17 Comfort Foods For Deep Winter

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WASHINGTON, DC – DECEMBER 29: Spiced roasted chickpeas for 1/13 Weeknight Vegetarian. Tableware from Salt

4. Chickpeas and rice

This one might be new to you, but I swear it’s delicious, filling, and not completely terrible for you. It’s served to quell many a hangry fit before it’s started, and that’s practically magic in my household.

In general, this recipe is incredibly broad, with room for plenty of improvisation. You could simply heat up some rice, warm some chickpeas, season it (lemon pepper seasoning is especially tasty, with a little bit of olive oil), and go. Bam. Tasty, quick dinner. It helps that it’s pretty cheap, too. Take a look at the prices for long-grain rice and a can of chickpeas, and tell me I’m wrong. You could even fancy it up with a little sausage, tofu, or some other protein.

Of course, I can’t stand to let something be that easy. First of all, there’s nothing wrong with a simple comfort food recipe. Sometimes, you’re just barely functional enough to do more than hit a few buttons on a microwave, and that’s fine. If you’re like me, though, you probably get a lot of comfort from the cooking process itself. In that case, a few extra steps may be what you need.

Chop up some onions and garlic, then saute them with some spices (cumin or coriander work well). Then, toast up your rice for a few minutes. Applying a little bit of heat – while always stirring, since burned rice is pretty gross – gives the grains a more complex, nutty flavor. Throw in some stock, tomatoes, and artichokes and let it simmer for twenty minutes. If you’re feeling extra grand, you could even throw in a bit of feta at the absolute end.

Recipe: Spanish chickpeas and rice (Budget Bytes)

Healthier variation: The recipe above is pretty healthy as-is. If the carbs in the rice are really, truly bothering you, then you should be able to substitute other grains. I’d recommend cooking most of them separately unless you’re sure they cook a lot like rice. If you’ve got the cash, quinoa could be a protein-rich alternative.