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Top 5 Warming Winter Comfort Foods


Hello Wintery weather! With the cold change in weather and shorter hours of daylight comes a natural shift in our energy levels- I say go with it, winter is the time to rest and restore, hibernate a little.

If you feel like bunkering down for the colder months, eating comfort foods and wondering what foods to eat but also avoid adding that extra winter layer. Here are my top 5 healthy comfort foods for winter.. enjoy nutrient dense foods that will fuel and sustain your body and energy throughout the winter months.

1. Masoor Daal Masoor Daal or red lentils are the fastest cooking of all lentils, they do not need pre-soaking and are also light and easy to digest. This simple daal is very quick and easy to make and is absolutely delicious!

Gluten free, serves 2-3

Ingredients:

2 tsp ghee or coconut oil

1 tsp turmeric

5 curry leaves

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp ground cumin or garam masala

1 tsp salt

1 tsp raw sugar (unrefined) or jaggery

1 cup red lentils

1 medium tomato, diced

a handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped (optional)

Instructions:

Rinse the lentils in the saucepan 3-4 times until the water runs clear. Add 3-4 cups boiling water and cook over low-medium heat for 15 mins or until the lentils have lost their form. In a separate pan, heat up the ghee then add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. When the mustard seeds are popping, add the garlic and tomato and cook until the tomatoes disintegrate.

Add the turmeric and cook for another 30 seconds then add the mixture to the lentil pan. Add the salt, sugar and ground cumin/garam masala to the daal and cook for another 5 mins until looking smooth and delicious.

Add a handful of fresh coriander if you wish. Serve with rice, red rice or flat breads.

OPTIONAL: Another option, if you wish to include veggies is to add some fresh green beans – topped and tailed and cut into 3cm long pieces. Add these to the daal at the same time as the spice mixture. Alternatively, serve with steamed greens on the side

*Warmth- The Cookbook

2. Two Pot Kicharee

Kicharee is considered the perfect staple meal in Ayurveda. This two-pot version is incredibly quick and easy to prepare... and you can eat it everyday if you like!

Serves 2-3, gluten free

Ingredients:

1 tsp ghee or coconut oil

1 tsp turmeric

6 curry leaves

1/8 tsp asafoetida / hing (optional)

1/2 tsp mustard seeds

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground fennel

1 brown onion, finely chopped

2 tbsp dry roasted shredded coconut

1/2 cup basmati rice

1/2 cup split moong daal a handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped

Instructions: Rinse the rice and daal in the saucepan 3-4 times until the water runs clear. Add 4-5 cups of water from a recently boiled kettle. Bring to the boil and simmer until the daal has broken down and the rice is completely cooked.

In a second smaller pot, heat the ghee over low heat then add the curry leaves and mustard seeds. When the seeds are popping, add the onion and sauté until soft and golden. Now add the hing, ground cumin, coriander, fennel and the turmeric. Stir for a minute then add the mixture (called a “chonk”) to the pot of moong daal and rice. Add a little boiling water to the onion/spice pot and swish it around to mop up the remaining spices and turmeric and add this to the kicharee pot. Also add the dry roasted coconut to the pot.

Now add the salt and cook the kicharee for a further 5 mins so the flavour of the spices is infused into the daal and rice. When cooked, add the coriander and serve warm with a pinch of salt, a tsp of ghee, a squeeze of lemon and some chilli-free chutney. It is also great with some lightly steamed greens on the side.

*Warmth- The Cookbook

3. Spiced Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients:

1/4 cup (60ml) melted virgin coconut oil

1 onion, thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1 medium eggplant (aubergine), cut into 2cm cubes

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

3 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon garam marsala3cm piece ginger, peeled and finely grated

1 cup split red lentils3 cups (750ml) water or vegetable stock1 carrot, finely chopped

2 small zucchini, (courgettes), finely chopped

1/4 cups frozen or podded peassea salt, to taste

600g cauliflower, cut into florets

1/4 teaspoon of ground turmeric

1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 4 hours, then drained​

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 200 ºC (180 ºC fan-forced).

Heat half the oil in a large, deep frying pan over medium- high heat. add the onion and sáute for 5 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and sáute for 1 minute more. Transfer the onion and garlic to a plate.​

Heat the remaining oil in the pan, then add the eggplant and cook, tossing occasionally, for 5 minutes or until golden brown all over. Transfer the eggplant to a separate plate.​

Add the mustard and cumin seeds to the pan, cover and cook for 1-2 minutes or until the mustard seeds begin to pop. Remove the lid and add the tomato and garam masala. Cook for 5 minutes or until the tomato is soft and most of the liquid has evaporated. Add the ginger, lentils, water or stock, carrot, onion mixture and eggplant.Cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer for 5 minutes, then add the zucchini and peas and cook for a further 5 minutes or until the vegetables are just tender and the lentils are cooked through.Season with salt.​

Meanwhile, half-fill a large saucepan with water and bring to the boil over high heat. Put the cauliflower florets in a steamer basket and cook for 10 minutes or until tender.Transfer the cauliflower to a food processor with the turmeric and drained cashews. Blend until smooth (the nuts will provide a slightly rough texture), then season with sea salt to taste.​​

Put the vegetable mixture into an ovenproof dish. Spread the cauliflower mixture over the top of each. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cauliflower is golden and vegetable mixture is bubbling. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly before serving.

*The Whole Pantry'- Belle Gibson

4. Chicken and Veggie Soup

Ingredients:

1 spanish onion

4 cloves of garlic

1 table spoon of freshly grated ginger

1 cup of fresh coriander mix stems and leaves

1 heaped table spoon of coconut oil

½ butternut pumpkin, chopped

1 red or green Capsicum

1 zucchini

2 Organic vegetable stock cubes

2 medium free-range chicken breast

Optional for extra flavor:•fresh chili, ground cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, turmeric and garam masala, tomato, mushrooms, rocket, spinach, squash, celery, any other seasonal vegetables or culinary herb your heart desires!

Instructions:

Add coconut oil to a large saucepan on a medium heat.

Add garlic, onion, ginger, coriander and other herbs until onion is golden brown, mix ingredients together.

Add all other ingredients and mix together. Dissolve the stock cubes in 2-3 cups of boiling water, if you want thick soup use less water.

Add stock to the rest of the ingredients in the saucepan, and turn heat up, bring to a boil.

Optional: Once at boil turn down to simmer for 15-20min.Leave to cool for 15min, leave as is or mix in blender.

To eat:Garnish with a dollop of goats’ yogurt, some unsalted mixed nuts and coriander leaves. YUM!

5. Chunky Banana Buckwheat Pancakes​

Gluten free

Makes 6 pancakes

Ingredients:

3 medium bananas

1 egg

1/2 cup buckwheat flour

1/2 cup hazelnut or almond milk

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 pear or green apple

Dollop of natural sheep yogurt

Instructions:

Mash the 3 bananas in a medium sized baking bowel, leave some chucky bits- this will add pockets of flavor throughout your pancakes. Mix in the egg, flour, milk nutmeg and cinnamon.

Pour a light coconut oil into a frying pan and place over high heat. Carefully pour in one-sixth of batter, swirling it in the pan to make a thin layer. Reduce the heat slightly and when the underside of the pancake is browned, flip it over to brown the other side. move from the pan and keep warm while makings even more pancakes from the remaining batter, oiling the pan with coconut oil as needed.

Serve the pancakes warm with grated apple or thin slices of pear, add a dollop of natural yogurt, a sprinkle of nutmeg, cinnamon and buckwheat kernels.


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