Winter’s here and our appetites for warm, scrumptious food are increasing. The long, dark days and what seems like never-ending rain make us all feel like we need a hug on the inside.

We want to reach for comfort foods; those go-to sweets or treats than induce feelings of happiness, one mouthful at a time. But when those gastronomical cuddles bring calories as well as contentment, you find yourself sharing more in common with Santa than just the excitement for Christmas. Suddenly, the trusty waist belt becomes top of your wish list and you are willing to consider the option of travelling to all appointments in an open top, animal-led vehicle rather than walk.

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Being vegetarian has its pros and cons. On the one hand, getting 5 of your 5-a-day is easy; on the other, some restaurants’ interpretation of the dietary requirement is just a plate of veg. Or chips with a side of fries.
But search no more, we’ve scoured books, the internet and bothered grandparents everywhere to bring you our Top 3 Veggie Comfort Food Recipes. And the bonus? They’re all healthy!
First up, an oldie but a goodie:
Bangers and Mash (serves 4)
 
Ingredients:
 
  • 8 x quorn (or vegetarian alternative) sausages
  • Sunflower oil

  • 700 g Russet potatoes

  • 3 garlic cloves

  • Creme fraiche

  • 150ml semi-skimmed milk

  • Chopped parsley and chives

  • Salt and pepper to taste

     

Method: 

  • Pre-heat the grill to a medium setting, brush the sausages with oil & cook for 8 minutes, turning frequently. 
  • Meanwhile, boil the potatoes and garlic in salted water until tender. Drain, return to the pan and steam-dry for a few mins. Mash well, then stir through the creme fraiche (much better for you than butter), herbs and seasoning, adding the milk gradually, for a softer consistency. 
  • Serve with an onion stock gravy and broccoli or asparagus. 
  • Next up: Smokey Grilled Pizza (Serves 2 if you’re feeling generous; 1 if you’re ‘hungry’). 

 

comfort food recipes

Ingredients:

  • Wholemeal pizza base

  • Light mozzarella ball, shredded

  • Olive oil

  • 1 aubergine / eggplant, cut crosswise into 1-inch-thick slices

  • 1 medium courgette / zucchini, cut crosswise into 1-inch-thick slices

  • 1 large red bell pepper, quartered and seeded

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • 350 g pizza base sauce

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 85 g fresh mint leaves

  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

Method :

  • Preheat the grill to high. 
  • Brush the aubergine, courgette and with oil. Grill aubergine for 4 minutes on each side; place in a bowl. Grill the courgette for 3 minutes on each side then add to eggplant. Place pepper quarters, skin side down, on grill rack; grill for 6 minutes and add to vegetable mixture. Coarsely chop all the vegetables before adding the garlic and tossing to combine.
  • Grill the pizza base for 4 minutes, remove and spread the sauce evenly over, Add the shredded cheese and pre-grilled vegetables. Return pizza to grill rack, and grill for 4 minutes or until thoroughly cooked. Cut pizza into 10 pieces; sprinkle with mint and thyme. 
  • Peanut Butter and Chocolate Protein Brownies (no baking required!) 

Lastly, who doesn’t love Brownies?

And yes they can be good for you. By using key ingredients that contain high levels of protein, this will be the perfect snack to satiate any sweet cravings and fill you up.

Ingredients: 

  • 75 g oats

  • 150 g dates

  • 50 g dried blueberries

  • 25 g walnuts

  • 25 almonds

  • 75 g whey protein

  • 30 g coconut oil

  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder

  • 75 g crunchy peanut butter

  • 3 squares of melted 90% cocoa

Method 

  • Whiz all the ingredients, except for the peanut butter and dark chocolate, together in a blender.  Using a spatula, spread the picture onto baking paper with a 2” thickness. 
  • Spread peanut butter over the mixture and then melt the dark chocolate and drizzle across the top sparingly. 
  • Place in the fridge to set for a few hours. Remove and slice up.

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