What goes better with cold weather? Warm and hearty comfort foods, of course. But wait, it’s January! Time to re-evaluate our waistlines after all those holiday goodies. So what can we do?
If anyone knows the struggles of trading comfort for healthy it’s me, Chef Linsey from the ALDI Test Kitchen. Butter and cream are my go-to ingredients that make everything taste delicious! However, I have come to learn and love that comfort food doesn’t have to be so heavy and weigh you down.
I have a rule. If I have to sacrifice flavor to make something healthier then it’s not worth it! Simple swaps in common recipes can make all the difference. You might be surprised at just how tasty and heartwarming healthy can be!
To make mashed potatoes, substitute half of the potatoes with cauliflower instead. Boil just as you would the potatoes and mash them all together. Try experimenting with other root vegetables as well such as: turnips, rutabagas, parsnips and carrots. Chef Michelle has done this in her recipe for Carrot Potato Puree. You can even use healthier fats such as coconut oil or olive oil to replace the butter.
Soups are the way to go when it comes to hearty and healthy. Lentils, chickpeas, peas and beans can all be pureed to give soups the richness of cream. Use canned beans to save you some time.
Utilize a slow cooker to easily impart lots of flavor into your food without the use of oils. I like to prep all my ingredients the night before. Then in the morning, add it all to the slow cooker and turn it on. By the time I come home from work, dinner is ready!
Substituting ground turkey for ground beef is a great way to lower your fat intake and keep you satisfied. This can be applied to tacos, meatballs, meatloaf and even lasagna.
Check out Chef Stacey’s recipe for Special Turkey Meatloaf, which uses oatmeal as a binder providing fiber and nutrients superior to standard bread crumbs. Chef Audrey also has a great recipe for Pumpkin Chili utilizing ground turkey and beer!
Zucchini, yellow squash, and carrots can all be spiral cut or sliced thin with a peeler to create noodles. Add to boiling water for a few minutes and presto! Low carb noodles, like in Chef Alyssa’s Veggie Ribbons recipe. Brown some ground turkey and add to your favorite marinara to accompany your noodles. Try using this method to prepare vegetable lasagna!
You don’t need to sacrifice comfort in your desserts either! Nuts, granola and even quinoa can be used to substitute flour and eggs. Not only does this satisfy many of those that can’t tolerate gluten, but it’s healthier as well. You don’t even miss the flour in Chef Morgan’s recipe for Pistachio Almond Torte utilizing ground nuts and dates. Hopefully this has inspired you to think outside your normal comfort food realm and explore fun new ways to cook hearty and healthy this season.
For more information on better-for-you meals, check out more ALDI Test Kitchen recipes here!