Easy and delicious recipes for healthy alternatives to comfort food; perfect for those moments of not-so-naughty indulgence
Have your cake and eat it with these healthy alternatives to comfort food. Whether you need a consoling carb blanket or a sweet treat after work, we’ve found virtuous versions of your favourite dishes. They are delicious, easy and just as good as their devilishly indulgent counterparts. Bon appetit!
Cauliflower Crust Pizza
For the base:
- 1 cauliflower (about 750g)
- 100g ground almonds
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
For the topping:
- 227g can chopped tomatoes
- 1 tbsp tomato purée
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- ½ large aubergine, sliced lengthways into strips
- 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing
- 1 small red onion, cut into wedges
- ½ small bunch basil
- 125g mozzarella
- 25g Grana Padano or Parmesan (or vegetarian alternative), grated, plus extra to serve
- chilli flakes
- Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Cut the cauliflower into chunks and blend in a food processor until finely chopped, like rice. Transfer to a bowl, cover with cling film and microwave on High for 5-6 mins until softened. Tip onto a clean tea towel and leave to cool. Once cool enough to handle, scrunch up the tea towel and squeeze out as much liquid as you can, then transfer to a clean bowl. Stir in ground almonds, egg, oregano and plenty of seasoning. Line a baking tray with baking parchment and grease with oil. Spread the cauliflower mix in the centre of the tray into a 30cm round. Make it a little thicker at the edges to create a ‘crust’. Bake for 15-18 mins until golden brown.
- Meanwhile, heat a griddle pan, brush each aubergine slice with oil, season and cook for 5-6 mins, turning once, until softened and charred. Brush the onions with oil, season and griddle for 5-8 mins until softened and charred. For the tomato sauce, whizz the canned tomatoes, tomato purée, garlic and some seasoning in a blender until smooth. Transfer to a small saucepan, bring to a simmer and cook gently for 8-10 mins until thick. Tear half the basil leaves and stir through the sauce.
- Once the cauliflower base is cooked, set aside to cool a little. Turn the oven up to 240C/220C fan/gas 8. Drain the mozzarella and pat dry with kitchen paper. Spread the tomato sauce over the base, sprinkle over the Grana Padano, then arrange the aubergines, red onion and mozzarella on top. Scatter over chilli flakes and return to the oven for 10-12 mins. Before serving, shave over a little more cheese and scatter with the remaining basil leaves.
Recipe from bbcgoodfood.com
- 1 large cauliflower, leaves removed, cut into large florets
- 150g (5oz) frozen peas
- 25g (1oz) cornflour
- 75ml (3fl oz) semi-skimmed milk
- 1 x 30g pack chives, finely chopped
- 1 x 300ml pot half-fat crème fraîche
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 lemon, zested and cut into wedges, to serve
- 280g (10oz) skinless and boneless cod fillets
- 270g (10oz) skinless and boneless salmon fillets
- 1 x 165g pack raw peeled king prawns, or 1 x 150g pack cooked peeled king prawns
- 75g (3oz) mature Cheddar, grated
- Preheat the oven to gas 7, 220°C, fan 200°C. Cook the cauliflower for 3 minutes in a pan of boiling water. Drain and set aside.
- In a separate pan, blanch the peas for 3 minutes then drain and set aside.
- In a bowl, mix the cornflour with 2 tbsp milk to make a thin paste, then whisk in most of the chives, the remaining milk and the crème fraîche. Season. Pour half the mixture into a separate bowl. Add 2 tsp mustard to one bowl, add the lemon zest to the other bowl and stir both well.
- Cut the fish into 3cm chunks and arrange in a 24cm pie dish with the raw prawns, if using, and the peas. Spoon over the lemon crème fraiche and arrange the cauliflower florets on top. Spoon over the mustard crème fraiche and sprinkle with grated cheese.
- Put the pie dish on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes, until bubbling and golden. If using cooked prawns, scatter over the top of the cauliflower for the last 4-5 minutes to warm through. Garnish with the remaining chives and serve the lemon wedges on the side.
Recipe from realfood.tesco.com
Oven Baked Fish and Chips
- 880g/ 1lb 12 oz floury potato, scrubbed and cut into chips
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 50g fresh breadcrumb
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 4 x 140g/5oz thick sustainable white fish fillets
- 200g/ 7oz cherry tomato
- Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Pat chips dry on kitchen paper, then lay in a single layer on a large baking tray. Drizzle with half the olive oil and season with salt. Cook for 40 mins, turning after 20 mins, so they cook evenly.
- Mix the breadcrumbs with the lemon zest and parsley, then season well. Top the cod evenly with the breadcrumb mixture, then drizzle with the remaining oil. Put in a roasting tin with the cherry tomatoes, then bake in the oven for the final 10 mins of the chips’ cooking time.
Recipe from bbcgoodfood.com
Chicken and Leek Pie
- 8 boneless and skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of any excess fat
- 4 fresh bay leaves
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 500ml good-quality chicken stock
- 2 medium leeks, washed and sliced
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 150g small button mushrooms
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 100g 2% fat Greek yoghurt
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard (optional)
- 4 (each about 32cm x 18cm) fresh filo pastry sheets
- 1 free-range egg, beaten
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan180°C/gas 6. Put the chicken, bay leaves, onion and stock in a pan. Bring the stock to a simmer and poach the chicken for 10 minutes, until cooked through. Remove the chicken and chop into pieces. Reserve the stock.
- Meanwhile, put the leeks and 200ml water in a deep, non-stick frying pan and cook for 5 minutes, until the water has evaporated. Add the oil, thyme and mushrooms and fry for 2-3 minutes, stirring. Stir in the flour, then gradually add the chicken stock and bubble for 7-8 minutes, until thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the chicken, yoghurt and mustard (if using). Season. Remove the bay leaves and pour into a 24cm x 20cm ovenproof dish.
- Brush both sides of the filo pastry sheets with egg and layer on top of the filling, scrunching the top layer. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the filling is bubbling (cover with foil if the pastry is browning too much). Serve with seasonal vegetables.
Recipe from deliciousmagazine.co.uk
Cardamom Chicken Curry with Lime Leaves
For the curry:
- 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 4 large garlic cloves, grated
- 2 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
- 12 cardamom pods, seeds removed and lightly crushed
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 tsp turmeric
- ½ -1 tsp ground white pepper
- 4 cloves
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 red chilli halved, deseeded and finely sliced
- 400g can chopped tomatoes
- 1 tbsp mango chutney
- 2 tsp vegetable bouillon powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 aubergine, cubed
- 12 skinless boneless chicken thighs (about 1kg)
- 4 small fresh or dried lime leaves
- 1 green pepper, halved, deseeded and sliced
For the spiced rice and lentils
- 125g brown basmati rice
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 100g dried red lentils
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp vegetable bouillon powder
- Heat the oil in a large, wide pan, add the onion and fry for 5 mins until softened, stirring every now and then. Stir in the garlic, ginger, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon, and cook for 5 mins more, stirring frequently. Add all the remaining spices with the chilli, stir briefly over the heat then add the tomatoes with 1 can of water, the chutney and bouillon.
- Stir in the aubergine, bring to the boil then cover the pan and simmer for 15 mins. Stir well, and add the chicken and lime leaves. Push them under the liquid and scatter over the green pepper. Cover the pan and leave to cook for 40 mins. Remove the chicken, shred into medium-sized pieces and return to the sauce.
- Meanwhile, make the rice. Put all the ingredients in a medium pan with 750ml water. Bring to the boil , then cover and cook for 20 mins. Turn off the heat and leave for 5 mins to absorb any excess moisture. Serve with the curry.
Recipe from bbcgoodfood.com
Sweet Potato Brownies
For the brownies:
- 500g of sweet potatoes (about 2 medium)
- 12 medjool dates
- 6 tablespoons of pure maple syrup
- 100g of ground almonds
- 2 tablespoons of melted coconut oil
- a pinch of salt
- 100g of ground oats
- 6 tablespoons of raw cacao powder
For the icing:
- 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons of almond butter
- 1 tablespoon of maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons of cacao powder
- Start by preheating the oven to 180C (fan), then peel the sweet potatoes. Cut them into chunks and place into a steamer for about twenty minutes, until they become really soft.
- Once they are perfectly soft and beginning to fall apart remove them and add them to a food processor with the pitted dates.
- Put the remaining ingredients into a bowl, before mixing in the sweet potato date combination. Stir well.
- Place into a lined baking dish and cook for about forty-five to fifty minutes, until you can pierce the brownie with a fork and bring it out dry. Remove the tray and allow it to cool for about ten minutes – this is really important as it needs this time to stick together!
- While the brownies are cooking make the icing by simply melting all the ingredients together and stirring well, then place in the freezer for 15 minutes and then the fridge for 15 to firm up a bit.
- Remove the brownies from the tray and leave to cool completely before icing otherwise your icing will melt! Spread the icing on top, cut into squares, dig in and enjoy.
Recipe from deliciouslyella.com
Low Sugar Banana Bread
- 3 very ripe bananas
- 3 tbsp agave syrup
- 150 g (5oz) plain flour, sifted
- 150 g (5oz) brown rice flour, sifted
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2 medium eggs
- 75 ml (3fl oz) Greek yoghurt
- 100 ml (3 ½ fl oz) vegetable oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 100 g (3 ½oz) blueberries
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan). Grease and line a 900g (2lb) loaf tin.
- Mash the bananas and stir in the agave syrup, flours, cinnamon and bicarbonate of soda.
- In a separate bowl or jug, stir together the eggs, yoghurt, oil and vanilla extract. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry. Mix through most of the blueberries.
- Pour the batter into the tin and sprinkle over remaining blueberries. Bake for 1hr-1hr15min or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Recipe from goodhousekeeping.co.uk
Chocolate and Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream
- 3 large ripe bananas, chopped and frozen
- 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 tbsp natural peanut butter
- Add bananas, cocoa powder and 2 tbsp of peanut butter to a food processor.
- Process until ice cream consistency is reached. You may need to scrape down the sides occasionally but this should only take 1-3 minutes.
- Stir in 1 other tbsp of peanut butter to create “chunks”. Eat immediately or store in freezer until ready to eat and scoop out like ice cream.
Recipe from thehealthymaven.com