20 Healthier Comfort Food Recipes

Instant pot beef and butternut squash chili

Like it or not, most of us find comfort in food. For some, a parent setting down a bowl of soup or plate of warm cookies are among our earliest memories. Sharing a meal with loved ones is maybe the most comforting thing I can think of. And right now, I think we’re all in need of a little comfort. With that in mind, I curated a collection of comfort food recipes from Mom’s Kitchen Handbook. They’re healthier than most of their ilk, but fit the bill for what many of us are craving right now.

1. Lighter Artichoke Cauliflower Dip

Why it’s healthier: Fat and calories are scaled back in this recipe by adding cauliflower and using lighter versions of sour cream and mayonnaise. Together with artichokes, this dip packs in 4 1/2 cups of vegetables in total.

2. Lighter Beer Batter Onion Rings

Why it’s healthier: Instead of deep-frying, these onion rings are cooked in a shallow pan with less oil making them lower in calories and fat.

3. Loaded Sweet Potato Nachos

Why it’s healthier: All of your favorite nacho toppings, like fiber- and protein-rich black beans, are piled atop roasted sweet potatoes in lieu of fried tortilla chips.

4. Layered Lentil Nachos

Why it’s healthier: While this recipe uses traditional or baked tortilla chips, it’s elevated with nutritious lentils that are rich in protein, fiber, iron, folate, manganese and potassium.

5. Creamy Tomato Soup

Creamy Vegan Tomato Soup with Croutons - Mom's Kitchen Handbook

Why it’s healthier: Made with olive oil instead of cream, this recipe has less saturated fat and more healthy fats than traditional creamy tomato soup.

6. Slow Cooker Turkey Butternut Squash Chili

Why it’s healthier: Butternut squash and red peppers make their way into this recipe and add Vitamin C and Vitamin A among other nutrients.

7. Instant Pot Beef & Butternut Squash Chili

Instant pot beef and butternut squash chili

Why it’s healthier: Building a whole mess of nutrient-rich butternut squash makes it lighter than an all-beef chili with terrific flavor to boot.

8. Turkey Chili Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Chili Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with jalapenos and lime

Why it’s healthier: Beans and ground turkey get piled onto sweet potatoes for a veggie-rich meal.

9. 4-Ingredient Sweet Potato Enchiladas

Slice of Sweet Potato Enchilada

Why it’s healthier: Layers of nutrient-rich mashed sweet potato elevates these vegetarian enchiladas made with just four ingredients.

10. Healthier Walking Taco

healthier walking taco

Why it’s healthier: This recipe has a few substitutions on traditional walking tacos – turkey and pinto beans replace beef, romaine replaces iceberg lettuce, and Sun Chips replace Doritos (which means no artificial colors or flavors).

11. Slow Cooker Pot Roast with Vegetables

pot roast in a white dish with carrots and potatoes

Why it’s healthier: The word “wholesome” comes to mind when I think of pot roast. Here, the recipe builds a generous amount of vegetables into every pot, making it a well-rounded meal.

12. Baked Chicken Parmesan

Baked Chicken Parmesan

Why it’s healthier: This version is baked versus fried and made with less butter than typical baked Parm recipes. Add a big side of steamed or roasted broccoli.

13. Creamy Carrot Mac and Cheese

Why it’s healthier: The recipe adds one pound of beta carotene-rich carrots into every batch.

14. Linguine with Cauliflower Pecan Alfredo

Linguine alfredo on a dark plate with a fork, parmesan, and pecans

Why it’s healthier: Heavy cream or butter are replaced by pecans and cauliflower for a more nutritious, yet still creamy and delicious, version of Alfredo.

15. Vegetarian No-Noodle Zucchini Lasagna

Why it’s healthier: A lighter, plant-based version of lasagna that features layers of zucchini and protein-rich tofu along with a little less cheese.

16. Creamy Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes and Cauliflower

Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes and Cauliflower

Why it’s healthier: A full pound of cauliflower is added to these mashed potatoes and is mixed with olive oil for less saturated fat and more nutrients than traditional mashes potatoes.

17. Vegetarian Tofu Parmigiana

Oven Baked Tofu Parmesan

Why it’s healthier: This plant-based tofu parmigiana is full of protein, calcium, iron and antioxidant-rich polyphenols and is baked instead of fried, like traditional parmigiana recipes.

18. No-Yeast Whole Grain Cinnamon Rolls

Why it’s healthier: This recipe uses mostly whole wheat and almond flour instead of 100% white flour and has less sugar and butter than classic cinnamon rolls.

19. Double Chocolate Sweet Potato Brownies

Why it’s healthier: With less than half the sugar of boxed brownies, this recipe uses sweet potatoes and almond butter to add Vitamin A, fiber, protein and healthy fats.

20. Chocolate Chip “Makeover” Cookies

Why it’s healthier: The “makeover” in this recipe comes from using whole wheat flour, added oats, antioxidant-rich dark chocolate chips and an optional swap of oil for butter to decrease saturated fat.

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