Our Favorite Recipes: Comfort Foods

Written by Rena Goldman

favorite comfort food

There’s something special about comfort food — after all, it’s in the name. When you’re feeling cold or blue on those chilly fall and winter evenings, curling up with a warm bowl of soup, savory root veggies, or a creamy casserole seems like the perfect cure.

Traditional comfort foods, like mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese, can end up being calorie bombs that could have you easily packing on the pounds. These bloggers have created more modern versions, adding nutrients without sacrificing the comfort factor.

Skinny Mushroom Spinach Lasagna

lasagna

Image source: Little Spice Jar

Nothing says comfort food like lasagna. It’s cheesy, warm, and filling. This version from Little Spice Jar was crafted by nutritionist blogger Marzia, a self-described food lover who develops vegetarian, ethnic, and dessert recipes. She created the dish for vegetarians and lasagna lovers looking for a lighter fare, loading it with spinach and mushrooms. Even with two types of cheese, one serving comes in at only 245 calories! Get the recipe!

Roasted Butternut Squash and Golden Beet Soup with Coconut Milk

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Image source: Will Frolic for Food

Looking for that creamy, rich taste without the cream? This soup will deliver. The vegan recipe uses coconut milk blended with sweet honeynut squash and golden beets. A fried beet topping gives the soup a pretty garnish and added texture. Renee Byrd of Will Frolic for Food lives a mostly plant-based lifestyle, practices yoga, grows her own garden, and makes tons of beautifully photographed dishes for readers to try. Get the recipe!

5-Ingredient Pumpkin Alfredo

5-Ingredient Pumpkin Alfredo

Image source: Pinch of Yum

If you can’t get enough of pumpkin-flavored foods, you’re likely to fall in love with Lindsay’s pumpkin alfredo on Pinch of Yum. The sauce is made from just five ingredients and the dish takes 30 minutes to put together. There’s even a helpful one-minute video tutorial. Lindsay, a former 4th grade teacher, and her husband work together on the blog. She does all the cooking and loves preparing vegetarian dishes and desserts the most. Get the recipe!

Vegan Cheesy Broccoli Soup

Vegan Cheesy Broccoli Soup

Image source: Love and Lemons

Broccoli and cheese soup is a classic. Thanks to Love & Lemons, those who’d like to forgo the real cheese can still enjoy the creamy comfort soup. This vegan version uses potatoes as a thickener, cashews for that cheesy texture, carrots for color, and plenty of broccoli. The recipe was created by Jeanine Donofrio. She and husband Jack Mathews run Love & Lemons, a food blog named for Jeanine’s pension for flavoring dishes with a squeeze of lemon. Get the recipe!

Ratatouille Shepherd’s Pie

Ratatouille Shepherd’s Pie

Image source: Katie at the Kitchen Door

In addition to cooking, traveling, and working on fitness goals, Katie often does recipe reviews on Katie at the Kitchen Door. This ratatouille shepherd’s pie is originally from “French Comfort Food” by Hillary Davis. Katie made some modifications of her own, but the dish is still chock-full of eggplant, tomatoes, bell peppers, potatoes, and plenty of cheese. You can make a big batch and freeze some for later. Get the recipe!

Kimchi Potato Skins

Kimchi Potato Skins

Image source: Two Red Bowls

Potato skins are already a delicious cold weather appetizer. It’s hard to think of a way to make them better, but Cynthia of Two Red Bowls did so by adding some Korean influence. Her previous summer job as a waitress at TGI Fridays sparked her love of potato skins, and when her husband suggested adding kimchi, a delicious combo was born. The extra topping adds some heat and crunch to make this appetizer even more irresistible. Get the recipe!

Chickpea Tagine with Tomatoes and Roasted Delicata Squash

Chickpea Tagine

Image source: Alexandra’s Kitchen

Both tangy and a bit sweet, Alexandra’s chickpea tagine is based on a dish she loves from a local Moroccan restaurant. In fact, the food blogger loved their tagine so much she took a cooking class to perfect it! The recipe on Alexandra’s Kitchen takes a shortcut in making the tomato jam, but doesn’t sacrifice flavor. When paired with roasted squash, it makes for a healthy, hearty vegetarian meal. Get the recipe!

Pumpkin, Mushroom, and Spinach Tater Tot Casserole

Pumpkin, Mushroom, and Spinach Tater Tot Casserole

Image source: Floating Kitchen

Tater tot casserole is a Midwest comfort food staple, but it’s not exactly light eating. In order to enjoy the dish and still fit into her skinny jeans, Liz from Floating Kitchen created this modern version. She replaced the meat, starch, and canned veggies and soup with fresh spinach, mushrooms, pumpkin puree, and vegetable stock. The whole thing is topped with tots, allowing you to still indulge without over doing it. Get the recipe!

Farro Gratin with Brussels Sprouts

Farro Gratin with Brussels Sprouts

Image source: Emily Connor / Food52

Brussels sprouts can be really delicious when prepared well. Food52 contributor Emily Connor makes good use of them in her farro gratin. It’s got grains, sprouts, cheese, and a breadcrumb topping. The dish is simple to make on a busy weeknight, but robust enough to bring to a weekend dinner with friends or family. Get the recipe!

Slow Cooker Garlic and Thyme Mashed Potatoes

Slow Cooker Garlic and Thyme Mashed Potatoes

Image source: Skinny Ms.

Who doesn’t love mashed potatoes? They’re practically a staple at every holiday dinner, but they’re not exactly low in fat. Nichole Furlong, culinary creator and writer, developed this lighter version for SkinnyMs. She swaps heavy cream and butter in favor of Greek yogurt, skim milk, and Parmesan. Allowing the potatoes to cook slowly with garlic also helps add to their flavor. Get the recipe!

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