It’s comfort food season, my friends, when the blistering temperatures might tempt you to break into the Ben & Jerry’s.
Before the temptations of comfort food get the best of you, consider these hacks to (metaphorically) “have your cake and it too” – without sabotaging your efforts.
- Craving creamy?
- If you’re craving creamy soups or casseroles, use squash or pumpkin as a thickening agent in the place of cream, butter, and cheese.
I make creamy soups with pureed root vegetables, spiked with a bit of curry, nutmeg, or rosemary for that warm, earthy flavor we crave during breezy, cool evenings.
- Yearning for rich and tangy?
- Try cottage cheese (mixed with feta is even better!) for a rich and tangy substitute in dishes like mac & cheese, spinach dips, and casseroles or lasagna.
I’m partial to multi-ethnic foods, so in our household the favorites are spanikopita (greek spinach pie) and palaak paneer (Indian-style creamed spinach with cheese).
- Desiring hearty and filling?
- Legumes are a great comfort food substitute because they’re hearty and filling. Use tomato-based sauces to add flavor.
Some thought starters:
a. Red lentils are creamy and a little sweet. If you’re used to cooking with brown lentils, note that these cook much faster and their texture will be similar to mashed potatoes when cooked.
b. Want the simplest meal ever? Put some diced potatoes and chickpeas into a casserole pan, season with salt and pepper, cover with your favorite tomato sauce and throw in the oven.
- Want Savory?
- Greek yogurt substitutes really well for sour cream in savory dishes.
Try it in your next dip, or do a dollop on a baked potato.
- Need Different, Exotic, Nutritional?
- Try making injera, a sourdough-risen flatbread eaten in Ethiopia that has a unique, spongy texture perfect for soaking up stews and sauces.
It’s eaten as finger food. Just dip, eat, and enjoy fewer eating utensils to wash after the fact!