Sympathy Meal Recipe Ideas

When someone experiences a loss, they likely won’t have the time (or capacity) to think about what’s for dinner. Here’s where organising or cooking a sympathy meal can help.
Sympathy Meal Recipe Ideas

When a loved one passes away, those who love them often rally around them, offering support where they can. If you’re looking to arrange or cook a sympathy meal for someone, here are some freezer-friendly recommendations to add to your list.

Our top 10 sympathy meal recipe ideas


Since lasagne is a crowd-pleaser, it’s typically a safe bet. If the people you are providing food for have dietary requirements or intolerances, you can tailor a beef lasagne (for example) and make it vegetarian or vegan.


For the meat eaters, meatloaf is a simple recipe to perfect and doesn’t require too many ingredients to make.

Mac and cheese

Mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food for many. You can keep it simple for young kids or fussy eaters, or spritz it up with truffle oil, sweet potato and even spices like paprika or nutmeg for more adventurous palates. 

Vegetarian pasta

You don’t have to be a strict vegetarian to enjoy veggie pasta. Easy and cheap to make, a simple spaghetti with a tomato-based sauce is a great option for families. (You can even provide cheese for them to sprinkle on top).

Veggie fried rice 

Fried rice is easy to make and is loved by many. You can even make things easier by including frozen veggies. As for fried rice’s famous egg – if you’re sure there are no allergies or dietary requirements (aka, you have asked) you can include it. If you’re not sure, then it’s best to leave it out.

Veggie burgers

Veggie burgers require minimal to no cooking. You can simply purchase all the ingredients from a supermarket and drop it off. To add that extra something, you can even purchase a jar of relish or cook your own patties.

Chicken pot pie

Chicken pot pie is a great one-dish freezer-friendly meal that you can cram heaps of extra veggies into. For this reason, it’s a great option for young kids and adolescents. 

Shepherd’s pie

For those who aren’t too keen on chicken, opt for a shepherd’s pie with beef or lamb. With its high veggie content, mashed potatoes and meaty filling, this hearty dish is a great comfort food, and also pairs well with a side salad or roast veggies.

Any kind of soup

Not everyone is a fan of soup, but we’ve included it here because, for some, it’s considered to be the ultimate lunch or dinner! Some great options include a chicken, veggie or pumpkin soup, but the soup bowl is never really empty (aka, the recipe options are endless).

If you can’t (or don’t want to) cook

You don’t have to be a gourmet chef (or an at-home cook) to provide a delicious, nourishing meal. Many supermarkets and food stores offer cooked meals that are ready to heat and eat. You could also purchase fresh rolls, cold-cut meats or fresh fruit. If you feel stuck, your loved one has special dietary requirements or you’d rather give them the flexibility with their meals, you could send a food delivery voucher or gift card, for them to use at their leisure. 

Tips for providing food for those grieving

Ask about dietary and allergy restrictions.

If you’re not sure, don’t guess. Always ask!

Ensure someone is home when the food is delivered.

You can contact a family member to see when would be a good drop-off time. The food may require prompt refrigeration or freezing, so it’s always best to coordinate. 

Use disposable containers or old containers you don’t want back.

Because returning your crock pot will be the last thing on your loved one’s mind.

Label the container.

It’s a good idea to label the outside of the container with your name and what’s inside (or even the entire list of ingredients) to avoid problems with allergies or dietary issues. You can also include a note with heating instructions if relevant, as well as a personal message.

Wrap up 

You don’t have to physically whip out your apron to provide a sympathy meal to a loved one and their family. With supermarkets now stocking nourishing ready-to-eat meals and food delivery gift cards, sending a loved one a sympathy meal or voucher doesn’t have to be complicated. Know that by providing a meal, you’re doing a great thing. Just be sure to ask about dietary requirements and allergies before dusting off the old recipe book. 

Enjoyed this guide? You may also want to learn How to Create the Perfect Sympathy Meal in Australia.

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