Healthy Comfort Foods ~ gluten free with vegan and low-carb options

Now you don't have to sacrifice your health to enjoy delectable, heart (and belly) warming foods. With these Healthy Comfort Foods you can satisfy your taste buds and feel great too!

They're all gluten-free and mostly low carb.

Healthy Comfort Foods - gluten free with vegan and low-carb options

Comfort Foods are those foods that make us feel good when we eat them. It's the way they taste, the way they feel in our mouths, and sometimes it's the memories they bring back from our childhood. They can be main dishes, sides, beverages, and yes, of course, desserts.

The problem, of course, is that so many comfort foods, while they might seem "comforting"--they wreak havoc on our blood sugar, and our guts...and inevitably on our health.

For me, some of my favorite comfort foods from my childhood are--cold cereal (from the box!), homemade cookies (especially chocolate chippers and peanut butter blossoms), spaghetti and meatballs, pizza, chicken nuggets, and ice cream. And ice cream.

And ice cream.

Did someone say ice cream?

NUMMERS.

I used to work in an ice cream parlor. BAD idea.

And then when my husband and I were dating, our favorite "frugal date" was to go to Mickey D's and get soft serve cones. Multiple ones. We even knew which workers gave out the tallest cones.....mmm hmmm.....yup, we were that frugal and intent on getting the biggest dessert for our buck.

Spaghetti and meatballs were a big fave for me too. My mom would have the spaghetti sauce simmering all day...and would let me try some spooned onto white bread (yikes!) for a treat when it was almost done.

Then cookies.

I just loved baking. All. the. time.

I didn't like the cleaning up part, though...just the baking and eating. Much to mom's chagrin.

Peanut Butter Blossoms were my all time favorite cookie....and chocolate chippers...and...

Anyhow, as our diets changed over the years due to candida, thyroid disease, and more, these foods just moved out of my life, or I had to work to replace them with a healthier alternative.

I know that there are some healthy eating plans like Whole30, that recommend abstaining from healthier versions of comfort foods. And actually, that's the way we eat most of the time around here these days.

Lots of healthy meat, veggies, some fruit, and occasional grains, but very little to no processed foods and our meals have been very basic for months.

However, earlier when our food sensitivities started, and today even, when I get in the mood to have fun with my food, I like having fun in the kitchen and making interesting dishes for my family and others. I'm not sure what's changed--but my cravings have seriously diminished.

As in basically gone.

I see the benefit of both ways of eating. I think that eating basic foods can bring one closer to the reality of life--that food is made for living--we don't live for food. Plus we have more time to focus on other things if we aren't always thinking about our next meal and wondering what we'll make or obsessing about how wonderful it's going to be.

At the same time, I think it's great to be able to celebrate creativity in the kitchen and enjoy culinary pleasures. And to have fun enjoying good food even if it's a bit extravagant at times.

Plus, I think that when one is starting out trying to eat healthier, that having copycat versions of their favorite recipes can be a huge help and can even be the difference between staying on a new path and going back to eating junk food.

So with that in mind, I've created a roundup of healthy comfort foods, in the hopes that they will be a help to you, regardless of where you are on your healthy eating journey.

All are gluten free and are also dairy free and egg free or have easy substitutions. And if you are eating low-carb you should be able to substitute for most of them as well to meet your needs.

I hope that these healthy comfort foods are a help to you.

Healthy Comfort Foods

Easy Baked Chicken Nuggets – dairy & egg free with gluten & grain-free options

Instead of heading out to Mickey D's, you can make these delicious baked chicken nuggets in your own home. They freeze well and taste amazing. In fact, whenever I make them, my husband says, "How long do these take to make?" which is his nice way of saying I don't make them near as often as he'd like.

Plate of chicken nuggets and a small bowl of ketchup

Paleo Turkey Meatballs

paleo turkey meatballs in pan with marinara

Gluten-Free Fried Chicken

Delectable gluten-free fried chicken made in a cast iron skillet!

Gluten-Free Fried Chicken

Texas Slow Cooker Beef Chili

I love anything I can make in a slow cooker--and chili is something everyone loves.
This recipe calls for grass-fed beef. While not imperative, of course, it will taste even better using quality meat.

Healthy Beef Chili

Baked Garlic Cauliflower Mash with Cheese Crust

Substitute in a dairy-free cheese for a vegan option. This looks totally amazing--the perfect side for any meal.

Grain-Free Zucchini Lasagna Recipe – low carb with dairy and egg-free options

If you LOVE lasagna, but you've gone grain-free, this is the perfect solution.
And there are dairy and egg-free options included.

keto lasagna in a glass baking dish with black spatula

Crock-Pot Gluten-Free Old Fashioned Chicken and Buttermilk Dumplings

Use almond flour for the dumplings to make them low carb.

Crock-Pot Mississippi Pot Roast (paleo & whole30)

Pot Roast with a fun twist of pepperoncini--how fun and delicious!

My Most Requested Recipe – Pakistani Kima Beef Curry w/ vegan and AIP options

This is hands down our favorite recipe of all time. Kid-friendly too!

ground beef curry (Pakistani Kima) in pan with spoon

One-Pot Vegan Mac & Cheese

Everyone loves mac and cheese! And even more when it's healthier!
Use low-carb elbows for a low-carb dish.

Vegan One-Pot Mac & Cheese

Baked Pumpkin Sage Macaroni and "Cheese"

What a fun twist on mac and cheese! Pumpkin and--sage?
Use low-carb elbows to make this dish low-carb.

Healthy Chili Mac

Again, use low-carb pasta to make this dish low carb.

hands scooping gluten free chili mac into bowl with wooden spoon

Healthy Mushroom Soup

This is so easy and delicious--and comforting.

healthy mushroom soup in white bowl

Nutrient Dense Meatloaf

All kinds of veggies hidden in this meatloaf makes for a power-packed comfort food.
Use an egg substitute for an egg-free option.

Gluten-Free Meatloaf

Egg Roll in a Bowl – low carb, paleo, AIP

This dish is one of our family's all time favorites--the great taste of egg rolls without the fuss and carbs of the wrappers.

Egg roll in a black bowl

Homemade Chicken Zucchini Noodle Soup

A fantastic grain-free literal twist (of zoodles) on the traditional chicken noodle soup.

Gluten-Free Chicken Zucchini Noodle Soup

Copycat Chick-Fil-A® Chicken Nuggets (gluten free w/ grain-free option)

Use oil instead of the egg for an egg-free option.

Healthy Chick-Fil-A Copycat Chicken Nuggets

Homemade Hot Chocolate – dairy and sugar free

Hot chocolate is so warm on chilly days.
This dairy-free hot chocolate is perfect on its own or topped with whipped coconut cream and chocolate shavings.

hot chocolate with wiped cream in glass mug

Deep Dish Gluten-Free Apple Pie

Use almond flour for the crust and a low carb sweetener  to make this lower carb, but it won't be truly low carb unless you sub out the apples with berries.

Gluten-Free Deep Dish Apple Pie

5-Ingredient Easy Drop Biscuits – gluten-free and vegan options

I haven't tried this but using almond flour could make these low carb.

Biscuit dough lined up in a baking tray

Quick Low-Carb Buns

These will be tough to make egg free since they are made with coconut flour.

Paleo & Nut-Free Biscuits with AIP option

These are also a bit tough to do egg-free but since there are 2 flours it's worth a try.

Paleo Cookie Dough - low carb, healthy, AIP, vegan, THM

Healthy Dark Chocolate-Covered Peanut Butter Balls

What a delectable treat!
Use a low-carb sweetener if needed for your diet.

Dairy-Free Dark Chocolate-Covered Peanut Butter Balls

Chocolate Almond Chip Ice Cream - dairy free, low carb, AIP

This is a dairy-free, low-carb remake of one of my childhood favorites.

Chocolate almond chip ice cream placed in a stack of three bowls with two spoons on the side

Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Filling (grain free, gluten free, & nut free)

From what I have read, cassava flour works pretty well with egg-free substitutes so these just might work egg-free if you need that. Use a low-carb sweetener if needed.

Gluten & Dairy-Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Filling

Low-Carb Chocolate Chip Cookies

Me want cookies. Especially if they're made healthier!
Use an egg substitute if needed.

“Almond Joy” Bars {Revised} ~ low carb, vegan, AIP

These No Bake Almond Joy® Bars are a treat we keep on hand almost all the time in our home--
they're full of nourishing fats and taste amazing.

no bake almond joy bars

Cinnamon-Glazed Pumpkin Doughnuts

Move over Krispy Kreme!
These Pumpkin Doughnuts are loaded with nourishing pumpkin goodness and look ahmazing.

Healthy Cinnamon-Glazed Pumpkin Doughnuts

Low-Carb Cauliflower “Potato” Salad – vegan & paleo

This "faux" tato salad is sooo good it fools even enthusiastic potato salad lovers!

Cauliflower Potato Salad

Flourless Peanut Butter Blossoms (or Your-Nut-or-Seed-Butter-of-Choice Blossoms)

Want to reduce the carbs in these amazing cookies? Use a low-carb sweetener and low-carb chocolate.

Flourless Nut or Seed Butter Blossoms

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Chia Pudding ~ low carb & dairy free

How about the great flavor of Reese's in a bowl--healthy enough for breakfast.
Filling enough to carry you 'til lunch.

chocolate peanut butter chia seed pudding in glass

Grain-Free Granola

If you love granola, but have gone grain-free, this is for you!
Use a low-carb sweetener if needed.

Blender Cheese Sauce - 5 Ingredients (GAPS)

Not your traditional nacho sauce. Here is a great sauce healthified and it's even GAPS legal!

Stevia Lemonade

No need to load yourself up with sugar or use drink mixes filled with artificial sweeteners.
This sugar-free lemonade is thirst-quenching and delicious all year round.

sugar-free lemonade in glass with lemon slice garnish and straws with lemons

Healthy Chocolate Bark

Try this healthful goodness of real food ingredients that is dairy-free, refined sugar-free, vegan, and paleo too.

healthy dark chocolate bark

DIY Caramel Latte

A whole lotta nutritious stuff in this latte.
Use a low-carb sweetener if needed for your particular dietary needs.

“Dorito®” Popcorn – dairy free, gluten free, vegan

Popcorn can't be low-carb, but this seasoning is GREAT on veggies, kale chips, and more.

dorito popcorn in yellow bowl

Easy Creamy Keto Mashed Potatoes (vegan option)

This recipe is dairy-free, paleo friendly, and loaded with delicious garlic flavor and a vegan twist of "cheesy nutty" nutritional yeast.

cauliflower mashed potatoes with parsley garnish in gray bowl with silverware on side

Easy Baked Sweet Potato Wedges with Chipotle Cashew Dip

These can't be low-carb, but the dip would be great with any kind of low-carb dipper, in moderation (since cashews are higher in carbs).

Healthy Easy Baked Sweet Potato Wedges with Chipotle Cashew Dip

Cinnamon Crumb Coffee Cake – grain free & paleo, w/ low-carb & vegan options

Every time I bake this cake I make 4 batches because I know it will be gone in a flash. It's that good!

keto coffee cake in white baking dish

Dairy-Free Cheese Sauce with Baked Baby Potato Wedge Fries

What's more comforting than potatoes with cheese? Knowing that your potatoes with cheese are healthified--that's what.

Teff Waffles or Pancakes with Caramelized Bananas

Almond Flour might work as a low carb sub for these (but you will have to cut the fat in half), but skip the bananas of course.

Teff Waffles -- a great gluten-free waffle recipe that has a rich taste almost like chocolate! The deep rich flavor of these vegan waffles is sure to please.

Purple Sweet Potato Tater Tots

A childhood favorite made healthier--and made purple!
Try these with cauliflower or daikon for a low carb option.

Shepherd’s Pie with Roasted Veggies (grain & dairy free, vegan option)

A traditional comfort food filled with added veggies and redone in a lower carb version.

paleo shepherd's pie in cast iron skillet with wooden spoon

Which of these healthy comfort foods is your favorite?
What is YOUR favorite comfort food?

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18 Comments

  1. Now these are what you call COMFORT food! Awesome post, Adrienne!

    I would like to try some of these recipes, probably during the holidays so I can have enough time to make them. By the way, I got really intrigued with that Edible Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough you shared. I'm wondering if you can suggest another alternative for walnuts because I'm not a big fan of it.

      1. Ohhhhhh, pecans!!! That would be a better choice because I like them. Thank you so much for the tip Adrienne. 🙂

  2. So many of these look delicious but the "doritos" popcorn and pumpkin glazed donuts both sound amazing right now! One of my other comfort food convert recipes is beef stroganoff - made with bone broth, cashew sour cream, lots of cremini mushrooms, and served over gluten free noodles, white rice, and/or cabbage or zucchini noodles or cauliflower rice. So yummy and hits the comfort food spot!

  3. I saw your updated version of this Kima Beef recipe and wanted to look at the original recipe to compare. But the web site you posted it on is gone. Can you send me the recipe or post the old one on your site?
    Thank you so very much!!!!!

  4. Great recipes! I especially want to try that Pakistani Kima! Looks like something I would absolutely love. Thanks so much for sharing on Allergy-Free Wednesday! Hope you'll come back this coming Wednesday with another great recipe!

  5. Great post Adrienne, and great comfort food! Hope you have a wonderful week end and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  6. I'm a new subscriber and I made your "most requested recipe" today and Oh, My! It is wonderful!!!!! I will be making this one often...thank you so much!

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