Canadian winter is cold, and even though spring is just around the corner (hopefully), it’s nice to indulge in delicious comfort foods when we’re feeling chilly, exhausted or experiencing the long winter blues.

Most traditional comfort foods are loaded in white carbohydrates, refined sugars, heavy creams and rancid oils, which actually only further contribute to our low energy and fatigue. After we eat our favorite comfort foods we tend to feel heavy and bloated as we slowly slip into a deep food coma. Comfort foods don’t have to be unhealthy, nor do they have to make you feel awful afterwards. Here are three great ways to eat the comfort foods you love and still feel great.

salty-sweet-potato-fries

Salty Sweet Potato Fries

Most french fries are deep-fried, which is what makes them delicious but it’s also what makes them carcinogenic. When fried at a high heat, acrylamide forms, which is a chemical compound that has been linked to cancer in animal studies. Enjoy these delicious french fries without the frying and without the starchy white potato.

Ingredients:

3 sweet potatoes
3 parsnips
1 tsp dried italian spices or dried rosemary
sea salt to taste
3 Tbsp avocado or grapeseed oil

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Slice the potatoes and parsnips into thin strips.  Leave the skin on for extra fiber.
3. Place the potatoes and parsnips on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper.
4. Lay the fries out and drizzle with oil, sea salt and herbs.  Make sure the potatoes and parsnips are not over crowded, this will make them soggy and they will not cook well.
5. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes until slightly crisp.

Savoury Vegetable Pie

Traditional savoury pies tend to have a lot of dairy, which for many is very, very difficult to digest. Overdoing it on the dairy can actually create congestion in the body all the way from the respiratory tract to the digestive tract. Many people are also sensitive to gluten, causing negative inflammatory reactions within the body. Eat a vegetable pie without the guilt and without the inflammation.

Ingredients:

Crust:
1 cup chickpea flour (garbanzo flour)
½ cup rolled oats
2 Tbsp sesame seeds
4 Tbsp grapeseed or avocado oil
3 Tbsp water
1/8 tsp sea salt

Filling:
1 sweet potato, cubed
1 zucchini, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups spinach
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp coconut oil
2 cups white beans

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Mix together the crust ingredients.  Spread out in a pie dish that is oiled or is covered in parchment paper. Bake in the oven for 5-10 minutes, until slightly firm.
3. While the crust is baking, prepare the vegetables. Chop the sweet potato into cubes and steam in a small pot until soft, then mash.
4. Chop the other vegetables and saute in a pan with the spices and beans until lightly cooked.
5. Pour the vegetable and bean mixture into the crust. Carefully spread the sweet potato mixture out over top.
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Slice and serve.

Shepherd’s Pie

Traditionally, this is a very simple dish with ground beef and white potatoes as the main ingredients.  For some, beef can be hard to process and digest. It is a heavy and hearty meat that doesn’t work with all bodies. White potatoes are a staple in many people’s diets, although they don’t offer a ton of nutritional value compared to some other starchy veggies. Try this shepherd’s pie for some added cruciferous vegetable goodness.

Ingredients:

Topping:
1 head cauliflower, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic
¼ tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Filling:
1 lb ground turkey
1 yellow onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 cup soup stock
1 cup kale, finely chopped (optional)
2 Tbsp grapeseed oil or avocado oil

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Place roughly chopped cauliflower in a pot with about ½ cup water.  The water should not cover the cauliflower, just enough so that the cauliflower will steam. Cover the pot and place on medium heat for about 3-5 minutes until cauliflower is soft.
3. Once cauliflower is steamed throw it in a food processor with garlic, sea salt and extra virgin olive oil.  Blend until smooth. If you don’t have a food processor then mash with a masher or a fork.
4. Place a saute pan on medium heat and pour in 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil or avocado oil. Add the onion, carrots and celery and saute for 5-7 minutes until onions are really translucent.
5. Add the ground turkey and cook until browned.  Use the back of a spoon to break up the turkey and mix around so it is evenly cooked.
6. Add the tomato paste, Dijon mustard, and soup stock.  If the broth is low sodium, add a pinch of sea salt.
7. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
8. Oil a casserole dish and layer in the turkey mixture and then spread the mashed cauliflower on top.  Use a fork to texture the top of the cauliflower. Bake for 40 minutes.

tamara-green-living-kitchen

Tamara Green is co-founder of The Living Kitchen, and a Holistic Nutritionist and Natural Cook. She combines her knowledge of nutrition and passion for cooking good food to work with clients to create lasting changes in their lives. 

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