With most countries in Europe still under lockdown or restrictions, none of us are likely to be eating out much in the near future. We might be stuck at home, but we all have comfort foods we turn to when we’re feeling down or lonely.
To celebrate the ‘comfort food’, we're asking food bloggers, writers, and aficionados from across the continent to share their go-to recipes to inspire us all.
All the dishes featured are popular in a specific country, with ingredients which are pretty easy to find there too. So wherever you are in Europe, you can treat yourself to a wholesome meal without having to compromise on local or seasonal ingredients.
Best of all, many of these recipes can be made with canned food or leftovers - helping minimise food waste and reduce your carbon footprint.
Plus - we're still looking! Every day for the next few weeks, we'll be adding a new dish to this list. If you want to suggest one of your own recipes, just drop us a line on Instagram and we may well feature your food!
Shallot meatball stew
With restrictions still in place in many countries, many of us want our meals to versatile, so we don't have to keep rushing back to the shops to pick up incredibly specific ingredients we've missed off our shopping list.
This dish from Bulgaria is adaptable and easy to make vegetarian or vegan if you wish. Stanka Stoyanova has chosen it for our #euronewscomfortfood round-up, as it's a nostalgic meal for the food blogger.
"It's a taste no one can forget - a taste that feels like a warm hug," says Stanka, "a taste brings a sense of comfort with every bite eaten. This is my all-time favourite childhood recipe for a stew with shallots."
Want to know how to make this? Swipe below on the photos to see the ingredients and recipe.
"This traditional Bulgarian recipe can be cooked in various ways. Commonly prepared with meatballs, or with chopped pork bites or even as a vegetarian dish," Stanka explains.
"The sweetness of the shallots, the light zesty taste of the tomatoes, the blending aromas of wine and herbs create an irresistible explosion of flavours taking you back in time and reminding you of the days that were filled with cosiness and tranquillity."
Chicken Tikka Masala is the UK’s national dish. It began to be recognised as such in 2001, when then-British foreign secretary Robin Cook famously included the meal in a speech saying, “Chicken Tikka Masala is now a true British national dish, not only because it is the most popular, but because it is a perfect illustration of the way Britain absorbs and adapts external influences.”
So when we think about food from the UK, we have to include Indian cuisine as the ultimate comfort food.
British-based Indian soul food writer Sanjana has a deliciously unique vegetarian curry which is perfect to indulge in as an alternative to meat.
“Soft, creamy Shahi Paneer is a true celebration of rich flavours and treasured spices,” explains Sanjana. “You can scoop this vegetarian curry up with hot paratha, naan or roti. If you’re not a bread lover, this Shahi Paneer also pairs beautifully with rice, should you wish to opt for a simple curry and rice bowl for dinner.”
Zucchini and mint tart
When we think of Swiss food, our minds may instantly go to fondue, raclette, and excellent chocolate. But culinary influencer Silvie Henselin-Robles is keen to change our perception of her home country’s cuisine.
For something comforting, Silvie is keen to share her favourite savoury tart. “Zucchini tart flavoured with mint, is a delicious recipe full of flavours, which is a speciality from the canton of Vaud in Switzerland,” she says.
Want to know how to make this dish? Use the arrows on the photos to swipe across and see the ingredients and method.
“I love this tart because I like to make my own homemade pastry and use seasonal products. This pie reminds me of nice summer evenings, sharing a meal with friends or family members, which is why it is one of my comfort dishes.”
Although pasta has proved hard to find in some supermarkets, it wouldn’t be right to do a list of comfort foods without everyone’s favourite Italian carb.
Food blogger Giulia Currenti says her favourite comfort food is homemade tagliolini pasta dressed with a homemade tomato sauce. “During lockdown people in Italy began to rediscover traditional flavours and started to cook as our grandmothers did,” explains Giulia. “They made pasta and pizza by themselves because they had time, but also making something healthy by yourself is just very satisfying.”
Click the arrow on the photos to swipe to the ingredients and method.
The recipe has simple ingredients, but the powerful, traditional Italian flavours make Giulia’s comfort dish a must-try for any Italian cuisine lovers.
As most of us are cooking far more than ever before during lockdown, you may need to find a good home for all your leftovers. This is where lapskaus comes in. A traditional Norweigan stew, this dish is often made out of leftover meat and potatoes - which means all those extra spuds can be put to good use!
Make sure to click the arrow on the photo below to see the ingredients and method.
Food blogger Anette Leithe has her own spin on the traditional dish. “I replace the potatoes with macaroni and add canned tomatoes and squash,” she explains. “This is one of my favourite dishes because it tastes good, uses up leftovers, and can serve the whole family!”
If you’ve got any dietary requirements, this will work for you too. The recipe is already lactose-free and can be easily made gluten-free by switching to wheat free pasta.
Basque Country, Spain
Marti Buckley is a Basque-based author and food writer who has a chorizo dish ideal for lockdown cooking.
“I love this dish because it warms you up from the inside,” explains Marti, “nothing says comfort like this steaming, soft and savoury sausage, served with crusty bread and Basque cider!
“Txorizoa sagardotan, or cider-based chorizo, is inspired by the most common of pantry staples. Basque cider is less sweet and more sour than its Anglo-Saxon and French counterparts, so it simmers cured chorizo to tender perfection.”
Click the arrow on the photos to swipe to the ingredients and method.
The dish originates from rural cider houses in the region, where people would gather in farmhouses to select cider for purchase - and the sausage served as a buffer to the alcohol.
Marti says using Spanish chorizo works best for the dish, as you want a well-cured piece of meat to make the perfect recipe.
Tahini and chocolate cake
For many of us, fasting may be the last thing on our minds in quarantine - but in Greek Orthodox culture, fasting is an important part of many people’s lives. This is why many Greek desserts are actually pretty healthy, so you can break fast with something a little more nutritious than a heavy buttercream cupcake…
“In Greece we often make cakes with nourishing ingredients because it is suitable to eat after fasting,” explains Evi Skoura. This is where she found inspiration for her healthy vegan tahini and chocolate cake.
Click on the arrow to see the method and ingredients!
A simple recipe, with no refined sugar or unhealthy ingredients, this cake is perfect for finding some balance and some sweetness during lockdown.
There are new recipes released every day - so keep checking back for more
Plus we want to see your dishes! Get in touch with us via Instagram with your comfort food suggestions, and we may feature you on this page.
With shopping becoming difficult under lockdown, you may have found yourself well-stocked with canned goods. If you’re looking for something a little more innovative to do with your seemingly endless supply of pulses, Irish food blogger Shipla Kiran has a simple kidney bean curry recipe (also known as rajma masala) which is the ultimate comfort food.
Click the arrows on the photos to swipe and see the ingredients and method.
“This recipe is ready in no time with no compromise in flavours and taste,” explains Shipla. The rajma masala draws on her Indian heritage and has the health benefits of kidney beans, but is also “as delicious as you would get in a nice Indian restaurant, and a nice change from typical chicken curries!”
Lockdown means the usual food rules don't apply anymore - so we're kicking things off with a boozy desert. From Estonia, cookbook author and food editor Ragne Vark has this fabulous recipe for rum balls.
When it comes to comfort food, Ragne is a fan of sweet dishes, so her childhood-favourite dessert was an instant must on her list of comforting treats. To make this traditionally alcoholic dish kid-friendly, she suggests swapping the cognac for rum essence - but at this stage of lockdown, we'll forgive you for making these adult-only.
Want to know how to make these? Swipe below on the photos to see the ingredients and recipe.
“Rum balls are a very popular sweet bite in Estonia,” says Vark. “When I was a little child, I often bought rum cakes from the local cafeteria to make these. This recipe is so easy and you can also use a leftover cake to make it, or some other sweet pastries.”
Banana bread has taken the world by storm throughout lockdown, with people sharing their rectangular bakes all over social media.
Romanian food blogger Nicoleta Catargiu captivated her audience with a very special banana bread recipe. “I have lots of recipes,” she explains, “but only one of them stands out: Banana Bread.
“Every day I receive pictures from people who are making this sweet loaf. During lockdown I think it has become some kind of comfort food, or even a way of releasing stress.” Nicoleta adds, “in my opinion, cooking and baking is a good way to forget about problems.”
If you want to see what goes into Nicoleta's banana bread, and how to make it, swipe on the pictures below.
So if you fancy joining the hype with a more original take on the fruity cake - Nicoleta's recipe is the one for you.
Hailing from the Netherlands, Stamppot is a traditional Dutch dish which is often eaten in the summer.
Food blogger Beau Schenk has a more modern twist on the recipe, swapping out the potatoes and adding a few more original flavours.
Swipe on the pictures below to see the ingredients and recipe.
“It’s a very very traditional Dutch food, but I make a more modern version with sweet potatoes,” says Beau, “along with rocket salad, tomatoes, goat cheese, pine nuts, and smoked paprika powder.
“It is super easy, with a lot of different tastes! This is one of my go-to dinners with friends, as it’s always a hit.”
Greek Cypriot food blogger Eleni enjoys sharing simple recipes inspired by her heritage.
For comfort food, her first choice is a traybake for its simplicity combined with its delicious use of flavour.
Use the arrows on the photos to swipe and see the ingredients and recipe!
“This post was shared and liked by a lot of people because of its flavours, but also its convenience,” says Eleni. “Because it’s a traybake, fewer pots need washing, it’s easy to do and flavoursome!”
Looking for more inspiration?
There's plenty more where these came from! Every day we're adding a new dish from across Europe, to give you some more kitchen ideas.
Check back in with us tomorrow to see our next instalment!
We want to see your comforting eats
What meal have you turned to during lockdown? A sweet treat from Spain? Or a sumptuous side from Serbia?
Get in touch with us via Instagram to send us your favourite recipes for traditional European dishes which have helped you over the last several weeks.