From warding off vampires to keeping a bad date at bay, garlic has some pretty impressive superpowers. If you’re not exactly hanging with the Twilight crowd, a clove or two can add plenty of punchy flavor to a dish for just a handful of calories. Garlic is an everyday superfood that’s loaded with antioxidants that zap cancer-causing free radicals, and vitamins C and B6 and manganese that make sure various body functions are shipshape at all times.
Get ready to start peeling and mincing, because aromatic garlic is a bulb, not a spice or seasoning. During the peak growing season from February to June, look for firm, plump bulbs with dry white or purple papery skin. Store garlic outside the refrigerator in a cool, airy place: A whole garlic bulb will keep for eight weeks, and once the cloves are broken apart they will last between three and 10 days.
Just in time for National Garlic Day, here are a few garlicky favorites we think are well worth the pungent breath. From soup to snacks to vegetable dishes, get your garlic on this weekend with some of the awesome recipes below.
1. White Bean Rosemary Soup with Roasted Garlic Croutons
This one’s for the garlic lovers — or maybe the garlic obsessed! Start with two full heads of caramelized garlic and add plenty of hearty beans, veggies, and homemade croutons (sub in whole-wheat instead of white for more fiber).
2. Tuscan White Bean and Roasted Garlic Soup
You probably already have the ingredients (cannellini beans, olive oil, sage leaves, and bouillon) for this flavorful soup in the pantry. Save time and energy by starting this creamy soup in a slow cooker and then using an immersion blender to mix everything together smoothly.
3. Mussels in White Wine, Parsley, and Garlic
Mussels with white wine sounds super-fancy, but anyone with 10 minutes and a large stockpot can make this Belgian classic. Don’t fear the garlic — you might even want to add an additional clove for extra punch.
4. Baked Eggs with Creamy Polenta, Spinach, and Garlic
There’s nothing better than a dish that works for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. This savory three-meal wonder combines veggies, grains, and protein all in one cute ramekin.
5. Garlic Beef, Broccoli, and Cauliflower Stir Fry
This veggie-loaded version of beef and broccoli is much healthier than the takeout container variety. To make the Chinese-food classic at home, cook meat and vegetables stir-fry style with plenty of garlic, sesame oil, and green onions.
6. Cauliflower Soup with Toasted Garlic
Serve this easy soup as a starter or combine it with a salad for a light, healthy meal. Sub in vegetable broth to make the veggie-based recipe ideal for vegetarians and vegans.
7. Garlic and Thyme Quinoa Patties
Why stop the flavor-brigade with garlic? These patties are loaded with thyme, chives, onion, paprika, and Parmesan cheese for extra oomph. Eat one on top of a salad, in a pita, or with roasted veggies for dinner.
8. Pan-Roasted Chicken with Lemon-Garlic Green Beans
While this dinner recipe isn’t exactly a one-pot meal, it’s pretty darn close. Dress chicken, green beans, and potatoes with olive oil, lemon juice, and plenty of garlic and bake for one hour.
9. Garlic-Braised Chicken with Olives and Mushrooms
Research shows that the Mediterranean diet can contribute in part to a healthier lifestyle. And lucky for us, this dinner recipe includes southern Europen staples like garlic, olives, and olive oil to keep that heart healthy (and hunger satiated).
10. Foil-Baked Lemon-Garlic Fish and Asparagus
Herby, garlicky fish and vegetables en papillote makes a speedy and healthy weekday dinner. Serve it with brown rice, quinoa, or any other grain for a complete meal.
11. Quick Lemon Garlic Fish
This really easy recipe is all about the marinade, baby. Whip up a mixture of parsley, lemon, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper, let the fish fillets chill out in the ‘nade for a few minutes, and then grill ‘em.
12. Steamed Fish with Lime, Garlic, and Chiles
The key to this swoon-worthy Thai recipe is finding the freshest fish possible (seriously, it should practically be still swimming). So hit up the fish market, slice up some garlic and chilies, and get steamin’.
13. Edamame Dip with Smoked Paprika and Garlic
Need an extra hit of protein? Go for edamame (aka baby soy beans) for a different take on bean dip. This heartier snack pairs perfectly with raw vegetables.
14. Garlic Herb Popcorn
Mix up a batch of this snack for a pretty darned easy and healthy alternative to butter-loaded movie theater popcorn. Just add olive oil, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, and a sprinkle of salt to some air-popped popcorn.
15. Garlic and Herb White Bean Dip
This recipe is healthier than traditional pre-packaged hummus or veggie dip thanks to the simple, fresh ingredients. Mix herbs and seasonings — garlic, dill, mint, parsley, and lemon — with dried spices to give those pita chips a super-flavorful partner in crime.
16. Sesame Garlic Kale Chips
Jazz up regular old kale chips with a dusting of ground sesame seeds, garlic powder, onion powder, and nutritional yeast (a vegan substitute for cheese). The salty, savory combination is perfect for snack time.
17. Focaccia with Roasted Garlic and Olives
Use the bread hook attachment on a standard kitchen mixer to whip up this flatbread dough in no time. Kalamata olives, roasted garlic, and plenty of olive oil give it some serious Mediterranean flavor.
18. Cheesy Garlic Mashed Cauliflower
It sounds weird, but you won’t miss the potatoes in this healthier version of the classic steakhouse side dish. The cauliflower base delivers a major serving of glucosinolates, a cancer-fighting compound abundant in the goofy-looking white vegetable.
19. Hearty Garlic Greens
This versatile dish is bound to be a crowd-pleaser and as well as a keeper in the recipe box. Blanch greens (any variety will do) and then sautée them with garlic, olive oil, and red pepper flakes.
20. Garlic Parmesan Roasted Brussels Sprouts
If you thought Brussels sprouts weren’t your “thing,” this recipe might just change your mind. Don’t be afraid to cook them for a while — the crunchy, slightly caramelized edges are totally worth the wait.
21. Creamy Cauliflower Garlic Rice
This cheesy, garlic-loaded risotto-esque recipe is an ideal healthy comfort food. Pureed cauliflower gives the dish some substance without relying on butter and cream.
22. Spicy Broccoli with Garlic
A secret last-minute ingredient — vinegar — adds some bright acid to the classic garlic-and-red-pepper flavor combination.
23. Roasted Garlic
The Beatles should’ve named their chart-topping song “All You Need is Garlic,” because when roasted, this bulb elevates just about any food. Partially peel a bulb, drizzle it in olive oil, and let it brown and caramelize in the oven for a while. Then serve the soft, golden garlic cloves with toasted bread, grains, vegetables, meat, or pretty much anything else.
What are your favorite garlic recipes? Did we miss any winners? Share your favorite garlic-infused dishes in the comments below or tweet the author @SophBreene.