food to glow

feel good food that's good for you

three cheese pepper spread

three cheese pepper spread

The recipes on this page have been developed, or options given, for those who are having trouble chewing and swallowing. Many recipes that you already may be familiar with can be adapted for easier handling in the mouth just by chopping foods very finely, using moist heat, and/or using a hand/stick blender to smooth the texture of some of the chewier cooked ingredients. 

These recipes may not be suitable for those recovering from stroke.

Before the recipes I link to good articles for you and your carers to consider when planning meals. I’ve followed this with a list of cookbooks to consider buying or borrowing from your library.

Articles on Soft Food Diet – what are the soft food and mechanical soft food diets? – soft foods diet (good foods list) – the best soft f00ds – mechanical soft diet  – soft diet 
Here is a review from the National (US) Foundation of Swallowing Disorders of cookbooks written for those with varying degrees of swallowing difficulties. The Foundation’s own website looks very useful too, highlighting many of the issues that may arise with dysphagia (difficulty swallowing). Additionally, here are the National Dysphagia Guidelines (US) which is the standard guidance for any stage swallowing difficulties.

Soft Food Diet Cookbooks

These are some well-reviewed books that you may wish to look into. Read the comments and, if the “Look Inside” feature is available, do look inside. Some books may be more suitable than others as there are many reasons why someone needs a soft food diet. Some of these books may not be suitable for those with stroke. Links are to
The Dysphagia Cookbook
Think Outside the Blender: Great-Tasting and Healthy Recipes for Dysphagia Diets
Soft Foods for Easier Eating Cookbook: Easy-To-Follow Recipes for People Who Have Chewing and Swallowing Problems
Down Easy Metric Edition: A cookbook for those with swallowing difficulties
Brenda’s Easy to Swallow Cookbook
Easy-to-swallow, Easy-to-chew Cookbook: Over 150 Tasty and Nutritious Recipes for People Who Have Difficulty Swallowing
Essential Puree – The A to Z Guidebook: 67 Delicious Recipes for the Dysphagia Diet & Soft Food Diet

Below are some of my ideas. Please also explore the other recipes on food to glow as quite a number are tagged as ‘soft food’ and may be suitable, depending on your needs. I am adding new recipes every week so it may be worth checking in occasionally. Or better yet, subscribing. For more tailored help in the UK – and a growing number of international centres, contact your nearest Maggie’s Centre ( for addresses and phone numbers).

Some foods and mentioned products contain UK affiliate links to useful products that I recommend for soft food diet needs. These are chosen for their ability to process or cook food in the most effective way (i.e. higher wattage for more power to blend smoothly). In the case of the Nutritious Weight Gain Drink recipe (below), the products are the most cost effective ones as well as being high quality. Clicking on and buying any product costs you nothing extra but helps offset the costs of running Food To Glow and keeping it ad-free. Thank you for your support.

Nutritious Weight Gain Drink

Oftentimes weight and muscle loss is an issue with those needing an altered textures diet. Many of the commercial drinks contain high amounts of sugars, which some may wish to avoid. This is a no-sugar, anti-inflammatory drink recipe with plenty of calories and (potential) muscle-building nutrients. I’ve given suggestions for flavouring it, but use anything that appeals to you. If you want it sweet, may I suggest that you use a small amount of honey or maple syrup, and make up the rest of the sweetness in pure organic stevia? You will only need a tiny tiny amount of the latter as in its pure form it is very concentrated in sweetness. Stevia is a safe, but non-caloric sweetener.

2 cups organic almonds (soaked 12 hours to aid blending and nutritional aspects), rinsed
6 cups filtered water

Blend the above until completely smooth for drinking. This will give you 6 servings of weight gain drink when blended with the following:

1 cup almond milk – above, or best-quality bought almond milk
1 scoop whey or pea protein isolate powder (usually 25 grams)
1 tbsp MCT oil

1 tsp pure fish oil or krill oil

Optional add-ins according to symptoms:

1 capsule mixed digestive enzymes – chemotherapy and radiotherapy can change the way we break down fats, carbohydrates and proteins. Mixed digestive enzymes may help.

High quality probiotic supplement – check with your doctor that this is suitable for you during treatment. Healthy gut bacteria are greatly diminished by cancer treatments and this will affect how well we absorb nutrients from food. If you can’t add this in during treatment, do so after you get the green light to resume your normal diet.

Pure organic cocoa/cacao powder
Quality espresso or strong coffee (decaf preferred)
Fresh or frozen berries (taste, nutrients)
1-2 tbsp peanut powder (calories, taste)
Avocado  (calories, texture)
Pure lemon extract, or other extracts such as chocolate, coffee, spearmint, vanilla (taste)

Dried berry powders (taste, nutrients)

Directions: Add the ingredients and any sweetener to a blender and process until smooth and creamy. Add ice cubes if you wish (shaking in a cocktail or protein drink shaker is ideal).

Recommended products (UK Amazon affiliate links)

NOW Foods Whey Protein Isolate Unflavoured

Pulsin Pea Protein Powder

Premium C8 MCT Oil

Bionutri EcoDophilus

Solgar Digestive Enzymes Tablets, Pack of 100

Nordic Oil High Strength Omega 3 Fish Oil

Vitabiotics Ultra red Krill Oil Capsules (for Omega 3)

The Raw Chocolate Company Organic Raw Cacao

PB Fit Peanut Butter Powder (I love this stuff!)

Finnberry Wild Lingonberry Powder (all of their products are great)

Finnberry Cranberry Powder

Herbal Magic Pure Dehydrated Organic Stevia Leaves


General Soft Food Recipes

Savoury Bread Pudding with Lots of Veg

This is a great dish for not only those with difficulty chewing and swallowing, but also for anyone who just wants a bit of comfort food – with a healthy streak. If you are trying to gain weight please use full fat versions of the dairy products mentioned, and perhaps add in more cheese too. Try this with ketchup, brown sauce or even your favourite hot sauce.

oil or oil spray, for greasing your dish
150 g (approximately) day-old bread, crusts removed & cut into cubes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion (red or brown), finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red or green pepper, deseeded and chopped finely
100 g shiitake or chestnut mushrooms, finely sliced, or well minced if you have trouble swallowing (or you could use porcini mushrooms for a really earthy taste)
75 g shredded and finely chopped kale or similar dark green vegetable
2 heaped tsp dried mixed herbs (Provencal style is great)
4 eggs, beaten
250 ml skimmed milk
50 ml low-fat crème fraiche/sour cream
2 tbsps fresh chives, chopped (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste

50 g strong cheddar cheese, shredded

Spray or paint a one litre baking dish (approximately 27×18) with a little oil. Preheat the oven to 180C. Pop the bread cubes into the oiled baking dish and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Gently sauté the onions until soft, then add the remaining vegetables and the dried herbs. Cook on a medium heat for about five minutes, until all are starting to soften. Add a dash of stock or water to help the vegetables soften (although the mushroom and kale may release enough liquid).  Decant the cooked vegetables in to the baking dish. If you need to, whiz in a blender or food processor.

In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the milk, crème fraiche, chives and the eggs, adding about 1 tsp of salt and a large pinch of pepper. Pour this mixture over the vegetable topped bread cubes. Gently press the mixture into the bread and allow to soak up for about five minutes. Sprinkle over the cheese and bake in the preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving warm with a simple green salad or some cooked peas. Pass the ketchup! Need more calories? Add another tablespoon of oil, and use full-fat dairy. Serves 2 generously.

Turkey Meatloaf 
I’ve made this protein-packed recipe lower-fat but if you need to keep your weight up sauté the vegetables in 3 tablespoons of oil, or serve with buttery mash. This recipe makes a lot but leftovers keep well for up to three days in the fridge and individual slices can be frozen and reheated.
1 tbsp olive oil or rapeseed oil
1 large onion, peeled and finely diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 medium carrots, peeled and finely diced
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 ½, tsp dried thyme
1 ½  tsp ‘chicken seasoning’ or 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp ground pepper
2  rounded tbsp tomato puree
500 g turkey mince 
100 g porridge oats
2 eggs, beaten
60 ml vegetable or chicken stock 
10 g parsley, chopped
100 ml tomato ketchup OR barbecue sauce
In a frying pan, over a medium-hot heat, sauté the onions in the oil for about five minutes. Add the garlic and carrots to the pan and cook for a further eight minutes, or until the carrots begin to soften. Add the next five ingredients and set aside to cool for a few minutes. Blend the cooked vegetables if you are having trouble chewing. 
Put the turkey mince and porridge oats into a large bowl and mix together. Add in the cooled vegetable mixture, beaten eggs, stock and parsley. Mix well; it will look quite sloppy. Pat the meatloaf mixture into an oiled rectangular baking tin (approximately 28 x 18 cm) and cover with the ketchup or barbecue sauce. You can also form the mixture into a rectangular shape – about 10 cm/4 in high- on a well-oiled baking sheet. I tend to put it in the fridge for half an hour to firm up, but this is not necessary if you are putting the mix into a baking tin. Bake at 170 C for 50 minutes to one hour, or until a meat thermometer registers 70C. If you don’t have a thermometer, ensure that the loaf is starting to pull away from the sides, or cut into the middle and see if steam escapes. 
Serve 3-4 cm thick slices of the turkey meatloaf with mashed potato and celeriac, steamed dark greens (such as purple sprouting broccoli) and carrots, or red pepper strips.Serves 6-8  PS This was one of my first recipes on food to glow and photos are available on it.
Frittata, or Spanish Omelette
The basic frittata recipe consists of eggs, onions, potatoes and olive oil. These can be jazzed up according to whatever else you have in the cupboard or fridge. Leftover boiled potatoes are perfect for this recipe. This is a super speedy and yummy supper.
For one large skillet of frittata:
6 large organic eggs, well-beaten and seasoned with sea salt and freshly ground pepper
a few glugs of olive oil (approx 2 tbsp)
approx 2 sweet potatoes, boiled, and sliced (peeled if desired) to 1/2 cm or so
1 large Spanish or other mild onion (or two red onions), peeled and finely diced
1 large bag of fresh spinach, wilted, squeezed and chopped
½ tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp mustard seeds OR 1 tsp nigella seeds (optional)
large nonstick frying pan
In the frying pan or cast iron skillet*, heat the oil over a medium to low heat. Add onions and saute for a few minutes, then push aside and gently fry the sliced potatoes for a few minutes. Spoon in your preferred seeds, if using. Reorganise the onion and potatoes (i.e. even them out a bit). Add the chopped spinach to the pan and beat the turmeric into the eggs. If you have trouble chewing, perhaps breakdown the potatoes a bit with a fork and make sure your onions and spinach are well-chopped or blended.
Pour the seasoned eggs into the pan, making sure they are well-distributed. Let mixture semi-set over a low heat.  I usually cover the pan for most of the time. Finish off under a hot grill or, if you are brave invert the frying pan onto a plate and slide the undercooked side back into the pan to finish. The undermost side will probably by quite golden brown with ‘caught’ oniony bits. This is the way it should be – you haven’t burned it! If you have trouble chewing flip the frittata over before it gets brown and continue cooking until just cooked through. Let it cool to almost room temperature (it doesn’t taste nearly as nice straight from the pan.). This also tastes fab cold and is perfect for picnics. Serves 4
*for most even cooking results I use a “seasoned” cast iron skillet.
Melanzane Parmagiana (Aubergine Parmesan)
This is a low-fat version of an Italian favourite, but you can easily make it higher fat and higher calorie. Use either a quality bought sauce (I like Seeds of Change basil and tomato, or roasted pepper and tomato – the large bottle) or bubble up the easy sauce suggested below. Either way, it is delicious and very simple to make; it also freezes well (just give it 15 minutes more time). Even simpler – but without the nutritional boost of the vegetables – would be a ‘sauce’ with a jar of good quality passata (sieved tomatoes) to which you add sautéed garlic piece or garlic and onion powders.
Extra virgin olive oil
2 large aubergines/eggplants
125g baby spinach, wilted and squeezed dry (about ½ bag)
Tomato Sauce (see below)
10g basil
1 ball fresh mozzarella, torn (lower fat is fine) OR full-fat ricotta 
25 gm Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (optional)
25 gm fresh soft breadcrumbs (optional)
Slick two baking trays with olive oil. Slice the aubergines 1 cm thick and lay on the oiled trays. Brush the aubergines with a little more oil. Bake the aubergine at 200 C for about 20 minutes, or until very soft and looking golden brown. Remove the aubergines from the oven. For those with difficulty chewing perhaps remove the skin before slicing. You could also shallow-fry these until golden, but use more oil.
Lower the oven temperature to 180 C.  In a 8 by 12-inch pan (approximate size) place the largest slices in a single layer. Top each with some sauce, a thin layer of spinach and some torn basil. Continue layering up until all aubergines are used. Top with last of the sauce, lay on the mozzarella or dollop on ricotta, sprinkle over the Parmesan and breadcrumbs. Bake uncovered until the cheese melts and the crumbs are browned – about 25 minutes. 
Sauce: 3 tbsp olive oil, 1 onion, diced, 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced, 3 tbsp fresh thyme leaves or 1 tbsp dried, 1 medium carrot and 1 stalk celery – minced, 2 bay leaves, 2  x 454 gm tins best quality chopped tomatoes (Cirio are my favourite), salt to taste, sugar to taste (if tomatoes are a bit bitter). 
Heat the oil in a medium heavy-bottomed pan (not aluminium). Add the onion and sauté gently until onion is soft; add the garlic, thyme, carrot, bay and celery and continue cooking for 15 minutes, until the carrot is quite soft. Add the tomatoes with their juice and bring to the boil, stirring often. Lower the heat and simmer for at least 30 minutes, until as thick as porridge; season with salt, and maybe a pinch of sugar. Cool slightly, remove the bay leaves and whiz with a hand blender .You can keep this sauce in the fridge for one week or freeze in an appropriate container for 3 months.  Serves 4-6. This is also on the blog, from way back.
Steamed Fish with Puy Lentils and Salsa Verde 
This is a smart, restaurant-style dish that is guaranteed to elicit a few aahs ‘round the table. It is, however, very easy and relatively quick. Make it quicker by preparing the lentils the day before and reheating them gently with a splash of hot stock while you get on with the salsa and fish. Don’t be tempted to use any other type of lentils as the texture and unique taste are integral to the success of this dish. I’m not usually such a stickler, but trust me on this one.
A note on the choice of fish: cod is the most obvious choice for this dish but as stocks are low perhaps take the opportunity to experiment with other firm white fish, such as hake. Ask your fishmonger for a good substitute for cod, telling him or her that you want something that will remain intact after steaming. Check your country’s marine conservation site for further information and guidance.
200 g Puy lentils, washed and drained 
1 bay leaf
1 small onion, peeled and halved
salt and pepper
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley (about 40 g)
6 basil leaves
20 mint leaves
1 small garlic clove, peeled
1 tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
½ tbsp Dijon mustard
½ tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 gherkin or 2 cornichon
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 anchovy fillets (optional but authentic)
4 x 150 g firm, white fish fillets
Simmer the lentils, uncovered, with the bay leaf and onion in 500 ml of cold water for 20 minutes, or until the lentils are tender (have a nibble; they should taste ‘done’ but will look quite firm). Drain, plucking out the bay leaf and onion. Return the lentils to the pan and season. Coat the lentils with the olive oil; cover and keep warm. Mash the lentils with some of the cooking water and olive oil if you have trouble chewing and swallowing.
While the lentils are simmering, prepare the salsa. Some people pop everything into a food processor and blitz for a smooth sauce. Others mash everything with a pestle and mortar for a more rustic dressing. Either is fine, although the latter is spectacularly messy if you are not practised. I tend to chop everything up on a board, scrape it into a mini food chopper and give it a quick pulse for a chunky, yet amalgamated texture. When serving this to children I also tend to add a teaspoon or two of water to the blending stage as this makes it less sharp.
Sort the fish just before serving. If you have a food steamer just place the fish on the perforated tray and steam for five minutes, or as recommended by the manufacturer. For those of you like me who have a less modern approach there are two recommended methods. If you have a pressure cooker use the trivet and basket that comes with it (but not locking the lid) and steam the fish for five minutes over simmering water. Alternatively pour hot water in a large frying pan, place an upended heat-proof flat-bottomed ramekin (or similar) in the centre and top with a plate that accommodates the fish and fits, with a bit of steaming room, in the pan. Cover and steam for five minutes. If all that sounds a tremendous faff, poach in acidulated water (ie, add the juice of one lemon to enough lightly salted boiling water to just cover the fish) – turn off the heat when the water returns to the boil and leave for five minutes. Drain and carry on with the dish.
Regardless of the fish method used, place a generous spoonful of lentils on each plate, top with a piece of fish and drizzle over some salsa. Serve with lemon wedges.  Serves 4
Pepper-Cheese Spread 
This type of sandwich spread is common in the US deep south and it is called pimienta cheese. Nearly everyone over there just buys it ready made from the shops, but it is so easy to whiz up that it’s a shame that more people over there don’t make it. It’s certainly not for slimmers but if you need to keep the weight on, or if you are looking for something to liven up a prescribed low-fibre or easy-to-swallow diet, this tasty spread  smeared on white bread might just fit the bill. In the States it is mainly a sandwich filler, but it would be nice as a dip with vegetables or breadsticks too. 
100g roasted peppers in oil, drained
50 g sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
50 g low fat soft cheese (or regular)
2 tbsp quality mayonnaise
¼ tsp garlic powder
pinch of pepper
Whizz everything up in a food processor and allow to ‘come together’ for 20 minutes before eating. Much tastier than the ingredients might suggest! Enough for 6 rolls
Creamy Polenta
This is perfect on its own if you want quickly made, easily eaten calories with taste. Otherwise, it is a great accompaniment to slow-cooked, falling-apart meats. A wonderful recipe for those bored with the normal soft diet fare of mashed potatoes and rice. Adapted from a Mark Hix recipe.
750 ml full-fat milk
1 small clove of garlic, lightly crushed and intact
1 small bay leaf
salt and white pepper
a pinch of nutmeg
100ml double cream/heavy cream/ crème fraiche
75g freshly grated Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese (NOT the stuff in a can!)

Bring the milk to the boil and then add in the garlic, bay leaf, salt and pepper and nutmeg. Simmer for five minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bay leaf and garlic. Slowly whisk in the polenta (pour it in in a steady stream, whisk all the time). Cook the polenta on a low heat for 10 minutes, stirring so that it doesn’t stick (which it really wants to do!). Add in the cream and cheese, cooking for a further 2-3 minutes. Eat warm with a big spoon.

Sardine Pate ‘Provencale’
I didn’t think I liked tinned sardines until I made up this quick pate for one of my nutrition classes. In truth I was going to make something else but didn’t have enough of one of the ingredients so raided my husband’s tinned sardine stash instead. It was in place of frozen artichoke hearts: quite a leap of faith/common sense. I reluctantly had a wee taste and was extremely surprised that I liked it – a lot. I hope you do too. If your food processor isn’t that great, try and get boneless tinned sardines. Otherwise do get the ones with bones in as they are one of our only dietary sources of essential Vitamin D. Just be sure to blend, blend, blend. 
2 tins of natural sardine fillets – no brine or tomato sauce
125g soft cheese, light or full-fat according to need
juice and zest of one small lemon
small handful of parsley
pinch of mixed herbs/herbes de Provence
10 green pitted olives

Blend in a food processor until very smooth. Have with bread, or even wrapped in soft lettuce leaves with some thin strips of cucumber. Store in the refrigerator and use within three days. 

Three-Fish Terrine

100g salmon fillet
200g fresh haddock fillet (or similar)
100g undyed smoked haddock fillet (or similar)
100 ml double cream/heavy cream
2 large eggs, beaten
salt and pepper
mild paprika

lemon juice plus lemon wedges

Oil 4 ramekins and sprinkle very lightly with paprika.
Cut the salmon fillet into thin strips and divide between the ramekins, laying them neatly as this side will be uppermost when served.
Blend the smoked fish in a food processor, add one-third of the beaten egg mixture and one-third of the cream, blending until smooth. Set aside for now.
Blend together the fresh haddock and the remaining eggs and cream, adding a good pinch of salt and pepper, a teaspoon or so of lemon juice and a good pinch of paprika.
Put a tablespoon of the smoked fish mixture in each ramekin, then top with the fresh haddock mixture, press lightly to smooth.
Put the ramekins into a roasting tray; pour some boiling water into the tray so that it comes up about two-thirds the way, and bake in an oven preheated to 200C/400F for 30 minutes. OR microwave for eight minutes.

To serve, turn upside down on plate and garnish with soft lettuce (like salade mache) and a lemon wedge. Recipe adapted from one eaten at La Cuisine d’Odile, French Institute, Edinburgh in the 1990s (!).

Miso-Glazed Fish

This is simplicity itself and oh so tasty. You may need to get the miso – which is a thick paste made of fermented rice or barley plus soybeans – at the health food store. Much tastier than it sounds, I promise. Once opened it keeps really well in the fridge and can be used to perk up all kinds of things such as noodles and spread over halved and baked aubergine (flash under a grill, then eat the flesh only; see below). I’ve not stipulated the fish type as different types of fish are used in different countries. In the UK try haddock, gurnard, hake or coley rather than endangered cod. Regardless of where you are what you are wanting is a firm white fish. Serve with rice and well-cooked pak choi (bok choy) if you can tolerate it, or even vegetable stock-braised lettuce with a splash of mild vinegar for extra flavour.

2 x 150-175g/5-6 oz firm, white fish (skinned), washed and patted dry
2 tbsp white miso
1 ½ tbsp brown sugar
½ tsp toasted sesame oil
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp mirin, dry sherry or fresh lime juice

Mix together the glaze ingredients until the brown sugar has completely dissolved. Brush most of the glaze on both sides of the fish and leave to marinate for half an hour.

Preheat your grill/broiler and place the fish on a baking tray, then pop under the heat until the tops are starting to brown and the glaze caramelizes – watch it to make sure it doesn’t burn – about three minutes. Take the fish from the grill/broiler, brush with the remaining glaze. Now either turn the heat to 180C/375C, or lightly cover the fish with foil (not touching the fish) and put on a lower rack, and cook until the fish is cooked through but still moist – about five minutes. This glaze is also superb on baked aubergine/eggplant: slice an aubergine in half lengthways slash a diamond pattern into the flesh (not cutting the skin), oil and bake in a medium-hot oven for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and spread over the miso glaze; place under a hot grill/broiler until bubbly. Scoop out the tender flesh with a spoon and enjoy!

Pear and Cocoa Pudding

This is a quick and extremely yummy pudding for the whole family. This recipe can easily be halved but the whole recipe makes fine leftovers and can even be served cold, with a splash of cream.

2 x 400g (approx weight) tins pear halves or quarters in juice
150g self-raising flour OR 150g plain flour + 1 tsp baking powder and ¼ tsp fine salt
25g cocoa powder
125g caster/fine sugar
150g butter or Earth Balance-type spread, plus extra for dish
2 medium eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract or ½ tsp vanilla paste/powder

Drain the pears and lay in a pie dish or other ovenproof dish (e.g. 22cm square; I use an oval Le Creuset dish.

Pop the remaining ingredients in a food processor (or mix vigourously by hand) and whiz until it is completely smooth.

Drop spoonfuls of the batter over the pears and, with a wet spoon, carefully spread over the pears.

Bake in a 200C/400F oven for 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes (if you can bear it!) before serving.

Other food ideas:
A ‘wet’ risotto made with finely chopped onions with soft, cooked butternut squash or sweet potato cubes, sage and finely grated cheese added. For extra calories stir in some marscapone cheese.
Macaroni cheese with added cooked ground meat or chopped hard-boiled egg for extra protein. Enrich the milk with dried skimmed milk to add more protein too.
Homemade or packet cheese sauce to pour over cooked and shredded or minced meat or chicken, or poured over well-cooked vegetables
Baked fruit with a sieved fruit compote plus some custard or rice pudding
Pancakes with creamed mushrooms and finely minced herbs
Pancakes with Nutella and banana
Rice cooked in stock with added lightly mashed cooked pinto or cannellini beans (if allowed) + favourite seasoning and well-cooked broccoli, cauliflower florets or other favourite vegetables.
Cooked rice plus cream of mushroom soup, well-cooked broccoli and Cheddar cheese – heat through or bake in oven.
Here is a link to some very helpful advice from Cancer Research UK on making and buying supplement drinks. They are geared towards weight gain.

More Soft Food Recipes on Food To Glow

Sample healthy soft food and easy to swallow recipes from my main Food To Glow recipe section.
Please note that many of my regular recipes have notations on how to make them suitable for soft food needs. Just type ‘soft food recipes’ in the search field on the right sidebar.
Scandinavian Roasted Carrot Pâté
Wild Garlic Miso Soba Noodles 
One-Pot Creamy Beans and Fennel with Poached Eggs
Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce
Miso Eggplant Mac and Cheese
Vegetable Parmesan Bake
Artichoke and Spinach “Meatballs” with Easy Marinara Sauce
Happy Tummy Tonic
Spiced Golden Turmeric Milk
Healthy Chocolate-Raspberry Fudgsicles
Hopefully these will spark your own ideas and make soft food eating a little more interesting and nutritious. Visit your nearest Maggies Cancer Caring Centre, or click on their website/on-line community, for personal support.
Kellie Anderson, Health Educationist for Maggie’s Centres, created February 2012. Links updated April 2018.
**We are a participant in the UK Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. Using these links will not cost you anything extra.

39 thoughts on “Easy to Chew and Easy to Swallow Recipe Ideas

  1. Felicia Duft says:

    If I take a probiotic supplement, can I skip the probiotic yogurt and also weird milk as well as cottage cheese and have normal lowfat natural yogurt, milk and home cheese instead?

    1. Probiotic supps are almost always superior to probiotic yogurts and drinks, so yes. I don’t know what home cheese is, but it sounds interesting!

  2. I made your “Savoury Bread Pudding w/lots of veggies” – outstanding! My husband, who has ALS, had no difficulty swallowing it and even had a second helping – a real victory. The leftovers heated up beautifully for lunch the next day. The next time I might char the green pepper as the bits of skin, even cooked can cause a problems.
    I would love to have some soft, easy to swallow breakfast recipes. He is getting very tired of scrambled eggs, and can no longer swallow oatmeal. It is a real challenge to try and keep eating from becoming boring. Thanks for the recipe. Lynn C.

    1. Thanks so much for your kind comment, Lynn. You could easily use bought roasted peppers as these usually have the skins removed with only a little extra to pick away. Use any well-cooked veggies that you like too. The great thing about this kind of recipe is that it is for anyone not just those on a special diet. For breakfast, porridge of oats, barley, flaked quinoa or millet and then mixed with smooth nut butter and a swirl of fruit compote is delicious. I am hoping to do an ebook soon so please check back sometime. All best, Kellie

  3. Lynn Campopiano says:

    Purchasing a jar of roasted peppers is a good idea (and one I should have thought of!). Thanks. I’ll look forward to your ebook. Lynn Campopiano

  4. Bobby MacSween says:

    Fabulous recipes. My husband is suffering from the effects of treatment for stage 4 tonsil cancer and a neck dissection which causes great difficulty in swallowing. Everything has to be pureed and blitzed to a pulp. I’m doing quite well and being inventive. I find if he has a bowl of soup and thin pate’s it goes down but have to use a lot of butter, cream etc. would be really pleased to see a few more ‘slippery’ healthy recipes for this problem. Thanks so much Kellie, there really is very little information for this problem and it is mostly trial and error . All the best Kellie

  5. Fiona matthews says:

    My husband is 10 years into being diagnosed with Huntington’s disease. He struggles with choking over many foods so got stuck in a rut with foods. Thank you for the inspiration.
    He also loves cheese omelette and chives, salmon flakes with a white Sauce and potato with peas x

    1. I love your idea for salmon flakes and white sauce – excellent !

  6. thank you for sharing your ideas, My husband has dysphagia, is 89, and a fairly picky eater before this happened. I am going to try some of your ideas. Fingers crossed that they will tempt him to eat more.

    1. Lin Walsh says:

      I was just diagnosed with Dysphagia and have trouble with foods getting stuck due to a stricture in my esophagus. I eat a lot of scrambled eggs, cream soups, ice cream. The Dr. Is suggesting getting an endoscope to stretch the esophagus. Has your husband had this procedure? Did it help?

      1. Olivia says:

        My boyfriend had such bad dysphagia that his throat was closed to the size of a pin hole. He had endoscopy stretching until it reached 3/4 inch and had a stent put in. The change is amazing. He can still only get soft/puréed foods down but that’s a huge change from choking on liquids. I recommend checking it out.

  7. Carolina says:

    These all look delicious! I do have a question
    – these are for soft food diets, not low fiber or residue right? So it’s not apropriate for people with an ileostomy? I ask BC you have ingriends like lentils, kale, onions, lettuce, olives – all of which we can’t eat.
    I have an ileostomy and also a gastrectomy – currently 100% tube but looking forward to eating again – but am at a loss about what i will be able to eat besides pudding and scrambled eggs.

    1. Hi there. Some people with ileostomy can indeed eat these foods but after they are completely used to it, and with doctor’s advice. I have a low fibre page so please look at the main list on my home page, under cancer and nutrition. I’m on holiday just now and only using my phone or I would give the link. All best.

  8. Alex says:

    These are all really great recipes and I’m so glad I found them! I work in Disability care and didn’t want to serve my client the same food he’s just had two nights in a row and my brain is a bit fried so this has really helped. The only problem is some of the ingredients aren’t ones I have readily (in a respite house) but that’s not a problem as there are quite a few with very easy ingredients. again, thank you!

    1. Thanks Alex. If you pop “soft food diet” into my search bar on the right sidebar more will pop up. The rest of my site is healthy recipes for anyone and a number are also suitable for your client. Best wishes, Kellie

  9. @cookinasnap says:

    oops, I just posted in your “Eating in Edinburgh” blog instead of here! well, thank you for having a soft food section with such varied recipes. My son has oral surgery today, so he’ll be needing some of these for a few days!

    1. Good luck to him! I had wisdom teeth out many years ago and I would have loved to have had special meals made for me. I think I remember a lot of ice cream and cold soup!

  10. Pragya says:

    Excellent recipes and ideas though I have to try them out soon!
    Have been serving papaya puréed with cinnamon powder to my 89 year old nanny, (similar to apple sauce), it’s delicious served cool & is easily digested.Can try this out with apples & pears too.

    One could also try a baked fish (tinned flakey tuna isn’t bad), with puréed spinach, white sauce and herbs like fresh dill/ basil, topped with cheese & milk to keep it moist.
    In India, we use quite a bit of semolina flour (Suji), to prepare both sweet & savoury dishes and puddings.You could do a search with the tags -Suji Halwa, Suji Upma.
    The first one is a sweet pudding (Halwa), which is basically lightly browned semolina with a dash of butter, which is then simmered with enough water, powdered cinnamon, a few raisins and almond slivers ( if 1 can chew them), sugar to taste and has the consistency of polenta.Takes barely 10-15 minutes to make and can be served cold or warm, with or without milk.Can be served as a pudding or for breakfast.

    Upma is a common South Indian breakfast dish,again polenta like and has peas, diced vegetables and lentils in it. It is served warm with a coconut or tomato chutney.

    All the best!
    Thanks for your recipes- will keep checking!

    1. I love your ideas so much, Deb! It’s so kind of you to take the time to share them here. Always good to get a different perspective and new foods to try on soft food diet. All best to you and your Nanny. 🙂

      1. Pragya Deb Burman says:

        Thanks Kelly-she is better!

        Served nanny a quick ‘fish pie’ yesterday and she was able to have it easily.Here’s what I did!
        I used a bit of white fish (boneless),boiled it with some milk,dash of salt,pepper,cinnamon/ nutmeg powder,garlic slivers,parsley and added a quarter of an onion that I had previously chopped and lightly browned in some butter. I added some thickened vegetable stock (or condensed veg. Soup) and a cup of mashed potatoes to it. Avoid adding salt to the potatoes since the soup already contains salt.
        I then cooked the fish with the above for 5 minutes till it flaked away and was less runny.
        I avoided adding cream or eggs as she has gastric problems, but one could do so to increase calories and improve the flavour.
        One can serve this pie lightly browned with some cheese or as it is.Since she isn’t allowed cheese yet, I skipped it.
        The taste wasn’t bad & I think I am going to try making a chicken mould next time!
        Have a lovely weekend!

  11. Deborah Keniston says:

    Here is a favorite soft soup of mine. It is so much better than the red and white can soup of the same name. I just learned that one of my teeth is fractured and I will be on a soft diet til at least mid February due to my cancer treatments. So here it is:

    Cream of Celery Soup with Bacon makes 7 cups

    4 strips bacon
    1 tablespoon butter
    5 cups (loosely packed) chopped celery, stalks and tops
    1 medium onion, chopped
    2 cloves garlic, chopped
    1/2 tsp dried thyme
    1 medium baking potato, peeled and cubed
    2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
    2 cups whole milk
    salt and pepper

    Lay the bacon in the bottom of a large stock pot or dutch oven. Cook over low heat for about 15 or 20 minutes, until crisp (cooking time will depend on how thick your bacon is). Remove and set aside on paper towels.

    Add butter to the pot, increase the heat slightly, and add celery, onion, garlic, and thyme. Season well with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft, about 15 minutes.

    Add the potato, stock, and milk to the pot and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cover and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep the milk from forming a film, until potato is very soft.

    Purée the soup with an immersion blender or by transferring it to a food processor or blender. Season to taste with salt (we added at least 2 or 3 more teaspoons) and pepper (about 1 teaspoon). Serve with cooked bacon crumbled on top.

    It freezes nicely. A pint size Ziploc will hold two smaller servings.

  12. Bernie says:

    I am a retired RN now but I knew of a patient that came to my hospital and had her esophagus stretched as often as every year.

  13. This recipe ideas are actually great and impressive especially that it’s easy to chew and swallow.

  14. Tammy says:

    Where are the vegan recipes? I’ve seen one… I thought you said you ‘speak fluent vegan’?

    1. kellie anderson says:

      Many of my recipes are vegan or easily made vegan. I create recipes for a wide range of people and strive to have options for most diets where feasible. Not sure if you have had a look at my Index but vegan main course recipes at bottom of alpha list, with vegan salads, soups, sweets etc scattered among the categories. But, like I said, many non-vegan recipes are suitable for vegans with a few tweaks – mostly given in the instructions. Tammy, I hope this helps.

  15. Alison says:

    Hello’ some great recipes here. I’m curious, when you say soft cheese, do you mean cream cheese? Or maybe any kind of goat or Boursin-type cheese (if you have that in the UK, I’m in Canada)?

    1. kellie anderson says:

      Thanks, Alison. Yes, it is the same as cream cheese. And yep, we have Boursin and goat’s cheese, too. 🙂

  16. Mirna says:

    Hi. You say that these recipes may not be suitable for someone recovering from a stroke. Can you please explain why? Asking because my mom was recently diagnosed with lung cancer and then she had a stroke. I’ve noticed she’s starting to have a little difficulty swallowing some foods and was looking for some soft food recipes to make for her.

    1. kellie anderson says:

      Hi Mirna. Thanks for your question. Someone who has had a stroke will need to be especially careful as the risk of aspiration pneumonia is higher. Those who have had a stroke are best to check with the stroke rehab team on best ways to eat once home. The type and texture of food is very important. Hopefully function is improved over time with the help of a swallowing exercises and specific eating positions. The recipes here may have to be adapted to individual needs, depending on level of ability. I hope this helps. And best wishes to you and your mother.

  17. Susan Thompson says:

    At last. So pleased to find your recipes.I am 73,still working as a painter. For years I’ve struggled with anorexia following a bereavement at age 14. After poor advice from a dietician who obviously didn’t know me or understand anorexia I lost 10 lbs ,then losing a dental bridge ,a bad dentist experience and infected mouth ulcers my new and very caring dentist tells me to eat soft foods. As a veggie that’s a big change and difficult. I cook a lot and use the best organic fresh ingredients, but cooking is not my talent and I rely heavily on the genius of others-cookbooks and recipes- and manage to eat very well normally. I need to increase my weight, so any tips or info you can give me would be so valuable. I check in with my GP and ring if I need support. I have another generalist NHS dietician who is pleasant but I feel her goals for me in terms of recovery are too low because of my age.My NHS anorexia therapist would be more effective but my bmi at about 15.5-16 is probably too high or they are just overwhelmed ,so no reply to my call. Sometimes I just give up on people understanding how hard this hidden illness is and that at 73 i still have a life to lead. Thanks ,I’m getting support also from a homeopathic doctor and I’ll battle on. Just to say I’m grateful for your ideas which would be great in a book.

    1. kellie anderson says:

      Hi Susan. Thanks for your kind comment. The advice by its public rather than personal audience needs to be quite general. But I’m so pleased you find it useful. As for tips, I wonder if you have seen my page on help with gaining weight? It is in the cancer and nutrition section. The tab for this is at the top of the page. I’m happy to offer further advice though. Just email me at I can send you more info and advice that may support what you are already doing for yourself. 😊

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