Every cook around the world has recipes they reached for when a loved one isn’t feeling well. Nutritious foods nourish our bodies and help us recover. Some sicknesses reduce our appetites or leave us with sensitive digestion for a few days. Some sicknesses congest us and inhibit our tastebuds. The recipes gathered here are meant to help you draw on the wisdom of different cultures to find recipes that will help you and your loved ones nourish a body that’s on the way to recovering from illness and offer food comfort to your household on the whole.
Sweet Harvest Chicken Soup
Chicken soup is an American classic recovery dish. Although store-bought versions can offer good nutrition, many are high in sodium and a little low in other nutrients. When you’re shopping for convenient options, soups are a wonderful section to pay attention to the Guiding Stars icon, as products that earn 1, 2, or 3 Guiding Stars will contain lower added sodium. If you’re able to cook your own chicken soup at home, this recipe using apples and cabbage is a little sweet, easy on the stomach, and flavorful enough to delight both well and unwell members of your family.
Ginger Egg Drop Soup
Egg drop soup is a comfort food that originated in China and has found popularity around the world. Eggs, which are nourishing and relatively easy on the digestion, are a perfect addition to a robustly gingery soup. Ginger also has a reputation for making people feel better, especially for stomach complaints. Another option for adding an egg is to poach one egg per serving in the boiling broth for 3-6 minutes, depending on preference.
Easy Broccoli Pasta
Pasta el bianco, or “bland,” is commonly served to folks on the mend in Italy. This is usually pasta dressed very simply, with a little olive oil and maybe a smidge of cheese. This variation includes garlic (which can be dropped for sensitive stomachs) and broccoli, which we encourage considering as an addition, as leafy, green vegetables offer excellent nutrition.
Slow-Cooker Chicken Congee
Congee is a rice porridge that is found in many different forms in many different Asian countries. It is intentionally mild to be easy on the stomach and is often served to folks who are recovering from illness. Ginger gives this simple dish an incredible fragrance to tempt the appetite of anyone who gets a whiff.
Rainbow Root Soup
We eat with our eyes, which means that colorful and visually-appealing foods can help tempt appetites that need a little extra encouragement. This variation on chicken soup can also easily be made vegetarian by swapping in beans for chicken, as it already uses vegetable broth. Soups like this are a great way to use odd combinations of vegetables you’re not entirely sure what to do with.
Fragrantly spiced and otherwise simple, this Indian comfort food is both filling and nourishing. Although traditionally made with mung beans, which many Americans don’t have on hand, this dish can be as easily made from red lentils or yellow split peas, adjusting cooking times and adding more water if needed to prevent the dish from drying out.
Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Soup
Garlic has a long and wide reputation for supporting sick people on the road to recovery. The stories about why it works are as varied as cultures that love garlic, but if nothing else, the strong aroma can often come through even the stuffiest of noses. Cauliflower soup is another comforting food, eaten especially in Norway. This recipe combines two traditions and is so flavorful we actually recommend using the soup as a vegan alternative to cheese sauce.