Community

17 Easy Recipes We’re Cooking in Quarantine

Pantry-based and nourishing, these are the comfort foods our community is making right now.

by:
April 15, 2020
Photo by TY MECHAM. PROP STYLIST: SOPHIE STRANGIO. FOOD STYLIST: ANNA BILLINGSKOG.

Now more than ever, home is where many of us are seeking refuge and solace in light of the novel coronavirus. This is a tough time, but we’re here for you—whether it’s a new pantry recipe or a useful tip for your kitchen, here are some ideas to make things run a little more smoothly for you and your loved ones.


Wherever you are in the world, I hope you're safe and sound at home. As we all navigate the global COVID-19 crisis, it's important that we're still nourishing ourselves—not just our stomachs, but also our minds, our hearts, and our communities. My colleague Brinda's grandmother, in Singapore, texted her this a few weeks ago and it's been my mantra since: "Don't get depressed. Sing, play on the piano, read novels, learn knitting and sewing, meditate—all these help."

I don't know if I believe that the simple comforts of cooking will indelibly cure the ailments of today and tomorrow, but I do know that walking into the kitchen to make yourself something to eat—no matter your situation and how you feel about it—is always a good thing, a nourishing act.

Here at Food52 we've been sharing our quarantine meals on social media (Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook) with the hashtag #f52community. We invite you to do the same—and please add to this list in the comment section below. What are you cooking right now? And how are you doing?

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Top Comment:
“Day before we had egg fu yung using farm to table eggs (my close friend raises chickens), duck fried rice (using duck left from Easter) and sweet and sour chicken. I’m looking for ideas. We have had plenty of Italian food. ”
— Lawkat
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To start us off, a genius trick from Bryant Terry, by way of our Genius columnist, Kristen:

1. Asparagus With Lemon-Pepper Marinade From Bryant Terry

Pantry cooking: spring edition. "I've loved having Bryant Terry's lemon-pepper marinade in my fridge this week, both because it brings grilled (or broiled) vegetables to life and because, as a ranch-like dip, it's been helping me eat every last scrap in my crisper, even the shaggy fennel tops," Kristen writes.

Blanch whatever you've got—for me, this was some mustard greens stems and a few stray stalks of broccoli rabe—then drench in a marinade made creamy with silken tofu, heady with white pepper. Broil or grill to caramelize any lingering marinade, and serve with more of the dreamy sauce.

2. Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Managing Editor (and self-proclaimed "nutritional yeast enthusiast") Brinda Ayer riffed on vegan columnist Gena Hamshaw's mac and cheese. Because of its inherent "heartiness and creaminess," butternut squash proved an obvious choice for a pseudo cheese. Then, the sauce becomes even creamier with the addition of two types of plant-based milk, coconut and almond.

3. Dry-Rubbed Chicken Wings With Barbecue Sauce

Merrill kicked off Wing Wednesday: Quarantine Qooking Edition this past week, sans smoked salt ("I'm just going to use regular") and granulated garlic ("mine's kind of desiccated, but that's alright"). These dry-rubbed wings are purportedly so delicious as is that you won't even miss the sauce—but we'll let you be the judge of that.

4. Momofuku Bo Ssam & 5. Five-Fold Challah

"I have a pork shoulder sitting in my fridge, too! I'm planning on bo-ssaming it, since Coral said to. I don't have a whole lot of extra time to actively cook right now, since my husband and I are also watching our busy, suddenly walking 1-year-old while working from home, but I'm looking forward to taking short breaks to do things like shake some salt and sugar on a big hunk of pork to cure it, then peek at it during its long, slow roast in the oven. I've found meditatively folding yeasted dough does the trick, too." —Kristen Miglore, creative director of Genius

6. Pasta con Ceci

It doesn't get more pantry-friendly than this Genius pasta con ceci from Victoria Granof, which our co-founder Amanda Hesser says is "something you can make mostly without having to go to the grocery store." The only prep you need to do: smash four cloves of garlic. (Seriously.) Everything else comes together in a single saucepan, earning this dish our weeknight dinner seal of approval.

7. Cheesiest Cheeseburgers

Food Editor Emma Laperruque's latest Big Little Recipe is not a burger with cheese, nor a Juicy Lucy, but the cheesiest of cheeseburgers, aka the comfort food we all need right now.

"Here's the gist: Mix ground beef with grated cheese. Roll into meatballs (cheeseballs? cheese-meatballs?). Get a cast-iron skillet roaring hot, add the balls, and smash them into oblivion with a sturdy spatula."

8. First Night in Florence Spaghetti

Account Manager Mollie Doherty was in the kitchen with her partner and videographer Tim, and this accidentally pantry-friendly recipe from community member Boulangere. Forever changed by a magical bowl of pasta in Florence, Boulangere tried her hand at recreating it at home, and we are forever grateful.

9. Pasta With Broccoli Rabe & White Bean–Anchovy Sauce

"I made an extra-brothy riff on this pasta recipe using what we had in the pantry and fridge: elbow macaroni, chicken stock, broccolini, canned beans, garlic, and a pack of mushrooms that were about to go bad. I served myself a big bowlful, sprinkled a lot of cheese on top, and slurped it (without spilling, yay!) while I watched a movie on the couch." —Erin Alexander, associate editor

10. Stand-Mixer Pie Dough

"It might seem flippant to make a fruit tart while quarantined, but also, when else would be a good time? Midmorning yesterday, I went to my neighborhood kitchen supply shop to pick up a fluted tart pan. Flustered by the selection, I went to the cashier for help, who then held out her hand (the universal sign for “stop,” and “please stay away from me”) while offering assistance from a respectable six feet away. It was like playing Marco Polo, but we weren’t in a pool. And we’re adults. During this quarantine, I’m learning new, small ways to be kind—to others (keeping a distance), to my partner (being okay with letting dishes soak), and to myself (making an inordinately elaborate fruit tart)." —Coral Lee, associate editor

11. French Onion Soup, The Scorched Way

"I’m planning to make a big ol’ batch of French onion soup while I’m holed up this week. I’ve stockpiled lots of onions (one of my roommates bought a bunch and has since fled N.Y.C.), a frozen loaf of sourdough, and three containers of chicken and beef broth in my fridge, which have got to go somewhere! Oh, and I also bought about seven types of cheese over the past week, because if we’re all going to be quarantined, I’m going to be quarantined with cheese." —Caroline Mullen, assistant editor of lifestyle

12. Coconut Dal With Turmeric Rice

"Yesterday, I made Chita Agrawal’s super-flavorful, ultra-comforting coconutty dal. Growing up, steaming hot dal over a bowl of rice was the panacea for all ails—a fever, a stomach bug, heartbreak. The occasion determined how simply made or loaded it was: when you're sick, for instance, a watery dal with just a little turmeric, cumin, and salt; for happier occasions, darker dals made rich and hearty with coconut milk or cream, and a chaunk. I really can’t think of a more comforting meal for the prevailing times. If you’re concerned you don’t have an ingredient or two on this list, riff away. No tamarind paste? Chop up some tomato for acidity. I’ve also switched up the red lentils with brown. Anything goes." —Arati Menon, senior editor

13. Ram-Don

"I had a few packs of the instant noodles needed to make Ram-Don sitting in my cupboard. Luckily my husband was able to find one solitary strip steak at our local grocery store yesterday, so Ram-Don it was! With a side of kimchi that was stashed in the back of our fridge. I know it’s not the most universally available thing to make, but as far as minimal-ingredient cooking goes, it’s a real winner—plus, its resourcefulness feels especially applicable right now. If you have any kind of instant noodles and some protein—be it a steak, tofu, chicken, or an egg—you can make yourself a pretty rewarding meal. And if you have more than that—some greens, herbs, or pickly bits—you’re really in luck." —Joanna Sciarrino, executive editor

14. Kimchi Fried Rice With Nori

As for me, I always have jars of kimchi fermenting in my fridge, which has been a huge help these last few days in self-quarantine as my vegetable stash dwindles day by day. And with any leftover vegetables I do have sitting in my crisper drawer (a nub of broccoli, a few stalks of asparagus, maybe a quarter of an onion), I've been taking James Beard's lead and sautéing them very briefly in a pan with butter and soy sauce.

White rice and roasted seaweed (or nori) are also two pantry items I buy in bulk and keep on hand for everyday meals, and they feel especially comforting to cook with now: Everything goes in one pan, along with some salty-sweet Spam, crisped in sesame oil, and a small handful of that kimchi. It makes a big stir-fried rice, and I could eat it forever.

15. Kindred's Milk Bread

This milk bread from Kindred Restaurant is one of our most popular recipes of all time, with over 450(!) comments. After making it for the first time, our co-founder Amanda Hesser quickly discovered why—it's a cinch to make and ever so versatile (use it for sandwiches, French toast, burger buns, you name it). "It's such a cool and unusual bread recipe and it's super easy to put together, and it makes these gorgeous loaves," Win, win, win.

16. Braised Onion Sauce

"Yes it takes a long time, but it's actually pretty easy—the hardest part is cutting the onion. After that it's just cooking the onions low and slow. For a novice cook like myself the flavor impact far exceeds the low lift required. It's the best thing I've ever tasted and I wish that I had the vocabulary to really do it justice. Also, the time really goes by quickly when you realize you have leftover wine you can finish while it cooks." —Cara Vaccaro, email production coordinator

17. Easy Seeded Flatbread

For a quick-meets-easy snack, our food editor Emma Laperruque has been whipping up this easy seeded flatbread recipe from Sarah Jampel. Bonus: no yeast required! "The recipe calls for a mix of seeds, which I love because that's very open ended," says Emma. Which means you can use whatever you've already got on hand, from sesame seeds to caraway seeds.


What are you cooking these days? Let us know in the comments.
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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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Eric Kim is the Table for One columnist at Food52. Formerly the managing editor at Food Network and a PhD candidate in literature at Columbia University, he covers food, travel, and culture and lives in a tiny shoebox in Manhattan with his dog, Quentin "Q" Compson. His favorite writers are William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, and Ernest Hemingway, but his hero is Nigella Lawson. You can follow him on Twitter @ericjoonho.

25 Comments

Daniel May 27, 2020
We have made lasagna, Shepard’s pie, tacos, pizza, and pasta during quarantine
 
hussainsaidely May 2, 2020
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Cookandhealthtips April 25, 2020
https://cookandhealthtips.blogspot.com/2020/04/quarantine-recipes-2020.html?m=1best quarantine recipes you should try these at home😉😉😉
 
Daniel May 27, 2020
Maybe i will!
 
Lawkat April 16, 2020
Thank goodness I love to cook. And now I have all day long to do so. Just joined this site and I look forward to creating some of these lovely dishes. This week I have been missing carry out food (living with my 80 year old father and therefore won’t take any unnecessary risks). So each day I have done a different ethnicity’s food. Yesterday was Greek chicken meatballs on pitas with a feta orzo salad. So good! Day before we had egg fu yung using farm to table eggs (my close friend raises chickens), duck fried rice (using duck left from Easter) and sweet and sour chicken. I’m looking for ideas. We have had plenty of Italian food.
 
Cookandhealthtips April 25, 2020
https://cookandhealthtips.blogspot.com/2020/04/quarantine-recipes-2020.html?m=1best quarantine recipes you should try these at home😉😉😉
 
Cauliflower April 13, 2020
I love these recipes and can't wait to try fried rice. Love that you added video elements to the blog. I have a similar blog that outlines healthy eating during a pandemic to stay away from the #Quarantine15: https://www.thisisuproar.com/post/the-quarantine-diet-stay-healthy-and-eat-clean-during-a-pandemic
 
Laura C. April 12, 2020
I've re-jiggering my process, making mega-bulk-sized sauces in my biggest pots and freezing meal-sized portions, just like the restaurants do: Bolognese, sofrito, pesto, chimichurri.
 
Daniel May 27, 2020
Same
 
Ling B. April 6, 2020
Oh my gosh! You guys my friends and I just made live our new website/blog, based on the top ingredients people have purchased for lockdown! Check out our collection of recipes handpicked at: https://quarantine-cookbook.com/
 
The P. April 5, 2020
Unless I missed something the recipe to the photo accompanying the link to this article is absent. It's "Victoria Granof's Pasta con Ceci".
 
Dennis Y. April 4, 2020
Will follow your recipes!
Kitchen Utensils Review
 
Jane March 28, 2020
These all sound delicious but most include ingredients that we simple cooks won’t have with out a trip to the store. Could you do a post with common stuff. Most of us have potatoes, celery, and onions but not broccoli rabe., Brussels sprouts, and nori. Those are items I buy but not unless I’m making a specific dish.

I have been busy making bread.😊
 
Lise April 16, 2020
Agreed! Does anyone really have asparagus and butternut squash in their fridge right now? I haven’t been out shopping since 3/24/20 so I’m down to canned goods, pasta and the stuff I cooked and froze prior to the pandemic.
 
Bread &. May 2, 2020
Being young and broke, I adapt a lot of the vegetable-based recipes on here to use frozen veggies. Frozen broccoli thawed in the fridge for a bit usually subs in fine flavor-wise for stuff like broccolini, although obviously the texture isn't the same.
 
Daniel May 27, 2020
Yeah I haven’t been shopping either. Mostly making pasta and stuff I can find in my pantry right now.
 
Bread &. March 20, 2020
I've got a block of especially tasty parmesan that I really want to use up before it goes off considering I may not get more for a while. So I've been making a different pasta every day (low carb diets and uncertain times don't mix, in my experience). I also have So Many red lentils so I can't wait to give that dal recipe above a spin. The plan for tonight is an entree salad with radishes, roasted chickpeas and a lemon vinaigrette though...sort of a kiss goodbye to fresh produce before an indeterminately long haul of mostly shelf-stable stuff. Stay safe and positive everybody!
 
Rochelle March 20, 2020
That Pasta con Ceci is a staple here as well. Congee/Jook is a perfect comfort food for these trying times using nothing much more than rice and water. Tonight will be Chinese eggs with tomatoes using tinned tomatoes here in the great white north. Stay safe (and separate) everyone.
 
HalfPint March 30, 2020
I've made pork and preserved egg congee/jook. Blissful comfort food :)
 
Daniel May 27, 2020
Sounds good!!!
 
Anne B. March 19, 2020
I made a super simple bread dough last Friday. The bread was good, but I'm looking
forward to making some really wonderful bread with the rest of the dough that has been fermenting for days now!
 
Author Comment
Eric K. March 19, 2020
Nothing better than the smell of homemade bread!
 
Daniel May 27, 2020
I love bread! Good idea!!
 
Daniel May 27, 2020
This honestly sounds amazing and now I want bread!!!