So the word on the street is that lockdown rules are about to ease off and soon we’ll be amongst crowds once again.
This is good news for most, but definitely not the time to lose sight of your nutrient intake.
We’ve all been self isolating without exposure to the outside world (a.k.a vital germs that keep our immunity muscle flexing and getting stronger) for far too long.
This means that once we are free to roam, we are ALL more vulnerable to diseases (that’s all diseases, not only the virus) than ever before and the only real protection we have is the confidence that we’re consuming immune boosting foods every chance we get.
I’ve put together a selection of seven recipes for you to get you started.
Enjoy and be well!
DRINK: Feijoa & Pineapple Smoothie
BREAKFAST: Pumpkin Pancakes
DIP: Spiced Pumpkin Dip
MEAL: Борщ - Raw Russian Borscht
CAKE: Blueberry Cheezecake
FROZEN SNACK: Ice Lollie Wedges
BAKING: Vitamin C Cookies
Feijoa & Pineapple Smoothie
Just 3 feijoas account for over 50% of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin C, only 1 kiwifruit has 100%+ of RDI of Vitamin C and pineapple has more Vitamin C than oranges (plus a whole added bonus of manganese which helps to suppress coughs and loosen mucous). If you can’t get feijoa, either use guava or extra kiwi.
1 cup Feijoa/ Guava pulp (approx. 10-20 feijoas)
1/4 pineapple, peeled and cored
2 kiwi fruits, peeled
1 banana, peeled
Optional: handful of kale leaves
- Blend on high and enjoy.
Pumpkins and squashes are loaded with immunity boosting goodness. For one, they’re seriously high in beta-carotene, which your body turns into Vitamin A. It’s this vitamin that strengthens the immune system and helps fight infections. There’s also lots of Vitamin C, which increases white blood cell production and helps wounds heal faster. Even if you’re not a pumpkin fan, you’d enjoy these soft delicious pancakes, which are practically identical to everyone’s favourite ‘Best Ever Sweet Potato Pancakes’ from Nurtured Books.
1 cup (240ml) milk of your choice
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 egg or 1 vegan egg (1 tbsp flaxseed and 3 tbsp water)
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp Himalayan salt
1 cup (150ml) gluten free flour
1 cup pumpkin dip (or 1/3 pumpkin, peeled and boiled)
coconut oil for frying
- Pour the milk into a blender jug, add vinegar and leave for 7-10 mins. This turns it into sour milk so the pancakes are yummy like buttermilk pancakes.
- Then make the vegan eggs by combining the flaxseed and water in a bowl, leave to one side for a few minutes.
- Add the vegan egg (or a whisked hens egg), soda and salt to the jug and blend to combine.
- Add the flour and boiled sweet pumpkin (or dip) and blend till creamy.
- Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and add ½ teaspoon of coconut oil. Make sure the entire base of the pan is greased. Using a large soup spoon to keep size consistent, distribute scoop-fulls around the pan. I get 4-5 pancakes each time. When the surface starts to bubble a little, turn over and fry for approximately 2 more minutes.
- Remove from pan and store in a warmed lidded pot while finishing the rest. Serve with a berry compote and honey.
Spiced Pumpkin Dip
Refer to notes above because the pumpkin benefits are worth reading about twice :) I’ve made this dip more times than I can count over the lockdown period... it’s been incredible as a warm dip with pita breads (kids’ favourite!), as a soup blended with extra mylk and veg stock and of course as pancakes (recipe above).
1/4 pumpkin, peeled and seeds scraped out
1 apple, peeled and cored
4 large garlic cloves
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
1/3 cup milk of your choice
2 tbsp lemon juice (approx 1/2 lemon)
2 tbsp olive oil
Optional: 1-2 tsp camu camu powder
- Preheat the oven to 200C.
- Roughly chop the pumpkin and apple into 3cm cubes and place them into a large bowl, along with whole garlic cloves.
- Sprinkle with spices, give it a shake, then drizzle with oil and shake again to ensure even coverage. Distribute evenly over a baking tray and use a soft spatula to collect the oily seasoning from bowl to drip over the pumpkin. Roast for 30-40 mins until edges caramelise.
- Transfer the roasted ingredients into your food processor, add the ‘blending’ ingredients and whiz until well combined.
- Serve warm with vegetable dippers, corn chips, pita breads or anything you like.
Борщ - Raw Russian Borscht
This absolute beauty is a recipe from The Uncook Book, and since it’s jam packed with Vitamin C and Antioxidants among many countless other benefits, it belongs on the list of immune boosting recipes! I was never interested in Borscht while growing up in Russia, and now watching my own children put up their nose to it, I was determined to find a way to get even a little of this nutrient powerhouse into them. That’s when I started to blend it with avocado which they love to drink like a smoothie or mash it with boiled sweet potatoes which they can easily finish a whole bowl of.
For the liquids:
1 beetroot, peeled and chopped
1 red pepper, de-seeded and chopped
1 stalk celery (about 100g), chopped
1 inch ginger
2-3 garlic cloves
1 cup orange juice (about 2-3 oranges)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
Optional: 1 avocado or cooked sweet potatoes
For the solids (optional):
Sauerkraut (another recipe in The Uncook Book), herbs and walnuts, or carrot, beetroot, cabbage, herbs and walnuts
- Transfer all the ‘liquids’ ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. This may require 3-4 minutes of blending and pulsing for the vegetables to really break down.
- If you’re feeding children, add 1 avocado to your blender and let them dip it like a smoothie. Alternatively boil 1 large peeled and chopped sweet potato, discard the water, add 1 cup of borscht and mash it for their meal.
- For adults: Sauerkraut is just insane in this recipe and makes for a truly authentic dish. Scoop a large spoonful into a soup bowl, pour over with the liquid Borscht, sprinkle with herbs and walnuts, then serve. Alternatively, thinly slice peeled carrots, beets and cabbage to use instead of Sauerkraut.
Blueberries are no rookie to the superfood scene. In fact, they were the original superfood, that’s how potent they are in their health, healing and immunising properties. I also used honey here instead of other sweeteners and if I had access to manuka honey when I made this recipe, I would’ve totally used that! This is a decadent dessert, which happens to be nutritious enough to eat for breakfast! (And all the equipment you’ll require is a basic blender).
For the base:
1.5 cups shredded coconut
3/4 cup oats
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
1/3 cup coconut oil
2 tbsp runny honey
For the Cheezecake:
2 cups dry cashews, soaked overnight (will yield 2 3/4 cups)
3 punnets (375g) frozen blueberries, thawed
1 cup coconut oil, gently melted
1/4 cup runny honey
1 pod or 1 tbsp vanilla
1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
- Stir all of the base ingredients, except coconut oil and honey, in a bowl. Drizzle with remaining ingredients and stir well for even distribution. You may need your hands to really massage everything in.
- Transfer the mix into a 20cm cake tin with adjustable base and press it in using your fists. You can try using a soft spatula to press it in at the end if your hands become sticky. Place the whole tin into the refrigerator to set.
- Rinse the cashews and transfer all of the Cheezecake ingredients into a blender jug, then blend on high until creamy. You may need to use a tamper or pulse a few times to ensure the ingredients are always touching the blade. Pour over the base (use spatula to scoop out every last bit) and tap the cake tin to even out the surface. Transfer to the fridge to set for a minimum of 4 hours or to the freezer for 2 hours (do not leave in freezer!).
Ice Lollie Wedges
How adorable are these frozen treats?! They are so easy to make and kids of all ages (read: 70 year old kids included) looove them! Plums are packed with Vitamin C and also contain phytonutrients, particularly phenols, which have antioxidant effects. Antioxidants prevent cell damage that may lead to every disease including good ol’ covid.
3 plums, de-stoned
3 tbsp manuka honey
1 banana or papaya, peeled
1/2 tsp cinnamon
- Slice each of the oranges into halves and very carefully scoop out the orange, while keeping the skin in one piece.
- Transfer the orange without its skin into a blender jug, add the remaining ingredients and blend on high.
- Fill all of the orange skin bowls with the purée and use the back of a butter knife to smooth out the surface.
- Transfer to the freezer to completely solidify, then slice each orange ‘bowl’ into 2-3 wedges and enjoy.
Vitamin C Cookies
We don’t go anywhere without superfoods (top faves include Cacao powder, Spirulina powder & Algarroba) and since we couldn’t go anywhere at all during the lockdown, Lake and I have been doing aaaaalot of baking with superfoods. Whatever we baked, I made sure it contained a good amount of camu camu powder during these days. This magical powder is made from Amazonian berries which are ultra high in Vitamin C. So high in fact that only a 2.5g spoon provides 375% of the RDA. Here is a simple cookie recipe, which everyone in the family will love whether you keep it plain or add choc powder.
1/2 cup milk of your choice
3 tsp chia seeds
1/2 pod vanilla or 1 tsp vanilla extract
1 + 3/4 cups flour (I used a mix of coconut flour and standard flour)
1 cup coconut or brown sugar
3/4 cup dairy free spread or coconut oil, soft but unmelted
2 tsp camp camu powder and/or 2 tbsp cacao powder
- Preheat the oven to 180C.
- Stir seeds of vanilla pod with chia seeds and mylk. Continue to stir periodically for 10-15 mins until the chia seeds expand and soak up the liquid.
- Transfer everything into a cake mixer or the food processor with a ‘dough attachment’, then mix on high to combine ingredients.
- Taking a spoonful of mixture at a time, roll it into a ball and press between your palms to create a pancake. Spread the ‘pancakes’ over a lined baking tray and transfer to the hot oven. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the edges caramelise.
Do you plan to try one of these out for yourself? Which recipe will be the first? Tell me in the comments!
Do you want even more scrumptious plant-based, nutrient packed recipes? Here’s more:
PAY WHAT YOU CAN: Nurtured - plant based recipes for kids >>