Immune-Boosting Vegetable Soup and Broth
Homemade Vegetable Soup — This homemade vegetable soup is packed with good-for-you ingredients. It’s perfect for when you’re under the weather, are trying to prevent illness, or are craving a warm bowl of soup!!
Homemade Vegetable Soup and Broth Recipe
‘Tis the season for colds, flus, and sickey germs everywhere. This easy vegetable soup is the perfect antidote to all that.
It’s so easy to make by just chopping up veggies, putting them into a pot, covering with water, and letting it simmer for an hour or two.
I make this homemade vegetable soup for both the broth and the soup. I’d rather sip on a cup of warm broth than coffee when I feel my throat getting a little scratchy or when I have a weird “I may be coming down with something” feeling.
It makes about 6 quarts, and I usually strain off one or two quarts of just broth. It’s amazing how fast it goes when I sip on this instead of tea or coffee during the day.
This easy vegetable soup is vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, sugar-free, nut-free, Paleo-friendly, New Year’s Resolutions-friendly, and really just an all-around a soup that can do no wrong.
It’s mild in taste, with a very minor punch from the ginger, and you can control how much punch there is based on how long you let the piece of ginger simmer before removing it. Although there’s both an onion and a leek, there’s no overt oniony flavor.
Just chop all the veggies, add everything all at once to the pot, cover with water, and you’re done.
Fast, easy, nothing fussy. My kind of recipe.
Because there’s no noodles, animal protein, tofu, nuts, or anything besides soft, simmered vegetables, it’s a light soup that’s easily digestible, although hearty enough to fill you as it warms you from the inside out.
What’s in Homemade Vegetable Soup?
I chose every ingredient for a specific reason based on the healing properties. The trace micronutrients, vitamins, and minerals in the broth are so soothing and comforting when I feel a little off. After just sipping on one cup, I literally feel a renewed energy. Plants, they really do a body good.
In no way is this a comprehensive list of benefits, but the highlights for each ingredient follow:
Carrots — Rich in beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the liver. Vitamin A helps with ocular health and assists the liver in flushing out the toxins from the body. It reduces the bile and fat in the liver.
Onions and Leeks — The phytochemicals in onions improve how Vitamin C works, so you get improved immunity, and they reduce inflammation. Onions contain chromium, which assists in regulating blood sugar.
Bok Choy — Packed with vitamins A, C, and K. One cup of cooked bok choy provides more than 100% of the recommended dietary allowance of A, and close to two-thirds the RDA of C and K.
Sweet Potatoes and Yams — Contain Vitamin D, which is critical for immune system and overall health. Vitamin D is both a vitamin and a hormone, and is primarily made in our bodies as a result of getting adequate sunlight, but this time of year it can be tricky. Depleted D levels can lead to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Also a great source of B6, Vit C, iron, and magnesium. which is the relaxation and anti-stress mineral.
Mushrooms — Improved immune system function and a powerful antioxidant, great source of fiber, and aid in cardiovascular health. Provide a plant-based meaty quality.
Lemons — High in vitamin C, they have strong antibacterial, antiviral, and immune-boosting properties. They contain 22 anti-cancer compounds, and they’re alkaline-forming to help restore and balance body pH. Natural diuretic and good for digestion.
Ginger — Anti-inflammatory, immune boosting, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial. Reduces all symptoms associated with motion sickness including vomiting, dizziness, nausea, and cold sweats.
Coconut Oil — The lauric acid in coconut oil can kill bacteria, viruses, and fungi, helping to stave off infections. In addition to helping with the immune system, it’s great for hair, skin, nails, stress relief, cholesterol level maintenance, aids in weight loss by helping digestion and regulating metabolism.
Turmeric — A natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent, useful in disinfecting cuts and burns. Long known for its anti-inflammatory properties, it can work as well anti-inflammatory drugs, without the side effects. It’s a natural painkiller, cox-2 inhibitor, and natural liver detoxifier. It gives anything it’s cooked with a bright yellow glow.
How to Make Vegetable Soup
To make this hearty vegetable broth soup, simply chop up all the veggies and place them in a large stockpot or Dutch oven. Fill the pot with roughly 6 quarts of water, leaving about an inch of headspace.
Bring the vegetable soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer it, covered, for an hour. After an hour, taste the soup and remove the fresh ginger if desired.
Simmer the soup for another 30 minutes to an hour, or until the flavors have married and the veggies have softened.
Can I Make This in a Slow Cooker?
Most likely, yes, but I’ve only ever made this recipe on the stove. If making this in a slow cooker, you may want to boil the carrots partway before adding them to the soup since they’re usually the last veggie to soften in the slow cooker.
Can I Make This in an Instant Pot?
Probably, but I haven’t tested it so I really can’t give you any specifics as to how to proceed. It’s very easy to make on the stovetop, which is how I always do it.
Can I Add a Source of Protein to This Soup?
Of course, but if you or a loved one are sick it might be tough for them to swallow and digest something like diced chicken. If you do want to add a source of protein to this easy vegetable soup, you may want to consider dicing it quite finely or using ground meat (to make swallowing easier).
Can I Add Additional Spices to This Soup?
Yep, feel free to doctor up this homemade vegetable soup as you see fit.
Can I Freeze Homemade Vegetable Soup?
Yes, very easily. You’ll first need to let this vegetable broth soup cool completely before storing it in freezer-safe containers. I recommend storing this soup in glass jars, that way you can heat up an individual serving of homemade vegetable soup when the need arises.
If you freeze the soup in microwave-safe containers, you don’t have to thaw the soup before reheating it. You can pop it directly into the microwave and you’ll have a bowl of warm soup ready in under 10 minutes.
Tips for Making the Best Vegetable Soup
This is a supremely flexible vegetable broth soup in terms of the ingredients. If you don’t like one of the ingredients, can’t find it, or don’t have it on hand, omit it, no biggie. Have something else you think would be better? Great, try it.
Like all soups, adjusting the salt to taste is important. I’m extremely sodium sensitive and don’t salt the soup as a whole, but I add a couple shakes to the bowls of my family before serving, and it works just fine.
Finally, if you’re making this soup for someone who’s sick or has a scratchy throat, you may want to chop up the veggies into smaller pieces. I usually chop mine into 1-inch chunks; they soften up a lot while they cook, so they’re easy to chew and swallow. But if you’re making this vegetable broth soup for kiddos you may want to chop the veggies into even smaller pieces.
- 3 carrots, peeled and chopped into 1-inch chunks
- 1 medium/large sweet white onion, peeled and chopped into 1-inch chunks
- 1 medium/large leek, peeled and chopped into 1-inch chunks; use white and pale green parts, discard dark green or leafy parts
- 1 baby bok choy, chopped into 1-inch chunks; discard top portion of jagged leaves (may substitute by using about half of full-size bok choy)
- 2 medium or 1 large sweet potatoes or yams, unpeeled and chopped into 1-inch chunks
- 8 ounces white mushrooms, stems removed and quartered
- juice of 1 medium/large lemon
- 2 to 3-inch piece peeled fresh ginger, added whole and removed midway through simmering (1 tablespoon ground ginger may be substituted)
- 2 to 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
- 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
- salt, to taste; add before, during, or after simmering
- about 6 quarts water
- In a large stockpot (I used a large Le Creuset Cast-Iron Dutch Oven), combine all ingredients through black pepper.
- Fill pot with water, about 6 quarts, leaving about 1 inch headspace.
- Simmer covered over medium heat for about 1 hour. Taste soup and based on your preference for ginger intensity, remove the piece of ginger and discard.
- Simmer soup for about 90 to 120 minutes total or until all vegetables are very soft and flavors have married. During simmering, if broth level looks low or is reducing too much, add a few additional cups of water, as needed.
- Serve immediately. I drain about 2 quarts worth of broth, and the rest is vegetable soup.
- Soup will keep airtight in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Soup may be salted before, during, or after simmering; your choice when you want to salt it. I don’t salt the whole pot and let each family member salt their own bowl, to taste.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 88Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 97mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 2gSugar: 5gProtein: 2g
More Homemade Soup Recipes:
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Easy 30-Minute Tomato Basil Soup — Hearty yet HEALTHY, fast, easy, and loaded with great tomato-basil flavor!! The perfect soup to warm you up and keep you satisfied! Great for easy lunches and busy weeknights!!
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Loaded Baked Potato Soup — Everything I love about baked potatoes but in soup form. It’s easy, loaded with so many good things, and packed with flavor.
Copycat Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup — This is the best broccoli cheese soup. Not only that, it’s some of the best soup I’ve ever tasted, period.
Easy Mushroom Vegetable Soup — Comforting yet light and with plenty of greens, the soup is made from common fridge and pantry items and ready in less than 30 minutes.
30-Minute White Chicken Chili — Hearty, healthy, loaded with tender chicken, and packed with bold flavor!! Fast and easy comfort food that everyone loves!! It’ll be on rotation all winter!!
Originally posted January 10, 2014 and reposted March 23, 2020 with updated text.