stir it all together to evenly distribute. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of cornstarch on top for added crunch and then lay it all out evenly on the baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, flipping your tofu halfway through.
14. Brownie Ice-Cream Sandwich
Find it here: Keepin it Kind
Vegan chocolate brownie with ice-cream turned into gooey rounds. Sign us up. While it may take a little time to cram this bad boy together, the results are more than worth it for those nights when you craving a sweet treat. First of all, you will need to stock up on a container of your fave vegan ice-cream - for this recipe vanilla will work best.
For the brownies; you will need flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt for the dry ingredients. Vegan dark chocolate, vegan butter, coconut sugar, applesauce, and chocolate extract for the wet. You can find exact measurements here. Mix your dry ingredients into a bowl and melt the chocolate and butter together in a separate bowl. Stir all your ingredients together and divide the batter between two baking trays (remember we are making a sandwich). Bake for half an hour in the oven and then let cool for a couple of hours before sticking them in the freezer for 30 minutes.
Take your brownies and ice-cream out of the freezer and spread the ice cream over one of the trays. Top with the other brownie sheet and you have a huge ice-cream cake. Use a glass or cookie cutter to turn them into rounds. Pile your brownie sandwiches high and enjoy!
15. Vegan Cookie Dough
Find it here: Big Man's World
Some days call for sitting cross-legged on the floor and spooning cookie dough directly into your mouth. Fortunately being vegan doesn't mean that you have to skip out on this feel-good treat. You will need to treat the flour first to make it good for eating raw, but you can find out how to do that here.
Vegan cookie dough is super easy. You just need some vegan butter, light brown sugar, white sugar, vanilla extract, almond milk, flour, and dark chocolate chips. After you have treated your flour you can combine everything together in a mixer for 2 or 3 minutes before folding through your chocolate chips. That's it!
Which vegan recipes have got your clogged arteries going? Share all your favorite plant-based flavours in the comments and let's get some good home cooking going on.
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