Immune Boosting Concentrated Tomato Hummus

From all of us here at Cooking in Bloom we extend heartfelt prayers and thoughts to all who are sick or who have lost loved ones during this significant time in world history.

For those of us who are self-quarantining or practicing social distancing, we wanted to offer some nutritious snack and meal ideas. Some of you may have an influx of college-aged kids home unexpectedly as campuses across the state close and go to online classes, as well we kiddos who are home due to cautious school closings along with spring break. Regardless of who is home and why, everyone is going to be hungry and we hope these tips and recipes help you.

TIP: We can use food to strengthen the immune system which can help ward off or lessen the effects of illness. Foods that include compounds like lycopene, sulferaphane, acorbic acid, and the all important Vitamin D help repair damaged cells, create healthy gut flora, and have antimicrobial properties. The body is an amazing healer and consuming the right foods help bolster that process.

TIP: Canned tomatoes are concentrated with an immune boosting compound called lycopene. If your kids love soups and homemade sauces, add extra canned tomatoes for a wonderful source of antioxidants. Here's a recipe using canned tomatoes that makes a great snack:

Concentrated Tomato Hummus  Not only does this recipe contain canned tomatoes but this entire recipe includes wonder foods for our immune system. From garlic, chickpeas, sesame seed tahini, olive oil, cumin, and turmeric. This recipe has all the good stuff in it! All of these foods are shown to have a positive effect on the gut microbiome which can directly boost the health of our immune system, and we want a healthy gut flora.

1 can diced tomatoes drained

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas or 1 1/2 cups (250 grams) cooked chickpeas 1/4 cup (60 ml) fresh lemon juice (1 large lemon) 1/4 cup (60 ml) well-stirred tahini 1 small garlic clove, minced 2 tablespoons 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric Salt to taste 2 to 3 tablespoons (30 to 45 ml) water Place all ingredients except olive oil in a food processor if you have one or you can use a blender on puree.  Drizzle in olive oil at the end to thicken mixture.  You can add a squeeze of lemon and olive oil at the end to serve. Serve this with a plate overflowing with sliced vegetables such as yellow, red, and green peppers, green beans, broccoli, squash etc. etc. etc. Place this out on the table for kids and family to graze if they are hungry. It's important to try to stay away from sugary and carb rich snacks because they have the exact opposite effect on our immune by increasing inflammation.

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