Anytime I’m sick (or even on the verge of being sick), two things are certain: My energy and inspiration to cook are pretty low, and I crave simple foods that are warm, nourishing, and supremely comforting. With that in mind, this is the roster of meals I turn to again and again.
From lemony spinach tortellini soup to brown butter noodles, these 10 quick and nourishing recipes are sure to hit the spot when you’re sick.
1. Lemony Tortellini Spinach Soup
Packed with carrots, spinach, lemon juice, and frozen tortellini, this soup is light yet filling. Make sure to keep tortellini in the freezer so you can make this in a flash.
2. Rotisserie Chicken Coconut Curry Soup
Nothing hits the spot on a sick day quite like chicken noodle soup — especially when it’s loaded with the punchy flavors of ginger, chiles, and lemongrass. Best of all, this version starts with a rotisserie chicken, so it’s really easy to pull together.
3. Crispy White Beans with Greens and Poached Egg
There is a lot to love about a plate of greens and beans topped with a warm, runny-yolked egg when you’re sick. It’s fresh and comforting, and since it comes together in about 20 minutes, you can totally manage it even when you don’t have any energy.
4. Brown Butter Parmesan Pasta
Buttered noodles are a sick-day essential. This version gets an easy upgrade with brown butter and crunchy panko breadcrumbs.
5. How To Make Creamy Stovetop Polenta
There is something so soothing and comforting about a warm, creamy bowl of polenta. Show yourself some extra love by stirring in a couple pats of butter and a sprinkle of Parmesan at the end. Eat it as is, or top with roasted or sautéed veggies, leftover meat, or an egg.
6. Mushroom and Barley Soup
Inspired by the classic brothy soup from the deli counter, this hearty vegetarian soup is pure comfort and warmth. It brings together a blend of mushrooms, vegetables, and pearled barley for a warming soup you can make in 30 minutes.
7. Kimchi Fried Rice with Extra Greens
A quick bowl of fried rice tossed with a mess of tender greens, funky kimchi, and an egg for extra sustenance is always a good idea when you’re under the weather.
8. Sweet Potatoes with Chickpea Tomato Sauce
Add this to your list of reasons to cook a big batch of sweet potatoes during weekend meal prep. I love this nourishing meal just as much for its warm, spiced flavors as I do for how simple it is to make.
9. Hot & Sour Soup with Mushroom, Cabbage, and Rice
Anytime I’m not feeling well, the savory, pungent, tangy fragrance of this weeknight soup instantly helps to lift the fog.
(Image credit: Lauren Volo)
10. Egg and Avocado Salad on Toast
There’s no way around it — toast is a sick-day staple. I love topping it with smashed avocado and a sliced hard-boiled egg to turn it into a quick and nourishing meal.