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10 Tasty Recipes With Immunity-Boosting Foods

Gordon loves cooking and experimenting with food. He loves making new dishes, particularly with unusual or underused ingredients.

This beef steak with fried potatoes and onions, garlic mushrooms and spicy chickpeas salad is just one of the recipes to be found on this page

This beef steak with fried potatoes and onions, garlic mushrooms and spicy chickpeas salad is just one of the recipes to be found on this page

The immune system is that part of the body that fights against disease and infection in the battle to keep us healthy. It is therefore highly desirable to do whatever we can to strengthen our immune system, and over the years, medical science has identified certain foodstuffs that are believed to assist in this process.

These foods vary hugely in nature, from turmeric and garlic to broccoli and spinach, from chicken and eggs to oily fish and lean beef, from blueberries to elderberries, and many, many more. The recipes that follow use some of these foods to create 10 main meals to suit a variety of tastes.

Curried tenderstem broccoli is served with a bed of turmeric and herb rice

Curried tenderstem broccoli is served with a bed of turmeric and herb rice

1. Curried Tenderstem Broccoli With Turmeric Rice

Cook Time

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 40 min

Ready in: 50 min

Yields: 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 medium white onion
  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • 1 inch piece ginger root*
  • 4 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 2 teaspoons hot curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon hot chilli powder
  • 14 ounce can plum tomatoes in tomato juice
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 8 ounces tenderstem broccoli
  • 6 ounces basmati rice
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped coriander leaf/cilantro (1 each for curry and for rice)

*The ginger root in this instance was previously peeled and frozen, allowing the necessary amount simply to be grated off as required

Instructions

  1. Peel the onion and cut it in half down through the core. Lay each half in turn flat before slicing moderately finely across the grain and separating the slices into strands. Peel the garlic cloves.
  2. Pour the sunflower oil in to a large saucepan and bring it up to a medium heat. Add the onion before grating in the garlic cloves and ginger. Spoon in the curry powder and chilli powder and saute for a few minutes over a medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the onions are nicely softened, by which time the harshness should also have been cooked off the spices.
  3. Pour in the tomatoes and break them up well with the spoon. Season with salt and pepper, stir well, cover and bring to a gentle simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil before carefully adding the broccoli. Simmer for 3 minutes only before draining and setting aside to steam off and cool.
  5. Add the teaspoon of turmeric and some salt to a second pot of boiling water. Wash the rice briefly through a sieve under running cold water before adding to this pot and stirring briefly but well. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. When the rice is simmering, add the broccoli to the curry and carefully stir fold it through the sauce. Continue to simmer as gently as possible.
  7. Drain the rice through a sieve and return to the empty pot. Allow to steam off and dry out for 1-2 minutes before adding one tablespoon of the coriander/cilantro and some black pepper. Stir well.
  8. Add the coriander/cilantro to the curry and stir through.
  9. Plate half the rice on each of two serving plates with half the curry alongside in each instance to serve.
Chicken thighs baked with spices and bell peppers are served on a bed of turmeric spiced egg noodles

Chicken thighs baked with spices and bell peppers are served on a bed of turmeric spiced egg noodles

2. Spicy Baked Chicken Thighs and Bell Peppers With Turmeric Egg Noodles

Cook Time

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 45 min

Ready in: 1 hour

Yields: 1 serving

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken thighs
  • Vegetable or sunflower oil
  • ½ each of red, green and yellow bell peppers
  • 1 small red chilli
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Small, single-serving pack of fresh egg noodles*
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric

*Dried noodles can be used if desired and cooked per the instructions on the pack

Instructions

  1. Put your oven on to preheat to 400F/200C/Gas Mark 6.
  2. Lightly grease the inside of a casserole dish with some vegetable oil poured on to a piece of folded up kitchen paper.
  3. Peel the skin from the chicken thighs and discard. Season the underside of the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and lay flesh sides up in the dish.
  4. Seed and moderately finely dice the bell pepper halves and add to a small bowl. Cut away and discard the stalk of the chilli before finely slicing and adding to the bowl with the peppers. Season with salt and pepper and stir well before scattering evenly over the chicken thighs.
  5. Put the lid on the casserole dish and bake for 35-40 minutes in the oven.
  6. Remove the dish from the oven and set aside for the chicken thighs to rest. Leave the lid on the dish and the steam will help keep the thighs moist and juicy.
  7. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, seasoned with salt and the turmeric. Add the noodles and simmer for 6 or 7 minutes before draining at your sink through a colander.
  8. Pour the noodles into the base of a deep serving plate and use a slotted spoon to lift the chicken thighs on to the top. Use the slotted spoon again to scatter the peppers over the chicken thighs for service.
Turmeric rice is infused with baby spinach leaves and smoked mackerel flakes

Turmeric rice is infused with baby spinach leaves and smoked mackerel flakes

3. Spinach and Turmeric Rice With Smoked Mackerel

Cook Time

Prep time: 5 min

Cook time: 10 min

Ready in: 15 min

Yields: 1 serving

Ingredients

  • 3 ounces basmati rice
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Salt
  • Generous handful baby spinach leaves
  • Black pepper
  • 2 smoked mackerel fillets

Instructions

  1. Season a large pot of water with salt and the ground turmeric. Bring to a rolling boil.
  2. Wash the rice through a sieve before adding to the boiling water. Stir well and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Two minutes before the rice is ready, add the spinach to the water and stir.
  4. Drain the rice and spinach through a sieve at your sink and leave to steam off while you peel the skin from the mackerel and flake the flesh, moderately coarsely.
  5. Add the mackerel flakes and some black pepper to the rice and spinach, stir/fold it through and serve immediately.
Seared tuna loin slices are served infused in to a pineapple, bell pepper and mixed green leaf salad

Seared tuna loin slices are served infused in to a pineapple, bell pepper and mixed green leaf salad

4. Seared Tuna Loin With Bell Pepper and Pineapple Salad

Cook Time

Prep time: 5 min

Cook time: 3 min

Ready in: 8 min

Yields: 1 serving

Ingredients

  • 6 ounce tuna loin fillet
  • Vegetable or sunflower oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ each of red, green and yellow bell peppers
  • Generous handful of mixed green salad leaves
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 pineapple rings (canned in own juice, not syrup)

Instructions

  1. Put a cast iron, ridged griddle pan on to a very high heat and leave it for a few minutes to get smoking hot while you prepare the salad.
  2. Pour the extra virgin olive oil in to a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Wash the salad leaves under running cold water, shake dry and add these also to the bowl.
  3. Seed the bell pepper halves before slicing and adding to the bowl along with the roughly chopped pineapple rings. Stir well.
  4. Brush the tuna fillet all over with vegetable (or sunflower) oil and season with salt and pepper. Fry for 1 minute on each side, then carefully use tongs to hold it that you may also sear the sides.
  5. Lift the tuna fillet to a chopping board and slice across the grain to get 6 to 8 pieces with a very sharp knife.
  6. Arrange the salad in the base of a deep serving plate. Poke the tuna slices carefully into it at regular intervals and serve.
Spicy chicken and spinach curry is served with turmeric spiced roast potatoes

Spicy chicken and spinach curry is served with turmeric spiced roast potatoes

5. Chicken and Spinach Curry With Turmeric Roasties

Cook Time

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 1 hour

Ready in: 1 hour 10 min

Yields: 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 10 to 12 baby new potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric (plus an extra pinch for seasoning)
  • Salt
  • 1 large white onion
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 1 inch piece peeled ginger root
  • Vegetable or sunflower oil
  • 2 teaspoons hot curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon hot chilli powder (plus an extra pinch for seasoning roasted potatoes)
  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 14 ounce can plum tomatoes in tomato juice
  • Black pepper
  • 4 generous handfuls baby spinach leaves
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped coriander leaf/cilantro, plus extra to garnish

Instructions

  1. Wash the potatoes (but don't peel them) and cut them in half. Add them to a pot with the teaspoon of turmeric, some salt and enough cold water to ensure they are comfortably covered. Put the pot on to a high heat until the water begins to boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Drain at your sink and set aside to steam off and partly cool.
  2. Peel the onion, cut it in half down through the core and lay each half flat to slice across the grain. Peel the garlic cloves.
  3. Peel the skin from the chicken thighs and discard. Remove the bones carefully with a boning knife. Alternatively, you can buy the thighs already skinned and filleted but do be aware that pre-filleted thighs often cost up to twice the price of whole ones.
  4. Pour 3 or 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil into a large pot and bring it up to a medium heat. Add the onion, grate in the garlic cloves and ginger and add the curry and chilli powders. Saute for a few minutes - stirring with a wooden spoon - until the onion is softened.
  5. Roughly chop the chicken thigh meat and add to the curried onions for another couple of minutes sauteing to seal the meat.
  6. Put your oven on to preheat to 400F/200C/Gas Mark 6. Add enough vegetable or sunflower oil to a deep roasting tray to comfortably cover the base and place it into the oven to also preheat.
  7. Pour the tomatoes into the pot with the curried chicken mix and season with salt and pepper. Break the tomatoes up with the spoon as you stir well. Bring to a simmer, cover and continue to simmer gently for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. When the oven is preheated, remove the tray and add the potatoes, turning them around carefully in the oil before returning the tray to the oven for 20 minutes. Take the tray out and give the potatoes a further stir after 10 of those minutes.
  9. Wash the spinach leaves in a colander under running cold water and shake dry. Add (in stages if necessary) to the simmering curry after 25 minutes.
  10. When the potatoes are ready, use a slotted spoon to lift them to a kitchen paper covered plate to drain and season further with a little chilli powder and turmeric.
  11. Stir the coriander/cilantro into the curry.
  12. Plate the potatoes, spoon the curry alongside and garnish with the last of the freshly chopped herb.
Spinach and mushroom Spanish tortilla is served with turmeric and garlic toast

Spinach and mushroom Spanish tortilla is served with turmeric and garlic toast

6. Spinach and Mushroom Spanish Tortilla With Turmeric and Garlic Toast

Cook Time

Prep time: 5 min

Cook time: 10 min

Ready in: 15 min

Yields: 1 serving

Ingredients

  • Generous handful baby spinach leaves
  • Salt
  • 3 or 4 large button mushrooms
  • Vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • Black pepper
  • 1 slice of bread
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Little bit of butter
  • Pinch of dried turmeric

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pan of salted water to a rolling boil before adding the baby spinach. Simmer for 1 minute only before draining through a colander and setting aside to cool.
  2. Break the eggs into a bowl, season with salt and pepper and beat with a fork or small whisk until just combined.
  3. Wipe the mushrooms clean with some kitchen paper if necessary and slice to a thickness of about a quarter inch.
  4. Put your kitchen grill/broiler on to preheat to its highest setting.
  5. Pour 2 or 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil into a small, 10-inch frying pan and bring it up to a medium heat. Fry the mushroom slices for about 1 minute each side.
  6. Arrange the mushroom slices evenly over the base of the pan. Squeeze the excess water from the cooled spinach before arranging between the mushroom slices.
  7. Carefully pour the egg mixture evenly over the mushrooms and spinach. Continue to cook for a few minutes over a medium heat until you can see the egg mixture is largely set with only a little liquid remaining on the surface.
  8. Place the frying pan under the grill/broiler for 1-2 minutes until the egg mixture is fully set.
  9. Put the bread on to toast. Peel the garlic clove and lightly crush before rubbing it over the toast. Lightly butter the toast before scattering with a little turmeric and black pepper.
  10. Cut the tortilla in half with a plastic spatula and arrange the two halves on a serving plate. Cut the toast in half diagonally and arrange alongside.
Wholewheat fusilli pasta infused with kipper flakes and spinach

Wholewheat fusilli pasta infused with kipper flakes and spinach

7. Spinach and Kipper Wholewheat Fusilli Pasta

Cook Time

Prep time: 5 min

Cook time: 15 min

Ready in: 20 min

Yields: 1 serving

Ingredients

  • 2 small boil-in-the-bag kipper fillets*
  • 1½ cups dried wholewheat fusilli pasta
  • Salt
  • 2 generous handfuls baby spinach leaves
  • Black pepper

*A large fresh kipper can be used instead if desired. It should simply be heated with a little butter under the kitchen grill/broiler

Instructions

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the kipper fillets, in their bag, to simmer for 15 minutes.
  2. Bring a second large pot of lightly salted water to a rolling boil and add the pasta. Note that while pasta cooking water should normally be heavily salted, the saltiness of the kippers in this recipe calls for a little less to be used. Stir well and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Two minutes before the pasta is due to be ready, add the baby spinach leaves and stir them through.
  4. Drain the pasta and spinach at your sink through a colander and set aside to steam off for a couple of minutes.
  5. Carefully remove the kippers bag from the water, slice it open and ease the kippers out into a small, deep plate or flat bottomed bowl.
  6. Return the pasta and spinach to the empty cooking pot and use a fork to break the kippers into large flakes. Add to the pasta with some black pepper and turn/fold/stir to combine before transferring to a serving plate.
Vegan sausages are served on a bed of sweet potato, garlic and ginger mash

Vegan sausages are served on a bed of sweet potato, garlic and ginger mash

8. Vegan Sausages and Sweet Potato Mash

Cook Time

Prep time: 5 min

Cook time: 20 min

Ready in: 25 min

Yields: 1 serving

Ingredients

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • Salt
  • 4 large spiced vegan sausages
  • Vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 inch piece peeled ginger root
  • Black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped coriander leaf/cilantro, plus extra to garnish

Instructions

  1. Peel the sweet potatoes and chop to around 1½-inch chunks. Add a to a large pot of salted water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  2. Follow the cooking instructions on the pack for the sausages. These ones required shallow frying in a little oil for 15 minutes from frozen, turning frequently.
  3. Drain the sweet potatoes and return to the empty pot. Allow to steam off and dry out for a couple of minutes.
  4. Peel the garlic clove and grate into the sweet potatoes with the ginger. Season further with black pepper and mash with a hand masher.
  5. Add the tablespoon of coriander/cilantro to the mash and stir through before arranging as a serving bed on a plate.
  6. Lift the sausages on to the mash and garnish with the remaining fresh herb.
Sardines in tomato sauce are served on pan fried zucchini (courgette) wedges with accompanying salad

Sardines in tomato sauce are served on pan fried zucchini (courgette) wedges with accompanying salad

9. Pan-Fried Zucchini (Courgette) Wedges With Sardines and Salad

Cook Time

Prep time: 5 min

Cook time: 5 min

Ready in: 10 min

Yields: 1 serving

Ingredients

  • 1 large zucchini (courgette)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Hot chilli powder
  • Ground turmeric
  • Vegetable oil
  • Generous handful watercress and baby spinach leaves
  • 4 small cherry tomatoes
  • ½ red onion
  • Can sardines in tomato sauce

Instructions

  1. Wash the zucchini (courgette) and dry with kitchen paper. Use a very sharp knife to slice at 45 degrees and cut three 1-inch thick wedges.
  2. Season the wedges on both sides with salt, pepper and a little each of chilli powder and ground turmeric.
  3. Pour 2 or 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil into a small frying pan and bring it up to a high heat. Fry the wedges for 2 to 3 minutes each side.
  4. Wash the leaves and tomatoes and shake dry. Add the leaves to a small bowl along with the halved tomatoes and peeled and finely sliced onion half. Season with salt and pepper and toss with your hands to combine.
  5. It was known in advance that the particular brand of sardines used provided three large fillets in each can. Empty the can carefully in the first instance into a small flat bottomed bowl or deep plate.
  6. Drain the wedges on a plate covered with kitchen paper before arranging on the serving plate with the salad alongside. Lift a sardine fillet on to each wedge.
  7. Use a teaspoon to drizzle the tomato sauce from the canned sardines over the salad to serve.
Steak is fried with potatoes and onions fried in its juices, garlic mushrooms and a spicy chickpeas salad

Steak is fried with potatoes and onions fried in its juices, garlic mushrooms and a spicy chickpeas salad

10. Fried Beef Steak With Fried Potatoes and Onions, Garlic Mushrooms and Spicy Chickpeas Salad

Cook Time

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 30 min

Ready in: 40 min

Yields: 1 serving

Ingredients

  • 6 baby new potatoes
  • Salt
  • Generous handful baby spinach leaves
  • 3 tablespoons natural yoghurt
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 3 large garlic cloves (2 for mushrooms, 1 for chickpeas)
  • ½ (14-ounce) can chickpeas in water
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped coriander leaf/cilantro, plus extra to garnish
  • Black pepper
  • 6 ounce lean beef steak*
  • Vegetable oil
  • 4 large button mushrooms
  • ½ medium white onion

*While fat is often deemed to be flavour in a steak and it can help keep the meat moist during cooking, the benefits in this situation to the immune system are deemed to be from lean beef. If cooking a fattier steak, cut off the fat after the meat has rested and discard before serving.

Instructions

  1. Wash but don't peel the potatoes and add them to a pot of cold, salted water. Bring the water to a boil and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until the potatoes are just softened.
  2. Take your steak out of the fridge and allow it to reach room temperature before it is to be cooked.
  3. When the potatoes are on to cook, bring a second pot of salted water to a rolling boil before adding the spinach to blanch for 2 minutes only. Drain through a colander and leave for a few minutes to cool.
  4. Spoon the yoghurt into a small bowl and grate in the peeled garlic clove. Add the turmeric and stir well.
  5. Squeeze the excess water out of the spinach with your hand before fairly roughly chopping and stirring into the yoghurt mix.
  6. Drain the chickpeas and add half the can to the yoghurt. The other half can be refrigerated in a suitable dish for later alternative use. Add the chopped coriander and some black pepper and stir very well. Cover and refrigerate until required.
  7. When the potatoes are ready, drain and set aside to cool.
  8. Pour a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil into a frying pan and bring it up to a high heat. Add the steak and fry for 2 to 3 minutes each side, depending upon preference.
  9. Pour 2 or 3 tablespoons of oil into a large saucepan and gently heat. Grate in the two remaining peeled garlic cloves. Wipe the mushrooms and quarter before adding to the saucepan. Season with salt and pepper and saute for a few minutes, stirring carefully but frequently with a wooden spoon.
  10. When your steak is cooked, lift it to a heated plate and cover with foil to let it rest.
  11. Cut the potatoes in half and add to the frying pan vacated by the steak with the peeled and sliced onion half. Season with salt and pepper and stir fry over a high heat for 2-3 minutes.
  12. Lift your steak to a large serving plate and arrange the potatoes and onion, garlic mushrooms and spicy chickpeas respectively. Garnish with the remaining chopped coriander/cilantro.

Resources

The following pages (including in each instance appropriate medical accreditation) are the principal ones consulted in the development of the recipes featured above:

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2020 Gordon Hamilton

Comments

Gordon Hamilton (author) from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on May 09, 2020:

Hello, Shauna, and thank you very much. Yes, turmeric is something I have been following the research on for a number of years. Fascinating to see what some scientists believe it can be useful for in terms of being a beneficial food ingredient. Add to that fact it tastes superb and it's very much a win/win situation.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on May 08, 2020:

Gordon, these recipes are making my mouth water! I see a recurring theme in the immunity-boosting recipes is turmeric. I want to try your turmeric rice and turmeric noodle ideas. I'm always looking for something different to do with both of those starches.

Another excellent article. I'll be cruising through your page to see what else you have to offer!

Gordon Hamilton (author) from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on April 06, 2020:

Thank you, Liz. This is something which I had started way back and put on hold. Thought it may be useful to finish it now. Yes, I hope many people are taking such considerations in to account at the moment. It could prove hugely important in the long term.

Liz Westwood from UK on April 06, 2020:

This is a timely and very useful set of recipes. I have heard several people recently say that mealtimes have become more significant and keeping up a good immune system is especially vital at the moment.