Cozy Comfort Foods

Comforts foods – for each one us they may be different. Comfort foods come in all shapes, sizes and flavors, for instance; some may find sweets like chocolate chip cookies to be comforting while someone else might prefer the heartiness and savoriness of beef stew. Is there a way to turn your comfort food into a deliciously healthy meal? With just a few modifications like adding more veggies or swapping out a higher fat ingredient for a lower fat ingredient can help you indulge without extra fat and calories.


Here are a few of my favorite recipe swaps:

Instead of…. Choose…
Sour cream Low fat Greek Yogurt or low fat sour cream
Butter Olive oil for savory dishes, applesauce in baked dishes
Refined grains such as white flour   or white rice Whole grains like whole wheat, brown rice, quinoa, barley
High fat meats Skinless poultry, lean beef, 93% lean ground turkey, tofu
Mashed potatoes Prepare using half mashed cauliflower with half potatoes
Spaghetti Spaghetti Squash


Did you know? According to a recent study by Cornell University researchers, women and men seek out different comfort foods. Men crave mixtures of salt, protein, & fat like pizza and steak. Women seek out high fat & sugar foods like chocolate, ice cream, and cookies. What are you favorites?


Chickpea Stew with Kale and Chorizo


You will be wowed with the flavor in this simple stew. You can use traditional Spanish chorizo or you can sub a lower fat option like vegan sausage, which is what I did.

Makes: 4 side dish servings or 2 hearty entrée size portions



  • 2 cups canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • One 28-ounce can Italian tomatoes, chopped, 1 cup juice reserved
  • 1/2 pound soft cooked chorizo, sliced 1/4 inch thick OR Vegan Sausage (I used Tofurky® brand)
  • 10 ounces Kale, thick stems discarded, leaves torn
  • 1 Tbsp smoked sweet paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. In a medium, enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic, onion, rosemary and bay leaf and cook over moderate heat until the onion is softened, about 7 minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes and cook over moderately high heat until sizzling, about 4 minutes. Add the chorizo, the chickpeas and 1 cup broth and the tomato juice and bring to a simmer. Stir in half of the kale and cook until wilted, then stir in the remaining kale. Simmer over moderately low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper.

Recipe by: Jacqueline Gomes, MBA, RDN