Winter is a hard time of year – it’s cold, it’s dark and it’s busy. That’s why we need healthy options for warming winter comfort foods. In the winter, we tend to want to eat our feelings by shovelling in giant helpings of cheese, omelettes and hamburgers. This is likely not the best thing for our body, and won’t end up being all that comforting in the long run.
Try these comfort foods that will warm up your winter days without making your digestive system uncomfortable.
Risotto With Seasonal Veggies
I know, I know, risotto usually has cheese in it, but if you make it right, you really don’t need the cheese. I make mine with mushrooms and asparagus, white wine, veggie broth and arborio rice. If I take the time to make it right (stirring constantly, warming the wine and broth and using the right type of rice) it comes out nice and creamy. Experiment with your favorite veggies to make it perfectly comforting for you.
Parsnip Soup with Toasted Kale
I love parsnip soup. It’s the perfect combination of sweet and savory for me, and the toasted kale on top does me in everytime. If you want to throw a potato or two into your soup, I won’t tell, but I usually just use parsnips and carrots, a healthy dose of salt and a little crushed red pepper.
Black Bean Ragu
A slow cooker favorite, I used dried black beans, tons of spices and veggie broth to slow cook a bean stew for those cold winter days. Inspired by Smitten Kitchen’s Black Bean Ragu, this dish can last you days if you’re creative, and you can throw it together in the morning to have a delightful meal awaiting your arrival.
Creamy White Beans and Leeks
Thank you Sprouted Kitchen for this great inspiration. The combination of white beans and leeks is tried and true, and this dish is so satisfying on a cold evening. I use dried white beans, my dutch oven and fresh leeks and lots of time in a low heat oven (or slow cooker) to make this creamy dish.
Warm Brussel Sprout and Kale Salad
I want to eat veggies during the winter, but cold salads just seem so, well, cold. Try caramelizing some onions in a pan, adding brussel sprouts (cut in half) and kale just until everything softens up. Add a little red wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste and some pine nuts or toasted pumpkin seeds and you are good to go.
While savory comfort foods are the obvious choice, sometimes something a little sweeter can brighten up those dull winter days. If you can plan ahead, freeze fresh berries from the summer to take you through the cold months of the year. I love using steamed beets, blueberries and strawberries blended with plain yogurt and spinach to start the morning or drink after a wintertime workout.
Do you have other comfort food that hit the spot on cold winter days? Let us know in the comments section!