Doesn’t it seem like everyone is sick right now? The post-holiday work grind, combined with cold weather, has a way of seriously wearing down the immune system. While washing your hands, popping echinacea, and getting plenty of sleep are great lines of defense against germs, our preferred method of keeping the cold and flu at bay is sipping a hot bowl of soup packed with immunity-boosting mushrooms and superfoods.
THE MAGIC OF MUSHROOMS
The shiitake mushroom has a long history of being used to heal a variety of ailments. In addition to supporting our cardiovascular health, this unsung hero of the fungi kingdom combats illness by giving our bodies a boost of important vitamins, minerals, and enzymes, including vitamin D.
ANTIMICROBIAL UMEBOSHI PLUM
Umeboshi plums have been used in Asia for centuries, both for adding salty flavor to foods and for their incredible healing properties. This fermented fruit, which is available as a paste or vinegar, is high in iron, thiamin, potassium, and riboflavin, which are all important for proper functioning of the immune system. In fact, umeboshi plums are so beneficial that just sucking on one can help settle an upset stomach or headache.
A CUP A DAY KEEPS THE DOCTOR AWAY
There’s something about sipping a cup of green tea that instantly makes us feel better when we’re sick. Perhaps it’s the powerful antioxidants that give our bodies the protection they need to fight off cold and flu germs and antigens that help us build up defense against bacteria. In this recipe, we use green tea as a mild broth that lets the vibrant flavors of ginger, lemongrass, and umeboshi plum shine through. This is a great option on the 21-Day Clean Program, as well as a savory option in the evening in addition to your cleanse packet, or even just have a cup as snack!
Immunity-Boosting Mushroom Soup
Serves 1 to 2
2 cups filtered water
2 green tea bags
1-inch piece of fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves
1 stalk lemongrass
Pinch of sea salt
4 oz. shiitake mushrooms
2 baby bok choy
3 green onions (tops only)
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 tsp. umeboshi paste or vinegar
Bring two cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and allow the water to cool slightly. Add the green tea bags and steep for 3 minutes. Squeeze the tea bags to extract every last drop of good-for-you antioxidants and discard.
Prep your ingredients. Peel and grate the ginger, mince the garlic, and slice the lemongrass into 1-inch chunks. Slice the mushrooms and remove the tough parts of the stems. Chop the baby bok choy and separate the white part from the green part. Slice the green onion.
Set your Instant Pot to sauté mode. Melt the coconut oil and add the lemongrass. Stir until softened and fragrant, about 3 to 4 minutes. Then add the ginger, garlic, mushrooms, and white part of the baby bok choy; season with a pinch of salt. Cook until the mushrooms start to release their liquid, another 2 to 3 minutes.
Pour the green tea into your Instant Pot. Place the lid and twist to lock; close the steam vent. Press pressure cook, select High Pressure and set the timer for 8 minutes. After three beeps, the Instant Pot will build up pressure and start cooking. Once the soup is done cooking, carefully release the steam using the quick release valve.
Use a spoon to remove the lemongrass pieces from the soup. Stir in the umeboshi paste, green onion, and the leafy green part of the baby bok choy. Add more umeboshi paste for a stronger flavor.
Ladle the soup into a bowl or mugs and enjoy warm.
Recipe and photography by Kate Kasbee
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