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Immune Soup

Winter always makes me feel like cooking warm savory things to eat.

And by January I’m ready to get back on track with my diet. I usually do a detox of some sort, force my family into joining me. This year we are keeping it simple. Just getting rid of wheat, dairy, sugar, alcohol, and processed foods. Lots of fresh vegetables, whole foods, clean water, lean protein.

One of the keys to success for us is having food on hand to eat when we are hungry. So, I thought that I’d share a recipe with you full of nutrient dense and immune boosting ingredients. It’s a great way to begin a detox and there are almost always leftovers.  You can find similar recipes online if you don’t like this one.

If you’ve never made soup before, just know that soup is flexible. Ingredients are interchangeable to suit your diet and tastes. It’s also a good opportunity to clear out the vegetable drawer of wilting veggies before they go bad.

Homemade Broth – I start with a whole organic chicken or a couple of soup bones from the butcher. I add 2 stalks of celery, 4-5 cloves of garlic, ½ onion, 2 bay leaves and slow cook in my Instapot all day or simmer on the stove on low for 3-4 hours. (Be sure to check it from time to time and add water if needed. If you are in a hurry, you can use boxed broth (vegetarian, chicken, bone broth or mushroom broth) with a rotisserie chicken or skip the chicken and make it vegetarian. You can use a can of coconut milk to make it a hardier soup.

Once the chicken has cooked, remove it with tongs and a slotted spoon and leave it in a bowl to cool while you prepare the soup with the broth.

For the soup:

  • ½ chopped onion
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 1-2 stalks of celery chopped
  • 1-2 organic carrots diced
  • ¼ pound of shitake mushrooms (Cremini are good here too, but shitake have more immune enhancing abilities)
  • 1 head of kale or chard chopped (about 2 cups)
  • Other possibilities: butternut squash, green beans, zucchini, peppers

Spice it to your tastes: ½ tsp turmeric, fresh rosemary, thyme, sage, sea salt, pepper

Add all the ingredients into the broth and cook on low for 20-30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. If I have made the broth in the Instapot, I finish the soup on the stove top to keep from over cooking the vegetables.  Meanwhile, pull the meat off the bones and add it back into your soup while you go.

This soup is very nourishing and full of rich nutrients that help support your immune system.

Garlic and onion help fight infections. The herbs are anti-inflammatory. Thyme and sage are good for phlegm.   Bone broth is full of collagen and marrow and helps build the blood and reduce pain in joints and ligaments.  It even makes a good hot breakfast on a cold day.

Enjoy! And Happy New Year!


By Dr. Jennifer Means, ND, LAc

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