There are few things more comforting than enjoying some delicious, hearty food on a cozy night in. However, many comfort food recipes are laden with high-fat, high-calorie ingredients that can leave us feeling sluggish and guilty. Luckily, there are plenty of healthy comfort food recipes that can satisfy your cravings without ruining your diet. In this article, we’ll share five of our favorite recipes for cozy nights – each as satisfying as it is nutritious.
1. Creamy Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons
There’s nothing quite like a classic tomato soup and grilled cheese pairing. However, traditional recipes can be heavy on calories and sodium. This recipe swaps in Greek yogurt for heavy cream, significantly reducing fat and adding some extra protein.Ingredients:- 1 tablespoon olive oil- 1 onion, chopped- 2 garlic cloves, minced- 1 teaspoon dried basil- 1 teaspoon dried oregano- 2 cans (28 ounces each) crushed tomatoes- 1 cup vegetable broth- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt- Salt and pepper to taste- 4 slices whole-grain bread- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheeseInstructions:1. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, and cook until onions are translucent.2. Add dried basil and oregano to pot and stir for two minutes.3. Add crushed tomatoes and vegetable broth to pot, then bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.4. Remove pot from heat and let cool for a couple of minutes before blending mixture until smooth with an immersion blender or in a regular blender.5. Return pot to heat and whisk in Greek yogurt. Add salt and pepper to taste.6. To make grilled cheese croutons, preheat oven to 400°F. Cut bread into crouton-sized pieces and place on a baking sheet. Top with shredded cheddar cheese and bake until cheese is melted and bubbly.7. Serve soup hot with grilled cheese croutons on top.
2. Sweet Potato Chili
Chili is the ultimate winter comfort food, but it can be loaded with high-fat meats and sodium. This sweet potato chili is a vegetarian alternative that is high in fiber, protein, and flavor.Ingredients:- 1 tablespoon olive oil- 1 onion, chopped- 2 garlic cloves, minced- 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped- 2 cans (14.5 ounces each) diced tomatoes- 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed- 1 can (15 ounces) kidney beans, drained and rinsed- 1 cup vegetable broth- 1 tablespoon chili powder- 1 teaspoon cumin- Salt and pepper to taste- Optional toppings: diced avocado, shredded cheddar cheese, plain Greek yogurtInstructions:1. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until onions are translucent.2. Add sweet potatoes to pot and cook for 5 minutes.3. Add diced tomatoes, black beans, kidney beans, vegetable broth, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper to pot. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 30 minutes.4. Serve hot with optional toppings like diced avocado, shredded cheddar cheese, or plain Greek yogurt.
3. Chicken and Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie
Shepherd’s pie is a classic comfort food dish that can be high in calories and fat. This healthy version swaps in ground chicken for beef and packs in plenty of veggies for added nutrition.Ingredients:- 2 tablespoons olive oil- 2 carrots, chopped- 2 celery stalks, chopped- 1 onion, chopped- 2 garlic cloves, minced- 1 pound ground chicken- 1 tablespoon flour- 1 cup chicken broth- 1 tablespoon tomato paste- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce- 1 cup frozen peas- 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped- 1 tablespoon butter- Salt and pepper to tasteInstructions:1. Preheat oven to 375°F.2. In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, onion, and garlic and cook until vegetables are tender.3. Add ground chicken to pan and cook until browned.4. Stir in flour, chicken broth, tomato paste, and Worcestershire sauce. Let mixture simmer for a few minutes until thickened.5. Add frozen peas to pan and mix well.6. Meanwhile, boil sweet potatoes until soft. Drain and mash with butter until smooth.7. Pour chicken mixture into a casserole dish and top with mashed sweet potatoes.8. Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes until sweet potatoes are lightly browned.
4. Herb-Crusted Salmon
Salmon is a great comfort food option that is high in healthy fats and protein. This simple recipe adds some extra flavor with an herb crust.Ingredients:- 1 pound salmon fillet- 1 tablespoon olive oil- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley- 2 tablespoons chopped dill- 2 tablespoons chopped chives- Salt and pepper to tasteInstructions:1. Preheat oven to 400°F.2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.3. In a small bowl, mix together olive oil, parsley, dill, and chives.4. Season salmon fillet with salt and pepper, then spread herb mixture on top.5. Place salmon fillet on baking sheet and bake in oven for 12-15 minutes, until cooked through.6. Serve hot with your favorite sides.
5. Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
Oatmeal is a classic comfort food breakfast that is filling and nutritious. This recipe adds some extra sweetness and flavor with apples and cinnamon.Ingredients:- 1 cup rolled oats- 2 cups water- 1/2 cup almond milk- 1 apple, chopped- 1 teaspoon cinnamon- 1 tablespoon honeyInstructions:1. In a medium pot, combine oats, water, almond milk, apple, and cinnamon.2. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.3. Once oats are cooked through, add honey and stir well.4. Serve hot with additional apple slices or chopped nuts on top.
Comfort food doesn’t have to be unhealthy. By swapping in nutritious ingredients and being mindful of portion sizes and cooking methods, you can enjoy delicious, satisfying meals without the guilt. These five recipes are a great place to start, but don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment with your own healthy comfort food ideas. We hope you enjoy these cozy night meals as much as we did. Thank you for reading!