Cold Fighting Food

Brian and I were both under the weather for much of last week, so meals were chosen for their cold-fighting and sinus-clearing qualities. Here are two vegetarian alternatives to chicken soup:

Vegetarian Tom Yum Soup

Tom Yum is a popular Thai dish that claims immune-boosting properties. Though not usually vegetarian, this recipe has all the standard ingredients that provide any health benefits: mushroom, garlic, ginger, basil, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, lemon, lime, and chili pepper. The soup is also not traditionally made with coconut milk, though this variation sweetened the soup nicely to complement the next recipe.

  • Sauté 1 Cup sliced mushroom (Shiitake, Oyster, or White Button mushrooms all work well) and 4 cloves minced garlic in a small amount of oil over a medium high heat. Season with 1 tsp grated ginger, 3 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 Tbsp  chopped basil, and 1 tsp chopped cilantro. Cook until mushrooms begin to brown.
  • Meanwhile, combine 4 Cups of vegetable stock and 2 Cups of coconut milk in a soup pot. Bring to a boil along with 2 stalks of minced lemongrass, 3 kaffir lime leaves, and 4 cloves of minced garlic.
  • Cut 1 Cup of tofu into 1 cm cubes. Add tofu and sauteéd material to soup pot. Bring back to a boil.
  • Garnish with diced tomato, diced chili pepper, a lemon slice, and/or a lime slice.

Stir Fry with Raw Orange Sauce

The sauce for this dish was inspired by a raw energy soup recipe found online. Uncooked foods are believed to better maintain the nutritional quality of their ingredients, so a raw component seemed like a good choice for a cold-fighting dinner.

  • Combine 1/3 Cup orange juice, 1 Cup red pepper, 1 avocado, 1 Tbsp minced garlic, 1 Tbsp red curry paste, 1 tsp orange zest, and 1 Tbsp wasabi powder. Blend until smooth.
  • Sauté 4 oz seitan in a tsp of oil and a Tbsp of the blended sauce. Serve with raw water chestnuts over rice. Top with the orange sauce.


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