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From Our Dietitians: Immune-Supportive Recipes with Probiotics

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One of the ways you can protect yourself from the COVID-19 pandemic is to incorporate a balanced group of immune-supportive nutrients in your diet. We’ve shared information and recipes to help you learn more about and increase your intake of vitamin C, vitamin D, beta-carotene, zinc, and protein, and now we’re featuring probiotics!

Probiotics are live, helpful bacteria that occur naturally in fermented foods, such as yogurt. They help your body digest food, support your microbiome (the collection of bacteria living in and on the human body), and regulate your immune system to keep you healthy and happy.

Knowledge of probiotics and the microbiome is relatively new, and more research is needed to better understand how they work, which probiotics are most helpful, and how much of them to consume. Probiotic dietary supplements have become more popular recently, but it’s not clear how safe or effective they are. Consult with your Registered Dietitian or doctor before taking any supplements to make sure they’re safe and appropriate for you.

Whether or not you try any supplements, you can get plenty of probiotics from a variety of fermented foods — kefir, kimchi, kombucha, miso, sauerkraut, sourdough bread, and tempeh as well as yogurt. Check out these probiotic-filled recipes!

Bibim Guksu (Spicy Summer Noodles) These Korean-style cold noodles made with kimchi go great with Korean barbecue or other grill favorites. Servings: 6

Ingredients: 1 ¼ cups drained, chopped kimchi 1 ½ cups peeled, deseeded, julienned cucumbers 1 tablespoon soy sauce 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil 1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar 1 tablespoon granulated sugar ½ teaspoon minced garlic 8 ounces soba noodles

Preparation: Step 1: In a large bowl, combine the kimchi, cucumbers, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, sugar, and garlic. Mix well. Step 2: Prepare the soba noodles according to the package instructions. Rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain well. Step 3: Add the cooked noodles to the bowl with the kimchi. Toss well. Step 4: Serve chilled.


Tempeh Breakfast Sandwiches Start your day with these vegetarian tempeh-filled sandwiches, a savory and spicy option for when you’re on the go. Servings: 6

Ingredients: 1 ½ pounds tempeh ½ cup tamari 4 tablespoons maple syrup 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar ½ teaspoon minced garlic 1 tablespoon smoked paprika 1 ½ teaspoons ground black pepper 2 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil 2 avocados 6 toasted English muffins 1 ½ cups baby spinach

Preparation: Step 1: On a cutting board, slice the tempeh into 6 equal pieces. Step 2: In a bowl, whisk the tamari, maple syrup, vinegar, garlic, paprika, and pepper. Add the tempeh to the marinade and toss to coat evenly. Refrigerate for 3 hours. Step 3: Remove the tempeh from the marinade. Discard any leftover marinade. Step 4: In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the vegetable oil and tempeh, searing until the tempeh is browned on one side. Flip and repeat. Remove the tempeh from the skillet. Step 5: On a cutting board, halve, pit, and scoop out the avocados. Thinly slice the avocado halves. Step 6: On the bottom halves of the English muffins, evenly divide the spinach. Top with a piece of tempeh. Arrange even amounts of sliced avocado over the tempeh. Place the top halves of the English muffins over the avocado.


Chicken Shawarma This chicken is marinated in a spicy yogurt mixture, and you can serve it with hummus, tzatziki, or grilled vegetables; put it in a wrap; or cut it up and add it to a salad. Servings: 6

Ingredients: ⅔ cup plain low-fat yogurt ⅔ cup apple cider vinegar 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 2 teaspoons turmeric ¾ teaspoon ground allspice ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom ¾ teaspoon kosher salt ½ teaspoon ground black pepper 1 ¼ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs

Preparation: Step 1: In a bowl, combine the yogurt, vinegar, oil, turmeric, allspice, cardamom, salt, and pepper. Whisk well. Step 2: Add the chicken to the marinade and toss to coat evenly. Refrigerate overnight. Step 3: Preheat your grill on high. Remove the chicken from the marinade. Discard any leftover marinade. Step 4: Place the chicken on the grill and cook until browned evenly on one side. Look for char marks and make sure the chicken doesn’t stick to the grill rack. Flip and cook until the thickest part of the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165⁰F.


Kielbasa with Potatoes and Sauerkraut Serve homemade spaetzle with this sauerkraut-sausage mixture for a great weeknight dinner during the colder months. Servings: 6

Ingredients: 1 pound kielbasa 3 tablespoons salted butter ½ cup diced yellow onions ½ teaspoon minced garlic ¼ teaspoon dried thyme ¼ teaspoon dried sage ½ teaspoon ground black pepper 2 ¼ cups sauerkraut 2 ½ cups peeled, diced potatoes

Preparation: Step 1: Preheat your oven to 225°F. Step 2: On a cutting board, slice the kielbasa into 3 long pieces. Set aside. Step 3: In a braising pan over medium heat, melt the butter and lightly sauté the onions without browning them. Cook for 10 minutes. Step 4: Add the minced garlic. Cook for 2 minutes. Step 5: Add the thyme, sage, and pepper. Stir. Step 6: Add the sauerkraut with any juices, kielbasa, and potatoes. Bring to a simmer. Step 7: Place a piece of parchment paper on the surface of the mixture. Move the pan to the oven. Cook for 3 hours or until the potatoes are cooked through. Step 8: Remove the pan from oven, take off the parchment, and divide the mixture onto plates to serve warm.

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