3 Immune-Supporting Fall Recipes

One of the most important aspect of optimal health is providing your body with required nutrients. If working to support your immune health has become a new priority, here are 3 immune-supporting recipes to enjoy. Wondering which ingredients affect the immune system? Check out the chart at the bottom of the page.

Mushroom and Spinach Frittata
When you want a fast, easy and nutritious meal, frittatas are a great option for breakfast, lunch or dinner!

Serves: 1 This recipe can be increased and cooked in a large pan for up to 4 people. You may prefer to serve with a garden salad or with rye or multigrain toast.

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup of shiitake mushrooms
  • Handful of baby spinach
  • ¼ cup of diced tomato
  • ½ cup of grated extra old cheddar cheese (or other cheese of choice)
  • Teaspoon of butter or just enough to grease the pan

Directions:

  1. In a small non-stick frying pan, add butter, mushrooms and spinach and fry on medium heat.
  2. While mushrooms and spinach are frying, whisk eggs in a separate bowl.
  3. Once mushrooms are cooked to your preference, add in egg mixture and half of the cheese.
  4. Cover pan (ideally with a clear lid so you can watch closely).
  5. When the egg has risen and is almost done, add diced tomatoes on top and cover with the rest of the cheese.
  6. Cover pan again and turn element down to low until cheese is melted.
  7. Serve immediately

 

Vegetarian Stew
When the temperature begins to drop, there is nothing more comforting then a hearty stew. This is a plant-based version that you are sure to enjoy for a Meatless Monday.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of vegetable broth (low salt/sodium)
  • 2 small cans or 1 large can of black beans, drained and rinsed.
    • Rinse beans under water until all foam is gone, as this helps to avoid intestinal gas.
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and diced small
    • If you prefer larger chunks, the stew will need to cook longer.
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and diced
    • Use a potato peeler to peel the skin off, then use a chef’s knife to cut in half.
    • Take seeds out and put aside. They can be eaten as a snack later if they are rinsed off, dried and then roasted in the oven with a little sea salt and garlic.
    • Once the seeds and ‘guts’ have been removed. Dice the rest of the squash.
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 sweet peppers, remove seeds and then diced
  • 1 small cooking onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a large pot on the stove.
    1. If you prefer peppers to be raw and crunchy, add the peppers during the last 5 minutes of cooking instead.
  2. Add enough water to cover beans and vegetables.
  3. Cook on high until the broth comes to a boil; then turn down to medium low.
  4. Simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep from burning.
  5. Use a fork to check the potatoes and squash are cooked (depending on size the cooking time will vary).
  6. Once the vegetables are cooked to your liking, pour into soup bowls.
  7. Serve with multigrain bread if desired.

 

Grilled Garlic Plank Salmon with Shrimp and Sweet Potato
Just because it is fall, does not mean that your BBQ needs to head into hibernation. We’re Canadians and can BBQ in all 4 seasons! BBQs are also a great option if you enjoy seafood but avoid cooking it because of the smell in your kitchen.

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

Protein:

  • 16-20 medium-sized shrimp
  • 1  skin-on salmon fillet cut into 4 portions
  • Sesame seeds (enough to sprinkle over the salmon)

Vegetables:

  • 2 sweet potatoes cut in half
  • ¼ of a red onion cut into large square chunks
  • 1 sweet pepper seeds removed and cut into large square chunks

Glaze for Salmon

  • 3 tablespoons of low-salt soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons of grated fresh ginger root
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon of sriracha paste

Marinade for shrimp and veg

  • ¼ cupolive oil
  • 2tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2teaspoons minced garlic

Cooking Tools

  • Cedar plank (soak plank in water before using as per plank directions)
  • 4 metal or wooden skewers (BBQ safe)
  • BBQ tongs

Directions

  1. Start BBQ with 1 side on high and the other medium.
  2. Place sweet potatoes directly on the top rack above the high side of the BBQ
    • Ensure the flame does not reach the potatoes.
    • Cook for at least 20 minutes before adding salmon to the BBQ.
  3. In a small pot, mix soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, and ginger.
    • Bring to a simmer over medium high on the stove (or side element on your BBQ), then remove from heat.
    • Add honey and sriracha paste and stir.
    • Put 4 teaspoons of the cooked glaze into a separate bowl and save for drizzling over the cooked salmon before serving.
  4. Place skin side of the salmon down on a plank and brush glaze onto the flesh side.
    • Place plank onto the medium temperature side of the BBQ.
  5. While salmon is cooking for the first 10 minutes, toss shrimp, onion and red pepper in a bowl with the marinade ingredients.
    • Once fully coated, alternate the shrimp, onion and red pepper onto the skewers until they are full.
    • Place skewers on the top rack on the medium temperature side of the BBQ.
    • Turn regularly until shrimp are cooked (at least 6 min).
  6. Once everything is fully cooked, plate salmon, skewers and sweet potatoes.
    • Use the last of the glaze to drizzle over the salmon and add sesame seeds on top.

 

Nutrient / Herb

Health Benefit Related to Immune Function / Cold and Flu Symptoms

Ingredients in the above recipes that include the immune supporting nutrient

Vitamin A

Although vitamin A is most well-known for eye health (particularly in maintaining night vision), it is also works to support immune function.[1]

Carrots, squash, sweet peppers, spinach, sweet potato, tomatoes

Vitamin C

An antioxidant that helps to protect our cells against damage caused by free radicals, it also helps to maintain and support immune function.¹

Sweet peppers, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, lemon juice, white potatoes

Vitamin D

Not only is vitamin D important for the development and maintenance of our bones, but an increasing amount of research is showing how it works to support our immune system.¹ [2]

Eggs, mushrooms, salmon

Zinc

An essential mineral which plays an important role in immune function.¹ A zinc deficiency diminishes the ability of the body to fight pathogens.[3]

Shrimp, sesame seeds, eggs, salmon, squash seeds.

Protein

Protein is required to help build and repair body tissues as well as build muscles. What many people don’t realize is that it is also required to help make antibodies, which is an important aspect of our immune system.[4]

Eggs, , cheddar, salmon, shrimp black beans, sesame seeds, squash seeds

Garlic

Many people think of garlic for its heart health benefits but it is also used to help relieve symptoms associated with upper respiratory infections and nasal congestion.[5]

Garlic bulb

Ginger

Ginger is used most commonly to combat nausea whether from motion sickness or during pregnancy, but it is also used as both an expectorant and a cough suppressant to help relieve bronchitis and cough and colds.[6]

Ginger root

Mushrooms

Some particular mushrooms such as reishi and shiitake have health benefits beyond being sources of protein and vitamin D. They also provide antioxidants and are considered immune modulating. As adaptogens, they also help to increase energy and resistance to stress.[7]

Shiitake mushrooms

 

 

[1] Health Canada. Multi-Vitamin / Mineral Supplements Monograph. Accessed Sept 21, 2020 at: http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/atReq.do?atid=multi_vitmin_suppl&lang=eng

[2] Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Research Centre. Vitamin D. Accessed Sept 21, 2020 at: https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/vitamin-D#immunity

[3] Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Research Centre. Zinc. Accessed Sept 21, 2020 at: https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/zinc#impaired-immune-function

[4] Health Canada. Whey Products Monograph. Accessed Sept 21, 2020 at: http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/atReq.do?atid=whey.prod.lactoserum&lang=eng

[5] Health Canada. Garlic – Allium Sativum Monograph. Accessed Sept 21, 2020 at: http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/atReq.do?atid=garlic_ail&lang=eng

[6] Health Canada. Ginger – Zingiber Officinale Monograph. Accessed Sept 21, 2020 at: http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/atReq.do?atid=ginger.gingembre&lang=eng

[7] Health Canada. Mushrooms Monograph. Accessed Sept 21, 2020 at: http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/atReq.do?atid=mushrooms.champignons&lang=eng