Immune Supporting Recipe Round-Up

The change in season is a crucial time to support yourself by eating immune-supporting foods. 

That doesn't mean you have to eat a whole clove of raw garlic or down a bunch of spicy ginger shots. (Although you can if you want to!) 

I wanted to share with you some delicious recipes that make it easy to incorporate many powerful immune-boosting ingredients, so you can strengthen and build your immunity with each meal you eat in the day. You don't need to take tons of supplements either if you can get enough of nutrients through your meals - food IS medicine and healing.

By eating a balanced, whole food diet with immune-boosting ingredients and taking care of yourself in other areas like sleep, stress management, and exercise will build resilience before you even get a hint of a sniffle or early cold. 

So let's explore the star immune-supporting ingredients. 

  1. Garlic

Garlic has been used as a medicine for centuries. It's not only delicious but contains compounds that help the immune system fight germs. Studies have shown that eating garlic often reduces the risk of getting sick in the first place, as well as how long you stay sick and the degree or severity of your symptoms. 

  1. Turmeric 

It's known for its anti-inflammatory effects, but turmeric also plays a massive role in regulating the immune system. Studies show that turmeric can modulate the activation of many cells in our bodies, renewing them and strengthening our immune system, and down regulating various pro-inflammatory cytokines, making us feel tired when we start to get sick. 

  1. Ginger

A close relative of turmeric, ginger is also a powerful ingredient for immune health. The bioactive ingredient, gingerol, is responsible for its potent medicinal properties like reducing oxidative stress. A result of excess free radicals in the body, which are unstable molecules that damage cells and inhibit the growth of many viruses and bacteria in the body, lowering your risk of infection. It's also warming for the colder months, and helps digestive health too. 

  1. Cocoa

Chocolate has a bad name because of the dairy milk and sugar often added to it. High-quality cocoa, however, is healthy and has many bioactive ingredients with anti-microbial properties, including an inhibitory effect on the influenza virus. Cocoa is rich in polyphenols which act as antioxidants neutralizing free radicals; this keeps you healthy and protects against various illnesses and diseases. Choose minimally processed, fair trade, organic. My go-to brand is Santa Barbara because they tick all the boxes for me (I don't love their gift-box chocolates, just their chocolate chips, and cocoa powder - I use their Vegan cocoa powder, the 100% chocolate chips, and the coconut palm sugar sweetened chocolate chips - discount code platefulhealth). 

  1. Berries

Berries of all kinds contain a high amount of antioxidants and provide a ton of nutrients like vitamin C, manganese, and vitamin k1, which are vital nutrients for building immune health. 

  1. Herbs

Herbs like rosemary, thyme and oregano don't just make add fantastic flavour to our dishes; they also provide us with so many antioxidant benefits. Parsley and thyme are loaded with vitamin C, A, and K, and thyme has been used as a natural cough and sore throat remedy. Oregano is an anti-microbial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal plant. I don't use supplements of these - I just use them frequently in my everyday cooking to keep my gut microbiome in check. 

Lemon Balm is another fantastic anti-viral herb with nervine properties I like to make into a tea for the evening. 

  1. Seaweed

There are many types of edible seaweeds, like Nori, Dulse, Kombu and wakame, for example, that are known to be a great source of Iodine, which is necessary for proper thyroid function and a healthy metabolism (if you have thyroid disease, however, be sure to check with your doctor first as too much iodine can worsen thyroid conditions). You may be surprised to learn that seaweed is also an immune-supporting food due to the marine plant compounds that have antioxidant, disease-preventing properties, it is also rich in minerals, plus it contains gut microbiome loving prebiotics - and as I've discussed before, gut health IS immune health. 

I like Main Coast Sea vegetables (avoid Hajiki as this type of seaweed can have unpredictably high amounts of iodine), or get my seaweed from Goldmine Natural foods. (Drchen19 for 10% off)

Now that you know why these ingredients are so powerful in immune health, let's get to the recipes. 

Breakfast:

Turmeric Breakfast Cookies

  • Cookies for breakfast? You’ll have the kids convinced these can’t be good for you! But the catch is they’re filled with nutrient-dense goodness that will support your kiddos with protein, vitamins & antioxidants.  

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chickpea cooked
  •  1 cup almond flour 
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour 
  • 1/4 cup almond butter 
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil melted 
  • 1 tsp baking powder 
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt 
  • 1/8 cup plant-milk
  • 1 tsp group turmeric + pinch of pepper 
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon 
  • 1 tsp ground ginger 
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder 
  • 1 tsp vanilla (I like Kiva)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  •  1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (I use Santa Barbara Coconut Palm sugar-sweetened one for this - code platefulhealth) 

Instructions:

  • Add the cooked chickpeas to a food processor, pulse so that they become mashed.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients in and mix thoroughly until a dough is formed.
  • Add in the chocolate chips.
  • Transfer the cookie dough to the fridge for 3-4 hours.
  • Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  • Using an ice cream scoop, form the dough into 12 balls and then flatten them into cookies on parchment paper.
  • Bake for 12 minutes. Enjoy!

Berry (Antioxidants) Blast Smoothie 

  • Berries are an amazing source of antioxidants, high in fiber and reduce the risk of diseases. 

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup sliced banana
  • ½ cup frozen strawberries
  • ¼ cup frozen blueberries
  • ¼ cup any other frozen berries
  • ½-3/4 cup plant based milk

Instructions:

  • Blend together all ingredients.
  • Add more water or frozen fruits depending on the thickness of the smoothie.

Lunch:

‘No-Chicken’ Noodle Soup 

  • We can’t go wrong when it comes to noodle soup and it’s super kid-friendly! The immune-supporting powerhouse soothes and warms the body. 

Ingredients:

Tofu "Chicken"

  • 1 block extra firm tofu
  • 1 tbsp tamari or coconut aminos 
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp dried parsley 

Soup

  • 8 cups immune boosting broth (scroll down for recipe) 
  • 1 tbsp vegetable broth 
  • 4 carrots chopped
  • 4 stalks celery chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion diced 
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp sea salt 
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • ½ cup parsley diced 
  • 8 oz gluten-free fusilli pasta (I like the Jovial Cassava one)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375F.
  2. Press your tofu and cut it into thin rectangular cubes and add to a mixing bowl. Add spices and tamari/coconut aminos to the mixing bowl and toss. 
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking mat and add the tofu to the pan. Make sure all the pieces are separated to cook through evenly. 
  4. Bake the tofu for 25 minutes.
  5. In a frying pan saute your onions, celery, garlic, and carrots in vegetable broth till the onions are translucent. 
  6.  In a deep pot combine your immune-boosting broth and spices till boiling. Reduce the heat and add in your pasta, vegetables, parsley and baked tofu. Increase the heat for 10-15 minutes until the pasta is cooked. 
  7. Serve or cool and refrigerate for 5-day. This recipe is also freezer-friendly. (estimated 30-days) 

Immune Support Broth 

  • 1 stick celery
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 leek, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 pieces wakame seaweed, each about 4 x 1 inches
  • 2 pieces kombu seaweed, each about 7 1/2 x 8 inches
  • 6 fresh or dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 2-inch knob fresh ginger
  • 1 TSP sea salt
  • Filtered water to cover, around 4-5 quart
  • Veggie scraps from the week (I collect the tops of veggies, onion peels, throw them into a stasher bag, and store them in the freezer. When I make broth, I throw these in too)

Instructions:

  • In a large, deep stockpot, combine the celery, carrot, leek, garlic, parsley, potato skins, both seaweeds, onions, mushrooms, ginger, and salt, and add filtered water to cover. (You will need about 4 qt-5qt. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and simmer for 2 hours. Or do this in the Instant Pot for 1.5 hour.
  • Remove the heat and let it cool.
  • Let cool, then strain the liquid and transfer to an air-tight container. You can refrigerate this for up to 4 days or freeze it.
  • p.s. i try to press all the liquid out of the veggies, and pick out the kombu (if it hasn't disintegrated), shiitake mushrooms and blend it up and add it back into the broth for a little prebiotic :). If you don't have time, just skip this step. 

Dinner:

Roasted Garlic Alfredo Pasta 

  • A recipe that the whole family will love! My kids are obsessed with this alfredo recipe and they don’t question the hidden immune-supporting ingredients. 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup cashew soak in water for 4-6 hours
  • 1/2 cup hemp seeds
  • 6 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup almond (or any other nut milk)
  • 2 head garlic 
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice 
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp miso paste
  • Gluten-Free fettuccine or penne pasta

Instructions:

  • Cut the tops of the garlic heads and let them sit for about 10-15 minutes to allow time for healthy allicin to form before you roast them. 
  • In the meantime, preheat your oven to 400F.
  • Once the 10-15 minutes have passed for garlic to be ready to heat and wrap your garlic in parchment paper or add to a glass dish, cut side down. Drizzle your tsp of olive oil and place it directly in the oven to roast for 45 minutes. 
  • Prepare your pasta according to the instructions on the package.
  • While you are waiting for your pasta to cook combine your additional ingredients into a blender. Blend till smooth and then add your roasted garlic. Your garlic should be golden and soft. Blend again to combine the garlic to the mixture. 
  • Drain your cooked pasta and serve with salt + pepper.


Dessert:

Hot Cocoa

  • This delicious heart-warming drink is perfect for fall and to pack in nutrients from turmeric and cocoa powder! 

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 3 pitted dates
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder
  • 2 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric (I love the turmeric from Pique for this - discount code platefulhealth)
  • 1 pinch of black pepper (If you use the electric turmeric from Pique you don't need the pepper because it is fermented for increased curcumin bioavailability)
  • pinch of sea salt

Optional: 1 pinch vanilla powder or a dash of vanilla essence

Directions:

  • Soak cashews for 4 hours with pitted dates (you can sub the cashews with plant-based milk at the ready e.g. oat, coconut).
    Add into a high-speed blender the soaked cashews, dates, cacao powder. Blend until smooth.
  • Pour into a saucepan, add the turmeric + black pepper, stir thoroughly and warm to desired drinking temperature.
  • For a little more immune support, I sometimes add 1/2 tsp of the 5 defenders powder by Real Mushrooms ‘platefulhealth’ for 10% off -  (please check with your doctor if you are pregnant, or before giving to kids as it is not suitable for everyone)
  • Serve once hot in a big mug or two! 

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