"Better than Chicken Soup" Soup

Despite the fact that spring has sprung, my birthday is around the corner, and I had spent a sunny Sunday watching a baseball double-header and eating ice cream, I whispered and pleaded my way through a day at work. I accidentally got to work early and took a nap on the couch in my classroom until a few minutes before students would arrive. This should have been my first warning sign. By 2 pm I was ready to cry every time someone made me use my voice (i.e. "Can I go to the bathroom?" "What are we supposed to be doing?" "Can I use the computer?" "What's our math homework?")

When I find myself sniffling, aching, or hacking, I make this soup. That is, of course, if I don't feel too bad to cook and don't just buy Whole Foods Chicken Noodle Soup, which, by the way, is worth every penny of the 799 it costs.

Whole Foods Market, The 'Better than Chicken Soup' Soup Recipe

  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 tbs. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 6-8 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh kale, julienned
  • 1 cup butternut squash, cut into 1/4" cubes
  • 2 tbs. grated ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (if you can handle it)
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tsp. miso paste


  1. Over medium-high heat, saute onion and garlic in the oil for about three minutes.
  2. Stir in the turmeric and mushrooms, saute for another two minutes.
  3. Add the broth, kale, squash, ginger, and cayenne. Bring the soup to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Remove the soup from heat. After it cools slightly, add the lemon juice and miso (adding the miso when the soup is too hot will cause the miso to lose some of its nutrients). Cover and let sit for five minutes before serving.

What makes it so beneficial?

  • Garlic: Helps increase the power of your immune system, while decreasing the duration of a cold.
  • Turmeric & Cayenne: These spices help support your immune spices. Plus, spicy foods, like cayenne, help clear sinuses.
  • Shiitake Mushrooms: You can also use reishi, maitake, and cordyceps. These mushrooms contain compounds that stimulate your immune system.
  • Kale: Dark, leafy greens like kale contain immune boosters: beta-carotene, lutein, and lycopene.
  • Butternut Squash: This squash is rich with Vitamin A, which helps the production and activity of some white blood cells.
  • Ginger: The benefits of ginger are endless, but it is known for supporting your immune system.
  • Fresh Lemon: Hello Vitamin C! Vitamin C aids white blood cell production and healthy inflammation response. Vitamin C can be taken preventively to decrease the severity and duration of your cold.
  • Miso: This soybean paste contains probiotics, helping your body maintain healthy levels of bacteria.

It had been awhile since I made this soup (health!), so I didn't remember the kale or the butternut squash when I was at the market last night. They definitely make it a lot more toothsome, but it has all the same flavor without. And while the miso adds a nice touch, it's impossible to buy a container small enough for me to feel efficient about purchasing it, so I went without that too.


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