Cold-Weather Comfort Food: 4 Recipes the Healthy Way

Hearty, home-cooked comfort meals can be reminiscent of childhood and family—but unfortunately, many are laden with unhealthy fats and sugars, or are high in carbs. Looking to eat healthier these days but still want a taste of that comfort food you grew up with? Here are four old classics, revamped into healthier versions that taste every bit as good and will keep you toasty warm in the cold weather. These four recipes serve six to eight, so invite your family or friends over to enjoy!

Roasted Garlic-Veggie Smashed Potatoes

Here is a healthy, savory twist to classic mashed potatoes; your family and friends will request this dish again and again. Buy organic produce to ensure you’re not eating GMOs or toxins from pesticides.


  • 3 to 4 medium organic Yukon Gold potatoes, 1 inch cubes with skins on
  • 3 to 4 medium organic purple potatoes, 1 inch cubes with skins on
  • 3 to 4 medium organic red potatoes, 1 inch cubes with skins on
  • 2 stalks organic celery, sliced
  • 1/2 bulb fennel, 1 inch cubes
  • 1/2 sweet onion, 1 inch cubes
  • 6 to 10 cloves garlic, depending on personal taste
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil (for tossing veggies) and 2 tablespoons olive oil (for mashing)
  • 2 tablespoons no-salt seasoning blend (use your favorite spice blend)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked sea salt
  • 1 to 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Wash and cut all veggies. Toss veggies in large mixing bowl with 4 tablespoons olive oil and seasoning blend.

Pour mixture into 9-inch-by-13-inch glass baking dish. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown, thoroughly tossing veggies after 20 minutes.

When veggies are done roasting, put into large mixing bowl or pasta pot and mash with hand masher, adding in extra olive oil and vegetable broth to desired consistency. Alternatively, put everything into food processor; this will make for a smoother mash.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Hearty Yam Soup

This hearty yam soup, with its bright orange color and curry powder, is a winter staple that can warm you to the core, is easy to make, and is oh-so-delicious.


  • 8 cups yams (about 6 yams) cut into 1 inch cubes, skins on
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon thyme or rosemary
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 3 tablespoons tamari, gluten-free soy sauce, or Amino Acids
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1/2 to 2 cups apple cider for desired consistency
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil for sauteeing      


Wash and cut yams into 1 inch cubes, leaving skins on.

Cover yams with water and boil until done (20 to 30 minutes). Save the boiled yam water for pureeing.

Sauté garlic, onion, curry powder, and thyme or rosemary in olive oil.

Puree the sautéed mixture with one quarter of the yams and yam water and blend well.

Add remaining yams, yam water, white wine, and tamari (or gluten-free soy sauce or Amino Acids) and continue blending.

Add in apple cider, if you need more liquid, until desired consistency is reached.

Serve in bowls and top with toasted, slivered almonds.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Cinnamon Ginger Apple Crisp

This gluten-free, dairy-free version of Mom’s apple crisp is a perfect comfort food to keep you warm and cozy for breakfast or for dessert on a cold day.

Filling Ingredients:

  • 5 to 6 cups organic apples (about 5 large or 10 small), sliced
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
  • 1 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup dried blueberries (optional: raisins, dried cranberries, or pomegranate seeds)

Topping Ingredients:

  • 1 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix the sliced apples with lemon juice, honey or maple syrup, vanilla, tapioca flour, cinnamon, and grated ginger until apples are well coated.

Pour apple mixture into a glass 9-inch-by-13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with dried blueberries (raisins, dried cranberries, or pomegranate seeds also work well).

Mix the topping ingredients and sprinkle over apples.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until apples are bubbling and topping is lightly browned.

Makes 12 servings

Vegan Gluten-Free Lasagna

This recipe has a few more steps but is plenty easy. If you are gluten-free, vegan, or dairy-free and have been missing your lasagna, you will love this dish. The cashews in the vegan herbed ricotta need to be soaked overnight, so plan this dish one a day in advance.

Vegan Herbed Ricotta Ingredients:

  • 2 cups raw cashew pieces (soaked for 8 to 12 hours, drained and rinsed)
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 2 teaspoons table salt
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • Black pepper to taste

Lasagna Ingredients:

  • 1 box gluten-free lasagna noodles (if you are gluten-free, try brown rice flour noodles; if you are paleo, try nut flour noodles)
  • 1 jar marinara sauce (low-sodium, no added sugar; alternatively you can make your own)
  • 2 cups organic spinach
  • 1/2 cup roasted pine nuts, chopped

Vegan Herbed Ricotta Directions:

Place the raw cashew pieces in a glass jar or bowl. Add table salt and cover the cashew pieces with filtered water.

Soak for 8 hours or overnight.

Rinse cashews well, drain, and immediately place all the ingredients in a high-speed blender. Blend until smooth and creamy.

Lasagna Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Pour 1/3 of marinara sauce in the bottom of a 9-inch-by-13-inch lasagna pan.

Spread 1 cup of spinach leaves over the marinara, covering the sauce.

Lay half the lasagna noodles in the pan, covering the spinach leaves.

Spread 1 cup of vegan herbed ricotta evenly across all noodles.

Repeat layer with 1/3  marinara, 1 cup of spinach leaves, last half of noodles, and 1 cup vegan herbed ricotta. Top with last 1/3 of marinara. Sprinkle chopped pine nuts on top.

Cover pan with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes; remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

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About the Author

Heidi Hackler

Holistic Health Coach and Health Writer
Heidi Hackler is a Certified Holistic Health Coach (CHHC) and blogger, who received her training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN). She inspires healthy habits on her happiness and wellness blog , and through her holistic health coaching programs. Heidi quenches her thirst for knowledge through continuing education courses at Chopra Center University , Dogwood School of Botanical Medicine, and Andrea Beaman’s New Healers Master Coaching program. Heidi lives with her husband and two kittens aboard their 40-foot sailboat. They have a zest for living the...Read more