I used to love visiting my grandparent’s house in winter. Grandma cooked on a wood burning stove and always had a pot of something gently blipping away on the stovetop. Sometimes it was her beef soup which was full of bones and good stuff, and cooked very slowly for a couple of days. Other times a chicken curry, made on slow cooked chicken. Grandma very consciously cooked food that was nutritious and food that would keep us warm on the inside and healthy in winter. Colourful root vegetables, bones with marrow turned into soup, chicken straight from the farm, silverbeet, oranges for vitamin C.
While grandma cooked instinctively, we have science or dieticians or popular culture or fads that inform and guide. And although the jury is out on whether superfoods are anything more than a fad, what we do know is that there are a bunch of awesome foods that are nutrient dense, and it’s claimed have immune boosting properties. Beef on the bone, chicken, garlic, chilli, tomatoes, turmeric, dark leafy greens, sweet potato, lemon, ginger and orange to name just a few.
I like to hedge my bets and get as many of these kinds of colourful whole foods into the family ‘just in case’. It could turn out to be the difference between catching every bug going around and maybe getting a sniffle here and there. Plus I love to cook like my grandma, letting the ingredients take time to get to know each other, flavours spinning and mingling together, gently cuddling up in a beautiful union of succulent goodness.
So here’s 10 slow cooker recipes incorporating some beautiful, wholesome immune boosting superfood ingredients.
We all know that chicken soup, is meant to be the bees knees when it comes to healing. Apparently it has anti-inflammatory effects, plus the heat from the broth helps clear the sinuses. This recipe is so simple because you just throw the whole chook in and let the goodness happen.
I would probably add apple cider vinegar and seaweed to this to boost the nutrient factor as I do with my chicken stock recipe.
Cooking meat on the bone is a great way to get some added nutrition and lamb shanks are a perfect meat for slow cooking. The addition of all the spices and the orange gives it a 5 out of 5 for flu-busting properties.
Another wonderful meat on the bone recipe. This one has loads of anti-oxidant-rich tomatoes and red wine, so not only is it delicious but it’s a powerhouse of health.
Black beans, tomatoes, chilli. This is action packed with cold-busting, healthy deliciousness. It is a Thermomix recipe but easily could be converted, as the thermo is just used for chopping in this instance and the cooking is done in the slow cooker.
Not only do you have the meat on the bone but also the gremolata. Gremolata is a beautiful green garnish of parsley and lemon zest that adds a brightness of flavour and a healthy green kick.
While sweet potatoes may not be traditionally considered a flu-fighting food, they contain Vitamin A, which plays a key role in the health of the mucosal surfaces. This recipe is a double punch as it also has a bunch of turmeric in it, which is chock full of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant ingredients.
I know I have a lot of beef on this list but beef on the bone is just sooooooo good for you and ribs are just the most delectable cut of meat. You can’t beat them cooked in this traditional Asian way with loads of cold-fighting garlic. YES they’ve got a bit of sugar in them but hell… so worth it.
Stacey from Veggie Mama says, “Kitchari is the ‘chicken soup’ of the ayurvedic world. It’s what you eat for everything – you’re sick, you’ve been travelling, you’ve been gorging yourself on everything else, or you just need comfort food…” I just love this recipe, brimming with spices and warmth. Such perfect healing winter food.
Pulled pork. On a bun. Nothing more to say here.
I know this isn’t actually a superfood recipe. But who can resist gooey chocolate awesomeness on a chilly night. Surely that level of comfort has to be good for you!