Our Best Comfort Food Recipes For Cold, Wintry Nights

By Erin Lehmann
Staff Writer
Kirkman Group, Inc.


Whether it’s a song that reminds us of a special time or place, the smell of a favorite scent or a bowl of grandma’s homemade stew, nostalgia has a way of warming our hearts. A well-known and liked dish can elicit feelings of gratitude and contentment and remind us of cherished memories. Comfort food is as much a part of the holiday season as family, shopping and last-minute preparations, though trying to navigate through the potlucks and parties with food allergies or sensitivities can leave you feeling more frustrated than comforted.

 These classically cozy recipes have been recreated to adhere to your family’s dietary sensitivities. Let the frenzy of the season lull, and escape into the moment with flavorful fare that is sure to invite new mealtime memories.



Butternut Squash Mac & “Cheese”

Gluten, Dairy and Nut Free. Vegan.

Yield: 4 servings or 1.5 cups of cheese sauce


  • 1 fresh butternut squash peeled and chopped OR 1 cup canned butternut squash puree
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ tablespoon non-dairy butter
  • ¾ cup prepared Vance’s™ DariFree™ Original Flavor (8810-021)
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder or corn starch
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast, or more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  •  teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 servings of your favorite gluten free macaroni


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Peel and chop the butternut squash into 1-2 inch consistent cubes. Line a baking pan with tin foil. Place squash evenly around pan and coat with extra virgin olive oil. Top with a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Roast for about 40 minutes uncovered. Squash is done when tender to a fork’s touch.
  2. Prepare the vegan cheese sauce in a pot on the stove. Begin by heating the non-dairy butter over low heat. In a bowl, whisk together prepared Vance’s™ DariFree™ milk substitute (8810-021) with the arrowroot powder until clumps are gone. Add into pot and whisk.
  3. Stir in remaining ingredients: nutritional yeast, Dijon, garlic, lemon, salt and pepper. Whisk over low heat for about 5 minutes or until thickened.
  4. Cook your pasta according to package directions. The sauce makes enough to top 4 servings of pasta.
  5. In a blender, blend the heated cheese sauce with 1 cup of roasted, slightly cooled squash. If using canned butternut squash puree you may skip this step and simply add 1 cup of the puree to the cheese sauce in the pot. Salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Drain and rinse your cooked gluten free pasta and add it into the pot containing the cheese sauce. Heat and serve with a cooked vegetable side such as broccoli, kale or peas.

 Vegetarian Meatloaf with Maple Glaze

Gluten, Dairy and Nut Free. Vegan.

Yield: 1 loaf or 4-6 servings


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh or dried thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh or dried oregano leaves
  • 2 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon vegan bouillon
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 package ground vegan sausage
  • 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (or brown rice)
  • ½ cup shredded carrots
  • ½ cup gluten free panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder or cornstarch

    For the Maple Glaze:


  1. Heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a large loaf pan thoroughly with olive oil or vegetable spray.
  2. Pour the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onions, thyme and oregano and cook until onions are tender and lightly browned.
  3. Remove from heat, and add the Worcestershire, bouillon and tomato paste. Set aside.
  4. In a bowl combine the vegan sausage, drained black beans, cooked quinoa, shredded carrots, panko breadcrumbs, ground flax seeds and arrowroot or cornstarch. Use your hands to break up the sausage and work the ingredients together. When the onion mixture is cool to the touch, add it to the loaf mix and stir to combine. The ingredients should hang together.
  5. Press the vegan meatloaf mixture into your prepared pan. Place in the oven and bake for about 40-45 minutes until the edges separate from the pan, and it looks crispy on the edges. It should be slightly firm in the middle as well.
  6. In the meantime prepare the glaze by combining the ketchup, Maple Syrup Flavoring (0125-008) and nutmeg in a bowl. Add the barbeque sauce as well if you elect to use it. Stir to combine.
  7. When done, remove the loaf from the oven and turn upside down onto a lined baking sheet. Increase your oven temperature to 400F. Use a spatula to generously glaze the top of the meatloaf. Place the meatloaf back in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes.

 Creamy Potato and Kale Soup

Gluten, Dairy and Nut Free. Vegan.

Yield: 4-6 servings


  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 2 ribs of celery, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • ⅓ cup fresh or frozen corn kernels (optional)
  • 4 cups diced potatoes, peeled (about 5-6 medium size)
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • ½ teaspoon celery salt
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup chopped kale
  • ¼ cup prepared Vance’s™ DariFree™ Original Flavor
  • A few dashes hot sauce (optional)


  1. Sauté your diced onion and minced garlic with 1-2 tablespoons water in a soup pot over medium heat for about 4 minutes or until onion becomes tender.
  2. Add the carrot and celery and sauté 3-4 more minutes. Add another 1-2 tablespoons of water as needed to keep vegetables from becoming dry.
  3. Add the vegetable broth, potatoes, dill, celery salt, salt and pepper.
  4. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes until potatoes are tender.
  5. In a blender, add only 2 cups of the soup and blend to create a thick and creamy base. Return it to the soup pot with the remaining mixture.
  6. Add the corn and kale; stir to combine and simmer 5 minutes or until heated through.
  7. Remove from heat and add ¼ cup Vance’s™ DariFree™ Original Flavor (0125-008).
  8. Serve with a few dashes hot sauce (optional).
This entry was posted in All, Gluten Free / Casein Free, recipe. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>