15 Healthy Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa) Recipes For Winter

Anyone who knows me knows that Ina Garten is a major inspiration in my life. I know I’m not alone, who wouldn’t love to live in the Hamptons by the beach and throw amazing dinner parties for their friends in their gorgeous home and gardens, and frequent Paris through the year?


I’ve been a fan since her show first started. I was so young but her lifestyle really resonated with me, and probably had a major impact on my view that you have the power to create the life you want to live; to live life on your terms.


I could go on and on about what inspires me about her, but I’ll focus on food here. She often gets a bad rap for using a lot of butter and her use of the word ‘good’ when describing ingredients for her recipes.


First, butter is not bad, especially when it’s good butter (like organic and grass fed). And a lot of her recipes are actually pretty healthy, despite sometimes being calorie dense and indulgent.


For me, what makes food healthy is the quality and realness of the ingredients. If it isn’t processed and is natural, then it offers its own mix of important nutrients. Ina Garten often cooks simple meals from scratch with high quality ingredients. The key to eating healthy consistently is to make food that’s flavorful, exciting and satisfying.

Many of her recipes can also be made in advance, so they’re perfect for easy meal prep, and make enough to get multiple meals out of for the week ahead to keep in the freezer (known as batch cooking). Below I’m sharing fifteen of her winter friendly recipes, that are on the healthier and (mostly) lower calorie side, to hopefully inspire you too.

 
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Mexican Chicken Soup

Here’s the recipe. Health tip: Bake the tortilla strips instead, they get really crispy on their own, without added oils.

 
 
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Lobster Corn Chowder

You might think a creamy soup with corn in it isn’t healthy, but organic/grass fed dairy fits into a healthy and clean diet. This is packed with great protein and carbs that deliver fiber and nutrients. It’s higher calorie, but would be a great weekend dinner (add less cream to reduce cals). Recipe here.

 
 
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Winter Minestrone

I make a version of this all the time, with (clean) Italian sausage instead of pancetta. It’s packed with veggies and bone broth so it’s anti-inflammatory and healing. Recipe here.

 
 
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Split Pea Soup

This is a great meatless/vegetarian dinner. It provides good protein through the peas, potatoes and bone broth. Recipe here.

 
 
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Lemon Chicken Breasts

Adding citrus, garlic and herbs to simple baked chicken not only boosts the flavor, but also the nutrient density (and health benefits!) Recipe here.

 
 
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Brown Rice & Butternut Squash

This is a great side to accompany lean proteins, like the above baked chicken, or for a meatless/vegetarian dinner. It’s packed with plant based nutrients. Recipe here.

 
 
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Garlic Sauteed Spinach

We make this all. the. time. We have it as a side with dinner, or with weekend breakfasts paired with eggs or on avocado toast. Recipe here.

 
 
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Roasted Spiced Pork

This is a great batch cooking recipe. I often cook a lot of pork, chicken and beef ahead to portion and keep in the freezer. You can later add it to salads, tacos, quesadillas and rice bowls. Recipe here.

 
 
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Pasta with Shrimp Scampi

Pasta can be healthy! Use one with simple ingredients, or use lentil or chickpea pasta, and stick to a portion. You can give this a boost (and more volume) by adding green veggies like kale, spinach or steamed broccoli. Recipe here.

 
 
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Salmon Cakes

Try to use wild salmon if you can, it’s more nutrient dense, leaner and contains less toxins. These are packed with veggies, and would be great on a salad or as a burger. They contain bread crumbs as a binder, but you could likely use flax meal or a grain alternative flour if needed. Recipe here.

 
 
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Cauliflower Gratin

This is a more indulgent meal, great for entertaining or weekends. It’s also a healthy, lower carb and lighter alternative to mac and cheese. I’ve made this for a big party and it was a huge hit. Recipe here.

 
 
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Parmesan Roasted Broccoli

If you need more excitement with your green vegetables, this is a good option. It’s made with lemon, garlic and parm cheese and roasted to get a little crisp. The nuts can be omitted for cost and calories. Recipe here.

 
 
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Pasta, Pesto & Peas

The pesto is made with mayo (clean brand: Sir Kensington’s). You can decrease the amount used in the recipe, and also replace some of it with Greek yogurt for protein and calorie reduction. Add chicken or shrimp for more protein if desired. Recipe here.

 
 
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Beet Salad

I make a beet salad once a week in the winter! If you don’t like goat cheese you could use feta instead. I add sliced red onion, and farro to make it more filling. Recipe here.

 
 
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Vegetable Frittata

These are great for quick breakfasts, packed lunches and easy dinners. And so versatile, you can add whatever veggies you prefer. I’d add sautéed mushrooms and steamed kale. To reduce the calories, you can add less half and half. Recipe here.

How easy was that? Do you have any go-to Ina Garten recipes that I might have missed here? Share them below in the comments!

Eating healthy consistently during the workweek can be a challenge, that’s why I’m sharing a sample weekday meal plan, with recipe ideas that are part of my own healthy meal rotation. Get it for free here.