6 Healthy and Comforting Winter Recipes to Keep You Warm

In this video, the host shares healthy comfort food recipes for the winter season. She talks about using ingredients that are readily available at stores or in her pantry, focusing on whole foods. She demonstrates how to make a maple syrup steamer, oven-roasted winter vegetables, warm farro salad with walnuts and cranberries, creamy white bean chili, and homemade pizza with leftover roasted vegetables. The host emphasizes the importance of incorporating veggies into recipes and offers tips for reusing vegetable scraps after making homemade broth.

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Key Insights:

  • Winter is a great time to focus on healthy comfort foods, especially ones that are warming and nourishing.
  • During fasting seasons, it’s important to find meat-free and dairy-free recipes that are still delicious and satisfying.
  • Using high-quality ingredients like grass-fed cream and organic vegetables can make treats like whipped cream more beneficial for the body.
  • Making a steamer with warm milk, maple syrup, and cinnamon is a healthier alternative to hot chocolate or other toxic drinks.
  • Oven-roasted winter vegetables are a fantastic way to incorporate nutrients into your diet during the cold months.
  • Saving vegetable scraps and using them to make homemade broths is a great way to reduce waste and maximize nutrients.
  • Oven-roasted vegetables, such as honey nut squash, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, carrots, and red onions, can promote healthy skin during the winter.
  • Warm farro salads with walnuts and cranberries are a delicious and nourishing option for winter meals.
  • Homemade creamy white bean chili is a comforting and healthy dish that can be enjoyed by both meat eaters and vegetarians.
  • Making your own pizza dough allows you to control the ingredients and tailor it to your preferences, such as using in corn flour for a gluten-free option.
  • Repurposing leftover oven-roasted vegetables as pizza toppings is an easy and delicious way to enjoy them in a new way.


It’s freezing outside, so winter is definitely starting to set in. This week in the kitchen, it’s going to be all about healthy comfort food for the cold, cold days.

It is just so cold right now. Everything’s just completely frosted over, except for some of the garlic and onions that are growing safely in the high tunnel. Everything on the outside beds is just done for the season, for the most part, except for some turnips and carrots and just some of the heartier root vegetables. But other than that, I’m just using what I can get from the store, what I have in my house, in my pantry, fridge, and the freezer.

The warmer days are not in sight, so it’s time to just kind of hunker down and settle in for the winter. One of the best ways I know to help me embrace winter and the colder weather is by making some of our favorite warming meals that are still healthy and are going to keep us feeling good for the rest of the year.

So, all the recipes today are going to be meat-free, and then some of them are also going to be dairy-free because I’m an Orthodox Christian. If you’re new here, we are in the middle of fasting for Nativity, so it’s almost Christmas, and we fast from meat and dairy. Although we’re not perfect because we have kids, and so sometimes I’ll do dairy in our meals. It’s a very grace-filled thing we do. We don’t do it perfectly, but in our attempt to do it, some of the meals I make are going to be dairy-free and meat-free.

We are actually definitely big meat eaters, so when it’s not a fasting time, either Wednesdays or Fridays, we eat a lot of meat. I love just a nice protein-rich meal of meat and vegetables and a really nice healthy fat. That is my favorite combination of food. It just does wonders for how we feel and our energy and our bodies. So, I’m a big believer in that. But during the fasting seasons, lots of whole foods.

This video is definitely going to help you guys just eat more whole foods. It’s not necessarily one diet or the other, but it’s lots of real food. So, hopefully you guys will like this one. And pretty soon, there’s going to be a lot more meat recipes coming, so don’t be worried. That is definitely coming. But don’t be afraid to nourish your body with just real, whole plant foods because it does a million things and unlocks a million different processes in our bodies.

So, today I’m going to show you some ingredients that might be familiar to you. They might not be familiar, but pretty much every store should have a lot of these ingredients. I don’t try to cook with things that are super hard to find, and usually, if you can’t find them, you can order them online pretty easily from places like Amazon or Vitacost, Thrive Market, all those kinds of places usually have these more health food products. But a lot of them are just really simple and easy to find. I don’t like to buy crazy ingredients that I use just one time and then forget about in the pantry. I like to use things that are just regular staples.

So, this morning, I’m actually about to whip some whipped cream. And I know that may not sound healthy, but when you use high-quality ingredients like grass-fed cream, organic cream, these are actually really good for you and they have a lot of beneficial fats in them that help our brains and just help us function. So, this is something that I’m going to make mostly for the kids, but I love it too.

And it’s a Vermont-style pure maple syrup steamer. It’s really easy to make. It only takes a few whole food ingredients, and it is more of, like, a comforting treat, but they’re loaded with vitamins and minerals and good fats. And cinnamon, that helps balance your blood sugar. So, there’s a lot of beneficial things. And what I like to focus on is instead of having a toxic drink from the coffee shop or a hot chocolate packet or something like that, we could reach for this. And this is just a nice, comforting, cozy mug, especially for the kids because I’ve got four kids and they love warm drinks. But I like to give them something that’s a little bit more nourishing. And I love that it’s caffeine-free, too. So, we can have it at night, and just, like, under a blanket, drinking this mug.

So, back here on the stove, I have some milk that is just heating up. I just want it kind of warm and steamy. And then, to sweeten it, we’re going to use maple syrup. And we’re going to make it really creamy and cozy by whipping up some fresh whipped cream. And it really only takes a couple minutes to pull together. I start by heating up some whole grass-fed milk on my stove top. You can either do this in the stove top or in a steamer. You just want to make sure that it’s nice and heated through and steaming.

So, then, while that’s happening, I go ahead and put some heavy whipping cream in a bowl. And I just whip that up. And I add in a little bit of maple syrup to really drive home that maple syrup flavor. You can leave it plain, but we love just a little lightly-sweetened whipped cream on top. You could even add in a little sprinkle of cinnamon, but we do it plain. And then, I go ahead and add in maple syrup into that steaming milk right before we’re ready to serve.

So, after I pour that in a mug, I just like to top it with that kind of soft peak whipped cream. And then, I’ll top it with a little cinnamon. This is one of the best quality cinnamons. It really helps balance your blood sugar and it has lots of beneficial and anti-inflammatory properties in it. So, I love to use just as much as I can. It’s so great for you.

If you enjoy the flavor of maple syrup, you’re not going to believe just how good this is. It sounds so simple, but the maple syrup in the milk comes through so well. It’s like no other drink out there. And I really, I think everyone should try it. If you love maple syrup, you’re absolutely going to love this. It is so delicious. You can even take a cinnamon stick and simmer that on the stove in the milk too. You could do that. You can add cinnamon into the milk or just sprinkle it on top. I like it just like this. I just like a little cinnamon on top. And, oh, the flavor. This is like the epitome of a cozy winter day.

If you have small kids that tend to spill their hot drinks, I highly recommend these. These are stainless steel, and they have little silicone hand grips on the side so that they can grip it well. And then, they also come with silicone straws and little lids. But the really cool part about these is that they have a little piece on the straw. That way, the kids can’t pull it out and then spill it. This is especially helpful with my 2-year-old. So, I’ll leave these link down below for you guys if you’re looking for a cup like this during the cold winter months.

I love always having a sheet of oven-roasted winter vegetables in my fridge. That way, I can just really easily fill my body with the nutrients that it needs and craves during these cold months when our immune systems tend to kind of be down. So, I love taking just whatever’s in season, and you can kind of switch it up and play with the flavors. So, today, I’m using some honey-nut squash, a head of cauliflower, and some Brussels sprouts and carrots. And then, I also like to throw in a red onion, just because as it roasts and kind of sweetens and caramelizes, it adds really good flavor to the vegetables.

So, I just go ahead and I cut the ends off my honey-nut squash. And I take those seeds out. And you can save the seeds and actually dry them out and then package them and use them in your own garden next summer. So, I just like to cube it up. I leave the skin on my honey-nut squash because it gives it a really good texture, but that’s optional. So, feel free to cut it off if you’d rather have it be more tender and soft. But I definitely like the texture it gives.

Then, for the cauliflower, I just like to take my knife and run it around that base, that way I can pop off those little florettes. You’re going to want to make sure that you wash all your vegetables really well, including that honey-nut squash, because we are using the skin. Then, I’ll just cut the base off of the Brussels sprout. And then, I’ll either quarter it or cut it into halves, depending on how big it is. And depending on whether the loose leaves look good or not, I’ll throw those on the baking sheet too. That way, we’re using every little bit.

This is one of those staple recipes that you can make any time of year, but I really like to let the season guide me. So, whenever it’s winter, I always try to make sure I’m using some of those winter vegetables and the hardier root vegetables. In season is going to taste better always. So, that’s kind of a rule I live by, is to just try and use what’s in season when it’s practical. And so, I’m using some carrots here. You can peel the carrots or not. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. But I just like to cut them into one inch chunks at the smaller end of the carrot and then around 1/2 inch chunks at the bigger end. That way, they’re roughly the same size.

Then, for the onion, I’m just going to take it and peel that skin off and then cut it into about 1/2 inch slices. So, that it doesn’t burn and it cooks at an appropriate time as the rest of the vegetables. That’s kind of key here. Whenever you’re making oven-roasted vegetables, you want to make sure that things are cut in a similar size. Otherwise, it starts to get tricky, and you have to pull something out at a different time. And I’m just not going to do that. I like to keep it nice and simple, so everything cooks at the same time.

Now, to make sure you get the best roast on these vegetables, you’re going to want to drizzle them with a hefty amount of avocado oil. And then, we’re going to toss that all together along with a little bit of salt and pepper. And the key here is I use a whole garlic bulb that I cut the top off and drizzle that with oil and salt and pepper. That way, we can squeeze it out at the end and make it covered in this delicious roasted garlic flavor. And the garlic doesn’t burn that way.

I also decided to top it with a little bit of rosemary. You can do fresh rosemary or fresh thyme or just leave it plain. It’ll be delicious, especially with that roasted garlic. And then, I’ll just pop it into the oven at 400 for about 25 minutes.

Since I’ve been making so many stocks and broths this fall and winter, you guys have had a lot of questions about them. And one that I’ve gotten frequently, which actually surprised me, is what do you do with the scraps after you cook your broth or your stock, especially vegetable broth? You always have your carrots and your onions in the strainer afterwards, and so a lot of you are concerned about waste, as am I.

Here’s the thing with that. The first tip I have for you is make your broth using scraps. You don’t have to use whole carrots and whole pieces of celery. You can use the ends of things. And you can make a little silicone baggie and put it in the freezer or in the fridge and save those scraps. So, as you’re cooking things like soups and stews, especially over the winter, save those scraps. And you can just pop them in the fridge. And each week, maybe you have a big, big scrap bag. Then, you go ahead and you make your broth for that week.

Now, one of the reasons we can’t reuse the vegetables after we make our broth is because, in the process of making broth, you’re really breaking down those vegetables and you’re sucking out and depleting all of the nutrients from them. So, yes, there’s still whole pieces of carrot intact, but all that’s left in there is fiber. So, if you wanted to dehydrate it and make yourself a fiber supplement, go ahead. You can definitely do that. But you can’t reuse them to make things like a veggie patty or something like that. There’s not going to be any flavor left in those vegetables, and there’s not going to be any nutrients because all of the flavor and nutrients are going into that broth that you made. So, we’re not wasting them. We’re using them for their purpose, which is this really nourishing broth.

If you’re buying broth from a grocery store, they’re doing the exact same thing. They’re not saving that leftover carrot and onion and celery because it has everything depleted from it. And that’s also another reason I like to make my own homemade broth and stock is because you don’t know how many vegetables they’re using to make that broth. We don’t really know how nourishing those things are. And they usually have little fishy ingredients like caramel color. So, if you just go ahead and save those scraps that you have on a weekly basis, then not only are you saving money, but you’re repurposing those vegetables that would have gone to waste or in the trash.

And another thing you can do, that I do all the time, is I’ll have a little carrot in the fridge or a piece of celery or an onion that’s just about to go. And instead of tossing that in the trash, that’s when I’ll go ahead and save it and make my broth. So, I hope that kind of helps you guys out on that front. And if you have any other ideas, you can leave them below. But as far as I know, the only ways to use those scraps is to either toss them because they’re nutrient-depleted and flavorless, dehydrate them and make a fiber supplement for yourself or for your dog or something like that, or feed them to chickens or livestock like I do in my backyard. I have my backyard chickens. So, I just throw it to them, and they love it. Or you could try composting them. But at the same time, they’re depleted from nutrients. So, you’re not really adding nutrients into the soil. But those are my best ideas. So, let me know what you guys think.

Halfway through cooking, I always like to take the sheet out and toss the vegetables so that they can roast really evenly. Since it’s that time of year when it’s cold outside and I feel like my skin gets really dry, making a sheet of roasted vegetables is actually one of the best things that you can do for that because all these different vegetables, like sweet potatoes and carrots and squashes, they’re all really high in carotenoids, which convert to vitamin A in your body, which is really vital for healthy skin and it helps treat things like eczema and psoriasis. So, if you get really dry skin this time of year, make yourself a sheet of roasted vegetables. It sounds so simple, but it can really help benefit and promote healthy skin this time of year.

If you want to add some animal products to it, like organic butter from grass-fed cows, that’s also really great. Or cod liver oil is also another kind of golden standard for vitamin A. Adding even just a little bit to your diet can really help you feel a lot better. So, in the wintertime, when salads are less popular for obvious reasons, I like to make warm salads. So, I’ll make ones that have roasted vegetables in them or warm grains and things that are just a little bit heartier, a little bit warmer.

And so, I’m going to make one today that you may not be familiar with. And I’m going to make it with farro. So, if you’re not familiar with farro, here’s the bag. This is the one that I have. Farro is another kind of ancient grain, so I know those are really popular these days. And farro is one of the ones that’s kind of gaining in popularity, at least where I am. I know it’s really big over in Europe, especially Italy. I think a lot of their dishes contain farro. And I personally want to start using it more.

So, not only is it an ancient grain, but it’s actually higher in protein and fiber than brown rice. So, if you’re a brown rice lover, then maybe try swapping some of those recipes for farro, because it has a little bit more fiber and protein. And it’s also higher in certain nutrients. So, I’m going to try incorporating this into my diet a lot more and see how it does. It’s not gluten-free, so if you are celiac or gluten intolerant, then go ahead and use brown rice for this recipe. You’ll get the same kind of product. It’ll just have a little bit different nutrients and a little bit different texture. But there’s nothing wrong with that. We’re going to be making a warm farro with walnuts and cranberries. So, it’s kind of like a warm salad. You could have it as a side or a main course or do, like, what I’m doing, is pairing it with those roasted winter veggies. You can make just a beautiful, delicious, affordable, whole-food, plant-based dish.

So, I like to soak this farro. I know some people don’t soak it. You don’t have to soak it. But I like to soak it. It’s probably better for you if you can soak it. I find it’s more digestible for me if I do soak it. And I know that I’ve heard a lot of good things about the phytic acid that’s in farro. It’s one of those things that helps you activate all the good nutrients in it. So, I’ll do a quick rinse because it can be a lot of dust. You want to make sure you clean it really well. And I’ll add that in. And I just do a little bit of overnight soaking. If you can do this overnight, that’s great. It just needs to be soaked a little bit. That way, you’re breaking down some of those anti-nutrients and making it a lot easier to digest.

So, you’re going to want to start in your skillet with a little bit of avocado oil, your diced onion. Let that cook for just a minute or two. Then you can go ahead and add in that garlic and the rest of our farro toppings here. And I like to just let them toast in the skillet for just a couple minutes. It just helps develop the flavor and make it a little bit nuttier. And then, I go ahead and add in that farro back in and toss it all together. And then, right at the end, I like to hit it with just a little bit of olive oil to finish it off. And then, you can also, this is optional, but you could also top it with a little bit of fresh parsley or chives. Or any kind of fresh herb that you’d like to use. But honestly, you don’t even need it. This is just a really simple, rustic side that switches things up from your typical side of rice.

Next, I’m making one of my favorite winter meals, and it’s a creamy white bean chili from scratch. So, I think you guys are going to like this one. I’m going to show you how to cook these navy beans completely from scratch. First, you’re just going to want to take some dry navy beans and give them a rinse. And we’re going to get these into the pressure cooker. That is the best way to cook beans, I find, because you really are killing off some of those anti-nutrients and lectins. So, not only is it healthier, it’s also super time-efficient and easy.

So, I just add in my beans to the Instant Pot, along with some fresh garlic. I do water, veggie broth, or bone broth. And then, plenty of salt. And then, I just set that to pressure cook.

So, to make it nice and creamy without adding tons of cream, I like to use this as one of the elements. And so, I take the beans, and I’ll mash it with a fork. You could also put this in a food processor or use an immersion blender on this amount. And then, we’re going to add in the beans. I don’t drain them all. I just kind of scoop it out with my measuring cup, so there’s a little bit of the liquid, but it is mostly just beans. And then, I’ll scoop that in and put that into the chili mixture. And then, we can add in a little bit more veggie broth. Or you could use chicken stock or broth, or whatever bone broth. Any of those work here. And just stir it up.

And that’s just going to simmer on the stove for a little while. And then, we’ll finish it off with a little bit of frozen corn. I make sure it’s nice and organic, non-GMO. So, go ahead and add that in. And then, you can also do a little bit of good quality– I love this brand. This is a good one. Good quality heavy cream. And I just do about a half a cup of that. I don’t go crazy with it. You can definitely add more or less, depending on your taste. You could also even add coconut milk if you wanted to make it creamy that way. And then, I add that in along with my salsa verde. And this is kind of the key to that white chicken chili. It just adds another component of greens and flavor. And it really just helps to make the perfect chili consistency and taste.

Now, to finish off this soup, I love to add a variety of toppings. And one of them is a raw sharp white cheddar cheese. Sometimes, I’ll even throw a handful of that into the soup to make it even thicker and creamier. And then, I’ll also top it with a little fresh cilantro. And then, I just saw these chips for the first time the other day, and I thought they looked so yummy. And I knew my kids would like them. So, I just topped our chili bowls that night with just a little bit of those crunchy tortilla chips. And we thoroughly enjoyed this dinner. It’s so good and one of my favorites for this time of year.

And even if you’re a meat-eater like we are, if you’re occasionally trying to add in more plant-based things, then this bean soup is really good and also really frugal. Homemade beans are a lot cheaper than chicken.

The next night, I’m getting some homemade pizza dough going. So, I love making my own homemade pizza dough. It’s really rewarding because you can control the ingredients and make it healthier and suit it to your taste. So, today, I am making an in-corn flour crust. This is great if you’re gluten-free. But then, if you’re not, you could also just swap it for regular flour. You can use what you have. But this is an in-corn one, so it does work with that kind of flour. And it is a yeast dough. This isn’t sourdough because this day, I didn’t have time to get a sour dough crust going. I only had a couple hours until we needed to eat. So, I went ahead and made one with yeast. This is an olive oil dough. So, that means it’s really simple. It’s just made with the in corn flour, yeast, and salt. I did about 1 tablespoon, or so, of coconut sugar. And then, a good hefty amount of olive oil.

So, you just want to get the dough together in a nice little ball. And then, I’ll just leave it in my dough tub and let it rise for a couple hours until it’s time to roll it out for dinner. And one of the reasons I wanted to make this pizza is because I had leftover oven-roasted vegetables from the other day. And so, I decided to use those as my pizza topping.

Now, my dough has completely risen. You can see it’s nice and airy and flat on the top. So, we know it’s done. And I’m just going to scoop out about 1-pound portions for each pizza, so it makes about a medium-size pizza. And I’m just going to go ahead and wet my hands a little bit with water to keep my dough from sticking. I’ll do a combo of flour on my board and water on my hands. I find that’s kind of the best way to handle dough. And I’ll go ahead and roll that into a nice tight ball and go ahead and roll that out.

So, you can roll it out pretty thin because it is going to rise a little bit when we bake it since it has that yeast in it. One of the reasons I love in-corn flour compared to just regular unbleached all-purpose flour is because it doesn’t contain the D-chromosome, which sounds super technical, but it’s not. It’s just one of the reasons that most of us can’t tolerate gluten. So, in-corn is completely lacking that, which is really cool. And then, another reason I love it is because a lot of success stories are out there about people with autoimmune diseases, either gluten intolerance or even celiac and Hashimoto’s. People that have that have been able to eat gluten without having their autoimmune numbers go up. So, if you’ve had any issues with gluten, definitely give in corn a try. I know everybody’s bodies are going to kind of process it differently, so you kind of have to test for yourself and see, but it’s definitely worth trying.

Now, I’m going to go ahead and assemble this pizza. So, I put some of my raw sharp cheddar down. And then, I’m going to top it with my vegetables. And then, go back with one more layer of cheese. And this just ensures that it’s nice and cheesy and the vegetables really stick to the pizza. And I think you guys are going to love this. So, if you have any leftovers like this, I love leftover meals where you can repurpose things. And this is a really easy one to do. Just have any kind of roasted vegetables. For the most part, they’re going to be delicious on a pizza. And you could really switch it up and get creative here. All the winter vegetables, you know, you could do parsnips, or broccoli, or radishes, or turnips, or leeks, or cauliflower, beets.

Now, I’m just going to take that hot griddle out of my oven that I preheated. And I did not do this the right way. I was distracted by my kids at the time while I was making it, and they were around my feet. So, I just went ahead and I slid it off my cutting board and onto my griddle. It would definitely be easier to just pop the crust straight on the griddle and then put your toppings on quickly and put it back in the oven. But it turned out just fine.

So, I’m going to go ahead and top that with a little bit of pecorino romano. This is like a sheep’s milk Parmesan-type cheese. So, you can top it with a little bit of that. I love just the tang that it has. And then, I seared this up to the kids, and we all really enjoyed this cozy night-in.

And if you make one of these recipes, be sure to let me know because some of you have been saying you’ve been making them and you feel so much better. And that just brings me so much joy to hear. Thanks so much for joining me in the kitchen this week. And if you’re new to my channel, make sure you check out the other videos here. Don’t forget, you can grab all my recipes over at HealthyElizabeth.com.