In the past few weeks, the internet has nearly exploded with the revelation that the humble spice turmeric is good for the body. Most of the information online is questionably scientific; just because ancient Indian healers used turmeric root for any and every disease doesn’t make the spice an effective cure-all. Still some research shows that the kitchen staple actually does decrease some bodily pain and discomfort, especially in inflammations like uveitis or rheumatoid arthritis.
Still, one of the best reasons to consume turmeric is simply for its taste. Here are some healthy and natural recipes that make good use of this wonderful spice.
Equally tasty for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, this southwest-inspired scramble from Vegetarian Times is beautiful on any plate. Although you can replace the tofu with regular scrambled eggs, conflicting information about eggs has made many people uneasy, so you might feel more comfortable skipping them entirely. Meanwhile, tofu is a clean protein that deliciously soaks up the flavor and color of the turmeric. Try it with tofu before you risk another egg:
- 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
- 1 small carrot, diced
- 4 green onions, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 14-ounce package medium tofu, drained and crumbled
- 1/2teaspoon hot sauce
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Spray a non-stick skillet with cooking spray and place it over medium heat. Cook bell pepper and carrots until just tender, and stir in green onions, garlic, cumin, and turmeric. Add tofu and hot sauce, and heat until all liquid as cooked off. Toss in cilantro, and serve with salsa.
Turmeric and Ginger Tea
If your family needs a replacement for unhealthy, sugary drinks like soda or juice, you should try tea. Teas come in all sorts of flavors, and many herbs and spices are most salubrious when steeped in warm water. By itself, turmeric tea is savory and earthy; some people absolutely love the taste, while others find it too exotic and off-putting.
However, when mixed with other flavors, especially anise, cinnamon, or ginger, turmeric provides a strong base that helps the sweet and spicy seasonings flavors shine. It is best to find turmeric and ginger tea online, as homemade varieties are often imbalanced and difficult to enjoy. You can also pair the tea with sweet almond cookies or baklava for some excellent tea time snacks.
Sweet Potato Soup
I am willing to wager that you’ve never tasted anything as flavorful as this sweet potato soup. Using harissa, a North African condiment of smoked chilies, tomatoes, and olive oil, this soup is sweet, spicy, smoky, and utterly delicious. You can find the paste online or in your local ethnic food store, or if you are feeling extra adventurous, you can make your own harissa.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium leeks, white and light green parts thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
- 1 1/2 tablespoons harissa paste
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 3 ounces spinach leaves, thinly sliced
- Lemon wedges
In a Dutch oven, heat olive oil on medium-high, then sauté leaks for about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste, peanut butter, harissa, garlic, turmeric, and cumin, and stir constantly for 1 minute. Toss in the sweet potatoes and vegetable broth, partially cover, and simmer until the potatoes are tender. With a blender, immersion blender, or food processor, blend the mixture until smooth. Reheat to a simmer, and add the spinach leaves. Serve warm, with lemon wedges as garnish.
Orange Turmeric Cake
This light cake from Strayed Table shows that you can enjoy the benefits of turmeric even as an after-dinner treat. Plus, this dessert is completely gluten-free. Like the healing power of turmeric, health problems associated with gluten are hotly contested. While plenty of research argues for and against gluten sensitivity, millions of people continue to attest that they are able to remedy minor and major symptoms by staying away from wheat. Regardless, once you taste this turmeric cake, you’ll forget all about the gluten debate.
- 1 cup butter
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 4 teaspoons turmeric
- 2 1/4 cups almond meal
- 1 cup polenta
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 oranges, zested and juiced
- 1/2 cup of thick Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup icing sugar
- Orange zest
While preheating the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, grease a 9-inch baking pan and coat with excess polenta. In a mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, and stir until combined. Mix in Greek yogurt and turmeric, and then fold in the almond meal, polenta, and baking powder. Next, pour in the orange juice and zest. Bake for 1 hour. Meanwhile, make the icing by whipping the yogurt and icing sugar. Cool the cake completely before spreading the icing and serving with orange zest.