This one-pot recipe with chicken, black eyed peas, and rice is a hearty meal on the healthy side. You’ll love the flavor, ease, and wholesomeness of this dish!
Yesterday I attended an event about “The New Comfort Food” hosted by Foster Farms chicken. They talked about how nowadays, comfort food isn’t about eating heavy food until you’re stuffed. It’s about nourishing your body and feeling good about what you’re eating because it’s good for you and environmentally responsible. There was a talented chef there who created dishes that were a new, healthy take on the concept of comfort food, and we got to taste them all.
The food was more like what I consider California cuisine than comfort food. Picture chicken flatbread with fresh pesto and raw greens (no cheese), zucchini noodles with grilled chicken, and a chicken sandwich topped with spicy yogurt sauce and carrots. Everything tasted delicious, but I didn’t feel like I was eating comfort food. I was still hungry when I left! Granted, it was a tasting, so the portions were small. Also, I like to eat a lot ;) Still, it didn’t have the stick-to-my-ribs aspect that I usually associate with comfort food.
What do you think? Can lighter meals be considered comfort food? I don’t want to ask if healthy can be comforting because I think you can make traditional comfort dishes in healthier ways without losing the hearty flavor. Take this black eyed pea dish for example. It’s definitely on the healthy side, but it’s warm, filling, and delicious. This counts as comfort food for me even though there’s no gravy or cheese.
I think the bottom line is that what people call comfort food varies widely. For some, it might be chicken noodle soup because that’s what makes them feel better when they are sick or feeling down. Others might think comfort food means fresh bread with butter because it reminds them of their grandma’s kitchen. Maybe others think a big, healthy salad made with local, organic ingredients is comforting because they feel good about what they are eating. I would be interested to hear your thoughts.
For me, I think comfort food is always warm, savory and filling. A big bowl of these black eyed peas and rice definitely fit the bill, and I love how easy this recipe is to make. (Easy recipes always make me feel happy.) Let me know if you try this recipe and how it makes you feel when you eat it!