You don’t need to check your weather app to know that winter is in full effect. That means the days are a little shorter, the nights are colder, and we want nothing more than to stay close to home, nesting with Netflix and our favorite comfort foods. The bad news is that our favorite foods can sometimes be calorie, sugar and sodium bombs, leaving us heavy with winter bloat and fatigue. But there’s good news, too! With a little planning and smart swaps, you can have your comfort foods and eat them, too. Below are eight yummy, warming, immune-boosting recipes infused with the flavors of the winter season. They’re chock-full of healthy comfort, so give them a try!
Who needs mac n’ cheese when you can have this savory, cheesy spaghetti squash lasagna — in 30 minutes or less! Easy to prep and cook up, this dish can be a great side for a dinner party or a solo snack. Make it if you’re craving something cheesy without too many carbs, or if you want a good dose of immune-boosting vitamin C and vitamin A, ideal for fortifying against winter colds and flu. (Learn more about flu-flighting nutrients.)
Grain salads are a fantastic way to warm up your winter meals, and this nutty, savory farro salad is perfect for the job. This salad features ancient grain farro, which is full of fiber and flavor to keep you full and satisfied. The second star ingredient is fennel: in season all winter long, it adds a hint of licorice to the medley of Mediterranean flavors. Besides being warm and hearty, this dish delivers over a full day’s worth of vitamin C!
A twist on your traditional chicken noodle soup, this bowl of green goodness is sure to warm up a cold winter night. The twist is in the Mexican green chiles, which give the soup a mild spice and are full of vitamins C and A, making it the perfect remedy to warm and soothe your soul, and give your immune system a nice boost.
Sometimes winter has us craving a big hearty plate of meat and potatoes. This healthy twist on the classic features protein-packed brisket braised in a season-appropriate fennel and bell pepper topping. Roasted potatoes in their skins give the dish an extra boost of potassium, while the bright pepper topping helps wake up the palate and injects a serving of veggies into an otherwise rich dish. This recipe is perfect for a Sunday night dinner with family and friends, and makes great leftovers for lunch the next day.
Citrus fruits are in peak season now, and this bright, tangy salad is the perfect way to incorporate fresh citrus into your day. Refreshing and colorful, this Mediterranean-inspired recipe will wake up your eyes and taste buds from the grips of winter hibernation, and it makes an impressive dinner party dish. Blood orange gives pizzazz and a ton of vitamin C, while anchovies and olives add protective healthy fats and give your taste buds a savory contrast.
Adding fish to your winter menu is essential for boosting your intake of nutrients such as healthy fats and selenium, important for keeping your brain clear from from cold-weather blues. This easy tilapia dish is rich in fish protein and helps you sneak fresh seasonal citrus into your day with tangy grapefruit. Each serving also contains 65% of your daily needs for antioxidant vitamin C, and is an excellent source of vitamin A, balancing great flavor with great nutrition.
There’s nothing more appealing in the winter months than a bowl of hot, savory soup. This hearty quinoa mushroom soup is the ideal cold-weather nesting recipe. Porcini, shiitake and oyster mushrooms give this vegetarian soup a delicious dose of umami and a boost of vitamin D, which is important to supplement during winter months when there is less sun exposure. Quinoa and hearty vegetables add fiber, protein and essential vitamins to the mix, making this soup the perfect healthy comfort food.
Adding spices into your diet helps wake up your palate during dreary winter months. This spicy vegetarian chili is an amazing way to bring some excitement to a winter menu. High in plant protein from beans and soy, this hearty dish will help keep you warm and satisfied. Far from your average chili, it also features okra, a seasonal vegetable superstar that packs in vitamin C and fiber.