Growing up, the second it dropped below 70 degrees (this is Texas, y’all), my mom would light the fire, whip up some chili, and call it winter. I’ll be honest, this week my brain was a little confused about seeing “December” and “77 degrees” in the same sentence, but the rest of me is ready to break out the crockpot and make some winter comfort food recipes.
There’s just something about daylight savings, the weather, and the holidays that makes me crave comforting meals at home. Every time the clock strikes five o’clock and the sun goes down, I’m ready to fill my kitchen with the delicious smells of the season. Of course, winter is also an indulgent time of the year, so it’s been a goal of mine to track down recipes that bring the comfort I crave, along with all the nutrients my body begs for. As it turns out, it’s really not too hard to make comfort and conscious eating go hand-in-hand. We’ve found and compiled a list of healthy (ish) winter comfort food recipes that are sure to keep your stomach and soul full all season long.
15 Winter Comfort Food Recipes
Butternut Squash Lasagna from Minimalist Baker
Why We Love It: This winter comfort food recipe uses one of my favorite winter vegetables, butternut squash. I honestly love all things butternut squash, but this recipe may take the cake with its creamy butternut squash/cashew sauce. It’s plant-based, is easily made gluten-free, and will warm your stomach and soul on a cold winter night.
Hero Ingredient: Butternut squash, obviously.
Vegetarian Black Bean & Sweet Potato Chili
Why We Love It: This sweet potato and black bean chili are on Camille’s shortlist of go-to’s when she needs to deliver dinner to a friend who’s sick or just had a baby—AKA, ultimate comfort time. It’s packed with hearty black beans, flavorful veggies, and loads of spices (plus, all those toppings) so no one will miss the meat.
Hero Ingredient: I side with black beans in the great “Bean or No Bean” chili debate.
Easy to Make Pad Thai with Chicken, Shrimp or Tofu from Feasting at Home
Why We Love It: Pad Thai has been one of my go-to winter comfort food recipes forever. Not only is it warm and hearty, but it’s surprisingly easy to make. I used to only eat take-out Pad Thai and now it’s become one of my favorite meals to cook. This recipe in particular is super simple, easily customizable to fit your preferences or needs, and is ready in just 30 minutes.
Hero Ingredient: This might be lame, but my favorite part about Pad Thai is the lime and crushed peanut garnish.
Half Baked Harvest’s Spicy Pesto Pasta Alla Vodka
Why We Love It: Teighan made us this recipe when she visited us in Austin, and I’ve been dreaming about it ever since. This silky, smooth and extra creamy pesto pasta alla vodka is the perfect cozy winter recipe we all need. Fresh pasta tossed in a delicious tomato pesto vodka sauce? Yes, please! Not only do we love this recipe for its simplicity and deliciousness, but the pretty red and green colors feel extra festive.
Hero Ingredient: The pesto is the secret to this sauce.
Skillet Eggplant Lasagna
Why We Love It: This Skillet Eggplant Lasagna is a cozy, one-pot dinner for chilly nights. Camille has been eating a plant-based diet this month, and in my opinion, this recipe makes it all worth it. It’s basically a simpler, lighter way to enjoy all the delicious flavors of lasagna. Plus, it’s vegetarian.
Hero Ingredient: Exceptional eggplant.
Crispy Chipotle Sweet Potato Tacos with Lime Crema from Half Baked Harvest
Why We Love It: Sometimes there’s nothing more comforting than a really delicious taco dinner– especially when it’s hot, crunchy, and spicy. This vegetarian and gluten-free recipe will be your new favorite after just one bite and gets bonus points for being healthy. Adding taco seasoning to sweet potatoes is a total game-changer.
Hero Ingredient: Love a lime crema.
Sweet & Spicy Braised Short Ribs
Why We Love It: The braised short rib recipe will become your easy holiday dinner to serve a crowd. The scents wafting from the pot will turn your kitchen into heaven. I love to serve these on top of creamy, warm mashed potatoes, which, in my mind, is the ultimate comfort side dish. The best part is, you can make it totally in advance.
Hero Ingredient: The homemade chimichurri is 100% worth it.
One Pot Baked Greek Chicken Orzo from Recipetin Eats
Why We Love It: This dish is loaded with Greek flavors, veggies, and protein… comfort in a bowl. Not only can you make it in one pot, but you can also use whatever veggies you have on hand. It’s the ultimate, easy winter comfort food.
Hero Ingredient: The feta cheese crumbles are optional, but totally not actually optional.
Creamy White Wine Mushroom Stuffed Shells from Half Baked Harvest
Why We Love It: Baked pasta dishes are one of those winter comfort food recipes that will never get old. Specifically, this recipe with spinach and ricotta stuffed shells in a creamy white sauce never fails to warm me up. This vegetarian meal is also perfect when you need something to make ahead when entertaining.
Hero Ingredient: Spinach and ricotta might as well be one ingredient they go so well together.
Vegan Spaghetti alla Puttanesca from Cookie + Kate
Why We Love It: If you haven’t tried Spaghetti alla Puttanesca, it’s a red sauce pasta that uses the brines and flavors from olives and capers. I personally don’t love olives, but I do like capers, and this recipe is still a favorite. This version uses zucchini noodles, which is such an easy way to take a comfort food recipe and make it a little healthier (and gluten-free). If you like spice, don’t skimp on the red pepper flakes.
Hero Ingredient: I love a good, tangy, salty caper.
Creamy White Chicken Chili from Half Baked Harvest
Why We Love It: One of the best parts of winter is coming home and warming up with a big bowl of chili. This white chicken chili is full of shredded chicken, poblano peppers, and topped with plenty of cheese, cilantro, and avocado. The best part is, you have flexibility in that you can choose to cook it in one hour on the stove, or slow cook it in a crockpot.
Hero Ingredient: Poblanos give this chili the perfect kick.
Bacon, Apple, & Sweet Potato Pizza with Crispy Sage
Why We Love It: As you probably already know, we’ve been super into pizza over here at Camille Styles. This sweet potato pizza with bacon, apple, and fried sage leaves is bursting with seasonal flavors, making it perfect for a cozy night in. Pair it with a warming fire and consider yourself comforted.
Hero Ingredient: Crispy sage is the pizza topping I never knew I needed.
Curried Chickpea Stuffed Acorn Squash from Ahead of Thyme
Why We Love It: You have to take advantage of winter squash, people. This vegan and gluten-free recipe meal is ultra comforting and hearty, while still being healthy. While the chickpeas do add protein, you can also add some shredded chicken or play around with the vegetables you add. Pro-tip: if you roast the acorn squash in advance, the rest comes together in 10 minutes.
Hero Ingredient: The acorn squash is really showing off in this one.
Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken from Healthy Maven
Why We Love It: Skip the takeout this week and try this comforting recipe for sweet and sour chicken. It’s easily prepared in one pot and every bite explodes with sweet and tangy flavors. Since it also has broccoli, bell peppers, and more mixed in, when served with rice it’s a full meal.
Hero Ingredient: Coconut aminos (a gluten-free alternative to soy sauce) amaze me every time.
Creamy Chicken Quinoa and Broccoli Casserole from A Pinch of Yum
Why We Love It: This recipe is described as “real food meets comfort food,” and I couldn’t have put it better myself. Casseroles sometimes get a bad rep, but this one has all of the delicious ingredients and none of the stigma. I mean, what’s not to like about quinoa, chicken, bacon, and broccoli all topped with your favorite cheese? Sounds comforting to me.
Hero Ingredient: The broccoli adds the perfect touch of color and vegetables.