Comfort Food Recipes

Recipes for when your brain could use a break.

by Jaylen Anderson / Garnet & Black

Imagine: It’s finals week. You have a migraine from the painfully intense library lights and have developed a steady buzz in your head from too much coffee. After an exhaustive morning in the library and a difficult three-hour final, you are free at last, or at least until tomorrow. As you enter your kitchen, what meal is on your mind? What meal will give you solace from the stress of the day?  Maybe it’s chili or chocolate ice cream. Or it could be a hamburger or pizza. The foods that I turn to in times of stress are vegetable soup, oatmeal cookies or a peanut butter sandwich. These meals have the amazing power of erasing the turmoil of the day and shifting my mood, like a reassuring hug. 

It is often difficult to recognize when you are neglecting your health and wellbeing–especially during times of stress and anxiety. When life begins to feel overwhelming, comfort foods can be a way of taking a step back and recouping. This is because comfort foods are usually associated with fond memories, which then causes our brains to associate those positive emotions with that food. 

However, while it can be tempting to just grab a pint of ice cream or potato chips and call it a meal, studies show that more nutritious foods have better overall effects on mental wellbeing. Ultimately, vegetables and whole grains will alleviate your feelings of anxiety or depression more efficiently than sugary or high-fat foods. This may seem unfortunate now, but there are plenty of amazing recipes out there that provide that serotonin boost without compromising taste. What we put in our body matters, not just for our body’s health but for our brain’s health too. So, here are some easy yet healthy comfort foods to try out next time you could use a break. 

3-ingredient Oat cookies

I am a big believer in the power and versatility of oats. These cookies forgo flour, baking soda and other ingredients customary to cookies and require just three ingredients. However, their lack of ingredients does not make them any less delicious. This dessert is a trademark dessert in my home. They are super easy to make, making them perfect for people who are cooking on a budget but still want something sweet. 


2 large bananas (the riper the better)

1 ⅓ cup of oats

½ cup of chocolate chips

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit  and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
  2. Mash the two bananas in a large bowl. Once the bananas are thoroughly mashed, mix in the oats and then finally the chocolate chips.
  3. Scoop about 2 tablespoons of the mixture and put it on the cookie sheet. Do not flatten.
  4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the oats start to become a darker, golden color. 
  5. Remove from the oven and let sit until cool. Enjoy!

Jaylen Anderson / Garnet & Black

Easy Vegetable Soup

A warm bowl of soup can comfort a person even in the worst of moods. Vegetable soup is easily customizable and can be altered to whatever that day's cravings might be. I like to add tortellini, but you can also add green beans, dumplings, peas or beans. This recipe yields 4 servings and can be stored for later, making it a great option for meal prep. Here is how to make a comforting bowl of vegetable soup.


1 Tbsp of olive oil

½ medium yellow onion, chopped

1 large carrot, chopped

30 oz vegetable broth

1 medium potato, diced

1 tsp of salt

½ tsp of black pepper

½ cup of chopped celery

14 oz of canned diced tomatoes

1 cup of small shell pasta or elbow pasta (optional)

Red pepper flakes (optional)

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots and cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  2. Add celery, tomatoes with the juice, broth and potatoes. Add salt and pepper and, if you choose, red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. 
  3. Add the pasta and cook until the pasta is cooked
  4. Remove pot from heat. Season to taste. 

These two recipes are guaranteed to leave your mind feeling peaceful and your body feeling nourished. It is exceedingly important that we take care of our bodies and minds, and comfort foods are a way of doing that. Don’t underestimate the difference some oatmeal cookies or a bowl of soup can make.