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Real Comfort

Soul-warming crowd pleasers from our Meatless Monday recipe contest

All Animals magazine, November/December 2013

It was a tough job, but someone had to do it. Beckoning from tables in an HSUS conference room were crockpots and bowls heaped with steaming winter comfort food—from creamy soups and hearty chilis to rib-sticking rice and pasta dishes. In filed employees from around the organization who’d graciously volunteered to appease their growling stomachs by sampling recipes submitted by HSUS supporters and made by their colleagues for All Animals’ first Meatless Monday contest.

Half an hour of enthusiastic face-stuffing later, four dishes had risen to the top: melt-in-your-mouth slow cooker dumplings, decadent mac and “cheese” with a Mexican twist, slow-roasted hash with nourishing ingredients harvested straight from the earth, and a gooey plant-based take on the reuben so delectable that tasters fought over seconds. The honorable mentions included a Cajun-spiced bean dish, a risotto with flavors of the fall, and tomato soup with a kick.

Whether you’re a full-time plant eater or an omnivore looking to reduce your meat consumption, these simple but mouthwatering dishes are sure to bring warmth to dark winter nights.

Spicy Mac and “Cheese” Taco Casserole

Spicy Mac and "Cheese" Taco Casserole. Meredith Lee/The HSUS

Get the recipe for Spicy Mac and "Cheese" Taco Casserole.

Submitted by Ines Lopes of Union, N.J. Faced with leftover taco filling and a craving for macaroni and cheese, Ines Lopes of Union, N.J., crafted a serendipitous combination, which she served with a side of mango guacamole and homemade arepas. The results delighted her meat-loving brother, who took home the leftovers.

Roasted Turnip, Potato, and Apple Hash

Roasted Turnip, Potato, and Apple Hash. Meredith Lee/The HSUS

Get the recipe for Roasted Turnip, Potato, and Apple Hash.

Submitted by Nicole Pallante of Columbus, Ohio. For her Local Choice food blog, Nicole Pallante creates recipes from ingredients produced within 100 miles of her hometown of Columbus, Ohio. Inspired by her visit to Ohio State University’s student farm, this hash features sweet and savory produce roasted to enhance flavor and seasoned with cayenne pepper for warmth and balance.

Karen’s Meat-Free Reuben

Karen's Meat-Free Reuben. Meredith Lee/The HSUS

Get the recipe for Karen's Meat-Free Reuben.

Submitted by Karen Osgood of Newman, Calif. Karen Osgood of Newman, Calif., experimented with meat and dairy alternatives to come up with this variation on one of her favorite pre-veg dishes. The results speak for themselves—readers, we’ll be happy to take any leftover sandwiches off your hands!

Chick’n ‘n’ Dumplings

Chick'n 'n' Dumplings. Meredith Lee/The HSUS

Get the recipe for Chick'n 'n' Dumplings.

Submitted by Colleen Borst of Seattle, Wash. In the depths of Seattle’s infamously rainy, cold, and long winters, Colleen Borst longed for the chicken and dumplings of her childhood, which her mother would simmer on the stovetop in a cast-iron dutch stove. Made in a slow cooker, this updated meatless version fits well into busy schedules.

Still hungry? Get the recipes for the Honorable Mentions:

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