What is hygge?

Have you heard of hygge (pronounced “hoo-ga”)? It refers to “feelings of cozy contentment and well-being through enjoying the simple things in life.” I discovered the term last year in a book and recognized immediately that hygge is what I want to experience, especially during the cold winter months.

So what types of things are hygge? That depends on what brings joy, peace and warmth to you. My list includes:

  • Comfy clothes and sweaters
  • Soft candles
  • Hot tea
  • Cozy blankets
  • Good books on favourite chairs
  • Slower pace of life
  • Warm, home-cooked foods

I feel relaxation setting in just thinking about it!

Bringing hygge to your meals

Homemade foods, comfort foods and hot drinks are usually what people are referring to when they think of hygge eating. The concept can also extend to the idea of eating together and connecting over a meal, which has a host of health and other benefits.

A perfect place to start if you want to incorporate some hygge foods into your life is with soup. Try a family favourite or something new like this cauliflower soup where the veggies are roasted to help bring out the flavour. Here is what I learned the first time I made this recipe:

  • Trust the method. Cooking the onion, garlic and spices in broth is unconventional, but it works.
  • Use a regular blender – not an immersion blender. You’ll want this soup to be velvety smooth.
  • Add the dill and lemon. Though you may be skeptical of pairing these with cauliflower, this is what really brings out the flavour. If you want to try sumac, but have never heard of it before, you can learn more here.
  • Pair the soup with other foods to balance the meal. Serving the soup alongside a plate of veggies, cheese and whole grain crackers will help you create a satisfying dinner.

I hope you’re inspired to enjoy more warmth and coziness after reading this. What things and recipes are on your hygge list? Share them in the comments.

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Written by a Registered Dietitian.

Oven-Roasted Cauliflower Soup
Prep Time
15 minutes
Cook Time
40 minutes (Roast: 25 minutes & Cook: 15 minutes)


1 medium head of cauliflower, about 8 cups (2 L)
1 carrot, coarsley chopped, about 1 cup (250 ml)
1 tbsp (15 ml) butter, melted
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp (5 ml) dried thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
About 4 cups (900 ml to 1 L) no-salt added or regular chicken or vegetable broth
1 tbsp (15 ml) grainy Dijon mustard
1 cup (250 ml) milk
freshly ground pepper
salt (optional)
1/4 cup (60 ml) coarsley chopped fresh dill
ground sumac or coarsely grated lemon zest (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 425 F (220 C). Break cauliflower into medium-sized florest. Place on a large baking sheet. Add carrots; drizzle melted butter over vegetables and toss to coat. Roast 20-30 minutes, turning half way, until vegetables are tender. Removed about 1/2 cup (125 ml) florets. Cut into smaller pieces to garnish soup.
  2. Meanwhile, place onion, garlic, thyme and bay leaf in a large saucepan. Cover with about 1 cup (250 ml) broth. Simmer gently for 5 minutes until onion is tender. Add roasted cauliflower, carrot, remaining broth and Dijon. Simmer gently for 7-10 minutes until vegetables are very tender. Stir in milk. Discard bay leaf.
  3. Cool soup slightly. Puree in batches until smooth. Return to saucepan. Season with pepper and salt if needed. Garnish with small cauliflower florets, dill and sumac or lemon zest.