Comfort dishes are best prepared and served in the winter, providing consolation, and relieving the stress associated with the chilly weather. In this sense, comfort dishes offer a solution to winter cravings that naturally occur in people who live in places where the cold season hits hard.
If you think of a dish best served in mid-December up to March, the first thing that comes to mind is hot pots. But there’s a bunch of other sumptuous options, too.
Fill your tummy and warm your heart with these easy dishes Chef Don Guthro has for you:
1 – Sweet Potato Curry and Chickpeas Basked in Lime
Sweet potato curry is a staple in North American winters, but you can give it a little twist by adding some chickpeas and savour in lime.
Kids love the creamy yet mild curry flavour. It’s also hot, which makes it a perfect comfort dish as soon as outdoor temperatures go down. This dish works well with any carbohydrate you find, i.e., rice and noodles. Don’t forget to throw in garlic, onions, and ginger to increase the dish’s immunity-boosting content.
2 – Pasta e Fagioli
Soup is the epitome of comfort dishes for winter. Bring out your creativity by cooking pasta e fagioli – a pot highlighted by thick pasta and bean-based soup. You’ll need some vegetables in it to add to the nutritional value. This past and bean soup combo feels like a warm hug on a cold night. It sure is a hearty meal, yet it won’t break the bank.
3 – Cottage Pie with Vegetables
Cottage pie is a regular in the winter dinner table. While you’re probably familiar with the carbohydrate-filled classic version, why not add some vegetables to strike a balance? With the ground beef and potatoes in place, you can add lentils, red peppers, and even baby turnips. You’ll achieve the same great taste but with little guilt. Start small if it’s your first time; but if you’ve made one before, try making a giant cottage pie that feeds up to seven people.
4 – Pumpkin Soup with Cashews
We can’t get enough of soup when it comes to comfort food. Another entry in this list is the classic pumpkin soup garnished with cashews. If you want that added kick, add some coconut milk and coriander. It’s best to roast the cashews first to bring out the flavour. This one’s different from most soups that you’ve grown accustomed to because there’s no hint of meat. You can have this as a pre-dinner snack or anytime you feel like it’s getting colder outside.
5 – One Pot Pasta with Kale and Lemon
Pasta savoured with almonds and kale is the definition of a quick dinner, but it’s far from bland. Bring your creamy one-pot pasta to life by adding a squeeze of lemon, while the kale gives it colour and much-needed vegetable. It’s an ideal comfort dish that anyone can make in the winter in about thirty minutes or less. You can also experiment with other ingredients but be sure they all cook at the same time to achieve that perfect texture.
6 – Congee with Chili Oil on the Side
Congee isn’t a staple in this part of the world, but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying this hearty meal on a cold night. It’s made from rice and can go with just about anything, including meat and vegetables. If you’re looking to cut on carbs, go for brown rice as your base. The key element of congee is the side, which in this case must be chili oil. Top the chili oil along with fried onions or toasted garlic to mimic a classic Asian comfort dish.
7 – Linguini with Roasted Tomato Sauce
We all have our fair share of linguini, usually with clams and shrimp. This classic comfort dish is quite versatile that you can add whatever you want. Stick with the intangibles, i.e., basil and cheese, but substitute the standard sauce with a roasted tomato sauce variety. You’d be surprised at the explosion of flavors brought by the roasted tomatoes, red onion, and garlic. It’s an excellent option for those cold winter afternoons.
8 – Chocolate Cookies
With chocolate cookies, what could go wrong? Kids love crinkles any time of the year, but you’ll appreciate it more as comfort food in the winter. Use dark chocolate for your cookies; enjoy them dense and fudgy. If you’re up for the challenge, try making the famous cracked shell by rolling your dough in icing sugar. Don’t feel guilty with the sugar since you’re using dark chocolate. Thicken the coating to achieve a fancy result.
9 – Beef Stew in Red Wine
Beef stew with potatoes is another classic comfort dish that everyone can do at home. It’s arguably one of the most flavorful dinner options in the winter, but it can get boring at times. Make it enjoyable by adding a generous amount of red wine and cheese. You’ll get more out of the beef, and you’ll have a splendid meal in no time.
10 – French Onion Soup
French onion soup is an underrated comfort dish in the winter since most people are fond of the classic version. The French version is vegetarian, but don’t mistake it to be devoid of flavour. So, if you’re into healthier comfort food amid winter, this one’s worth the try.
Comfort dishes for the winter are more than just a way to keep you warm. They’re full of flavour and aren’t difficult to prepare. Whether it is a tasty bowl of soup or a warm plate of pasta and pudding, you’ll learn that there’s fun while staying indoors.