comfort food that’s good for you

Food has a wonderful power to comfort and restore.  Macbeth longed for  “sleep that knits up the ravelled sleeve of care,” but I think food–the right kind of food–has even greater power to heal the mind and renew the body.

Everyone has their “go to” comfort food, but not all comfort foods are created equal.  I used to end a trying day with a bag of Orville Redenbacher and a glass of chardonnay. That didn’t restore so much as stupefy me.

Now instead of just tamping down cravings, when I need to eat something comforting, I look for foods that are both satisfying and truly nourishing.  I want to eat something that will leave me feeling better, not worse.

When I get home late and dinner was put away hours ago, I open up the fridge and look at the leftovers to see what I can eat.  I’m so happy if I find brown rice, eggs and spinach.  That means I can make my favorite comfort food, which I think of as a very simple version of Korean bibimbap.  It only takes a few minutes to prepare, but it soothes my soul like no other food. It’s like a soft, worn old sweatshirt, not glamorous to look at, but so warm and comfortable.

Comfort rice
 
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This is comfort food using leftover brown rice, fresh spinach and egg. Very satisfying and filling.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup of leftover brown rice
  • ½ tsp garlic powder or 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp ginger powder or 1 tsp fresh, finely chopped
  • Big handful of baby spinach
  • 1 free range egg
  • 1½ Tbsp roasted sesame oil, divided
  • 1 Tbsp roasted sesame seeds
  • Sriracha sauce, as much as you can handle!
Instructions
  1. Heat ½ Tbsp sesame oil in a nonstick pan.
  2. Add garlic and ginger and stir.
  3. Add brown rice and toss to coat with oil and spices.
  4. When thoroughly warmed, remove to bowl or plate.
  5. Add ½ Tbsp sesame oil to pan.
  6. Add spinach and stir to coat.
  7. When bright green and wilted, put spinach on top of rice.
  8. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  9. Add ½ Tbsp. sesame oil to pan.
  10. Break egg into pan.
  11. Let fry until white is cooked and crisping on the edges.
  12. Slide egg onto brown rice and spinach.
  13. Add sriracha sauce and a little bit of tamari, if you want.
  14. Optional additions: sauteed julienne carrots or red peppers

What’s your favorite comfort food? Please share in the comments, I’d love to hear about it!

About the Author

Kathleen Caron

I'm good at finding stuff, and I love to share all my discoveries. I write about faith, family and food, and the occasional rant.

  • tparker

    What is Sriracha sauce and where do you get it? Is it like soy sauce?

    • http://kathleencaron.com/ Kathleen Caron

      Teresa, it is a chili sauce about the consistency of ketchup. You can get it almost anywhere nowadays! Any kind of hot sauce would be good though, and has the wonderful thermogenic properties.

      • tparker

        I’m a wimp when it comes to hot sauce. Maybe it would work with soy sauce?

        • http://www.ipaintiwrite.com/ Pamela Hodges

          Bragg’s Liquid Amino’s are better for you than Soy Sauce. I forget why. Maybe Kathleen knows.

          • http://kathleencaron.com/ Kathleen Caron

            You are quite right! Because we get too much soy in our diets, I think. I haven’t tried Braggs yet, have you?

            • http://www.ipaintiwrite.com/ Pamela Hodges

              Kathleen,
              I use to buy Braggs Liquid Amino’s ALL the time. It is absolutely delicous. Like soy sauce but better. It is not as salty. It really adds flavor to soup too.

              • http://kathleencaron.com/ Kathleen Caron

                I will have to get some immediately!

                • tparker

                  Yep I use Bragg’s all the time. It’s the only thing I have in my cabinet! I say soy sauce because most understand that. But it is Bragg’s,. And I use sea salt as well.

                  • http://kathleencaron.com/ Kathleen Caron

                    Well then, you’re good to go! You might want to try a smidgen of hot sauce, it’s very good for your metabolism and your immune system. But I don’t insist. :-)

        • http://kathleencaron.com/ Kathleen Caron

          Yes it would, but Pamela is quite right that Bragg’s Liquid Amino’s are better for you. In fact, if you are following the Fast Metabolism Diet (as Pamela and I are doing right now!) you shouldn’t eat soy. If you’re going to have soy sauce, make it tamari, that’s better. Also Teresa, I like to have this dish with just a sprinkle of sea salt! The hot sauce is completely optional :-)

  • http://www.ipaintiwrite.com/ Pamela Hodges

    Kathleen,
    I love, love, love your food writing. I look forward every day to an new post and recipe.
    Today you inspired my lunch. I didn’t have the sauces you did. But I fried up left over brown rice, garlic, spinach and left-over baked chicken.
    My comfort food is popcorn with lots of butter. But after I eat it, I ALWAYS feel sick, and have a stomach ache. Emotionally comforting, but then I feel worse after. Yuck.
    It is time to switch up what gives me comfort.
    Now it is good food, and lots of water.

    • http://kathleencaron.com/ Kathleen Caron

      Thank you Pamela, that is so kind of you! I love to share my food, both virtually and actually. That sounds very yummy with leftover chicken, I will have to try. I forgot to mention that you absolutely should put whatever you want in this dish. Well, maybe not popcorn :-)

      • http://www.ipaintiwrite.com/ Pamela Hodges

        Of course, not popcorn. :-) I just wanted to see if I could make the same smiley face.
        How about this one. ;—) or this one ():- )

        • http://kathleencaron.com/ Kathleen Caron

          I like the second one, it looks like it has heavy eyebrows.

  • Christa Sterken

    I too love to read your food writing. I’ll try this out, a big stretch but somehow you make me want to branch out! I bought the Costco chocolate chips to make the recipe you shared for chocolate dessert and it’s gone. Hmm.. my fave comfort food is Kit Kats, Yellow cake with chocolate frosting, or gooey brownies. i only wish they swung toward the healthy side. Please Kathleen, do you have a spinach Kit kat copycat recipe?

    • http://kathleencaron.com/ Kathleen Caron

      I really hope you like my version of comfort food, Christa! Now about your request, hmm, you have really thrown me a big challenge there, I honestly don’t know if I can make a healthy (let alone spinach) Kit Kat recipe, but for you, I will try! This might take awhile….

      • Christa Sterken

        ok, any kit kat healthier version and I’ll love you even more, if that is possible

        • http://kathleencaron.com/ Kathleen Caron

          You’re not going to believe this, I googled “healthy kitkat bar” and found a bunch of recipes. I am going to do this Christa, it is my solemn vow. Then I’ll mail them to you.

          • Christa Sterken

            That would be an amazing thing

  • kathunsworth

    Kathleen this recipe looks divine my husband has been eating a healthy diet with these ingredients but I never thought to put the all together can you tell me what is the Sriracha sauce? I have not heard of it, I want to try this one because most of the ingredients are in the fridge and the chickens lay fresh eggs every day. Thank you.

    • http://kathleencaron.com/ Kathleen Caron

      Sorry I missed your comment Kath! Sriracha is a Vietnamese hot sauce made with chilis, you can also use any kind of hot sauce–or none at all. I wish I could have this made with freshly laid eggs, that sounds even more comforting. Let me know if you like it.

  • La McCoy

    Looks good.