This week’s theme is healthy takes on comfort foods! First, our quick and easy hangry Goat Cheese Pita Pizzas recipe. Second: our podcast Episode 26: Is mac & cheese a main or a side?. Take a listen to hear us banter about healthy-ish approaches to comfort foods, pop-tart cereal, and of course, the question in the episode title. (What’s your vote?) There’s also an appearance from the lovely Amanda Paa of Heartbeet Kitchen and a giveaway for healthy-ish Scotcheroo bars going on now over at the podcast link.
Our basic approach to comfort food can be found in Michael’s Pollan’s short book Food Rules, Rule 39:
Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.
Pollan goes on to explain that there’s nothing wrong with eating sweets, fried foods, and pastries every once in a while. These type of treats used to be expensive and hard to make, but manufacturers have made them so cheap and easy that we’re eating them every day. If you made all the french fries you ate, you would eat them much less often because they’re so much work to put together.
We agree with this approach, and have found it to absolutely work in our lives. (Those fries above are the bomb, but you have to spend about an hour to work for them!) In that vein, here are our top 10 comfort foods that have healthy-ish spins, or are meant to be consumed occasionally.
Crispy Baked Fries | A Couple Cooks
Oven-roasted fries that are just as good as in the restaurant! Just olive oil, salt and a hot oven.
Smoky Mac & Cheese with Spinach | A Couple Cooks
Squash is the key to the creamy sauce here; plus we’ve added spinach for extra nutrients.
Mocha Almond Fudge Ice Cream | A Couple Cooks
Made with coconut milk so it’s dairy-free, this ice cream is creamy, coffee-y, chocolate-y, and chunky. One of our favorite desserts to date.
So Cal Pizza | A Couple Cooks
Pizza can be tasty AND loaded with veggies, like this So Cal pizza with peppers, artichokes, avocado and basil.
Lentil Tacos | A Couple Cooks
These tacos are one of our oldest recipes and always a hit with vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.
Raw Brownies | A Couple Cooks
Walnuts, dates and cocoa powder make a little bit of magic and combine into a dense, fudge-y brownie.
Skillet White Chili Dip | Heartbeet Kitchen
The creamy sauce here is part cheese, part white beans, and all goodness.
Gluten-Free Angel Food Cake | Heartbeet Kitchen
This is Amanda’s perfect light and fluufy gluten-free angelfood cake.
Chili Baked Potato with Cheese | Naturally Ella
A veggie-filled take on the classic.