Cooking with Turmeric

Fresh Turmeric Root & Turmeric Powder

Fresh Turmeric Root & Turmeric Powder

For years, hundreds really, the naturopathic world has been abuzz about the goodness of Turmeric. And, in the past few years traditional medicine is also beginning to notice the health benefits Turmeric, and its better known substance, Curcumin has to offer.

Curcumin is what gives Turmeric its vibrant yellow-orange color and "Is one of the highest-known sources of beta-carotene. It is an antioxidant with antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties," say Rebecca Wood in her book, The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia.

Current research is showing benefits of Curcumin use to include:

  • Arthritis
  • IBD - Crohn's disease & Ulcerative Colitis
  • IBS
  • Gas /Bloating
  • Anti-depressant benefits
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Diabetes regulation
  • Cholesterol regulation
  • Alzheimer's / Dementia
  • Cancer treatment
  • Tumor inhibitor
  • Painkiller

Native to Indonesia and southern India, fresh Turmeric root is bright orange with a dark, thin skin much like its cousin, ginger (see above picture). It is best know as an essential ingredient in curry powder.

Turmeric has a warming nature - making it an excellent addition to winter foods; a slightly bitter, peppery flavor; and, it smells slightly of ginger and orange.

It imparts a beautiful yellow color to food - so, be mindful when cooking with and eating foods cooked with Turmeric because this same yellow color can dye your clothes and temporarily (or permanently) discolor countertops and some cooking utensils. (Did you know it was used to dye the robes for Buddhist monks?)

How to Buy:
Fresh Turmeric can be found in most grocery stores these days. It is found as a whole root, looking like a smaller, orange version of ginger (see picture above). Look for roots that are crisp, plump (not shriveled) and evenly colored. It can be stored in your refrigerator 3-4 weeks.

Ground Turmeric should be a vivid yellow-orange color and smell fresh and earthy. Store it in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid in a cool, dark place and it can keep for 3-6 months.  

Turmeric is a wonderful addition to rice, soups, stews, and veggies. Saute the raw spice in oil or ghee before adding to your dish to help improve its flavor and healing properties.


R E C I P E S. . .  

Golden Turmeric Tea
By: Elizabeth Roberts

1 tsp. Coconut or Avocado oil
½-1 tsp. ground Turmeric
½ tsp. ground Cinnamon
dash freshly ground nutmeg (optional)
2 cups Milk of choice (cow, goat,  nut, rice, hemp, or oat)
dash ground black pepper (this helps your body to absorb the health benefits)
1-2 Tbs. raw, local Honey


1. In a small stainless steel pot, gently heat oil, turmeric, cinnamon and nutmeg until fragrant, stirring constantly – this helps to unlock the health benefits of the turmeric and spices, as well as their fragrance.

2. Add milk, pepper, and honey. Stir to combine and gently heat until just hot. Do not boil.

3. Serve immediately.


Cauliflower Rice Biryani
Adapted By: Elizabeth Roberts,
from Flavors for Health

NOTE: This is a delicious vegetarian dish or you can add tofu, fish, shrimp, or chicken to create a more substantial meal.

1-2 Tbs. Coconut oil
1 med. red Onion, small dice
pinch sea Salt
½ c Carrots, diced
1 head Cauliflower, finely chopped to size of pea or smaller
1 tsp. ground Turmeric
½ tsp. ground Ginger
2 tsp. ground Cumin
2 tsp. ground Coriander
½ tsp. ground Cinnamon
2 Tbs. Coconut Aminos (not for SCD or GAPS) or Tamari
1 ½ - 2 c. Vegetable Stock or water
2 med. Tomatoes, diced or 1-15 oz. can diced tomato
1 c. frozen Peas
2 c. chopped Swiss Chard or Spinach
1/3 c. chopped nuts or seeds of choice (optional)


1. In a large sauté pan add coconut oil, onions, and a pinch or two of sea salt. Cooke over medium heat until onions are soft and translucent – 5-8 minutes.

2. Add carrots, chopped cauliflower, and spices. Stir to coat all cauliflower pieces with spice mixture. Add coconut aminos or Tamari (if using), stock (or water), and tomatoes. Stir to combine and set heat to simmer. Cook 15-20 minutes (stirring occasionally) or until cauliflower is tender and cooked through.

3. Add peas and chard (or spinach), stir to combine and cook another 5-10 minutes until peas are fully heated.

4. Serve and top with chopped nuts or seeds – if using.


Winter Squash Soup
By: Elizabeth Roberts

2 Tbs Coconut Oil
1 large Onion, finely chopped
1 tsp. sea Salt
2-3 Garlic cloves, chopped
1” piece Ginger, chopped
1 Tbs. wakame sea weed (optional – not for SCD)
1 tsp. ground Turmeric
2 tsp. ground Cumin
6 cups Vegetable Broth
1 Butternut squash (or acorn squash) peeled and cut into chunks  (about 1 1/2 pounds)


1. Warm oil in large pot over medium heat.

2. Add onion, sprinkle with salt, sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, wakame (if using), and cumin. Stir to combine, sauté 1-2 minutes until garlic is fragrant.  

3. Add broth and squash; bring to boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and partially cover. Cook until squash is very tender, about 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. If you like a creamier soup, add coconut milk and stir to combine.

4. Soup can be eaten as is, or pureed in a blender to a smooth and silky consistency (you don’t want baby food, so if too thick add more broth or water to thin).


Resources include:
- American Cancer Society. Turmeric. Available at:
- Banafshe HR, et al. Effect of curcumin on diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain: Possible involvement of opioid system. Eur J Pharmacol 2013; [Epub ahead of print].
- Kuncha M, et al. Curcumin potentiates the anti-arthritic effect of prednisolone in Freund’s complete adjuvant-induced arthritic rats. J Pharm Pharmacol 2014; 66(1): 133-44.
- Sanmukhani J, et al. Efficacy and Safety of Curcumin in Major Depressive Disorder: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Phytother Res 2013; [Epub ahead of print].