There’s a reason it’s called comfort food. It makes us feel good. But those same meals that feel satisfying aren’t often known for their nutritional balance. Too often a healthy comfort food recipe makeover removes something that made it taste so good in the first place. Think a dry turkey burger or how low-fat cheese doesn’t melt right on noodles.
Our registered dietitian, Sandy Wolner, set out to makeover three classic comfort foods—burgers, mashed potatoes, and mac and cheese. With the right ingredient substitutions and additions, she gives each recipe more nutritional value and flavor without taking away their comfort food qualities.
Beef & Mushroom Sliders
Sandy has found lots of creative ways to make blended burgers, but mushrooms are a family favorite because they add juiciness and an umami, meaty flavor. Sandy likes that mushrooms are rich in B vitamins and antioxidants like selenium, which help support a healthy immune system.
Pumpkin Mac & Cheese
Sandy’s simple cheese sauce includes a can of pumpkin puree. This extra ingredient gives your mac and cheese added vitamin A, which supports your immune system. The cheese sauce also tastes great on vegetables or nachos.
Cauliflower & Mashed Potatoes
- 1½ lbs. (700 g) russet potatoes, peeled (about 3 medium)
- ½ cup (125 mL) vegetable broth
- 2 cups (500 mL) cauliflower florets (6 oz./175 g)
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) skim milk
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) plain nonfat Greek yogurt or sub sour cream
- 2–3 (30–45 mL) tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp (2 mL) kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp (1 mL) black pepper
- Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise. Add potatoes and broth to the Rockcrok® Dutch Oven. Microwave, covered for 11 minutes.
- Rotate the potatoes and add the cauliflower. Microwave, covered, until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 7–9 minutes.
- Coarsely mash the potato and cauliflower mixture. Add the milk, Greek yogurt, butter, and salt and pepper
Sandy’s Recipe Tips
- Cook mushrooms first to cook out the liquid. This concentrates their flavor.
- Mashed potatoes are a blank canvas. Try adding Parmesan, garlic, rosemary, or whatever seasonings you like.
- When adding canned pumpkin to a recipe, check that you use pumpkin puree and not canned pumpkin pie mix which has added sugar.
- Canned pumpkin is convenient to use and just as nutritionally valuable as fresh pumpkin.