On its own, wild-caught fish is an immunity-building power protein, containing vitamins and nutrients that help support healthy immune function. Wild salmon is one of the best available sources of vitamin D, omega-3s, and selenium. Cod and halibut are honorable mentions, with their more modest amount of immune-supporting nutrients.
By combining these potent sources of nutrition with a variety of ordinary superfoods that you can find practically anywhere, you can build delicious wild-caught seafood meals that are even more supportive of your immune system function. We’re not saying that any one meal can cure a cold. But, by eating a well-rounded, healthy diet that focuses on a few key nutrients, you just might be able to get your immune system in tip top shape before cold and flu season this year.
Here are 7 immunity-boosting recipes that feature wild-caught seafood.
Salmon en Papillote with Shiitakes
For a meal that’s rich in both umami and immunity-boosting nutrients, you can’t get much better than Martha Stewart’s recipe for salmon cooked en papillote with asparagus and shiitake mushrooms. Like wild salmon, earthy shiitake mushrooms are rich in selenium and also contain a significant amount of vitamin D, while asparagus gives you a little hit of vitamin C. Plus, steaming these ingredients in a pocket of parchment paper helps to retain all of these nutrients so that you get the biggest bang per bite.
One-Pan Cod with Farro and Brussels Sprouts
Self’s one-pan recipe for cod served with farro and Brussels sprouts will have you stepping into cold and flu season with a healthy gut that’s ready to tackle pathogens that come your way. The secret immune-boosting ingredient in this dish is fiber, from both the farro and avocado. It’s an essential nutrient that helps support your immune system by taking care of your gut bacteria, and a single serving of this dish contains a whopping 14g of it.
Cod with French Lentils
This recipe from Epicurious for sautéed cod and lentils also is rich in fiber, and a nutritious dish to make that will put your dried legume stash to great use. In addition, the recipe contains a considerable amount of onion and garlic, both of which are purported to have potent antiviral properties.
Broiled Salmon with Kimchi-Miso Butter
Another way to support your immune health through your gut is by enjoying dishes rich in probiotic, fermented foods. This recipe from Cooking Light uses both miso and kimchi to create a flavorful butter topping for a fillet of broiled salmon, marinated in soy. To really get the most out of this dish though, you’ll want to serve your salmon with a heaping side of kimchi straight from the jar and a bowl of hot rice. Note: Cut the broil time down to 5 or 6 minutes so that you don’t overcook your individual portions of wild-caught salmon.
Pan-Seared Salmon with Edamame and Jasmine Tea Rice
Serious Eats’s pan-seared salmon fillets are served with a jasmine tea-infused rice and a wasabi-edamame salad. Using jasmine tea, typically made with green tea leaves, will infuse your rice with a floral, mildly sweet fragrance as well as qualities that support your immune system. It’s a delicate counterpoint to the creamy, spicy edamame salad, which is rich in plant-based omega-3s and fiber.
Turmeric Salmon with Coconut Crisp
If ginger, garlic, and turmeric are your go-to herbals for staving off colds, you’ll want to make Bon Appetit’s recipe for salmon slow-roasted in turmeric oil. The fish is cooked on a bed of Swiss chard, one of those dark leafy greens that are just so good for you; chard is rich in vitamin A, which supports immune function, but you could use kale, spinach, or mustard greens, which contain even more of it. To top things off, you’ll use the garlic to make a coconut crisp that’s as healthy as it is delicious.
Note: Since this recipe was written for a large cut of salmon, you’ll want to cut the cook time down when using individual portions of wild-caught fillets. Depending on the thickness of your fish, they’ll only need about 15-20 minutes before they’re perfectly cooked.
Another green tea-infused dish is this basic salmon ochazuke from Food52. It’s a great way to use flaked, leftover salmon, reviving it on a bed of hot rice that is steeped in a green tea broth. To make this immune-boosting recipe even more potent, you can add in a handful of baby spinach (which will wilt in the tea) and thinly sliced shiitakes.