Turmeric is symbolic to the quality of health that vegetarian bodybuilders enjoy.
If you start incorporating just one new spice into your diet this year, make it turmeric. To get you started, I’m giving you three delicious recipes with turmeric.
Medical researchers, nutritionists, and dietitians have been praising this powerful yellow spice for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and cancer prevention properties. Since turmeric also aids weight loss, this spice holds a lot of potential for bodybuilders and athletes who need to get in shape for competition season.
If you’re just learning about the health benefits of turmeric, it’s easy to write it off as a simple curry spice in Indian cuisine. But curry is just the beginning!
There are hundreds of other nutritious and delicious uses for turmeric in healthy recipes and everyday convenience foods. And since turmeric is vegetarian-friendly, it’s a great spice for meatless dishes that already give your body the nutrients it needs to perform its best.
What Turmeric Does for Food
- Adds a natural earthy taste
- Balances and tempers stronger flavors in spicy food
- Enhances bland foods with bold, full-bodied flavor
- Brightens up neutral-colored ingredients to inspire festive dishes
Simple Foods That Go Well with Turmeric
- Pasta and rice
- Soups and stews
- Leafy green sautés
- Open-faced cheese sandwiches before broiling
- Blended fruit smoothies
Breakfast Recipe: Omelet with Turmeric, Tomato, and Onion
- 4 large eggs or egg substitute
- 3/8 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ¼ tsp brown mustard seeds
- ¼ tsp turmeric
- 2 chopped green onions
- ¼ cup diced tomato
- Dash of black pepper
- Whisk eggs and salt together.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mustard seeds and turmeric. Cook 30 seconds or until seeds pop, stirring frequently. Add onions and cook 30 seconds or until soft, stirring frequently. Add tomato and cook 1 minute or until very soft, stirring frequently.
- Pour egg mixture into pan and spread evenly. Cook until edges begin to set (about 2 minutes). Gently lift edge of omelet, tilting pan to allow some uncooked egg mixture to come in contact with pan. Repeat procedure on the opposite edge. Continue cooking until center is just set (about 2 minutes). Loosen omelet with a spatula and fold in half. Carefully slide omelet onto a platter and cut in half and sprinkle with black pepper.
- Yields 2 servings. Enjoy!
Lunch Recipe: Barley Salad with Turmeric, Almonds, and Apricots
- 1 ¼ cup pearl barley
- 3 ¼ cups water
- 2 ¼ tsp canola oil
- ¾ thinly sliced red onion
- ½ cup sliced dried apricots
- ¾ cup sliced almonds
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 2/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt
- 2 tbsp locally-sourced honey
- ½ lemon, juiced
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- Rinse barley in a fine sieve. Bring water to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Stir in barley, and return to a boil. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer until water is absorbed, about 45 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
- Pour oil into a small skillet and place over medium heat. Add onion and saute until golden brown.
- In a serving dish, combine barley, onion, apricots, almonds, and parsley. Toss everything together.
- In a small bowl, mix together yogurt, honey, lemon juice, cinnamon, turmeric, salt, and nutmeg. Pour over the barley mixture and toss well to combine. Serve at room temperature.
- Yields 6 servings. Enjoy!
Dinner Recipe: Roasted Cauliflower with Turmeric and Cumin
- 1 cup sunflower oil
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp crushed red pepper
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 4 heads cauliflower–halved, cored and cut into 1-inch florets
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
- 1 tbsp chopped mint
- Preheat the oven to 425°. In a small bowl, combine the oil, cumin, turmeric, crushed red pepper, and salt.
- On 2 large rimmed baking sheets, drizzle the cauliflower with the spiced oil and toss well to coat. Lightly season with salt, if desired. Spread the cauliflower in an even layer and bake for about 1 hour, until browned and tender; switch the baking sheets halfway through cooking.
- Meanwhile, in a pie plate, bake the pine nuts for about 1 minute, until toasted. Let cool.
- Transfer the cauliflower to a large serving bowl. Sprinkle with the pine nuts, cilantro and mint and serve.
- Yields 8 servings. Enjoy!
You can easily make these recipes for a vegan bodybuilding diet as well (use coconut yogurt, 86 the honey, etc.)
Unlike some holistic herbs and spices, turmeric is affordable and easy to find in local grocery stores. The average 7-ounce package or bottle of turmeric powder costs $7 or less, and a bottle of 90 turmeric (curcumin)capsules costs about $7 as well – depending on where you shop. Always choose non-irridated, organic turmeric because some brands are so chemically-produced that all the healing nutrients get left behind in the processing.
Spices like turmeric don’t spoil, but they do lose their strength over time. This means that you have about a year to reap the full health benefits of your turmeric before it begins losing its potency. Turmeric should be stored in a glass or metal container at a temperature below 70-degrees Fahrenheit.
Begin experimenting with turmeric to breathe new life into your plant-based diet and to reap the benefits of this spice that will help you in all aspects of your fitness training. For even more great recipe ideas, check Healy Real Food Vegetarian and One Green Planet for some meat-free dishes with plenty of turmeric.
If you like recipes with turmeric benefits…
You’ll love this one. I saved the best for last and especially engineered this for vegetarians bodybuilders: Veggie Chili Recipe That Helps Muscle Soreness