25 Lightened-Up Versions of Your Favorite Comfort Foods
Three-Cheese Baked Mac
Not one, not two, but three kinds of cheese (Swiss, sharp cheddar, and Gouda) update the flavor of this classic comfort food you know and love. Once it's finished baking, turn up the heat to broil for a few minutes to get a browned and bubbly topper.
Green Chile Chicken Tortilla Casserole
This bubbly bake is easy on the lips and the hips. With only 253 calories per serving, our better-for-you casserole recipe features shredded chicken breast for lean protein, along with reduced-fat shredded Mexican-style cheese for gooeyness without the guilt.
Test Kitchen Tip: This recipe needs time to chill, so plan on prepping your casserole dish and sticking it in the fridge up to 24 hours in advance of baking.
All-American Sloppy Joes
Sloppy joes are known for being quick, easy, and kid-friendly, and our recipe is no different. Simply prep the meat and add it to the slow cooker with the other ingredients, then walk away. You'll come back to a healthy dinner at the end of the day. Serve it on whole-grain buns for added fiber.
If you grew up loving cheesy quesadillas, this might become your new favorite way to enjoy them. With a generous helping of fajita-style veggies and cheese, you can eat two quesadillas from this lighter Mexican recipe for less than 300 calories. Add grilled chicken or another protein to make a heartier meal.
Easy Cheeseburger Soup
Oriental Beef Brisket
You can't get any closer to classic comfort food than meat and potatoes. We used vitamin A-rich sweet potatoes in addition to russet potatoes and flavored the beef with an Oriental-style sauce made from hoisin sauce, salsa, and garlic.
Peppers Stuffed with Quinoa and Spinach
Best Meat Loaf
Our readers love this tried-and-true classic recipe. For the best meat loaf recipe ever, you just need a hearty mix of beef, finely shredded veggies, and big flavor from ingredients like mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar.
Test Kitchen Tip: A gentle hand is key to getting tender, moist meat loaf. Use your fingers to add air and lighten the mixture, and resist packing it down as you mix.
One-Pan Chicken-Noodle Soup
Orange-Simmered Pork Chops
Dinner's on the table in 30 minutes with this flavorful one-pan pork chop recipe. The chops simmer in a mix of orange juice, honey, and chili powder for a sweet-and-spicy flavor, which is enhanced by fruity relish. Bonus: This tasty pork recipe is low in sodium and high in potassium for those looking for a heart-healthy dinner.
Steak Remoulade Sandwiches
General Tso's Air-Fryer Chicken
Get your Chinese takeout fix at home with this easy air-fryer recipe. This lightened-up version uses heat instead of oil for crispness and we used all reduced-sodium versions of soy sauce and broth to keep the sodium count down. Serve this dish with a side of veggies and/or brown rice for a serving of whole grains.
Four-Cheese White Pizza
When you're craving pizza, try this homemade recipe. We added spinach for color and essential nutrients but didn't skimp on cheese: You'll taste mozzarella, provolone, Asiago, and ricotta in every gooey bite. Make your own pizza dough for a special touch, or use store-bought dough to save time. It's delicious either way!
Avocado Ranch Tuna Melts
Full-fat tuna melts, eat your heart out. These open-face sandwiches sport two layers of goodness: a creamy-crunchy base of broccoli slaw, mashed avocado, and fat-free ranch dressing topped with a lemony, low-fat tuna mixture. Ultra-thin slices of cheddar add a lot of melt but very few calories.
Beef Bourguignon Pot Pie
Beef bourguignon, a traditional French recipe, is usually made as a stew, but it's equally delicious as a healthy casserole. We didn't stray far from traditional ingredients, but we couldn't resist adding a flaky topper of cubed croissants over the beef-and-veggie mixture.
Beef and Black Bean Chili
Cocoa powder, chili powder, and smoked paprika infuse our warm and cozy chili with a bit of sweet heat. This low-calorie comfort food needs just 25 minutes of hands-on time before settling in for a long simmer in the slow cooker. It's a no-maintenance dinner that’s ready when you get home from work!
Gorgeous George Burger
Roasted Vegetable-Chicken Sausage Pizza
Forget the takeout menu! You can still satisfy your pizza cravings with less guilt by making your own at home. We've used leaner chicken sausage instead of the usual pork to save you some calories. Plus, this sheet pan dinner is an easy way to serve the entire family with less mess.
Believe it or not, crispy "fried" chicken can be healthy. Our secret? By cooking it in the oven instead of frying it in oil, you shave off calories and fat. We keep the crispy coating simple yet flavorful with crushed cornflakes, thyme, paprika for a bit of kick, salt, and pepper.
Zucchini Noodle Lasagna
If you're trying to cut carbs but craving lasagna, this is the recipe for you. Instead of noodles, this lightened-up version of the Italian classic features layers of zucchini and still has all that melty cheese and herbed tomato flavor you love.
Breaded Chicken Strips and Sweet Potato Fries
This kid-friendly supper swaps wedges of vitamin A-packed sweet potatoes for potatoes and baked alongside chicken tenders covered in a crunchy coating of cornflakes and a few key seasonings. And the secret to the chicken's amazing juiciness? A nice, long soak in low-fat buttermilk.
Fast or Slow White Chicken Chili
One bowl of this creamy (mildly) spiced chili, and you'll add this to your regular comfort food rotation. Whether you've got all day or need dinner fast, we've got the instructions ready for you to make this white chili in your Instant Pot or slow cooker.
Tortellini Vegetable Bake
Veggie Shepherd's Pie with Stout
It doesn't have to be St. Patrick's Day to enjoy a generous helping of shepherd's pie. Instead of meat, our take on the traditional Irish recipe has iron- and protein-rich lentils along with fresh veggies including carrots, parsnips, and mushrooms. Then it's finished with a delicious stout-infused gravy.