You know how some kids put ketchup on everything?
In our house, it’s all about mustard. We go through mustard like nobody’s business, seriously. I should buy stock in the stuff.
Which means, of course, that I should also buy stock in laundry stain treaters and ultimately, clothing, since mustard is a bear to get out of most colors. My kids put mustard on all meat, love it in potato salad and egg salad, and even have been known to dip their vegetables in it. They’re 8, 5 and 2, so we have a lot of shirts with yellow stains.
Why is mustard so yellow, so potent?
I always used to think that mustard was yellow because, you know, mustard was probably yellow. It bothered me for years after I started cooking from scratch that ground mustard was so pale. Where does all that color come from? I would check the ingredients skeptically for artificial colors and come up empty.
It turns out that along with perma-staining bright yellow color, turmeric has plenty of other star features and deserves to get on your plate in far more places than just the humble mustard.
Healthful Properties of Turmeric
- Powerful anti-inflammatory (“Turmeric is one of the most potent natural anti-inflammatories available,” from the American Academy of Pain Management)
- Supports brain health (people in India, where turmeric is eaten daily in curry, have less than a quarter the rate of Alzheimer’s disease)
- Protects and detoxifies liver
- Strong antioxidant properties (cancer-fighting, particularly skin cancer, prostate head and neck cancer, and prohibiting the spread of breast cancer into the lungs)
- Fights infection
- Helpful to treat depression
- May help psoriasis and eczema
- Effective treatment for IBS
- Helps cystic fibrosis, multiple sclerosis
- May lower cholesterol, support heart health
Turmeric is best eaten with black pepper to increase its absorption, and cauliflower and coconut oil are also helpful in enhancing its quite amazing healthful properties.
Of course, I only read this after I created the soup…so I recommend adding cauliflower and increasing the black pepper if possible. Cabbage is in the cruciferous family along with cauliflower, but I’m not sure if it counts.
Ultimately the soup tastes great, though, and it’s a good gateway to getting your family used to eating things tinted slightly (ok, not slightly) yellow.
I definitely advocate making your own easy chicken stock, but sometimes you just want something quick and easy for those busy days. Thrive Market will deliver some to your door – Pacific brand makes Chicken Bone Stock for a good price. You can even get 15% off your first order, no coupon required. No running to the store and you’ll be ready to make dinner at a moment’s notice.
Apparently turmeric is also more accessible to your body if it’s fermented, which is pretty cool – read more here.
I’ve been using turmeric for a little over a year in many meat dishes and in place of anything that used to call for dried onion soup mix. You’ll see it a lot as an ingredient throughout the Better Than a Box eBook. It’s always nice to learn that something you’ve come to enjoy anyway has so many incredible health benefits!
It also helps avoid hearing, “Me no like poop!” all throughout dinner.
I’ll explain – my toddler has suddenly decided to be stubborn about all foods and claim that he doesn’t like anything I serve. We eat a lot of soup in the winter, and he’s not so solid on the “S” sound. Therefore, “Me no like poop!” is a very common refrain during the dinner hour around here.
“This is mustard chicken soup. Look at all that mustard in there!” was my response with this turmeric chicken soup. It worked well enough to get him through a bowl…
Recipe: Turmeric Chicken Soup with Cabbage and Coconut
- 2 Tbs. butter
- ½-1 c. diced onion
- 8 c. chicken stock
- 2 large potatoes, diced
- 3-4 carrots, sliced
- a quarter of a large cabbage, sliced/diced thinly
- ⅓-1/2 c. coconut cream (or a can of coconut milk)
- 2-3 c. cooked shredded chicken
- ½-1 tsp. dry ground turmeric
- 1 tsp. dried parsley
- 1-2 tsp. salt
- ¼-1/2 tsp. black pepper
- Melt butter over medium heat. Saute the onion for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until translucent (or browned, to your preference).
- Add the stock, potatoes (peeled or unpeeled), carrots and cabbage and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to a simmer for about 10 minutes, then add the remaining ingredients and cook until potatoes and carrots are completely soft.
* If you don't have any coconut cream or coconut butter, a can of coconut milk will do just fine (try to find one with the fewest ingredients). Vitacost usually has a very good brand; watch for free shipping and deals, or if you've never shopped there, use this link to get $10 off.
* I get cooked shredded chicken from making chicken stock or leftover from roasting a whole chicken. Too much work to cook chicken just for soup!
* What to do with the rest of the cabbage? Some awesome ideas (and why cabbage is a great buy) here.
The soup was adapted from one by Whole Foods on a Budget found in the Winter Soups Cookbook, a compilation from over 50 real food bloggers. I’ve been tapping into the depth of that book’s resource all week, and what a joy to have so many great new ideas! Check it out here.
Other turmeric recipes
- Anti-inflammatory turmeric tea (made with powder!)
- “Golden Milk” for depression, colds, flu
- Creamy Turmeric No-heat Vegetable Noodles