If you’re in the mood for a hearty, yet healthy plant-based meal, then dig into this collection of 25 satisfying and nutritious plant-based comfort food recipes which provide a balanced meal, all for under 500 calories per serving.
Comfort foods have a way of soothing the mind, body, and soul. They fill you up from the inside out! However, many times comfort foods can also weigh you down, as they are often loaded with calories, fat, and sodium, which can make it difficult for you to meet your health goals. That’s why I put together this collection of 25 of my favorite plant-based (vegan) comfort food recipes that are packed with health, flavor, and satisfaction. From pasta dishes and pot pies to tamale pie and pizza, there is something for everyone. Each recipe can provide a meal in one in no time. Plus, these hearty dishes also make plenty of leftovers that will save you time throughout the week. So, slow down, pick out a recipe, and get ready to enjoy relaxing, flavorful meals that’ll leave you feeling cozy and purring like a well-fed kitten.
25 Plant-Based Comfort Food Meals under 500 Calories
This Fresh Fettuccine with Roasted Rosemary Vegetables is a savory pasta dish that can be made even more delectable with homemade pasta, though you can use pre-made fresh pasta too. Before serving, the pasta is topped with cashew parmesan, which gives it a nutty bite with a little extra protein. You can add more protein to this dish by tossing in a can of white beans to make it a balanced meal.
This Easy Italian Eggplant Bake is “cheesy”, packed with vegetables, and only 265 calories per serving. Just serve it with cooked pasta or whole grains and you have a meal in one under 500 calories. Best of all, it only uses one dish. Just chop, layer, bake, and wait. In one hour, you’ll have warm, flavorful veggies!
Each bite of this Vegan Tamale Pie is full of savory flavors and textures. The recipe starts with a cornbread base, then beans, veggie crumbles, veggies, plant-based cheese, and salsa are added before it’s popped in the oven. In the oven, these ingredients come together to make a hearty dish with only 345 calories per serving.
Delicious, fragrant mushrooms come together with tofu, onions, and garlic to make this simply creamy Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff. The tofu in this dish gives it 12 g of protein per serving and its ready in under 30 minutes!
Nothing says comfort like a slice (or two) of homemade pizza. This colorful Vegan Rainbow Veggie Pizza with Cornmeal Crust is a tasty source of nutrients and pairs well with a crisp side-salad. Each recipe makes two pizzas and with 488 calories per serving, what’s not to love? Top it with plant-based sausage to increase the protein intake.
The original recipe calls for Swiss chard, but this dish can also be made with any leafy greens you have in your kitchen. This Swiss Chard Pecan Lasagna is only 380 calories per serving and it’s a tasty and creative way to get your daily greens. Crumble in tofu in this recipe to increase the protein intake.
This quick Kimchi Veggie Udon Noodle Bowl is filling and gives you an exciting explosion of textures and flavors. The Korean fermented kimchi in this dish helps promote gut health and adds a spicy-sour element to your next mealtime. It’s only 323 calories per serving and the tantalizing aroma of coconut and ginger is sure to make this a go-to comfort food.
Another globally-inspired fermented dish that’s sure to make its way into your comfort food rotation is this Vegan Choucroute Garnie. It has Alsatian origins, and only 391 calories. Sauerkraut, vegan sausage, and root vegetables come together to make this spicy one-dish meal.
The black beans and whole grain tortillas in this dish make these Easy Black Bean Spinach Enchiladas with Green Sauce a great source of protein and fiber. They’re simple, budget-friendly, and only 365 calories per serving. If you’re looking to make this dish into a meal, then pair it with a simple side salad.
This incredibly simple recipe for Burrito with Refried Beans and Corn is ready to eat in under 20 minutes. It’s only 324 calories per serving and uses six ingredients. Whole wheat tortillas, refried beans, corn, cabbage, tomato, and avocado are all you need to make a scrumptious plant-based burrito.
This Black Bean Corn Chili is great in any weather. It pairs well with cornbread and slaw in the colder months and with greens, avocados, and tortillas during the warmer months. Once your beans are cooked, just add everything to a large pot, cook, and enjoy. One serving of this hearty chili is 258 calories and has plenty of fiber, carbohydrates, and protein to leave you feeling comfortably full. Serve it with a side salad to make it a meal.
These Jackfruit Black Bean and Quinoa Tacos are gluten-free, high in fiber, and 360 calories per taco. Spicy jackfruit carnitas, high protein quinoa and black beans, crunchy cabbage, and smooth avocado crema come together to make a satisfyingly filling meal in just under an hour.
This comforting dish made with tempeh, brown rice noodles, and veggies can be made in under 30 minutes. With 324 calories per serving, this dish is high in flavor and low in calories. The sweet and spicy flavor profile of this Thai Tempeh Noodle Skillet is sure to become a comfort favorite that’ll excite your taste buds every time.
The tofu, savory mushrooms, and spinach in this dish make this Mushroom Spinach Tofu Pie a satisfying one stop shop. This dish can also be served the next day and enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. At 255 calories per serving, it’s perfect on its own or with a fresh side-salad.
If you’re looking for a gluten-free meal with flavorful bites of grilled vegetables, then look no further. These Vegetable Fajitas are simple, easy, and great as leftovers. This recipe works well with any veggies you have available, making them a great option for clearing out the fridge.
The flavor and texture of sweet oranges, marinated tempeh, and crunchy vegetables come together to make this vibrant and filling dish. In under an hour, this meal is ready to be served over brown rice and garnished with fresh cilantro.
This pasta dish is packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Golden beets, Swiss chard, and beans contribute to the color, flavor, and texture of this comforting pasta meal. It can also be made gluten-free by swapping out the penne for your favorite box of gluten-free pasta.
This Vegetable Pot Pie Topped with Whole Wheat Biscuits is the ultimate comfort food and it’s only 364 calories per serving. Start this hearty meal by sautéing chunky vegetables and cubed tofu before coating them in a creamy plant-based sauce. Then, add the mixture to a skillet and top it with homemade whole-wheat biscuits. After about 40 minutes in the oven, you’ve got yourself a savory vegetable pot pie.
In just 35 minutes, this classic Indian dish is ready to go from the Instant Pot to your table. This Easy Instant Pot Veggie Biryani is a one dish meal filled with vegetables and adorned with spices like turmeric, garam masala, garlic, and ginger.
The plant-based version of this robust Irish classic is made with tempeh and a generous serving of vegetables. In this dish, veggies and tempeh come together to make a vegetable stew flavored with Guinness beer broth and tomato paste. If you want to add another Irish element to this meal, this Vegan Guinness Stew can also be enjoyed with a side of cabbage salad.
This plant-based take on a childhood favorite is sure to bring you feelings of comfort and nostalgia. Using just one dish, this filling meal of plant protein, whole grains, and vegetables is sure to be exactly what you need to wind down and cozy up.
This Penne with White Beans and Greens is another one-dish meal that’s sure to become a go-to recipe. It’s ready in under 30 minutes and uses simple ingredients like bean pasta, white beans, and garlic to keep you fueled throughout the week.
Thanks to the tomatoes in the sauce, this Lentil Walnut Bolognese with Spaghetti is rich in lycopene, a plant compound correlated with a lowering risk of prostate cancer. The lentils and walnuts in the sauce also make this dish a great source of protein (20g!) with only 463 calories per serving.
This Green Bean Mushroom Pot Pie is perfect for friends, family, and easy leftovers throughout the week. It makes four servings, each filled with veggies and tempeh smothered in a creamy sauce and topped with whipped potatoes.
Recipes and Images by Sharon Palmer
Edited by Cara Joseph, Dietetic Intern
I love to use my Instant Pot for comfort food recipes. Get my discount code here to order your own!
For other 500-calorie recipe collections, check out some of my favorites: