After a busy day, it's hard to deny just how delicious it is to settle into a bowl of mac and cheese or a few slices of pizza. Although we definitely do enjoy those comfort foods, we also like to balance them out with more wholesome meals. That's where these comfort food recipes come into play.
These are meals we lean on when we want something super-comforting, but also want to feel a little virtuous. That means there's usually cheese involved, yes, but also lots of veggies. Here are just a handful of our favorites.
"Anyone who knows me knows that I try to eat my weight in cheese every day. But my husband likes to eat a little healthier. When we've both had a A DAY, this is a good compromise. It's got lots of Gouda, but also asparagus, mushrooms, kale, and more. The bread gets nice and toasty and the mustard adds a surprising tang. The best part? It's pretty easy to eat this on the couch." — Lisa Freedman, Lifestyle Director
"This recipe is perhaps my favorite way to turn spaghetti squash into dinner. Not only do I love making vegetables the center of the plate, but this spin on pad Thai is also so much better (and more wholesome) than takeout." — Kelli Foster, Associate Food Editor
When I make chicken noodle soup, I tend to wing it with whatever I have around. It's healthy comfort to me because I get the satisfaction of making something nourishing out of scraps that makes me feel good and tastes great!" — Kaitlin Garske, Senior Social Media Manager
4. White Bean Stew
"I love this super-simple white bean stew. It's got a base of cannellini beans, veggie broth, fresh cherry tomatoes, and aromatics — and then you top that with plenty of shaved Parmesan, and a side of toasted ciabatta bread. It's balanced but super comforting, and a perfect cold-weather staple. It also makes for great leftovers." — Melissa Harrison, Food Director
"I love this creamy cauliflower sauce! I make a batch of it frequently and serve it over lentil or chickpea pasta with some steamed broccoli tossed in, too." — Lauren Kodiak, Managing Editor
"There's a place in my heart for all kinds of winter squash, and butternut is no exception. As soon as fall comes around, you'll find me making some version of this butternut squash pureé. I like to eat it on thick slices of whole-grain toast, topped with pesto and olive oil braised chickpeas. It's such a warm and comforting meal, yet still packed with veggies, whole grains, and protein." — Grace Elkus, Senior Food Editor
"White chicken chili is my favorite thing to cook as soon as the weather starts feeling chilly. This recipe calls for poaching boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but when I'm feeling really lazy, I just plop in some shredded rotisserie chicken. It's the best kind of comfort meal." — Lauren Masur, Staff Writer
"I love this slow cooker soup for all the usual reasons: It's warming, sustaining, and packed with vegetables, beans, and chicken. It's perfect for the transition into fall." — Ariel Knutson, News & Culture Editor