Going through the COVID-19 crisis, we MUST use all our weapons against pathogenic bugs that compromise health. Let’s talk about potent, natural antiviral foods. There are many of them, like garlic, oregano, ginger and so much more, all with epic antimicrobial and/or healing properties backed up by solid science.  

In order to support families in a meaningful way I will be sharing every 10 days several easy recipes and ideas featuring food ingredients with proven antiviral ingredients.

This week I focus on two major food players: garlic and onions.

Garlic

If I could pick just one antiviral food to eat non-stop during the current crisis that would be garlic. I know, the taste is strong and not exactly most people’s favorite, but it works SO well against bugs of all kinds.

So, here are my top garlic ways & recipes to keep our families healthy and happy.

  1. Garlicky salad dressing. You can hide garlic like a pro in a salad dressing. The advantage of this method is that you get to use garlic raw, which when its powerful antimicrobial properties are in the maximum.
  2. Garlic spread. If you are like me and you actually like (read loove) garlic, then making a simple garlic spread with a bit of extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice is a real treat to enjoy with warm bread and butter! If you think this is a hardcore garlic situation, you can make a milder version of this spread, using as a base mashed potatoes or soaked bread.
  3. Garlic marinade for roasted/ grilled vegetables. This is another easy way to add garlic in your meals. Think roasted potatoes, carrots, suedes, sweet potatoes, courgettes or any vegetable you fancy, (even garlic cloves!). If your family is not a big garlic lover, then this may be your best shot because cooking makes garlic flavor more mellow and sweet. In general garlic flavor changes dramatically when cooked, so keep that in mind, depending on your family’s preferences.
  1. This is a traditional Greek spread based on yogurt and cucumber. It’s really fresh and smooth and accompanies perfectly roasted vegetables of any kind, can be used as an appetizer with cheese and crackers or even in sandwiches. Hands down, best recipe (and sweetest story about it) comes from Bella @ful.filled
  1. Eggplant & garlic salad (technically spread). This is another beautiful Greek way to enjoy garlic with a somewhat polarizing vegetable. The trick here is to slowly roast the eggplants until their flesh becomes creamy and caramelized. I hated eggplants as a kid, but when I tried THIS stuff (in my 20s), I fell in love with it… Again, Bella from @ful.filled gives in my opinion the best rustic style recipe for this salad (You can tell I admire this woman, right??).
  1. Fermented garlic. OK, here we take garlic to the next level. Not only we use raw garlic for this, but the fermentation itself adds a universe of beneficial bacteria (absolutely critical for immune defences too), while making the garlic taste a lot milder. Best recipe by Cultures for Health
  1. Aged garlic. OMG… I absolutely love this stuff. There are only bonus points here, mainly almost zero garlic taste, super smooth texture, can be eaten as it is in any way you like – cooking is not needed or forbidden.

Onions

Onion comes side by side with garlic for its antiviral and healing properties. And like garlic, it has a very special flavor and smell that many people, especially children, dislike. Which is why it’s worth doing our best to integrate it into our daily meals, even cooked.

Here are my 5 top ways/recipes to do just that.

  1. Caramelised onion. This is a great way to make people love onion. This is sweet and sticky, perfect in sandwiches and burgers. This is a very basic cooking technique that will come in handy for a variety of dishes.
  2. Use raw onions in salads. White onions have a much milder flavor than brown or red onions. If your family isn’t particularly friendly towards this super antiviral bulb, then you may be able to hide small quantities of finely chopped onions in the dressing or mixed with salad leaves. I use this method quite a lot 🙂 
  3. Baked onion rings. A classic with a twist. Baking is healthier than frying, hence this lovely alternative by Natalie @superhealthykids
  4. Kid-friendly French onion soup. I love soups… and I love onions! The hard part was to convince my daughter to eat onion soup like I do – yummy…. Then I found this great great recipe by Cool Progeny and my problem was solved. Do check it out – apparently they even offer this dish in Disneyland, so they must know something…! 
  1. Homemade meatballs. Admittedly, the more onion you add in meat dishes, the better the flavor (within reason people). This simple dish is no exception and we all know that meatballs are best friends with kids, not to mention the endless ways to cook/serve them. I love the classic version by House of yum because it includes raw garlic too! Double immunity whammy!

Photo contributions

Photo by Dana Prabilyvia on Unsplash

Photo by Kelsey Curtis on Unsplash

Photo by Laura Mitulla on Unsplash