Healthy food is great all year round, but the holidays call for special occasion meals. Make some of the best comfort food for the holidays with these recipe ideas. You’ll please everyone who visits your house and even discover a few new foods that could become annual favorites.
Families often make ham for Christmas, but you could give your loved ones a fun twist by making a glazed pork roast. The sweet and savory brown sugar dijon seasoning will make your mouth water, especially with the peeled apple splices marinating the meat as it cooks. The hidden healthy fruit will decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease even as you pair your roast with indulgent sides or desserts.
If you’re making Shepherd’s Pie for your holiday party this year, make a version for your vegan friends and family too. It’s one of the classic comfort foods that’s easy to make without animal products. Substitute lentils, plant-based beef products or diced mushrooms for ground beef and top the pie with mashed potatoes made with Russet potatoes or mashed cauliflower. Don’t forget to top it with a heaping spoonful of vegan butter.
Mashed potatoes are an expected part of many holiday meals. Indulge with the same ingredients but half the work. Roasted garlic parmesan potatoes feature Italian seasoning and diced potatoes, plus cheese, parsley, garlic butter and your choice of bacon bits. They’ll soften on the inside and crisp on the outside by cooking in your oven while you finish the other parts of your next holiday meal.
Some of the best comfort foods for the holidays come in fun shapes. When you finish making stocking-shaped sugar cookies and reindeer-shaped pancakes, use puff pastry sheets to make a Christmas tree. They’ll contain a mixture of spinach and cheese to create the ultimate appetizer, especially if you have vegetarian loved ones stopping by for a party.
Merge two classic desserts into one pie this year for the holidays. Brownies and pudding mix make a quick dessert that’s rich enough to last more than a day or two in a house full of people. Pair each serving with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and you’ll become everyone’s favorite holiday host.
Mac and cheese is one of the ultimate comfort foods. It’s great all year round, but especially during the winter holidays. Warm your bones with each cheesy bite and savor the subtle pumpkin flavor by mixing pumpkin puree into the cheese sauce.
This comfort food doubles as a vegetarian meal that keeps everyone full with fiber, nutrients and essential minerals. You could even make this recipe vegan by using pasta made without milk or eggs and vegan cheese.
When people think of the winter holidays, two colors come to mind — green and red. Make delicious cookie bars and transform them into Christmas treats with red and green M&Ms. Everyone will love each delightful bite. It could even become a cute Instagram post if you pair your cookie bars with a glass of milk for Santa.
Soups are sometimes the best comfort foods for the holidays. You can make so many kinds and they don’t take much time. All you need is something to dip into your soups, chowders and stews.
Try making cheesy garlic pull-apart bread before ladling dinner into bowls for your loved ones. All you have to do is cut canned biscuit dough into squares before layering them in a pan with cheese and garlic butter. Everyone will love pulling the bread apart for dipping, but you can also make some just for yourself on a cold winter’s night.
Add Russet potatoes, sharp cheddar cheese and thick bacon slices to your grocery list before everyone arrives for your next holiday gathering. They’re the key ingredients to creamy baked potato soup. Chop and fry your bacon to your preferred crispiness before sprinkling them over portioned bowls for everyone to enjoy. It’s a quick recipe that will leave you with extra time to pamper yourself and decrease your stress before the holiday madness begins again.
You don’t need to make a last-minute run to a dessert shop if you love fudge. Combine sweetened condensed milk with white chocolate baking pieces until the chocolate melts. It can cool in your fridge within a casserole dish lined with parchment paper.
Mix red and green sprinkles into it while the fudge is warm or scatter them over the top for extra holiday fun. If you adore candy canes, crush one or two into fine pieces. This fudge looks and tastes great when topped with the red and white holiday treat.
Enjoy the Best Comfort Foods for the Holidays
Once you know which comfort foods are calling your name, make a few before the holidays end. Whether you try an appetizer, dinner or dessert, you’ll have delicious menu options ready for every gathering and party.
Beth is the Managing Editor and content manager at Body+Mind. She shares knowledge on a variety of topics related to nutrition, healthy living, and anything food-related. In her spare time, Beth enjoys trying out new fitness trends and recipes.