Getting better has never tasted so good.
When you’re feeling all kinds of icky, what’s the first food that comes to mind? If you said something along the lines of “a steaming bowl of comforting, restorative soup,” then we’ve got just the recipe for you, courtesy of chef Justin Sutherland.
Fans of Sutherland’s know he’s booked and busy — you’ve seen him in series like Taste the Culture, Fast Foodies, Top Chef, and Iron Chef — but he also understands the societal pressures of getting back to work ASAP when you’re not feeling well. In his case, it was much more serious than a common cold: In 2022, he suffered a traumatic boating accident that left him with injuries so severe that his jaw was wired shut, forcing him onto a liquid-only diet.
“I experienced the repercussions of missing work due to a horrific injury where I was in the ICU for three weeks, hospitalized for months, and out of work for a year, which brought back vivid memories of my past, living paycheck to paycheck,” Sutherland says. “I now have a platform to help advocate for my colleagues in the food service industry to get the paid sick time they deserve.”
To that end, Sutherland teamed up with Theraflu for the Right to Rest & Recover campaign, which educates workers about what their employers owe them when they’re sick — and encourages everyone to take the time we need to fully recuperate before getting back to the routine. “The fight to make rest a right is one that needs support from all sides, including workers, business, advocacy experts, and government,” he says. (If that fight is one you’d like to join, you can sign a petition here to tell lawmakers you support paid sick leave for all.)
And while he’s championing workers’ rights, Sutherland also had time to share the recipe he turns to when he’s feeling under the weather: his easy-to-make miso soup, which he describes as a “throw everything in the pot and bring it to a boil” kind of dish.
It’s also perfect for speeding along your recovery, Sutherland explains: “Miso is rich in minerals like copper, zinc, and manganese, as well as vitamins B and K. It also contains antioxidants, and as it’s fermented, it provides helpful bacteria for the gut. The hearty greens support the immune system, regulating blood pressure. Ginger relieves nausea and upset stomach, and it can help speed up digestion. The hot chili can help clear the sinuses, and the turmeric helps with inflammation and kidney and liver health.”
Justin Sutherland’s Miso Soup
1 quart water
4 dried shiitake mushrooms, crumbled by hand
1 tsp turmeric
1-inch knob of ginger, grated
1 sheet dried nori, torn into 1-inch pieces
6 Tbsp white or yellow miso
1/2 cup green kale, torn into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup green onion, chopped (including whites)
1/2 cup firm tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 hot chili (bird’s eye or Thai)
1/4 cup bonito flakes
1/2 cup shredded roasted chicken (rotisserie chicken from the grocery store works perfect)
Heat water in pot with shiitake, turmeric, ginger, chili, miso, vinegar, and bonito.
Divide the kale, chicken, scallions, tofu, and nori between two bowls (or one large bowl, if you’re especially hungry).
Bring broth to simmer for 10 minutes and stir until miso is dissolved. Remove the chili and pour broth over soup garnishes.