Cooking for Seasonal Allergies

What a weird week it’s been for my family. Between my husband being personally victimized by seasonal allergies and my son deciding to both skip naps and rapidly develop into a full-blown toddler right before my eyes, I have been running around trying to hold my household together. I can’t rid allergies with a magic wand or will my toddler to nap, but I can surround my loved ones with comfort and prepare them foods to fuel their bodies and heal them to the best of my abilities. My “mama-bear” instincts kick in, and it makes me feel slightly more in control. 

I was planning to write a different post this week, but I might as well make something good come from allergies, right? I thought I would lay out a weekly dinner menu with comfort and immunity in mind. In addition to the recipes and any tips I have for them, I’ve also gone through and added some “food for thought” if you will. I refer to numerous research studies and articles throughout this blog to outline the health benefits of different ingredients. All referenced sources are linked within the text.

The Weekly Menu

Monday: Slow Cooker Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup with Beyond “Chicken” Tenders

Tuesday: Vegan Copycat Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Tempeh Tenders

Wednesday: Red Lentil Dal with Peas and Rice

Thursday: Family Night at My Parents- Falafel, Naan, and Tofu Feta Cheese

Friday: Crockpot Pinto Beans with Restaurant Style Mexican Rice and Air Fryer Potatoes

Monday: Slow Cooker Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup with Beyond “Chicken” Tenders

I had never made this recipe before, but my husband asked for something soothing for dinner, and I had a fresh carton of mushrooms from the grocery store calling my name. After a quick online search, I landed on this Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup mostly because it could be made in a slow cooker. Even though the recipe post states that a wild rice blend (instead of pure wild rice) would result in sogginess, I didn’t find an issue in using the blend that I had. My husband LOVED the soup, and the texture was perfect for a dry, irritated throat.

There is a Chinese Hot & Sour Soup in town that my family has eaten for years because of its unique deliciousness and our belief that it has healing powers. I’ve never even gotten close to pinpointing what makes it different from all other soups (even other hot & sour soups), but this soup was the most similar in the way that it smoothly coated your mouth. They both have mushrooms, so maybe that’s the key to a soup that soothes your soul and bones.

I was skeptical of how my 19-month-old son would feel about the soup, but he actually ate it! To serve it to him, I strained out most of the liquid and set it out to cool while we made our plates. I know that he actually ingested some, because I saw the fibrous parts the next day if you know what I mean. While the soup was delicious, its protein content was low, so I paired it with Beyond Chicken tenders. S

I will be adding it to my meatless nugget post once I have a few more reviews to add in a batch!

Why is this good for combating sickness and seasonal allergies?

I personally think the future of science and the secret to health is hidden in the world of mushrooms. If you need convincing on the amazing abilities and health potential of mushrooms, you must watch Fantastic Fungi on Netflix. Once I learned that trees can actually communicate with each other through a fungal network, my worldview shifted. What else do we not know? I get so excited thinking about it. 

For this recipe in particular, I used white mushrooms which were shown to boost the body’s immune response in a study by the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) at Tufts University by center director Simin Meydani, colleague Dayong Wu. The mushrooms enhanced the maturity of the cells that produce T-cells, major immune system fighters.

Tuesday: Vegan Copycat Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Tempeh Tenders

My mom happened to send me the link for this soup recipe on Tuesday morning and little did she know that it would be perfect for our dinner that day. It was seriously one of the best soups that I’ve ever made, and I truthfully didn’t think you could tell that it wasn’t made from real cheddar cheese. The recipe calls for frozen broccoli, but mine turned out amazing with fresh broccoli. Other than that, I did everything as written. My son even ate some of the soup and dipped his tempeh tenders in it so that he could lick it off.

I’ve made this tempeh tenders recipe before, but they’ve never turned out this well. I did a few things different that I will make sure to replicate in the future:

  1. The recipe has an optional step where you let the tempeh marinate in a seasoned broth for a few hours and sauté out the liquid before battering and baking them. Learn from my experience and take the time to marinate if possible. I don’t keep old bay seasoning on hand, so I threw a bay leaf into the broth (they both have “bay” in the name right?), and they turned out amazing. 
  2. My son broke out in a rash the last time I made these, which I now attribute to the tahini after repeated reactions to sesame. Because of its similar texture, I used peanut butter instead, and I think I may have liked it even better! Even my husband, who has an aversion to peanut butter, highly enjoyed them, and my son didn’t break out after eating a few of them himself.
Why is this good for combating sickness and seasonal allergies?

This broccoli “cheddar” soup calls for ½ cup of nutritional yeast, which is not only a great source of vitamin B12, but also great for allergy symptoms. Daily supplementation of about one teaspoon of nutritional yeast showed a statistically significant benefit for people struggling with ragweed allergies when tested against a control group in an experiment. This article goes on to say the following: 

“Dietary yeast, such as nutritional yeast, possess both anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial abilities, activating the immune system to prevent infections while also capable of reducing inflammatory reactions.”

Michael Greger M.D FACLM

20 ounces of broccoli doesn’t hurt either. According to Northwestern Medicine, 500 mg of Vitamin C has the ability to help suppress allergy symptoms, and broccoli is known to be a Vitamin C rich vegetable with approximately 80mg per cup.

Wednesday: Red Lentil Dal with Peas and Rice

Unlike the previous two recipes which I made for the first time this past week, this Red Lentil Dal has been in my meal rotation for years. If I need dinner to come together quickly, this is my go-to, as the dal whips up in less than 30 minutes. The only thing I leave out is the chili pepper, and I usually only have ground cumin instead of cumin seeds. Slap some rice in the rice cooker, heat up some frozen peas and voila! Roasted butternut squash is also delicious when paired with the dal too if you have one and the time to cut it on hand.

Why is this good for combating sickness and seasonal ALLERGIES?

In general, foods and spices that are rich in color tend to have some sort of medicinal or beneficial properties, and turmeric is no exception. The curcumin in it is known to have anti-inflammatory properties and researchers have been looking into its effect on the body’s allergy response as well. Oddly enough, eating black pepper alongside turmeric can boost the curcumin’s ability to work in our bodies on a molecular level.

Thursday: Family Night at My Parents- Falafel, Naan, and Tofu Feta Cheese

My mom and I decided to tag-team dinner and have family dinner at my parents’ place. This was one of the days that my son didn’t nap, and this mama needed some help. For my contribution, I brought tofu feta cheese and the dough for yeastless naan. Once at my parents’ house, my husband grilled up the naan, and my mom made roasted broccoli to pair with falafel that we found at Costco. I didn’t snag a picture, but here is a picture of the feta from the last time I made it. 

I wouldn’t say that it tastes 100% like regular feta, but alongside tomatoes, olives, or a salad, it is strangely convincing. The feta twang is there, but the texture isn’t as dense and crumbly. I use this naan recipe more as a guide, as I find the proportions are slightly off as written. I always need to add more milk to get the dough to come together and just keep trickling it in until a ball is able to form. 

Why is this good for combating sickness and seasonal allergies?

Everyone needs a break now and again, and that’s why this dinner was great for us and our tired selves. I didn’t have to do dishes or feel pressure to make a full meal. Moms are just the best, and they have a healing power of their own. 

Friday: Crockpot Pinto Beans with Restaurant Style Mexican Rice and Air Fryer Potatoes

This meal is one of my personal favorites, and my kind of comfort food. I had a vision one day to recreate and build a meal around Taco Bell’s potato cup with sour cream and nacho cheese at home. I don’t even know if they serve those anymore. It came out even better than I imagined, and I’ve made it multiple times since. Ideally, it’s best with homemade vegan nacho cheese (this recipe is literally amazing), but I already had my hands full. Because the beans need 8-10 hours in the slow cooker on high, I was able to have a big portion of dinner prepped before my son had even finished his breakfast. I always leave the jalapeño out, but if you don’t have little ones and enjoy the spice, I bet it would be a tasty addition.

Honestly, this Restaurant Style Mexican Rice is not one of my healthier dishes, but it is super tasty. My husband requests it all the time, and it’s never failed me. I substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth and use olive oil for vegetable oil. If you have an air fryer, I highly recommend this simple recipe for Air Fryer Potatoes that resembles those from Taco Bell. I had gold potatoes to work with, but they’ve turned out better with Idaho potatoes in the past. Something about the softness of the gold potatoes didn’t crisp up as much as I would’ve preferred.

Why is this good for combating sickness and seasonal allergies?

“Gut health” is such a buzzword these days, but I think that’s for good reason. There is a lot of new research out there to suggest that our gut and microbiome are heavily linked to many aspects of our overall health, including the immune system. Beans are high in prebiotics that support our microbiome and ultimately our immune system. I could try and summarize the scientific information out there on this topic, but I’ll link this article that lays it out well and cites numerous studies.

My husband is feeling much better now, so hopefully we are through the worst of it for the season! Regardless of if this food actually helped to ease his symptoms, it was all tasty! I know I learned more about the power of food this week in deciding which recipes to prepare for immune support, and I hope this inspires you to think about food as an opportunity to better our health.

Out of curiosity and for the sake of discussion, are there any foods or meals that you swear have healing powers or meals that are especially comforting in times of sickness?

Until next time, have a great week and best of health to you!

Latest from the Blog

12 Nostalgic Foods from My Vegetarian Childhood

Many of my childhood favorites have recently made an appearance in my household, so I thought it would be fun to pull together a list of my personal nostalgic foods.

Easy Sourdough Sandwich Bread

With little hands-on time and minimal ingredients, this sourdough sandwich bread is a great loaf to bake if you are new to sourdough or a busy mom like me.

Almond Flour Lemon Sugar Cookies

These Almond Flour Lemon Sugar Cookies are perfect for a light summer treat. They also happen to be gluten-free, egg-free, and dairy-free.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Monch Weller
1 year ago

Oh my…terribly sorry to hear about the allergy attacks. Hope your husband and your kid get well soon!

Gabriela Czereszko
1 year ago
Reply to  Monch Weller

Thank you!