Immune Boosting Vegetable Congee

Since ancient times food has been used as medicine in many cultures. There was no separation between the two.

It’s only in our modern world that we view medicine as separate from our food.

The congee recipe below that I’m sharing with you is medicinal food that contains an immune boosting root called astragalus.

This specific recipe is best eaten BEFORE sickness to help build immunity and fend off all the little nasties (antigens) that want to attack your immune system. You can also eat this recipe AFTER sickness, to help restore and rebuild your energy and immune system.

But, you don’t necessarily want to eat this recipe DURING an active or acute sickness. For that type of healing would use another medicinal recipe. Something more like this: Healing Broth with Shiitake Mushrooms.

So, what make this food medicinal? It’s delivered in a liquid form that supports the water element and kidneys, is very easy to digest, and contains astragalus that benefits the spleen and lymphatic/immune system.

Astragalus membranaceus is a member of the fabaceae family (legume, peas and beans). Modern studies of this ancient plant indicate that it restores depleted red blood cell formation in the bone marrow. It also stimulates the production of interferon.[1] Interferons are signaling proteins made to interfere with viral replication, and protects the cells from viral infections.

Astragalus boosts white blood cells and is an adaptogen that protects the body from physical, mental and emotional stress. It has been used traditionally as a natural remedy for chronic hepatitis, heart disease, and cancer.[2]

So, get your body ready for this delicious and nutritious, immune-boosting congee, and start eating your medicine!

Immune Boosting Vegetable Congee
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Congee
Cuisine: Food is medicine
Serves: 6 servings
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 10 cups water
  • ¼ cup astragalus root or 6-7 slices
  • 1 tbsp. ginseng root powder or 5-6 slices of dried root
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and sliced thin
  • 4-5 shiitake mushrooms de-stemmed and sliced thin (save stems)
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 3-4 bok choy leaves (or other leafy greens), sliced thin
  • 6 tbsp. white miso
  • 2-3 scallions, minced
  1. Bring rice, water, astragalus root and ginseng root to a boil.
  2. Lower heat to simmer and cover – leaving the lid slightly askew to let some of the steam out.
  3. Cook one hour.
  4. In a separate soup pot sauté onions, mushrooms, ginger, and garlic 3-4 minutes.
  5. Add to those vegetables, the cooked congee.
  6. Dilute miso in a small amount of congee water, and add it to the rice-slurry with the bok choy.
  7. Cover and simmer 2-3 minutes.
  8. Garnish with scallions.
  9. Remove the astragalus before eating - it can be too fibrous.
[1] Medical Herbalism, David Hoffmann, Healing Arts Press 2003, pg. 532