50 Recipes That'll Help Boost Your Natural Immunity
When it comes to staying well, what you eat plays an important role. That's why it's important to utilize ingredients that are beneficial to your immune system. Nutrients like vitamins A, C, D, and E, fiber, folic acid, iron, selenium, and zinc all promote a healthy immune system, and they're found in many of the ingredients these recipes highlight. Antioxidants and anti-inflammatory ingredients are also key for immune strength. Essentially, the better attuned your body is to protect itself, the better likelihood it'll be able to ward off, or at least minimize, illness. You'll also notice that these recipes steer away from alcohol, sugar, and refined carbohydrates, which can all cause inflammation. That way, your antibodies can focus on protecting your body from germs.
Fall Farro Bowl with Green Tahini Sauce
With bold but balanced flavors and a vibrant variety of textures, this healthy grain bowl checks all the boxes. We love the colorful, nutrient-dense combo of roasted beets, butternut squash, red onion, and delicate haricot verts, but feel free to include whatever veggies you love the most. You can also add leftover shredded chicken or sliced steak to bump up the protein. Prep the flavor-packed components of this grain bowl in advance for delicious lunches you’ll actually look forward to all week long.
Seared Scallops with Fennel and Citrus
Scallops are the perfect choice for an effortless date-night dinner. To get the best golden, crispy sear, let your scallops come to room temperature and pat them dry before cooking. Track down dry-packed scallops; they’re lower in sodium.
Chickpea Spinach Salad
Starting with pre-cooked leftover chicken, this recipe comes together in only 10 minutes. Thanks to a variety of ingredients, this salad is a nutritional powerhouse, brimming with antioxidants from the oranges, heart-healthy fats from the walnuts and avocado, and folate and vitamin A from the spinach. We skip the croutons and add toasted walnuts for some heart-healthy crunch.
Beet Chips with Turmeric-Yogurt Dip
Here's a lighter, more colorful take on the usual chips and dip. Beet chips crisp up in a flash in the microwave. Keep close watch on them to make sure they don't scorch.
Pineapple-Mango Breakfast Bowls
Take your taste buds to the tropics with these fruit-and-yogurt-filled pineapple boats.
Tomato-Red Pepper Gazpacho with Fresh Vegetable Medley
Topping tomato and red pepper-flavored gazpacho with fresh veggies makes a refreshing summer soup.
Mussels with Buttery Turmeric Broth
Cooking at home doesn't have to be difficult, expensive, or time-consuming. Mussels are surprisingly affordable and quick and easy to cook. They're also a standout sustainable star, a great option for those looking to make better seafood choices. A Dutch oven is key here; the roomy pot with a tight lid steams the mussels to perfection.
Lemony Chicken and Spinach Soup
Inspired by Greek avgolemono, this recipe yields a creamy, comforting, bright bowl of soup that delivers everything we want when feeling a little under the weather. Heck, served with a warm blanket and a cozy couch, we’re convinced this lemony chicken soup can fix just about anything. As delicious as it is, this soup requires very simple ingredients and is easy to make. Just be gentle when adding the hot broth into your egg mixture (to temper), and the rest couldn’t be easier. This is a smart trick for richening soup without cream, and produces a uniquely rich broth that’s easy on the stomach. While we call for rotisserie chicken and store-bought stock for convenience sake, you could certainly roast your own chicken, then make chicken stock with the carcass for an even more flavorful pot of soup. We specifically developed this soup to make a large batch so that there’s plenty to share with friends, or stash in the freezer for the next time you’re feeling a bit under the weather or simply need a warming, fuss-free meal.
Zesty Kale and Sweet Potato Bowl
This loaded veggie bowl gets a touch of smoke from the chili-spiced sweet potatoes and roasted bell pepper and plenty of zing from fresh lime. Chili powder and lime also give toasted almonds an addictive crust; make extra and enjoy as a snack. Cotija cheese has a dry, crumbly texture—it won’t melt or disappear into the bowl. Use it to top tacos, stir into whole-grain salads, or top roasted broccoli.
Festive Fall Salad
This vibrant seasonal salad offers the perfect balance of sweet and savory flavors, with a bright cider vinaigrette cutting the richness of the butternut squash and turkey. While this seasonal salad would obviously be an excellent way to utilize some Thanksgiving leftovers, you could also very well leave out the turkey and serve it as a holiday dinner side dish. Full of seasonal flavor and color, it makes a fantastic alternative to heavier casseroles that are often included in the holiday spread. Feel free to swap the butternut squash for sweet potatoes or even roasted beets.
Ginger Lemon Wellness Shots
You only need five ingredients—lemon, water, honey, cayenne pepper, and ginger—for this quick home remedy that's full of antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and vitamin C. These wellness shots are sour in the best way: There's tartness from the lemon juice, and the ginger and cayenne add a pleasant, subtle warmth. Meanwhile, the honey balances out all that acidity and coats your throat.
Black Garlic and Lentil Soup
For Bar Tartine in San Francisco, chef Nick Balla created this smoky, earthy soup as a tribute to his Hungarian-America father. Dried chiles, paprika sausage, hot paprika, and black garlic--regular garlic roasted for days until it turns sweet and jet black, with a licorice-like flavor--give the soup a rounded spiciness.
This recipe yields a big pot of brothy soup that you can make ahead and enjoy for a couple of days; the flavor just gets better over time. You may be wary of the large amount of garlic, but keep in mind that it mellows considerably after being cooked.
Stewed Chickpeas and Chard over Garlic Toast
This is one of those go-to dishes for busy weeknights--it's fast, easy, and filling. It also happens to be a vegan recipe. Though we're calling this dinner, it would be splendid for breakfast, too.
Creamy Kale Caesar Salad with Soft-Boiled Eggs
We leave out the anchovies for a kid-friendly take on classic Caesar salad. Instead of romaine, we use dark, bumpy lacinato kale leaves; a quick massage makes them perfectly tender. And instead of adding raw egg to the dressing, we add a soft-boiled egg to each serving so the yolk can run over all. A grill pan is a worthy addition to your kitchen for getting quick, chargrilled flavor without having to cook outdoors. Use it to toast the baguette slices and mellow the fresh red onion wedges.
Easy Lentil Soup with Sweet Potatoes and Bacon
We spiced up plain-Jane lentil soup with the addition of tender sweet potato chunks, fire-roasted tomatoes, and bacon. This rich, comforting, smoky soup is perfect if you are planning a tailgate event or weekend party because it can be prepared up to three days in advance and stored in the refrigerator. It tastes even better when the flavors have had a chance to marry.
The vibrant blue-violet color of this refreshing summer sipper is naturally stunning. And the perfect addition to any poolside chill session. Requiring only 4 ingredients (plus water) this limeade is as simple to make as it is beautiful—not to mention, delicious. The tart lime juice is sweetly balanced by juicy blueberries, and fresh basil delivers a refreshing herbaceousness. The addition of the basil just amps up the sophistication of what is normally a down to earth drink.
Kasha with Kale and Pancetta
In our favorite new weeknight meal, kasha and a poached egg rev up greens and smoky pork. The recipe comes from Sandy Sonnenfelt, prepared-foods director at Market Hall Foods and its flagship store, The Pasta Shop in Oakland.
Wine Pairing: A crisp Riesling such as Trisaetum 2013 Dry Riesling (Willamette Valley; $18). The wine offers bright citrus and minerality to handle the greens and egg, and the pancetta pulls out the wine's apple and stone-fruit notes. --Sara Schneider
Coconut-Curry Chicken Soup
Snow peas, spinach, and chicken breast give this 5-star Coconut-Curry Chicken Soup flavor, texture, and a wealth of nutrients.
This recipe is great for entertaining: Simply roast the carrots ahead of time and broil just before serving.
Kale and Lentil Bowl with Thai Almond Sauce
This reigning leafy green is jam-packed with vitamins A, C, and K. Kale’s fibrous greens maintain integrity even in long-cooked soups and braises, but we also love it raw in salads. Just be sure to massage the leaves until they start to soften and tenderize. A few quick pickled carrots and a judicious dribble of creamy almond sauce completely transforms this dish into a hard-to-put-down dinner. Make it a regular in your #meatlessmonday rotation.
Chicken, White Bean, and Spinach Salad
The beans, chicken, and dressing can all be made a day ahead in your slow-cooker. Assemble this meal in minutes and round out this light summer salad with a loaf of crusty bread. If you have any leftover, it will make a great lunch the following day. Slow cooking requires little fat, so trim the excess from meats and poultry. Preserve the flavor of fresh herbs by adding them to the dish once it comes out of the slow cooker. Removing the slow cooker lid while cooking releases valuable heat, so resist the urge to check on the dish as it cooks.
Spicy, zingy fermented cukes deliver plenty of probiotics. The double-sealed water bag helps keep them submerged so they ferment thoroughly.
Ombré Citrus Salad
If you’ve been invited to a potluck and feel fresh out of recipe ideas, this is the dish for you. This stunning citrus salad will fit right in at nearly any occasion—holiday brunch, wedding or baby shower, breakfast with friends, office luncheon, church social. It tastes great chilled or at room temperature, is made with a few ingredients, and is dairy-free and gluten-free, making it ideal for a mixed crowd that might have food allergies or dietary restrictions. We used four types of citrus (blood oranges, Cara Cara orange, Ruby Red grapefruit, and a navel orange) for a rainbow of colors, but you can also alternate two types of citrus for a pretty, simpler look. If you’re not a fan of hazelnuts, use toasted almond slices or chopped, toasted pistachios. Whatever you do, don’t skip the flaky sea salt and black pepper at the end. A little bit of seasoning brings out the flavors of the fruit and makes the whole thing look and taste impressive.
Southwestern Sweet Potato and Egg Hash
Hashes are a great way to incorporate vegetables into the first meal of the day. Here we’ve added a Southwestern spin with chili powder and cumin. Give the potatoes a head start by microwaving them until just shy of tender, then finish them off in the skillet for that coveted crispy texture. Use the leftover black beans to boost protein and fiber in salads, soups, or grain bowls.
Golden Beet Soup with Toasted Grains
Toasted amaranth adds a nutty flavor that's truly delicious; sesame seeds make a good substitute.
Slow Cooker Chicken Posole
Think of posole as chili's brothier, lighter cousin, a Mexican version of chicken soup. Posole is also a name for the hominy, or rehydrated dried corn, that goes in the dish.
Roasted Salmon with Oranges, Beets, and Carrots
This sheet pan main is as elegant as it is easy. Serve on any weeknight, or for guests with a whole-grain side and seasonal salad. One large (1 1/2-lb.) fillet, also called a side of salmon, will stay moist at the higher oven temperature. If using individually portioned fillets (about 6 oz. each); bake at 400°F for 10 minutes, roasting the vegetables on a separate pan for about 15 minutes or until tender, then combine and sprinkle with the lemon juice and tarragon.
Learn how to make this traditional Korean side like a pro.
Millet Amaranth Buddha Bowls
Imagine a classic Asian-style rice bowl, but with a risotto-like blend of millet and amaranth as the base. At Vital Root in Denver, chef-owner Justin Cucci tops the grains with loads of vegetables and tofu, then drizzles on a silky tahini sauce.
Wine Pairing: A dry but aromatic white like VML 2014 Gewürztraminer (Russian River Valley; $24). The perfume of the sesame and tahini match the wine's floral and spicy aromas; the haunting minerally character and mouth-filling weight of Gewürz work well with tofu. --Sara Schneider
Sweet Potato-and-Red Lentil Curry
This fragrant, Indian-style stew hits all the right notes with aromatic garam masala, fresh ginger, and concentrated red curry paste. The coconut milk mellows and loosens the potato and lentil mixture just enough so that it can be spooned over rice.
Pan-Seared Salmon with Pear and Walnut Spinach Salad
Wild salmon has less saturated fat, fewer calories, and 5 to 10 times fewer contaminants and persistent organic pollutants (POPs) than farm-raised (in early studies, POPs have been linked to impaired brain development, type 2 diabetes, and obesity). There's no need to give up all farmed salmon, and eating some is always better than none. Aim to eat at least 1 to 2 servings of omega-3-rich fatty fish weekly.
Matcha Green Tea
Matcha, a traditional Japanese tea, is one of the most nutritious beverages you can consume. Bonus: It's pretty yummy, too.