Immune-Boosting Vegetable Soup and Broth

Tis the season for colds, flus, and sickey germs everywhere.

This 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.

It’s a supremely flexible 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.

I make this 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.

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.

The 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.

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.

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.

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 Vit 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.

Immune-Boosting Vegetable Soup and Broth (vegan, gluten-free, soy-free)

This soup is so easy to make and it’s a very flexible recipe. If you don’t like, don’t have, or can’t find a certain ingredient, omit it or substitute with something similar. Every ingredient used has healing properties, and the trace micronutrients, vitamins, and minerals in the broth are so soothing and comforting when I feel a little off, and after just sipping on one cup, I literally feel renewed energy. It’s a light soup that’s easily digestible, although it’s hearty enough to fill you as it warms you from the inside out. Like all soups, adjusting the salt to taste is important. I don’t salt the whole pot, but instead salt individual bowls. I keep about 2 quarts for just broth, and the rest I treat as vegetable soup. A batch can be frozen for up to 6 months, and it’s great to have on hand.

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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, or to nearly the top of your pot, leaving about 1-inch headspace


  1. In a large stockpot (I used a large Le Creuset Cast-Iron Dutch Oven), combine all ingredients through black pepper.
  2. 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.
  3. Fill pot with water, about 6 quarts, leaving about 1 inch headspace.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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. Optionally, add other vegetables, noodles, proteins, etc. based on taste preference.
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