22 Comfort Food Dinners for Weight Loss
Comfort food can be healthy thanks to these delicious dinner recipes. Whether it's classics like mac and cheese or chili, these dinner recipes are warming, light on calories and packed with fiber to make them weight-loss friendly. Recipes like Slab Chicken Potpie and Beef Stroganoff are a lighter take on the comfort and flavor of your favorite dishes.
Cheesy Chipotle-Cauliflower Mac
You'll barely notice the cauliflower in this comforting skillet pasta--it's pureed and mixed into the creamy cheese sauce.
White Turkey Chili
This healthy white turkey chili recipe is gorgeous, with flecks of green from zucchini, oregano and green chiles. To keep the saturated fat low, we use one pound of ground turkey and add whole-grain bulgur to boost the volume and fiber in this chili recipe. After all the ingredients are added to the pot, we like to slowly simmer our chili for close to an hour to develop the best flavor, but if you're in a hurry, reduce the liquid by half and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes.
This quick and healthy lasagna soup recipe has all the comforting flavors of classic lasagna with plenty of tomatoes, Italian turkey sausage and lasagna noodles broken into bite-size bits. A dollop of ricotta cheese mixed with mozzarella and Parmesan adds a creamy finishing touch. Serve the soup with a green salad and crusty bread to sop up what's left in the bowl for an easy healthy dinner that's ready in under 30 minutes.
Slab Chicken Potpie
Slab fruit pies are all the rage for summer parties, so why not give classic chicken potpie the same treatment and create buzz at a cool-weather gathering as well. Premade pie crusts and frozen veggies make this chicken dinner easy to prepare without sacrificing flavor.
Spaghetti with Quick Meat Sauce
Instead of opening a jar of sauce, try this easy spaghetti with meat sauce on a weeknight. Serve with steamed broccoli and garlic bread. The recipe makes enough for 8 servings. If you're serving only four for dinner, cook 8 ounces of spaghetti and freeze the leftover sauce.
Cornbread-Topped Chili Casserole
In this healthy casserole recipe--sometimes called tamale pie--the cornbread gets crusty at the edges, thanks to a cast-iron skillet. For the best texture, use yellow cornmeal with a medium grind. Serve with lime wedges for a little extra tang.
Butternut Squash Soup with Apple Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Layering apple slices into grilled cheese sandwiches adds a little crunch to a favorite soup dipper. And creamy butternut squash soup with ginger, cumin and turmeric is a nice change of pace from grilled cheese's usual tomato soup partner. Serve the duo for a comforting and easy weeknight dinner for the family. The soup keeps well in the fridge, so save leftovers for lunch or dinner later in the week.
A little tender beef goes a long way when it is supplemented with flavorful mushrooms and enriched with a robust sauce in this healthy stroganoff.
Skillet Chili Mac
Poblanos add a kick of heat to this chili mac recipe. If that's not your thing, swap in green bell peppers to tone down the heat in this easy pasta dish, which mashes up mac and cheese and chili into a seriously satisfying skillet dinner.
Loaded Garden Pizz'alad
Here a garden salad packed with lettuce, bell pepper and avocado rests atop a provolone cheese pizza. And it's all drizzled with tangy homemade ranch dressing. We recommend a knife, fork and plenty of napkins to dig into this pizz'alad! Using bread flour gives the pizza crust a crisp and sturdy structure, but all-purpose flour works well in its place. For a gluten-free pizza crust variation, see Tips.
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.
This classic French stew recipe is typically made with a variety of meats and simmered over the course of multiple days. In this easy, streamlined cassoulet, the slow cooker makes it a breeze to have a healthy dinner on the table when you get home.
Firehouse Frito Pie
Classic Frito pie is a pile of Fritos topped with beefy chili and runny cheese often made straight in the chip bag! Our refined and lightened version is fresh-tasting and delicious. A whole 1/2 cup of chili powder gives it plenty of punch, but be sure to use mild chili powder. If you have spicier chili powder, start with 1 to 2 tablespoons and taste as you go. Top with tomato, lettuce and just a little cheese (hold the Whiz, please).
Beer-Battered Fish Tacos with Tomato & Avocado Salsa
Lovers of fried fish get the taste without all the calories, and the salsa adds a fresh, clean note. To complete the Baja theme, serve with black beans, some diced mango and a bit of light sour cream.
EatingWell's Eggplant Parmesan
Here we bake breaded eggplant for crispy results with fewer calories to boot. This makeover of the classic recipe was originally developed by our Test Kitchen in 1995 and got an update in 2020 for our 30th anniversary issue.
Sweet Potato Mac & Cheese
Fiber-rich sweet potato is used as the base for the cheese sauce in this healthy, homemade macaroni and cheese recipe. The bright orange color tricks your eyes into thinking this healthy macaroni and cheese recipe is loaded with cheese, but there's actually only about half as much cheese as compared to a traditional recipe.
Nonna's Spaghetti & Meatballs
The meatballs and sauce are cooked in the slow cooker for this traditional Italian spaghetti and meatballs recipe. You could also serve the meatballs over creamy polenta or on a sandwich with melted provolone.
Beans & Greens Enchiladas
Any type of canned bean will work in these easy layered enchiladas, but our favorite combination is a mix of black and pinto beans. Serve as a vegetarian main dish or as a tasty side for roasted pork or chicken.
Here we take basic lasagna ingredients--ricotta cheese, pasta and tomatoes--and skip the layering and long baking time to make a super-quick and satisfying meal for the whole family. To cut down on prep time, look for presliced mushrooms. For meat lovers, brown some crumbled turkey sausage along with the onions and garlic. Serve with: Steamed broccoli and whole-grain baguette.
Cauliflower Grilled Cheese with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
A jar of sun-dried tomatoes does double duty in this healthy sandwich recipe--the oil coats roasted cauliflower florets with flavor, while the chopped bits of tomato add color and bursts of umami. Don't have a panini maker? Cook these grilled cheese sandwiches in a skillet over medium heat. Place another skillet on top, weighted down with four 15-ounce cans, to press them.
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.
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.