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Fragrant and full of flavor, garlic is a delicious ingredient featured in a variety of different dishes.

Also known by its scientific name, Allium sativum, garlic is a type of plant closely related to onions, leeks, shallots, and chives.

In addition to giving recipes an instant upgrade, this powerful herb has also been used medicinally around the globe for thousands of years.

In fact, many forms of traditional medicine commonly use garlic to:

  • treat colds, coughs, and fevers
  • speed up wound healing
  • relieve pain caused by ear infections

Scroll down for three unique ways to use garlic — and reap its benefits.

Garlic is especially rich in sulfur-containing compounds, which are thought to be responsible for its many potent medicinal properties.

In particular, chopping, crushing, or chewing garlic cloves activates an enzyme called allinase. Allinase produces allicin, the active component found in garlic.

Not only do studies show that allicin has antimicrobial effects, according to a 2020 research review, but it may even enhance the effectiveness of many antibiotics and antifungal medications.

Besides allicin, garlic also contains several other sulfur-containing compounds that help boost its potential health benefits, including S-allyl cysteine and diallyl disulfide.

What’s more, garlic is loaded with antioxidants. These are important compounds that can protect against inflammation, cell damage, and chronic disease.

Although more studies are needed, 2017 research suggests that upping your intake of antioxidants from foods such as garlic could help protect against infections like the flu.

According to one 2018 review, garlic supplements could also reduce the incidence of upper respiratory infections and may even help decrease the duration of symptoms.

Best of all, besides being incredible for immunity, garlic is also super versatile. It can be enjoyed in everything from soups and sauces to spreads, dips, dressings, and more.

So, whether you’re looking to fend off vampires or fight the flu, check out these three simple recipes to get more garlic in your diet.

Rich, comforting, and delicious, there are few things as soothing as a hot bowl of homemade broth when you’re not feeling your best.

This simple recipe can take your broth to the next level by pairing crushed garlic with your favorite fresh herbs.

Whip up a big batch and store the leftovers in the fridge or freezer to sip next time you’re feeling sick.

Ingredients

  • 2 heads of garlic
  • 2 tbsp. (30 ml) olive oil
  • 8 cups (1.9 liters) chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1–2 handfuls fresh herbs, such as parsley, rosemary, basil, thyme, or chives
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Slice garlic in half and separate cloves. Remove peel and crush cloves with the flat of a knife, using the heel of your hand.
  2. Add oil to a large pot over medium heat.
  3. Add crushed garlic cloves and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cloves have softened.
  4. Pour in broth, add herbs, and bring the mixture to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and let simmer for 30–40 minutes.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Strain broth and serve.

This creamy garlic spread is delicious, easy to make, and even easier to enjoy.

Try using a spoonful of this roasted garlic spread as a dip, sauce, or topping for bread or sandwiches.

Ingredients

  • 3–4 heads of garlic
  • Olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Salt, to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (205°C).
  2. Slice off tops of garlic heads; discard tops.
  3. Place garlic in a baking pan and top with oil and salt. Cover with foil.
  4. Roast for about 40 minutes, or until cloves are soft and slightly browned.
  5. Remove from oven and let the cool completely.
  6. Once cooled, remove garlic cloves from skin by slicing around each clove with a small knife and squeezing them out, using your fingers or a fork.
  7. Drizzle with a bit of oil and use a fork to mash until smooth.

For a simple way to spice up your next salad, give this tasty garlic vinaigrette a try.

It requires just a few ingredients and — if you’re feeling creative — you can even tailor it to your taste by experimenting with a variety of herbs, spices, and seasonings.

In addition to salads, you can also drizzle this delicious vinaigrette over sautéed veggies, sandwiches, or cooked meat dishes to ramp up the flavor and potential health benefits.

Ingredients

  • 1 garlic clove
  • Pinch of salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 tbsp. (30 ml) red wine vinegar
  • 4 tbsp. (60 ml) olive oil
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Prepared salad, for serving

Directions

  1. Peel garlic clove and chop into small pieces, then sprinkle with salt.
  2. Using the flat of a knife and the heel of your hand, crush the chopped garlic until you have a smooth paste.
  3. Combine garlic paste with red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  4. Stir, toss with salad, and serve. Store leftovers in an air-tight container.

Garlic is a powerful herb known traditionally for its many medicinal properties.

It’s rich in antioxidants and sulfur-containing compounds, like allicin, and some research shows that garlic could help protect against illness and infection by boosting immune function.

Plus, it’s great for bringing a rich flavor and aroma to dishes and makes an awesome addition to soups, spreads, sauces, salad dressings, and more.

For more great tips on using super ingredients, check out: