Food is one of life’s greatest joys. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as eating a hearty meal that not only slacks our hunger but also makes our taste buds sing with joy.
Unfortunately, some of the tastier foods out there also tend to be some of the more unhealthy. This is because our bodies and taste buds have been conditioned to like these foods that are high in sugars, complex carbohydrates, and fats.
Improper nutrition is the leading cause of obesity and other health-related issues. It can be just so hard to eat healthy when there are so many unhealthy but delicious foods calling to you… But what if we told you that you could have delicious, comforting food that also happened to be healthy?
Cooking experts have generated countless healthy comfort food recipes in recent years, so you no longer have to choose between nutrition and taste. Below, we’ve outlined 10 of our favorite recipes that you have to try!
10 Crazy Delicious Healthy Comfort Foods
Who doesn’t love some good old enchiladas? They bring out some of Mexican cuisine’s finest spices, and they’re extremely versatile, allowing for different selections of meat, cheese, and vegetable. Unfortunately, these are also frequently quite unhealthy.
Not so with this innovative Black Bean Sweet Potato Enchilada recipe. In addition to the black beans and sweet potatoes, this recipes uses a rich blend of spices and feta—one of the less fattening cheeses out there. This may sound like a bit of an odd combination, but we assure you its plenty tasty.
Top off your enchilada creation with some salsa verde to really bring out the flavors!
With the massive cauliflower craze that has swept the culinary world recently, it should come as no surprise that at one cauliflower recipe is appearing on this list.
Cauliflower pizza crust is one of the most popular ways cauliflower is currently being utilized. Low in carbs and gluten-free, it isn’t difficult to see how the cauliflower-based crust is healthier than the alternative.
The healthiness behind this recipe doesn’t just stop at swapping out the crust, however. This recipe also calls for tasty fresh vegetables to grace the tops of the pizza, such as red onions, tomatoes, and zucchini. The result is a tasty pizza that is also perfectly nutritious.
You may have heard about chicken tortilla soup, but what about turkey tortilla soup? This may not be the classic food you’re accustomed to, but we promise it is just as tasty if not more so.
Turkey itself is a very healthy choice of meat, offering low fat and acting as a good source of protein. It is complemented in this recipe by some fresh veggies, such as green chilies and corn. What really makes this recipe more healthy than its traditional form, though, is its reduction of salt. This recipe calls for both reduced-salt chicken broth and taco seasoning.
For those who really love cheese, it can be hard to even imagine trying to make such an iconic dish like mac and cheese without it. Cheese is super tasty and versatile, but it is also, unfortunately, rather fatty. It also must be avoided by those who are lactose intolerant or who practice vegan dietary habits.
Replacing cheese can be rather tricky and usually doesn’t end well, but this recipe seems to do the impossible in this creation of vegan mac and cheese. This recipe uses a variety of powders, potatoes, spices, and more to create an end product that is surprisingly tasty and creamy. For an added healthy bonus, throw some steamed broccoli into the mix!
What’s better than some finely prepared eggplant Parmesan? Eggplant Parmesan that is stuffed with more deliciousness, of course!
With this recipe, you’ll split your eggplants in half and hollow them out, so that you are then left with an eggplant “boat.” These boats are then stuff with a mixture of all the delicious ingredients you could possibly think of, including the eggplant itself, mozzarella, onions, tomatoes, breadcrumbs, spices, and, of course, Parmesan.
Once it’s finished baking in the oven and had a chance to cool, garnish it with fresh basil. Serve it up and enjoy!
Spaghetti is perhaps the ultimate comfort food. A plate filled with spaghetti harkens back to family dinners and full bellies in a way that few foods can accomplish so effectively. That’s why we’re sure you’ll love this baked spaghetti recipe.
While baking spaghetti takes a little more time and effort than just tossing in a pot of water on the stove, the rich flavors that get absorbed through the baking process are well worth it. Where this recipe is able to cut a lot of calories is in its variations of ingredients—mainly, low sodium pasta sauce, skim mozzarella cheese, etc.
Once you try this delicious baked spaghetti recipe, you may never boil again!
Those who have cooked spaghetti squash before should be well familiar with how surprisingly well this squash goes with everyone. For those who had no idea that spaghetti squash even existed until this moment, we’ll fill you in: spaghetti squash is a tasty yellow squash that, when you cut it in half and bake it, can then be pulled apart into spaghetti-like strands by raking a fork across its surface.
Spaghetti squash has a slightly sweet taste to it that compliments whatever you serve it with. It’s also surprisingly filling—so you can be sure to fill up even the most stubborn diners that insist vegetables don’t fill them.
Because spaghetti squash goes so well with everything, it should come as no surprise that it compliments one of the greatest comfort foods: pizza. After baking the spaghetti squash and shredding it, simply mix around the contents with marinara sauce and your other choices of ingredients, top it with mozzarella, and pop it back in the oven for a few quick minutes to see all the ingredients and flavors together.
These “skinny” mozzarella sticks are just as tasty as those that you’d order at a restaurant and much healthier! In and of themselves, it’s hard to tell the difference between these mozzarella sticks and traditional mozzarella sticks. They look the same, taste the same… so what is it?
The difference is simple, but huge in terms of health: where traditional mozzarella sticks are fried, these are baked. Frying foods inherently makes them exceedingly unhealthy, due to their soaking in all that fat and oil. Baking, therefore, is a much healthier alternative. And, by making these mozzarella sticks from scratch, you can be assured that no artificial and harmful ingredients are going into your mozzarella sticks before the baking process.
There’s nothing quite like a tasty mozzarella stick, making this one of our favorite healthy comfort foods on this list.
9. Rosemary Butternut Squash Lasagna
Rosemary Butternut Squash Lasagna. Just the name alone is enough to make the mouth water. While this may be a bit of an unconventional mashup of ingredients, it certainly doesn’t disappoint.
Unlike with other recipes like, say, spaghetti squash, the butternut squash does not serve as an actual pasta replacement. Rather, it serves as a complement. With this recipe, you’ll boil the lasagna noodles and bake the squash separately, to begin with, before combining with the other ingredients to bake it all together for a longer period of time.
With this recipe, it is important to use whole wheat pasta in order to keep it as healthy as possible.
10. Brussels Sprouts and Turkey Rice Casserole
This recipe is definitely one of the healthiest-sounding of the bunch, and that’s saying something. Brussels sprouts, turkey, rice… could you make it any healthier?
Despite its obvious healthiness, this recipe is just as deserving of the title of healthy comfort food. While brussels sprouts may not seem the most appealing, these little balls of greens can actually be quite tasty when properly prepared. With the addition of turkey and rice thrown into a casserole-style dish, what’s not to love?
Best of all, total preparation time takes less than half an hour, so you won’t have to wait to feast on your food for long.
Next time you have a craving for some fattening, carb-loaded food, hesitate and remember that there are plenty of healthy comfort food alternatives out there. These foods are both healthy and tasty, so you truly can have it all.
The recipes we’ve listed here are some of our favorites, but there are plenty more delicious healthy comfort food recipes out there just waiting for you and your loved ones to try.