Updated: November 30th, 2023

Boost your immunity by cooking up some tasty treats for the coming holidays using common culinary herbs and spices. Claudia Joy Wingo, herbalist and chef, shares some of her favorite recipes featuring everyday kitchen seasonings with healing qualities.

Thyme, sage, rosemary, and marjoram are high in essential oils and full of phytochemicals which keep colds and flu at bay. Turmeric is one of the best anti-inflammatory herbs, good for achy joints and as liver support. Fenugreek and cinnamon help to stabilize the blood sugar level and cloves and cardamom act as digestive carminatives, helping ease digestive bloating or an upset stomach.

With these simple recipes, your holiday meals will be both healthy and spicy!

  • Spicy Carrot & Sweet Potato Soup
  • Curried Potatoes with Chickpeas and Herbs
  • Cinnamon Cardamom Clove Rum Balls

Spicy Carrot & Sweet Potato Soup Spicy Carrot & Sweet Potato Soup

Makes 6 servings


  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 red or white onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 heaping tsp chopped ginger
  • 4-5 large carrots, peeled & chopped
  • 2 sweet potatoes or half a butternut squash, peeled & chopped
  • 1 apple, peeled & chopped
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt & freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp fresh turmeric, grated or 1 heaping tsp. dried
  • 1 tsp freshly ground fenugreek or cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp powdered coriander seeds,
  • 4 cups vegetable or organic chicken broth
  • Can add 1/2 cup red lentils for a thicker soup/more protein
  • Plain yogurt or sour cream to garnish

Put oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Place onions, garlic & ginger in pot & cook, stirring till onions are clear (5- 8-10 minutes). Add chopped carrots, sweet potatoes and apple along with spices & stir till fragrant. Add broth (& lentils if desired). Bring the soup to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the lentils and vegetables are soft, about 30 minutes. Puree with stick blender until smooth. Serve with yogurt & herbs for garnish.

Curried Potatoes with Chickpeas and HerbsCurried Potatoes with Chickpeas and Herbs


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped (optional)
  • 2 tsp homemade curry paste (see below)
  • 1 pound potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks or use fingerling potatoes
  • 2-3 eggs
  • Sea salt
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp coriander paste (optional)
  • Garnish: 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • Sprigs of thyme, marjoram, & sage

Homemade Curry Paste

  • 1 tbsp fresh turmeric
  • 1 tbsp ginger
  • 1 tbsp garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp brown cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp black cumin seeds
  • 1-2 fresh or dried chiles
  • 3-4 cardamom pods
  • 2 tbsp oil

Put the potatoes, 2 teaspoons salt, the eggs and enough cold water to cover in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are almost tender, about 6-10 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain the potatoes.

Put oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Fry onions till almost clear then add peppers and garlic & stir for 3-5 minutes. Add spice paste & cook till fragrant. Add the potatoes, chickpeas, eggs, coriander paste and reserved cooking water & cook, stirring occasionally about 10 minutes.  Mix the yogurt, chopped herbs, lime juice in a bowl. Serve with potato-chickpea mixture as garnish.

Cinnamon Cardamom Clove Rum Balls Cinnamon Cardamom Clove Rum Balls


  • 2 cups organic fine graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup walnuts, pecans or coconut, toasted and chopped fine (reserve half)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon dark rum
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup malt syrup
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp almond or sunflower butter

In a large bowl combine cracker crumbs, nuts, spices, rum, malt syrup, honey, butter and knead together. Roll into 1 inch balls and then into remaining nuts or coconut. Arrange rum balls on a baking sheet, cover well with plastic wrap and let sit for 48 hours.