I originally posted this last September, but since I've left my old blogging site, I thought I should share it again...especially with cold and flu season just around the corner.
With cold and flu season rapidly approaching, I have been searching “immunity building soup” recipes in which I could incorporate my immunity tea. I found several, but many just seemed to be lacking. That’s when I knew it was time to make one up myself. So I took the best and omitted the rest, and since many of my ingredients just screamed Asian to me…that’s the flavor profile I went with.
As you can probably tell by my recipe below, I prefer to use recipes as guidelines. Use what you like….add and subtract what you do and don’t like. Make every recipe your own…that’s my philosophy.
What make this “immunity soup” other than the tea? Many of the ingredients are immunity builders! The yams, the squash, the cabbage and the greens are all great for the immune system; as is the miso, the shiitake mushrooms, the garlic and the ginger. However, there is still a lot of room to personalize it and still have a great immunity boosting soup. If you prefer acorn squash, use that…if you have a bag of spinach in your crisper, use that. No other mushroom measures up to the shiitake mushroom in regard to immune boosting power, but if you don’t like them, leave them out. There is enough other great stuff in this soup that you can add and omit and still have a powerful soup.
So here is how I made my immunity soup….
1 cup Immunity tea, 32 oz veg broth, 1 miso packet (I used white miso which contains a little seaweed, tofu and shiitake mushrooms) but red miso would work well too.
½ Onion, 2-3 cloves crushed garlic, grated fresh ginger, hot sesame oil, cayenne pepper or other spicy pepper, soy sauce
6 Shiitake mushrooms, ½ c any other mushrooms, 2 carrots, a big handful of greens (kale, beet greens, spinach, I used swiss-chard), any type of squash (I used 1+ cup butternut), 1 yam, 1 handful shredded cabbage (any kind, I used plain ole’ green cabbage)
Quinoa or brown rice (I used brown rice)
Scallions and parsley
I started with the list of ingredients I wanted to include in my soup…the quantity I came up with as I made it.
Since I did not have fresh shiitake mushrooms, I started with dried.
While simmering ¼ c brown rice in just shy of ½ c water, I soaked 5-6 shiitake mushrooms in ½ cup of hot immunity tea to re-hydrate.
While the rice was cooking and the mushrooms were hydrating, I chopped ½ fairly large onion, a yam, 2 carrots and a good cup of butternut squash.
In my soup pot – I added a few swirls of olive oil and sauteed these veggies until almost tender. You can sprinkle in a little salt if you wish, but I would suggest waiting until the end, as the soy sauce will probably add enough salt. I added a bit of soy sauce, probably 1/2 TBSP to start building some Asian flavor. I also added a little crushed red pepper flake and cayenne pepper. I started with about ¼ tsp of each (you can always add more later). I removed the shiitake mushrooms from the tea, and added that tea (with all that mushroom goodness) to the veggies to allow them to steam a little. I then added 3 cloves crushed garlic, grated fresh ginger (about1/4 inch of a 1 inch diameter piece) **note here – I learned a great tip from Rachael Ray…peel and freeze a chunk of fresh ginger, then you can simply and easily grate some frozen fresh ginger into any recipe then throw the chunk back into the freezer.
I mixed the packet of miso soup into another ½ cup of immunity tea, then added that to the pot plus the box of veggie broth. At this point I added about a tsp of hot sesame oil (if you don’t want a lot of heat, use plain sesame oil) and I also added another splash of soy sauce.
Do a taste test – add whatever you think you need. Salt, soy, cayenne??? I found I needed to add a little more hot sesame oil.
Before I added the mushrooms, rice and greens, I hit it with an immersion blender, just a little, just to thicken the broth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, just take out a good cup of soup and put it in a blender and then pour back into the pot….or if you just don’t want to bother, skip this step altogether.
Add mushrooms, rice and greens and a handful of cabbage. I allowed the soup to simmer for just a few minutes to be sure all the flavors were combined, then scooped up a couple bowls and topped with scallions and parsley.
All I can say is DELISH! This soup was great. It had a lot of great flavor, and it was packed with veggies which made it filling. My husband had instant plans to take the rest to work to eat for lunch the next day, but alas, I had to dash his plans. The rest will be bagged up and frozen.
So when I next feel the beginnings of a cold brewing, I have a great immunity boosting soup waiting for me. I almost can’t wait….almost.
Tracy Martorana is a Nutrition & Wellness Consultant, Meditation Instructor and Herbalist...hoping to inspire you to live your life from a place of Holistic Wellness.