This immune-boosting soup recipe has been in my folder of things to make for two solid years, so I decided last week it was about time to make it.
Though I live in Florida, we eat soup all year round. My husband and I both feel it's comfort food at its best.
Soup is just the perfect food when you're not feeling well, whether it's a cold or the flu. Hot soup helps to relieve congestion, hydrates you, and it's a light meal when you don't really feel like eating.
In fact, way back in the 12th century, a physician by the name of Maimonides wrote that chicken soup was good for respiratory tract infections. This particular immune boosting soup has all the goodness of traditional chicken soup but also has many added benefits.
Why This Immune Boosting Soup is Extra Good For You
Garlic: This immunity soup has a whopping ⅓ cup of minced garlic! Garlic is known medicinally to boost the immune system. It's an antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antimicrobial. This vegetable in the onion family is also full of antioxidants.
Fennel: We love fennel, yet it seems almost every time I buy it someone asks me how to prepare it! It's delicious with roasted chicken but really goes with any meat or seafood.
We also add it to our seafood stew. Fennel is also an immune system booster. It contains vitamin A, C, iron, magnesium, and more.
Not to mention an average fennel bulb has less than 100 calories and over 7 grams of fiber! Learn how to cook more with this delicious vegetable.
Kale: Actually one of the most nutritious foods in the world, kale is loaded with antioxidants like beta carotene, as well as vitamin C, vitamin K, and many others. Antioxidants also have antiviral properties.
Chickpeas: This addition might surprise you, but they give such great flavor to this soup! Many of us are deficient in zinc, and chickpeas are a fantastic source. It's believed that zinc helps boost your immune system. I love them in this easy Greek orzo salad.
Mushrooms: Another addition that probably surprises you. However, mushrooms contain selenium which helps support the immune system.
Mushrooms even contain vitamin D (which we get from being outdoors.) I will say if the kids don't like mushrooms, you can either chop them up really small or just omit them. They probably won't know what that great flavor is if you chop them small in your food processor.
Parsley: Many people are surprised to learn that parsley contains essential oils that have antibacterial effects. It's also loaded with vitamin C.
My favorite thing about parsley is the flavor! I made this authentic Tabbouleh recipe after visiting Jordan, and I could eat it every day. It makes a great healthy side dish.
As you'll see in the recipe below, I top this soup with fresh parsley. Don't add it to the pot - let people add it just before eating. The flavor will be better and you won't be cooking the parsley when you warm up the leftovers.
Other Ingredients You Need for Immune Boosting Soup
Of course, you will need chicken. I used two large chicken breasts and this made a lot of soup. We had it for dinner and froze about 6 servings as we were planning to go out of town.
You'll also need onions, celery, carrots, a good quality olive oil, and chicken stock. I used fresh thyme and bay leaves, along with salt and pepper.
How to Make Immunity Soup
Scroll all the way down to the bottom of this post to see the exact measurements for ingredients as well as detailed instructions. You can also print the recipe for future reference. I even have a video to walk you through.
Begin by adding olive oil to a stockpot over medium heat. If you've been a reader for a while, you've heard me say it before, but olive oil does go bad! Buy smaller bottles if you don't use it frequently. Rancid olive oil will ruin a meal.
Add the onions, carrots, fennel, and celery to the pot. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the celery and onions are soft.
Add garlic and mushrooms and cook for about another five minutes. Your kitchen will now smell heavenly.
Add stock to the pot and stir.
Add thyme leaves and bay leaves and lower heat to simmer.
Add chicken, kosher salt, and chickpeas to the pot and cook for about 30 minutes.
Take chicken breasts out of the soup and set aside to cool. Remove bay leaves.
Cut up or shred chicken and throw away the bones. Add chicken back to soup for about 15 minutes to warm chicken.
Add kale and simmer the soup for about five minutes more.
Serve hot with a bowl of fresh parsley on the table for each person to add as much as they'd like.
What Could I Add to This Immunity Soup?
I almost added green beans and corn to this soup as I usually do have both in my chicken soup. I might try it next time.
Parsnips would be wonderful, as well. If you haven't eaten parsnips, you're missing out as they add so much flavor. Butternut squash or sweet potatoes would also be a nice addition.
If you like heat in your foods, add a little crushed red pepper. It's known to clear the sinuses.
You could also add a number of fresh herbs, like tarragon or rosemary. Both pair so well with chicken.
Questions You May Have about Making Immune Boosting Soup
Can I make it in a slow cooker?
Of course! I use my slow cooker a lot. In fact, I got a new one for Christmas as I set my last one on the stove forgetting the burner was still hot and the bottom melted. Learn from my mistake!
Can I double the batch?
You can easily double the batch as long as your pot is large enough. The 12 quart gives you plenty of room.
Can I reduce the calories?
I used chicken breasts to reduce the calories, and there really isn't anything besides the olive oil that would add a lot of calories. I wouldn't try to reduce the calories any further. This is a very healthy meal!
What Could I Serve with this Soup?
I always serve soup with crusty rolls or a baguette. Cheddar Bay biscuits would be delicious, too. A kale caesar salad would round out the meal nicely. A grilled cheese sandwich would also be a great side.
How Long Does this Soup Keep?
My husband and I have different opinions on this subject. I have always said to toss chicken after three days, so that's my advice on this, too. If you want to make a huge batch, just freeze what you won't eat in three days as soon as it's cool.
Freeze the soup in airtight containers or in freezer bags, making sure to get the air out before storing it.
Once frozen, I would use the soup within four to six months.
More Soup Recipes
If you're gathering soup recipes to get ready for cooler weather, add this homemade tomato soup recipe to your list. It's got a little bit of a different flavor as we added some curry seasonings. My Italian Bean Soup is comfort food at it's best, full of veggies and so delicious. This one-pot Italian pasta soup is hearty and super easy to make (and clean up!) For even more soup recipes, check out this list of easy chicken soups and stews and this list of hearty soup recipes (including chowders.)
All these soups would pair well with the rosemary garlic bread I made when we had to buy the biggest bag of flour known to man in order to have any flour at all. You, too? Well, start baking, my friend! There's a video to help you create the perfect side to any of those soups. Enjoy!
- 2 tablespoon olive oil extra virgin
- 1 ½ C onion sweet, chopped
- 3 stalks celery chopped
- 5 carrots large, sliced
- 1 bulb fennel chopped
- 1 lb mushrooms sliced
- ⅓ C garlic minced
- 8 C chicken stock
- 4 sprigs thyme stems removed
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 can chickpeas 15 oz, rinsed and drained
- 2 chicken breasts about 2 pounds total, skinless, bone-in
- 2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 12 oz kale curly, large stems removed
- 1 C parsley chopped
- Begin by adding olive oil to a stockpot over medium heat.
- Add the onions, carrots, fennel, and celery to the pot. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the celery and onions are soft.
- Add garlic and mushrooms and cook for about another five minutes. Your kitchen will now smell heavenly.
- Add stock to the pot and stir.
- Add thyme leaves and bay leaf and lower heat to simmer.
- Add chicken, kosher salt, and chickpeas to the pot and cook for about 30 minutes.
- Take chicken breasts out of the soup and set aside to cool. Remove bay leaves.
- Cut up or shred chicken and throw away the bones. Add chicken back to soup for about 15 minutes to warm chicken.
- Add kale and simmer the soup for about five minutes.
- Serve hot with a bowl of fresh parsley on the table for each person to add as much as they'd like.