So often, winter food is described as hearty: Thick stews, warming soups, gooey trays of mac and cheese. Sure, it’s nice, but it can all start to feel a little heavy, especially after a couple of months. Sometimes you need a break from all that comfort.

If you’re looking for a few lighter, brighter dishes to get you through to spring, check out one of these options from our archives:

Mushroom and Scallion Lo Mein, above. There’s a bit of knife work required here — nothing complicated, just a lot of mushrooms and scallions to slice. But the result is worth it. The star is the mushrooms, whose earthiness is well-balanced by ginger and scallions. You’ll need a pound, so feel free to choose your favorite, or mix and match. You could further fortify this dish with a fried or scrambled egg.



(Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

Mango-Lime Marinated Chicken ThighsFrozen mango chunks make this dish accessible any time. The bright taste of the fruit and smoky flavor imparted by the broiler means you can get that sunshine and outdoor grill vibe even when it’s cold and wintry.



(Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

Flatbread Pizzas With Broccoli Pesto, Sun-Dried Tomato and Egg. A craving for pizza doesn’t have to take you straight to gobs of melty cheese (all the time, anyway). When you want something more nutritious, these whole-grain flatbreads are the way to go.



(Stacy Zarin Goldberg for The Washington Post)

Peruvian Chicken Soup. The vivid green appearance of a parsley-based soup is matched by the refreshing flavor in this 35-minute meal.



(Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

Green Salad With Pears, Pecans and Blue CheeseHere’s a salad that walks the line between substantial and light, with crunchy red leaf lettuce serving as the backdrop for the richness of blue cheese and freshness of pears.



(Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

Fennel Salad With Oranges and OlivesWhether served as an accompaniment to heartier fare or simply with some bread and a chunk of good cheese, this artful and colorful dish will perk up any meal.

More from Voraciously:

5 weekend baking projects to keep you busy, and well-fed, on a winter’s day

This eggless take on chocolate mousse is a breeze to make and a dream to eat

With this simple recipe, you’ll wonder why it took you so long to make butter chicken from scratch