Low-Calorie Comfort Food Recipes
Nashville Hot Chicken
Fried chicken gets a hearty kick of heat and a slash in calories and sodium with this healthy baked chicken recipe. Serve the crispy chicken as they do in Nashville--with soft bread and dill pickle slices--or alongside a green salad with blue cheese dressing to help cool down the spiciness.
Butternut Squash Queso Fundido
This cheesy dip recipe is lightened up by subbing mashed butternut squash for some of the melted cheese. We also loaded it with chili-spiced caramelized onions. Serve this healthy makeover with tortilla chips or sliced jicama for dipping.
Chipotle Beef Tacos with Tomato-Avocado Pico de Gallo
These spicy chipotle tacos are the perfect choice for your next taco night. You can substitute ground turkey for the beef if you'd like, but either way, you'll want to make sure each bite includes a bit of the homemade pico de gallo.
Slow-Cooked Beef with Carrots & Cabbage
In this main-dish recipe, the pot roast is slow-cooked with carrots and low-sodium beef broth. Toward the end of the cooking time, shredded cabbage is added in to round out the meal. Each of the two servings has just 215 calories.
Mac & Cheese with Charred Broccoli & Onion
In this recipe we've taken basic macaroni and cheese to a whole new level. Charred broccoli and onions are added to cooked elbow pasta, mixed together in a mustardy cheese sauce and cooked on a sheet-pan in the oven. Simple to make, and not much to clean up!
Salmon & Crab Cakes
These craveworthy fish cakes are made with a blend of crabmeat and pink salmon and coated with a panko-oat crust. Served on a bed of lemony arugula with a yogurt dip, this 45-minute entree is a great choice for a healthy family dinner.
Fresh Herb Shrimp Linguini
Have this fresh shrimp and pasta meal on the table in 30 minutes.
Bev's Chocolate Chip Cookies
EatingWell reader Beverley Sharpe of Santa Barbara, California, contributed this healthy chocolate chip cookie recipe. She gave chocolate chip cookies a healthy update by cutting back on sugar and incorporating whole grains. To increase protein, Sharpe replaces the rolled oats with 1 cup almond meal.
Apple-Cinnamon Mini Doughnuts
These bite-size baked apple doughnuts have all the flavor of their fried counterparts with fewer calories. Serve plain for breakfast, with an afternoon cup of coffee or alongside whipped cream for an after-dinner treat.
Banana-Chocolate Chip Pancakes
This healthy whole-grain buttermilk pancake recipe adds mini-chocolate chips and mashed banana to the 100% whole-wheat flour base. If you want to experiment with different types of whole grains, replace up to 1/2 cup of the whole-wheat flour with cornmeal, oats and/or buckwheat flour. Or add extra fiber and healthy omega-3 fats by adding up to 3 tablespoons of ground flaxseed or chia seeds.
Cauliflower Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Turn a comfort food classic into a healthier low-carb version packed with veggies. We use cauliflower rice to make gluten-free toast that holds together this green chile grilled cheese sandwich for a delicious and healthy dinner.
This simple tomato soup is perfect paired with your favorite grilled cheese sandwich. Make a double batch and freeze the extra for rainy-day emergencies.
Flatbread with Pesto & Mozzarella
This flatbread pizza serves two and is ready in under 30 minutes. Its topped with a homemade basil and almond pesto, sliced tomatoes and fresh mozzarella.
Cauliflower Mac & Cheese
There's no pasta here, but this gluten-free and low-carb cauliflower "mac & cheese" is as comforting and creamy as your family's favorite cheesy dish.
EatingWell's Eggplant Parmesan
This lighter take on eggplant parmesan maintains all the flavors of the classic dish but is baked instead of fried. There are also 11 grams of filling protein in this hearty vegetarian side dish.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirl Brownies
For bigger hits of chocolate goodness, use chopped bittersweet chocolate in place of the chips. Hold on to the leftover pumpkin puree--it's yummy stirred into your morning oatmeal or yogurt.
Root Vegetable Stew with Herbed Dumplings
This root vegetable stew is flecked with sausage and topped with whole-wheat herbed dumplings. Turn up the heat by using hot Italian sausage or make it crowd-pleasing with sweet sausage. If you find beets or turnips with their greens still attached, the greens of one bunch should yield just enough for this dish. Otherwise use whatever dark leafy greens look fresh at the market.
Lemon & Dill Chicken Noodle Soup
The addition of lemon and dill adds a welcome twist to this classic, slow-cooked chicken noodle soup recipe.
Lobster & Corn Chowder
The trick to making this healthy lobster chowder recipe have tons of rich flavor is to start with great fish stock. (The best is often in the freezer case at the supermarket.) Then cook the lobsters in the stock to intensify its flavor. There is no flour added in this healthy soup, so it's lighter than a typical creamy chowder--plus it's gluten-free.
EatingWell Sloppy Joes
Our updated Sloppy Joe takes lean ground beef and adds chopped cremini mushrooms and diced fresh plum tomatoes, all in a zesty sauce. Served on a whole-wheat bun, it's a hearty dinner sandwich that will please adults and kids alike.
Vegetarian Shepherd's Pies
These mini vegetarian shepherd's pies feature lentils, carrot and corn, crowned with a velvety mashed potato topping. The recipe can also be made in a broiler-safe casserole dish. Serve with a spinach salad with oranges, walnuts and red-wine vinaigrette.
Fettuccine with Creamy Mushroom Sauce
Any variety of mushroom will work in this creamy vegetarian pasta sauce, but we particularly like a combination of shiitake, oyster and cremini. Adding a few wild varieties, such as chanterelle or lobster mushrooms, will make the sauce extra-special.
Quick Chicken Cordon Bleu
To make traditional cordon bleu, you layer prosciutto (or other ham) and cheese in between thin slices of chicken or veal, then bread and sauté the whole stack. This quick, easy version keeps the flavors the same, but skips the fussy layering and breading steps. Serve with: Delicata squash and broccoli.
Chili-Topped Sweet Potatoes
Transform ordinary baked potatoes into a full dinner with these chili-topped spuds. In this healthy recipe, we use sweet potatoes for an added nutrient kick. Sprinkle on extra toppings as you see fit--sliced scallions, chopped fresh cilantro, diced avocado and sliced jalapeños are all tasty choices.
Creamy Garlic Pasta with Shrimp & Vegetables
Toss a garlicky, Middle Eastern-inspired yogurt sauce with pasta, shrimp, asparagus, peas and red bell pepper for a fresh, satisfying summer meal. Serve with: Slices of cucumber and tomato tossed with lemon juice and olive oil.
Boneless Buffalo Wings
Even though boneless Buffalo wings are made with healthy white-meat chicken, they're usually deep-fried and drenched in hot sauce laced with butter. The solution: chicken tenders are dredged in seasoned whole-wheat flour and cornmeal, pan-fried in only a small amount of oil and then drizzled with a tangy hot pepper sauce. With a fraction of the fat, calories and sodium, these boneless wings are reason enough to throw a party.
Red and green cabbage and bright orange carrots make a colorful, healthful combination. For an especially nutty flavor, use Savoy instead of regular green cabbage.
Spanakopita Loaded Potatoes
In this healthy take on twice-baked potatoes, spinach, feta, garlic and oregano are stuffed into the potato shells along with the mashed potatoes. Serve with steak or chicken sprinkled with oregano or marjoram.
Oven-Fried Fish & Chips
Fish and chips are traditionally sold wrapped in paper to soak up all the grease--not a good sign. To cut the calories in half and reduce the fat, we coat the delicate fish in a crispy cornflake crust and then bake it along with sliced potatoes. Serve with: Coleslaw and malt vinegar or lemon wedges.
We couldn't get enough of these crunchy onion rings in the EatingWell Test Kitchen. Try any seasoning blend that you have on hand to add flavor to the breading or substitute 1 teaspoon salt instead. Seasoned whole-wheat breadcrumbs are available in some supermarkets and natural-foods stores. If you can find them, try them in place of the plain breadcrumbs and seasoning blend.
Slow-Cooker French Onion Soup
In this genius slow-cooker soup recipe, two types of onions are caramelized for hours before adding a sherry-spiked broth. For a bistro-worthy presentation, ladle the soup into ovenproof crocks, top with the bread and cheese and broil.
Spinach & Sun-Dried Tomato Stuffed Pizza
This stuffed pizza is filled with crumbled tofu, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, cheese and fresh basil. It's easy to make stuffed pizza at home. Just roll the crust thin, spread filling over half and fold closed. To use fresh spinach, cook 10 ounces until just wilted; finely chop and squeeze dry. Serve with: Marinara sauce for dipping and mixed green salad.
Fried Apple Pie Rolls
In this healthy take on apple pie, wonton wrappers stand in for pie crust, saving you calories and the headache of rolling out dough. We like to use Granny Smith apples because they hold their shape and provide tart balance to the sweet filling. Try dipping these handheld crispy treats in whipped cream.