If you only ever learn a single recipe in DST, let it be Meatballs. For any meat plus three edible fillers, you get 62.5 hunger, which is generally a huge boost to the value of its ingredients. It’s an incredibly versatile dish, accepting most fillers including ice, vegetables and eggs. You could even throw in forget-me-lots if you happen to have weeds growing. Avoid using honey as filler unless you want honey nuggets. Remember not to combine meat with twigs, because that will result in Kabobs, which gives about half of the Meatballs value.
Now, if you get a hold of large meat, the absolute best crock pot use for it is Meaty Stew, which can be cooked from ingredients with a total value of 3 meat. Morsels and drumsticks are worth half a meat; monster meat, leafy meat, and large meat are worth one. So probably the easiest recipe would include 1 monster meat, 1 large meat, and 2 morsels. You can also make it from 1 monster meat, 2 large meat, and an edible filler. Just don’t use honey, or you get honey ham, and don’t use more than one monster meat, or you get lasagna.
This dish restores 12 health and 150 hunger which will completely restore hunger for most characters. It’s incredibly powerful, and for most combinations gives you more than double the value of its ingredients. Definitely learn this recipe.
Bacon and Eggs
Once you get a birdcage and have access to eggs, there are two very important recipes you will want to learn. The first is bacon and eggs. This dish requires two eggs plus any meat value higher than 1. So you could use a monster meat plus morsel, plus two eggs. Now, this is not the most hunger efficient dish because it requires four separate pieces of meat, two to be added directly and two to be converted into eggs. The upside is that it allows you to convert monster meat into a hunger dish that actually gives decent healing - 20 health points. The other major advantage is that it has a 20-day spoilage time which is a lot longer than most other dishes and twice as long as cooked meat. So if your ice box is filled with meat, and you don’t have any drying racks or bundle wraps, consider cooking up some bacon n eggs just for the sake of preservation.
For a dedicated healing dish, this one is arguably the only recipe you will ever need to learn. Pierogi. 1 egg, 1 veggie, any meat. Filler can be anything edible. 40 health. It is certainly not an underappreciated dish, but rightfully so. It’s cheap, highly accessible, and unbelievably effective. The filler is flexible, but the simplest recipes only require a meat source and a veggie. This has been the healing food of choice for boss fights in DST for so many years; just cook up a stack, and you are good to start tanking. What goes largely unappreciated about this dish, however, is the fact that like bacon and eggs, it has a 20-day spoilage. Keeping a few pierogies in your ice box is never a bad idea.
Once you started getting honey from your bee boxes, Honey Ham is one of the recommended honey dishes. It requires 1 honey plus any meat value higher than 1.5. Simplest recipe is monster meat, large meat, honey, and any edible filler. This is a really incredible dish for both hunger and health, and only needs access to meat and honey.
Another great healing food is Fishsticks. For one fish, one twig, and any edible filler you get 40 healing. Same as pierogi although it requires a little bit of fishing, plus it spoils twice as quick. But as a recipe it’s cheaper and restores a lot of health. You can use two monster meat for the filler. You know why? Because twigs are not accepted in monster lasagna.
Generally, if you have a lot of fish you might want to look into surf n turf for health and sanity, but as far as pure healing goes, fishsticks all the way.
Surf and Turf
If you prefer fishing, Surf and Turf is the one dish takes care of all survival needs - it restores 37 hunger, 33 sanity and 60 health! Requiring 1.5 fish and 2.5 meat, the recipe is flexible with big fish, otherwise, you need 3 small fish and 1 large meat for the dish to be cooked in a crock pot.
If you decide to make a break and fish near Ruin ponds in Caves, eels are the easiest ingredients - 2 eels and 2 monster meats are enough for fast sanity and health restoration in a most dangerous place.
Taffy is a good sanity-restoring food available in the early game. Obviously the cheapest way to restore sanity would be eating green mushrooms or cooked cactus, but mushrooms regenerate only after a rain and both deserts may be far away from your base. Taffy requires three honey and one filler. After you build several bee boxes and started producing honey on a daily basis, Taffy is a good way to use honey as besides 15 sanity, it also gives 25 hunger and spoils in 15 days.
In a later game, there are much better alternatives for sanity, though: Banana Shake, Jelly Salad, Ice Cream, Vegetable Stinger, Soothing Tea and more.
Trail Mix gives 30 health from some of the most basic ingredients: one cooked birchnut, two berries, and a twig. You can grab birchnuts by chopping birchnut trees which can be found all over the world, and if you throw them into an ice box they'll keep for 40 days.
The food is also considered to be a vegetarian food, which is a benefit for multiple reasons.
Trail Mix is just such an accessible dish for early-game healing. Make sure to grab a handful of birchnuts in Autumn before the trees start to lose their foliage for the season.
Tall Scotch Eggs
With A Little Drama update in late 2022, new egg recipes came to Don't Starve Together. For two of them, small eggs are enough, but a more nutritious dish, Tall Scotch Eggs, requires a Tallbird Egg. Add one carrot or two mushrooms and some fillers to restore 150 hunger and 60 health! It's accessible in the early game, as you only need to steal one egg from a nest and run far away from a Tallbird mother.