Food writer Clare Kleinedler recreates her favorite comfort foods into healthy dishes we can all love!
I’m not a big fan of dieting (who is?) but I do get a little thrill when I can find a way to make my favorite comfort foods a lot healthier. Whether it’s lasagna or burgers, comfort foods are generally great for the soul but terrible for the waistline.
After a few experiments, I figured out how to make a fantastic batch of baked onion rings that are as crispy and satisfying as the fried variety. I also created a lighter version of a pizza Margherita, one of my go-to dishes at any Italian joint. My pizza doesn’t have the heft of the original but the flavours are all there, and while it won’t fill you up quite like regular pizza it’ll squash that craving without the guilt.
Baked Onion Rings
- 2 onions, peeled and cut into thick slices (rings!)
- 4 tablespoons white flour
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1.5 – 2 cups (just use a tea or coffee cup) of Japanese panko* breadcrumbs
- Olive oil or plain oil spray
Preheat the oven to 200 C. Put the flour, paprika, garlic powder and sea salt into a large, Ziploc bag. In batches of a half-dozen or so, place the onion rings in the bag, close and shake so that the rings are lightly coated with the flour mixture.
Place the beaten eggs in a large shallow dish and toss the coated onion rings into the egg to give them a light coat. The flour coating has to go on first as otherwise the egg mixture will not stick to the onion.
Put the panko breadcrumbs into another large Ziploc bag. Again in batches, place the onion rings into the bag, close and shake until the rings are coated in the breadcrumb mixture.
Place the rings on a large baking tray and lightly spray with the oil spray. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown on the outside. Serve with ketchup or your favorite sauce.
*Panko breadcrumbs are available at most Asian food markets and are essential for this recipe as they are super crispy!
Super Light Pizza Margherita
- 2 whole wheat flour tortillas
- 1 small jar of pizza sauce
- A few slices of low-moisture, skim mozzarella
- 10 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- Handful of fresh basil leaves
Preheat oven to 200 C. In the meantime, heat up a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Place one of the tortillas in the pan, watching it carefully so it does not burn. It’s good to try to crisp up the tortillas a bit before they go into the oven. Flip it every minute or so, until it starts to get a little crisp – about 4-5 minutes. Repeat with the other tortilla.
Put as much or as little pizza sauce on each tortilla as you like, divide up the slices of mozzarella between the two tortillas and add the tomato. Bake for 8 minutes on a large baking tray, remove from oven and add fresh basil. Slice and serve while hot.