Is there such a thing as healthy comfort food? In many ways, these seem like polar opposites – but read on for my best suggestions for this time of year…
I really am a child of the spring and summer.
When the last of the warm weather finishes and the frosts begin – when the evenings are horribly dark and the extra hour of daylight in the morning is welcome, but just doesn’t compensate adequately, I’m sorry but I feel glum!
I have many friends who say that Autumn is the best season of all – that pumpkin spiced lattes and warm huggy jumpers and seeing your breath when you go outside are just so exciting and make you feel alive…
As for me, you will find me hiding under a duvet, trying to hibernate, with a desperate urge to eat my own weight in stodgy food.
I definitely look for soups, stews and hot comforting foods at this time of year. Out comes the slow cooker, and you will find pasta, jacket potatoes and quite a few portions of chips appearing in our family’s weekly menu.
But, although my body is telling me that I could be happy just existing on macaroni cheese until the cold weather passes, in practice I know that this is not true.
It is possible to eat hot, hearty foods at this time of year, but you can still pack them full of vegetables, pulses and spices, so that you are getting a decent serving of nutrition along with your warm comfortable feeling.
So here are some of my favourite suggestions for healthy comfort food. Get our your slow cooker or crockpot and start filling your kitchen with these delightful smells and flavours
Cheesy Vegetable and Quinoa Bake with Panko Topping – Kellie’s Food to Glow
A cheesy bake with breadcrumbs is definitely my idea of comfort food. Using quinoa for the main carbohydrate (which is also packed full of protein) and a mixture of vegetables turns a stodgy dish into something amazing.
In the sanctity of my “happy place” I know that if I chop some onions and garlic, slowly cooking them down in best olive oil to a golden mulch, I will have the basis for many good things.
Creamy Broccoli Salad – Carilion Clinic
Who said eating your vegetables is boring? Not anyone who has ever tried this creamy broccoli salad.
This salad is creamy with a satisfying crunch from the broccoli and celery and a hint of sweetness thanks to the addition of grapes and raisins.
Broccoli makes an ideal vitamin-packed dish, and studies have shown that consuming more plant foods like broccoli decreases the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and overall mortality while promoting healthy skin and hair, increased energy and overall lower weight.
Sausage, kale & gnocchi one pot recipe – BBC Good Food
I really love gnocchi at this time of year – great gloopy blobs, half way between potatoes and pasta. The kale melts beautifully into this sausage casserole and adds balance, not to mention fibre, vitamins A, C and K and Omega 3 fatty acids
Plate up this delicious one-pot of sausage, kale and gnocchi in just 20 minutes, with just five minutes prep. Midweek suppers never got so easy – or tasty!
Slow cooker pork and apple stew – Two Chubby Cubs
The Two Chubby Cubs blog is fabulous! A plain simple and earthy take on losing weight the Slimming World Way. Give me pork and apples mixed together any day.
A delicious Autumnal Slow cooker classic – fits in with Slimming World
Harvest Vegetable Stew – ES Lifestyle
The best way to use all this bountiful autumn produce is to cook a big hearty vegetable stew… This is a great dish as an alternative one night for meat eaters, or if you have vegetarians
Vegan Chickpea Stew Recipe with Almonds – Olive magazine
Check out our easy chickpea stew packed with dates, crunchy almonds and vibrant turmeric. Slow cooking chickpeas with a heady selection of spices really ramps up the flavour in this frugal dish. Try to get hold of the extra large, chubby chickpeas in jars for superior texture.
Rachel Roddy’s recipe for tomato, potato and aubergine stew – the Guardian
A lovely taste of Italy here. I’m never really sure what to do with aubergines when they arrive in my veg box, but when you mix them with the appropriate Mediterranean sauces they are delightfully moist and squishy – they feel like they would fulfil a carb craving but offer so much more.
ciambottais inspired by those from the toe of Italy, Calabria, and is to my mind a near-perfect dish, an olive oil-rich, pot-bellied stew of onion, tomato, aubergine and red pepper with – and this the key – potatoes.
Spiced chicken, spinach & sweet potato stew recipe – BBC Good Food
I absolutely love sweet potatoes – I love them as fries and almost everywhere that a potato would be used in cooking. Here they add a bit of colour and flavour to a gorgeous chicken stew.
A healthy one-pot with warming spices that’s low fat, low calorie, 3 of your 5-a-day and also full of fibre!
Slow cooker Thai red chicken curry – Good Housekeeping
This slow cooker Thai chicken curry is so easy to prepare and is the perfect midweek meal. This recipe will fill your house with warm and comforting aromas all day – great if you work from home!
Vegan Dhal Made In A Slow Cooker
Being vegan need not mean that you opt for boring and bland food, this dhal recipe is a brilliant healthy comfort food for vegans.
It is easily prepared in your slow cooker or stove top. Perfect as a side dish with curry or as a main served over rice and garnished with toasted cashews and coconut cream.
Beef brisket recipe for the slow cooker – House and Garden
This American-style beef brisket recipe for the slow cooker is the perfect thing to come home to after a long day. Although I enjoy beef rare as a steak, there is also something lovely and comforting about cooking meat in a rich sauce until it falls apart and melts.
One Pot Mushroom Stroganoff – Caitlin Shoemaker
I thought I would finish with a video, as I know as lot of you like them.
Here’s a SUPER easy, healthy, and DELISH recipe for a
one potvegan mushroom stroganoff. This was soooogood guys…I’ve made it 3 times already!
So there you have it. Nearly two weeks’ worth of healthy comfort food – almost enough for an entire meal planning rotation. Please let me know if you enjoy any of these, and feel free to leave links to your own favourite recipes in the comments below.
Please take a look at some of my other recipe posts