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3 unexpected ways to cook with turmeric, according to Nutrition Stripped’s McKel Hill

Photos: Katie Newburn
Photos: Katie Newburn

With everyone from doctors to facialists zeroing in on inflammation, it’s no wonder turmeric is trending—even though it’s an age-old spice. The go-to curry ingredient has proven to be an effective solution, guarding against cancer, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, improving liver function, and easing symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease. (It’s no wonder Dr. Frank Lipman, MD, pops two capsules of it a day.) And while more people are sipping on golden milkshakes, it’s by no means the only way to get your daily dose.

Nutrition Stripped
Photo: HarperCollins

In fact, the buzzy ingredient makes an appearance on many a page of beloved food blogger and knowledgeable nutritionist McKel Hill, MS, RD‘s new cookbook, Nutrition Stripped. “Anytime I can sneak in additional nutrients or ways to combat inflammation, I do!” she says.

Since you don’t need much to experience its healing wonders, just adding a spoonful of turmeric to some of your go-to dishes can make a big difference. While the root is uber-nutritious, Hill often turns to it in powdered form. “I tend to use ground turmeric more often for the sake of ease and because it’s more accessible for most people to find,” she says.

And if you’re not yet used to the superfood’s rich flavor, she recommends using the spice in a supporting role first, like in her aebleskivers (think bite-size puff pancakes) with mango jam, which sweetens up the spice.

Ready to get cooking? Keep reading for three healthy recipes that use turmeric in an unexpected—and satisfying—way.

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Turmeric Aebleskiver

Turmeric Aebleskivers with Mango Jam

Makes 20 aebleskivers or 24 mini-muffins

Aebleskivers (pronounced EH-bleh-skeevors) are a traditional Danish breakfast and snack food typically made with flour, eggs, water, cream, sugar, and salt and eaten with sweet jams such as blackberry, black currant, raspberry, or strawberry. They’re basically a delicious and fluffy bite-size puff pancake dipped in sweet jam, making them globally delicious. You can enjoy these with homemade mango jam or dusted with a powdered-sugar topping. You can also achieve the bite-size concept with a mini-muffin tin.

Turmeric Aebleskiver
2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground turmeric
3 eggs, separated
2 cups almond milk
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 tsp raw apple cider vinegar

Mango Jam
1/2 cup filtered water
2 small ripe mangoes, peeled and chopped (about 2 cups)
1 Tbsp honey
1 orange, zested and juiced
3 Tbsp ground chia seeds
1/2 tsp sea salt

Turmeric Powdered Coconut Sugar
1/3 cup coconut sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground turmeric

1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, cinnamon, and turmeric. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, almond milk, lemon juice, and vinegar. Add this mixture to the flour mixture and stir until combined.

2. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the egg whites until fluffy and soft peaks form, about 3 minutes. Using a large rubber spatula, fold the egg whites with a wide and gentle sweeping motion into the batter; the goal is to have a light and fluffy batter.

3. If using an aebleskiver panHeavily grease the aebleskiver pan with coconut oil; you’ll do this in between the batches. Heat the pan over medium heat. When hot, fill each up about two-thirds full with the batter and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. The outside of the aebleskiver will be brown and the top will have bubbles, which is the sign they are ready to turn. Loosen the aebleskivers by running a table knife around the outside of each one and lifting up slightly to loosen it from the bottom. Turn with a fork. Cook for another minute, or until tender and the batter on the inside is cooked through. Repeat this process until all the batter has been used.

If using a mini-muffin tinPreheat the oven to 350°F. Grease 24 cups of a mini-muffin tin with coconut oil. Pour the batter to two-thirds full and bake for 10 minutes, or until fluffy and golden brown. Serve the aebleskivers warm with the mango jam on the side. Or dust with a touch of the turmeric coconut sugar, if desired.

For the Mango Jam

1. In a small saucepan, combine the water and mangoes and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add the honey, orange juice, chia seeds, and salt. Stir to combine and cook over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until thick. Add 1 tablespoon of the orange zest and let cool to room temperature.

For the Turmeric Powdered Coconut Sugar

1. In a nut/seed grinder or high-speed blender, combine the ingredients and process until the sugar has broken down into a powder.

Coconut Curry Eggs

Coconut Curry Eggs

Serves 4

This one-dish curry saves you heaps of time and ensures that cleanup will be a breeze. It also makes for a beautiful rustic display. Protein-rich eggs and the healthful fats from both the egg yolk and coconut milk are a great combination for satisfying your hunger.

2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped red onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 large zucchini, diced
2 large carrots, chopped
1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup light coconut milk
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes
4 eggs

Chopped fresh cilantro
Parsley, or mint
Chopped cashews
Freshly squeezed lemon juice

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. In a cast-iron skillet, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, zucchini, carrots, ginger, coriander, cumin, turmeric, salt, cayenne, and black pepper to taste. Stir and cook for 10 minutes, or until tender. Add the coconut milk and tomatoes and bring to a simmer.

3. One at a time, crack each egg carefully and place in separate parts of the skillet, directly on top of the veg mixture. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 10 minutes, or until the eggs have reached your desired doneness.

4. Serve over raw salad greens, cooked greens, or warm grains. Top with garnishes as desired.


Turmeric Garlic Root Mash

Turmeric and Garlic Root Mash

Serves 4

Move over mashed potatoes—this mash utilizes celeriac (a.k.a. celery root) and turnips, delicious yet often overlooked root vegetables. Celeriac may look like something out of a Tim Burton movie, but it is tasty and as versatile as a potato. Turmeric gives this root mash a beautiful golden color and bold flavor when mixed with roasted garlic. Enjoy this mash on a plate mixed with roasted vegetables or as a bed for peppery tempeh or some other type of hearty protein.

2 medium yellow potatoes, chopped
5 turnips, peeled and chopped
1 celeriac, peeled and chopped
2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 head garlic
1/2 cup light coconut milk

1. Preheat the oven to 400 ̊F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, turnips, celeriac, turmeric, salt, and pepper to taste. Drizzle on the oil and toss with your hands to coat. Spread the vegetable mixture out evenly onto the baking sheets. Slice the garlic head about 1/4 inch from the bottom to expose the individual cloves. Add the bulb to one of the baking sheets, then place both sheets in the oven and bake for 40 minutes, or until soft.

3. Allow the garlic bulb to cool slightly, then gently squeeze until the cloves come out of their skins; squeeze into a food processor or high-speed blender. Transfer the roasted vegetables to the processor or blender and blend until just smooth. Add the coconut milk and blend until velvety smooth or pulse to leave it as chunky as desired.

From Nutrition Stripped by McKel Hill, MS, RDN. Copyright © 2016 by McKel Hill. Reprinted by permission of William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Hooked on turmeric? These recipes provide plenty more ideas for cooking with the superfood. A current fave? Golden milk chia seed pudding, for a tasty breakfast overflowing with nutrients.