17 Healthy Comfort Food Recipes That Are Seriously Satisfying

broccoli-and-chickpea parmesan
Photo: Johnny Miller

If you're looking for a cozy, but good-for-you dinner, turn to these healthy comfort food recipes—we make them on repeat. Loaded with vegetables and lower in carbs, these hearty meals are perfect for any time of the year.

Our favorites include dishes that lean on lower-fat proteins—like chicken, turkey, tuna, and salmon—or are vegetarian. We also have lighter versions of classics made with smart swaps, like using cauliflower in place of traditional carbs in pizza and rice. You'll also find a few riffs where vegetables replace the meat in tacos, chili, and other comforting meals. The point? These recipes are proof that eating well and satisfying flavor never have to be mutually exclusive.

01 of 17

Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Rice and Peas

grilled sweet potatoes with rice and peas
Yuki Sugiura

In this filling vegan dinner, sweet potato slices take their hot, smoky flavor cues from Jamaican jerk and are served with our riff on Jamaican rice and peas, cooked with coconut milk. There's also an irresistible mango salsa.

02 of 17

Vegetarian Gumbo

vegetarian gumbo
Sidney Bensimon

Packed with okra, tomatoes, yellow summer squash, and black-eyed peas, this vegetarian take on gumbo is a colorful bowl of comfort.

03 of 17

Slow-Cooker White-Bean Soup

Lennart Weibull

This slow-cooker soup ticks all the healthy comfort food boxes. It's cozy, restorative, and packed with good-for-you ingredients, including butternut squash and spinach.

04 of 17

Crispy Lemon-Parmesan Eggplant

Crispy Lemon-Parmesan Eggplant
Chris Simpson

Once you taste this irresistibly easy riff on eggplant parm, you won't go back to the baked version. Long slices of eggplant are broiled until tender and golden, then topped with a zesty panko breadcrumb mixture. While the main vegetable broils, whip up a simple tomato and arugula side—even healthy comfort food needs a salad.

05 of 17

Turkey and Mushroom Bolognese

Turkey-and-Mushroom Bolognese recipe
Chris Simpson

Here's a healthier take on Bolognese that doesn't skimp on flavor. Ground turkey meat is milder than the typical beef and pork used, but in this rich-tasting sauce, it is complemented by the umami of good-for-you mushrooms and rich pancetta.

06 of 17

Cauliflower Crust Pizza Margherita

cauliflower pizza
Bryan Gardner

This classic pizza combo hits the spot, even with a lower carb crust veggie crust. Made from cauliflower, Parmesan, and mozzarella, the crust holds up against the pizza sauce and toppings, delivering comforting bites that your family won't even realize is healthier than their usual favorite slice.

07 of 17

Saffron Chicken Noodle Soup

saffron chicken noodle soup
Gentl and Hyers

Does home cooking get any more soothing than a bowl of chicken noodle soup? Warm up on a chilly evening with this nourishing broth that's brightened with a touch of saffron which is sweet, earthy, and complex alongside tender chunks of chicken and vegetables.

08 of 17

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie

shepherds pie
Kate Mathis

Our plant-forward riff on a popular British pub dish swaps the usual meat for lentils. Similar in texture to ground meat, French green lentils hold their shape when they are cooked, and using the right seasonings results in a similar taste to beef.

09 of 17

Broccoli-and-Chickpea Parmesan

broccoli-and-chickpea parmesan
Johnny Miller

Craving those chicken Parmesan flavors but feeling adventurous? Give this new healthier spin—our one pot broccoli-and-chickpea parm—a try. It absolutely hits the comfort food spot while also swapping fried chicken cutlets for one of the healthiest green vegetables out there, broccoli, and most popular legumes, chickpeas.

10 of 17

Weeknight Vegetarian Chili

weeknight vegetarian chili served with tortillas
Con Poulos

No meat is required to build hearty flavor in this one-skillet chili. Instead, the humble bean is the star. Serve this dish however you like your chili: with corn tortillas, spooned over rice, or in a bowl.

11 of 17

Wild Salmon with Edamame-Cauliflower Rice

wild salmon with edamame cauliflower rice served in a pan
Kate Mathis

Wild salmon nourishes our bodies and mind, especially when paired with cauliflower rice, a lower carb swap for the more traditional grain. And this cauliflower rice is one of the best we've ever had. What makes it different? It's baked until each bit caramelizes to that nice golden color we love so much in roasted cauliflower.

12 of 17

Test Kitchen's Favorite Tomato Soup

tomato soup with basil
Sidney Bensimon

For an ultra-velvety texture you'll love, this tomato soup is made with a roux, a butter and flour combination, rather than being finished with heavy cream. Pair it with a Grown Up Grilled Cheese or Turkey BLT for an extra comforting combo that is better for you than the original.

13 of 17

Lentil Soup with Crispy Kale

lentil soup with crispy kale
Armando Rafael

Move over croutons! Crispy kale is where it is at when it comes to topping this warming bowl of lentil soup. Shiitake mushrooms lend umami and richness to the broth along with tomato paste and paprika.

14 of 17

Tuna-Noodle Casserole with Cauliflower

Linda Pugliese

It's hard to mess with a classic like tuna noodle casserole, but if there's one ingredient that has proven versatile enough to make its way into this perfect dish, it's cauliflower. Swap this good-for-you white vegetable in and take a load off of some of the noodle-y carbs—trust us, it will blend right in.

15 of 17

Cheesy Stove-Top Barley and Swiss Chard

cheesy stove-top barley and swiss chard served with fresh basil
Nico Schinco

Everyone will want to tuck right in to this cheesy stove-top barley dish, which is prepared in the same way as risotto. The barley that serves as the base of this recipe is higher in fiber and minerals than white arborio rice. Adding Swiss chard and shiitake mushrooms creates a nutrient-packed dish perfect for cooler evenings.

16 of 17

Turkey-Pesto Meatball Soup

turkey pesto meatballs
Lennart Weibull

This isn't your average Italian grandma's meatball, but it's definitely one to add to your dinner rotation. Mix ground turkey meat with store-bought pesto for the meatballs, then simmer them in a brothy soup along with escarole.

17 of 17

Brussels-Sprout Tacos

Brussels-Sprout Tacos
Lennart Weibull

Making veggie tacos is as easy as doctoring up a tray of roasted vegetables. Here, crispy Brussels are roasted in a honey, chipotle chile, and soy sauce glaze then wrapped up in corn tortillas (flour works great too). They're topped with red onion, lime juice, cilantro, and finished with a delicate crunch from peanuts.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles