4 Immunity-Boosting Soups

Homemade soup is the ultimate natural cure, so sit down to a steaming bowl and reap the benefits. Our recipes fight colds, protect your heart, and more

January 8, 2013
Creamy Spinach and Mushroom Soup
1/4 Beth Galton
Creamy Spinach and Mushroom Soup

Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 6

1 tsp olive oil
3 slices bacon
8 oz mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
2 leeks, white and pale green parts, cleaned and sliced
1/2 c dry white wine
1 russet potato, peeled and cubed
2 c frozen peas
8 oz baby spinach
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 c 2% plain Greek-style yogurt
Lemon zest, for garnish

HEAT oil in large pot over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until crisp, about 6 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Crumble and set aside.
REMOVE all but 1 Tbsp bacon fat from pot. Return to heat and add mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes. Add leeks and cook, stirring, until tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 4 minutes.
ADD potato and 5 cups water. Bring to a boil. Simmer until potato is very tender, about 15 minutes. Add peas and spinach and simmer, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes.
PUREE soup in blender (Search: Best blenders), working in batches, until smooth. Return to pot and bring to a simmer. Add more water if too thick. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Makes 7 1/2 cups.) Ladle into bowls. Dollop evenly with yogurt and sprinkle with reserved bacon. Garnish with lemon zest and additional pepper.

Nutrition (per serving): 170 cal, 8 g pro, 23 g carb, 5 g fiber, 4.5 g fat, 1.5 g sat fat, 222 mg sodium

Fight the Flu Naturally: Give your infection-fighting white blood cells a boost with selenium from mushrooms and vitamin A from spinach. Read more of the Best and Worst Natural Flu Remedies.

Bonus Benefits: Potatoes pack blood-pressure-lowering potassium and B vitamins that help your heart and brain.

Plus! Discover 101 easy, healthy, and delicious dishes.

Chicken Soup With Asian Noodles
2/4 Beth Galton
Chicken Soup With Asian Noodles

Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 50 minutes
Servings: 6

1 Tbsp olive oil
3 med carrots, thinly sliced
2 sm red bell peppers, thinly sliced
2 ribs celery, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
4 thin slices fresh ginger
1 bay leaf
4 c reduced-sodium chicken broth
5 oz Thai-style flat brown rice noodles (we used Annie Chun's), broken in half
3 c pulled cooked chicken
2 scallions, sliced
1/4 c sm fresh basil leaves

Video: Prepare Quick Healthy Meals

HEAT oil in large pot over medium heat. Add carrots, bell peppers, celery, garlic, ginger, and bay leaf. Cook, stirring, until vegetables have softened, about 6 minutes.
STIR in broth and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil. Add noodles and cook at a strong simmer until just tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in chicken and simmer until heated through, about 3 minutes. Remove bay leaf and ginger with slotted spoon and discard. Season soup to taste with salt and black pepper. (Makes 8 1/2 cups.) Ladle into bowls and top with scallions and basil.

Nutrition (per serving): 247 cal, 21 g pro, 24 g carb, 3 g fiber, 7 g fat, 1.5 g sat fat, 387 mg sodium

Clear Out Congestion: Eating a steaming bowl of brothy soup like this one opens up clogged sinuses so you can breathe better.

Bonus Benefits: Garlic has natural antibacterial powers. Anti-inflammatory ginger soothes stomach upset.

More: Slow cooker recipes for less than $2 a serving! 

Roasted Tomato and Garlic Soup with Mozzarella Toasts
3/4 Beth Galton
Roasted Tomato and Garlic Soup with Mozzarella Toasts

Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings: 4

2 lb sm tomatoes (such as Campari) or plum tomatoes, halved
1 med onion, cut into eighths
1 head garlic (unpeeled), separated
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 c vegetable broth, heated
1/4 c chopped fresh basil + leaves for garnish
4 thin slices baguette, toasted
2 bocconcini (small balls of fresh mozzarella), sliced

Free Guide: Simple Ways to Cut 500 Calories

HEAT oven to 375°F. Arrange tomatoes cut side up with onion in large shallow baking pan coated with olive oil spray. Coat vegetables with olive oil spray and season with 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper. Wrap garlic in small piece of foil and place in a corner of pan.
ROAST in upper third of oven until tomato and onion are wilted and golden brown and garlic is very soft, about 55 minutes. Keep oven on.
REMOVE garlic from foil. Squeeze out of skin into food processor. Add tomatoes, onion, and tomato paste. Pulse until almost smooth.
TRANSFER to large saucepan and stir in 1 1/2 cups of the broth. Bring to a simmer, adding some of the remaining 1/2 cup broth to thin soup if necessary. Stir in chopped basil. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm. (Makes 4 cups.)
TOP toasts with cheese. Bake on sheet pan until cheese begins to melt, 4 minutes. Ladle soup into bowls, top each with a cheese toast, and garnish with basil.

Nutrition (per serving): 170 cal, 8 g pro, 28 g carb, 5 g fiber, 4 g fat, 2 g sat fat, 570 mg sodium

Feel Better Faster: The tomatoes in a serving of this soup provide nearly half of your daily vitamin C, a nutrient that may shorten a cold's duration.

Does working out keep colds at bay?

Curried Carrot-Lentil Soup
4/4 Beth Galton
Curried Carrot-Lentil Soup

Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
Servings: 4

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 med onion, chopped
2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp cayenne
1 1/4 c dried red lentils (8 oz), picked over
3/4 lb carrots (about 5 med), cut into 1/2"-thick rounds
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1/4 c chopped cilantro leaves + sprigs for garnish

HEAT oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Stir in curry powder, turmeric, and cayenne and cook, stirring, 1 minute longer. Add lentils and 6 cups water. Bring to a boil. Skim top of water to remove foam and simmer lentils, partially covered, 20 minutes. Add carrots and simmer, partially covered, until tender, about 15 minutes longer.
PUREE soup in blender, working in 2 batches, and return to saucepan. Warm over medium heat, stirring, until heated through. Stir in lime juice and chopped cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add additional water if too thick. (Makes 8 cups.) Ladle into bowls and garnish with cilantro sprigs.

Nutrition (per serving): 284 cal, 16 g pro, 46 g carb, 6 g fiber, 4 g fat, 0.5 g sat fat, 77 mg sodium

Beat Winter Bugs: Curcumin, a compound found in turmeric, revs your immune system and may help fight infection.

For more winter-weather comfort food, try one of these 20 Satisfying Soups and Stews.