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Some days cry out for comfort food – satisfying stews, spicy curries, and indulgent desserts. Get even more of a feel-good factor with dishes that are not only delicious, but have added health benefits too.
We've cut the sugar and calories and ramped up the portions of fruit and vegetables in some of our all-time favourite foods, so you can eat well everyday.
1. Chicken cacciatore one-pot with orzo
Who says a pasta bake can't be healthy? We've used chicken thighs for maximum flavour in this satisfying one-pot. Orzo pasta soaks up the vibrant and herby tomato juices, while olives and capers add an extra piquancy. It takes just 5 minutes of prep time, then you can let the oven do the rest of the work.
2. Cauliflower & green bean curry
No one will guess that this flavourful vegan dish is healthy, low in calories and low in fat while providing four of your five-a-day. Garam masala and Chinese five-spice powder add layers of flavour to the chunky veg, while coconut yogurt gives it a luxuriously creamy texture without the extra calories.
3. Pork & apple stew with parsley & thyme dumplings
Proof dumplings can be healthy. These wholesome bites use spelt flour and are cooked on top of the stew, so they absorb the flavours of cider, mustard and apple without the need for extra oil. With three of your five-a-day and plenty of fibre, this is a truly warming and nutritious supper.
Is there a more comforting start to the day than a steaming pan of shakshuka? Eggs are perfectly poached in a smoky, spiced tomato sauce, packed with peppers, onions and fresh herbs.
5. Jerk chicken burger
Our list of classic comfort food wouldn’t be complete without a burger. Be transported to sunnier climbs with lean chicken breasts chargrilled with jerk seasoning, then sandwiched between soft buns with mango, tomato and lettuce. This hits every taste bud for a satisfying and healthy burger option.
6. Super-quick sesame ramen
Sometimes the comfort of a dish lies in the ease of its preparation. If you’re looking for a super-quick solution to your comfort food cravings, this healthy veggie ramen ticks all the boxes. It’s warming, flavourful, low in calories and cheap to make – what more could you want?
7. Cajun prawn pizza
Who said pizza has to be unhealthy? This recipe ditches cheese in favour of juicy smoked prawns. A wholemeal flour base offers a boost of fibre, while peppers, tomatoes and celery add a nutritious hit.
8. Healthy chicken katsu curry
A Friday night takeaway favourite, katsu is notorious for being on the heavy side, but we've come up with some handy tricks to make it healthier. The chicken breasts are coated in finely chopped flaked almonds rather than breadcrumbs, and baked in the oven instead of frying. The homemade sauce is packed with spices and still manages to achieve a thick texture by using wholemeal flour rather than cream. We've also paired the dish with a fresh carrot and cucumber salad to boost your veg intake.
9. Slow cooker vegetable lasagne
We've combined two comfort food classics in a warming veggie lasagne with ratatouille sauce. Wholemeal lasagne sheets are layered between melty aubergine slices and sauce, then topped with vegetarian buffalo mozzarella for a gorgeously gooey finish. This veg-packed dish scores all five of your five-a-day and is sure to be popular with kids, too.
10. Vegan chilli
Swap mince for plenty of chunky veg, pulses and spices in this punchy chilli. As well as delivering all five of your five-a-day, it's low in fat and gluten-free. Serve it with rice, guacamole and lime wedges or in jacket potatoes for a filling supper. Make a batch of vegan chilli in advance and freeze it for a busy weeknight, or you can alternatively toss all the ingredients in the slow cooker instead for a fuss-free meal.
11. Frozen strawberry yogurt
Hurrah for healthy ice cream – well, kind of! This super-easy frozen yogurt provides all the creamy sweetness you want from an ice cream recipe, without the calories. With only three ingredients, you can easily whip up a batch and keep it in the freezer for days when you need a creamy treat.
12. Chocolate & berry mousse pots
Try our chocolate & berry mousse pots for times when only chocolate will do. This smooth and creamy mousse uses rich dark chocolate and low-fat yogurt to create an indulgence in disguise.
13. Healthy spiced rice pudding
Nothing says comfort like a creamy rice pudding. This spiced version offers a lighter take on the classic stodgy dessert and also makes the most of simple storecupboard ingredients. Using wholegrain rice raises the fibre levels while cinnamon, mixed spice and nutmeg give the impression of sweetness. We've used semi-skimmed milk and a hint of butter, but you can easily swap it for plant-based alternatives. Finish with a drizzle of honey and scattering of fruit for a wholesome and satisfying dessert.
Try our healthy spiced rice pudding
14. Chocolate chia pudding
Chia seeds are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. Use them in porridge, jam or bakes, or as the base for a simple and speedy chocolate 'pudding' topped with berries. This rich and creamy vegan dessert is flavoured with cacao powder and maple syrup, while chia seeds act as a thickening agents. Whip it up in just 5 minutes, then leave overnight to thicken in the fridge.
15. Sweet & fruity Yorkshire pudding
Yorkshire puddings aren't just for serving with your Sunday roast. This sweet version is not only a healthier alternative to the traditional crispy puddings, but uses up storecupboard canned fruit and batter mix.
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What comfort food would you like to be healthier? We'd love to hear your suggestions below...