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The 8 Healthy Soups To Eat When You’re Sick

Healthy Soups: When you’re under the weather, there are few more common feel-better foods than chicken noodle soup. While a steaming bowl of chicken noodle has its merits, it’s far from the only healthy choice for getting you back on your feet.

If you’re a bit bored of the same old soup, there are tons of other immune-boosting options.

Healthy Soups, Featuring rainbows of antioxidant-rich veggies, hearty proteins, and nutrient-dense whole grains, here are nine tasty, healthy alternatives for when you’re sick — and sick of chicken noodle.

1. Summer vegetable soup with shrimp and lemon

Healthy Soups

Healthy Soups, Down with a summer cold? Make the most of the antioxidant potential of seasonal veggies with this light, lemony soup. The addition of shrimp is a welcome surprise!


2 tbsp. Olive oil

1 medium onion, finely diced

1 large garlic clove, minced

4 cups chicken broth

1 cup diced tomato

2 small zucchini, diced

1 1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels

1 lb. Red potatoes, cut into medium pieces

1/2 tsp. Salt and black pepper, to taste

1/4–1/2 lb. Pre-cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 tbsp. Chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, parsley, or cilantro, or a mix

Juice of 1 medium lemon


Healthy Soups, Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large stock pot or Dutch oven.

Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally until softened, about 8 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook, stirring another 1–2 minutes, being careful not to let it brown.

Add the broth, remaining vegetables, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

Healthy Soups, Add the shrimp until heated, 1–2 minutes.

Reduce heat to low and add fresh herbs and lemon juice.

Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if desired.

Pro tip: Cornbread makes an excellent side dish for this summertime soup.

2. Chicken and tortellini soup

Healthy Soups

Healthy Soups, Up the ante on the usual chicken-and-pasta combo by including your favorite tortellini instead of regular noodles.

Healthy Soups, According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)Trusted Source, spinach tortellini adds immunity-enhancing nutrients like vitamin C and zinc, while a cheese-stuffed variety adds fat and protein.


1/2 tbsp. Olive oil

4 medium carrots, peeled and diced

1/2 cup celery, diced

1/2 cup onion, diced

6 cups chicken broth

8 oz. Fresh or frozen tortellini

1 1/2 cup rotisserie chicken, shredded

1/4 tsp. Salt

black pepper, to taste

2 tbsp. Fresh parsley, chopped


Heat the olive oil in a stock pot over medium heat.

Add carrots, celery, and onion and cook until tender but not browned, about 10 minutes.

Add chicken broth and tortellini. Bring to a boil and cook until tortellini is tender, about 3 minutes.

Stir in the chicken, salt, and pepper and cook until warmed through.

Serve topped with fresh parsley.

3. Apple-sauerkraut soup

Healthy Soups

Healthy Soups, You may be used to putting sauerkraut on hot dogs or bratwursts, but the pickled cabbage has more than just condiment status. It’s long been used in central and eastern European cuisine as a soup base.

As a fermented food, sauerkraut contains natural probiotics that could play a role in immune system function, according to 2021 research.

Healthy Soups, back the drained sauerkraut juice in the recipe below will boost the probiotic value of this sweet and savory soup.


2 tbsp. Canola oil

1 onion, chopped

2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and chopped

1/4 tsp. Salt

1/2 tsp. Black pepper

2 cups sauerkraut, drained, juice preserved

6 cups vegetable broth

2 bay leaves

6 whole cloves


Healthy Soups, Heat the canola oil in a stock pot over medium heat.

Add the onion and cook until it begins to soften, about 3 minutes.

Add apples and season with salt and pepper.

Healthy Soups, Sauté an additional 3 minutes, then turn heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until apples and onions have caramelized, about 15 minutes.

Add sauerkraut and increase heat to medium-high. Cook until the sauerkraut is dry and starts to stick to the bottom of the pan (about 10 minutes).

Healthy Soups, Add vegetable broth, bay leaves, and cloves, and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer about 20 minutes or until sauerkraut is very tender.

Healthy Soups, Remove bay leaves and cloves and serve.

Pro tip: Feel free to bulk this soup up with the addition of cooked grains like quinoa or bulgur.

4. Mexican chickpea and quinoa soup

Healthy Soups

Healthy Soups, This Mexican chickpea and quinoa soup is like Taco Tuesday in a bowl. Say hole! To healthy with this high protein, plant-based meal.


2tbsp. Olive oil

1/2 medium red onion, chopped

1 small jalapeño, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp. Salt

1/2 tsp. Pepper

1 tsp. Chili powder

1/2 tsp. Cumin

1/2 tsp. Dried oregano

8 cups low sodium vegetable broth

1 cup quinoa

2 (15.5-oz.) Cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 cup frozen corn kernels

3 Roma tomatoes, diced

1/3 cup cilantro, chopped

1 avocado, sliced


Healthy Soups, Heat olive oil in a stock pot over medium-high heat.

Add red onion, jalapeño, and garlic and cook until softened.

Season with salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, and oregano.

Healthy Soups, Add the vegetable broth and quinoa. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 12–15 minutes or until quinoa is tender.

Add chickpeas, corn, and tomatoes and cook until heated through.

Healthy Soups, Serve with cilantro and avocado as garnish.

5. Creamy kale and white bean soup

Creamy kale and white bean soup

Healthy Soups, Kale earns its super food title with multiple nutrients that benefit the immune system, according to the USDA.

Healthy Soups, This creamy, comforting soup offers vitamin C, zinc, and antioxidants, then adds plenty of other savory ingredients to round out the Mediterranean flavor profile.


3 (15 oz.) Cans white beans, such as cannellini or Great Northern, divided

4 1/2 cups chicken broth, divided

1 tbsp. Olive oil

4 strips bacon, chopped

1 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped carrot

1/2 cup chopped celery

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp. Fresh minced rosemary

1/4 tsp. Red pepper flakes

1 medium russet potato, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch pieces

1/4 tsp. Salt

1/4 tsp. Black pepper

2 cups shredded lacinato kale

1/4 cup chopped parsley


Healthy Soups, Drain and rinse one can of beans. Blend in a food processor with 1 cup of chicken broth.

Drain and rinse the other two cans of beans and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until crisp. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the onion, carrots, and celery to the stock pot. Cook until softened, about 6–7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Healthy Soups, Stir in the garlic, rosemary, and red pepper flakes. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds, stirring constantly.

Add the blended beans, drained beans, potatoes, remaining chicken broth, salt, and pepper.

Simmer uncovered over medium or medium-low heat for 20–25 minutes or until vegetables are tender and broth slightly reduced.

Healthy Soups, Stir in the kale and cooked bacon and simmer until kale is just wilted. Taste and adjust seasonings, if desired.

Pro tip: Leave out the bacon to make this soup vegetarian.

6. Thai red curry noodle soup

Thai red curry noodle soup

Healthy Soups, A bit of spice may be just what the doctor ordered to clear your sinuses.

When made with red pepper, the red curry paste in this zippy soup contains capsaicin, a compound known for breaking up mucus.

Healthy Soups, A 2015 study found that capsaicin was helpful for treating non-allergic rhinitis (aka stuffy nose). However, this was using inhaled capsaicin instead of ingested, which may not have the same effects.


8 oz. Rice noodles

1 tbsp. Olive oil

1 sweet potato, peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes

1 onion, chopped

4 cups low sodium chicken broth

1 (15-oz.) Can light coconut milk

2 tbsp. Red curry paste

2 tbsp. Fish sauce

2 cups shredded cooked chicken

1 tbsp. Lime juice

2 tbsp. Fresh basil, julienned


Healthy Soups, Cook rice noodles according to package directions. Set aside.

In a stock pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add sweet potato and onion and cook until crisp-tender, 5–7 minutes.

Add chicken broth, coconut milk, curry paste, and fish sauce. Simmer until sweet potato is soft, 8–10 minutes.

Healthy Soups, Add cooked chicken, lime juice, and cooked rice noodles and simmer until heated through.

Serve with fresh basil as garnish.

Pro tip: Substitute steak cubes for the chicken if you’d prefer a beefy soup.

7. Roasted cauliflower soup

Roasted cauliflower soup

Healthy Soups, Vitamin C may not cure the common cold, but it’s an important nutrient in the big picture of immune health, according to a 2022 study.

Healthy Soups, While citrus fruits tend to get all the glory for vitamin C content, cauliflower is a surprising vegetable source. One cup contains 58%Trusted Source of the USDA’s recommended daily value.


1/4 tsp. Ground nutmeg

1 1/4 tsp. Salt

3/4 tsp. Black pepper

1 tbsp. Garlic powder

2 lb. Head of cauliflower, cut into small florets

3 tbsp. Extra-virgin olive oil

2 tbsp. Butter

1/4 cup flour

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 1/2 cup milk

4 cups chicken broth


Healthy Soups, Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). In a small bowl, mix nutmeg, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

Spread cauliflower florets on a large sheet pan. Drizzle with oil and season with spice mixture. Toss to coat.

Roast cauliflower in the preheated oven for 25–30 minutes, stirring once. When it comes out of the oven, mash lightly with a potato masher.

Healthy Soups, Melt the butter in a stock pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook and stir until golden brown, about 10 minutes.

Sprinkle the flour over the onions and stir to coat. Slowly pour in the chicken broth and milk and stir with a whisk until the flour is dissolved.

Healthy Soups, Bring to a boil and stir until thickened, then reduce heat to low. Stir in the semi-mashed cauliflower.

8. Ham and white bean soup

Ham and white bean soup

Healthy Soups, Ham and white bean soup gives chicken noodle a run for its money in terms of savoriness.

Healthy Soups, The high protein content of this satisfying meal may also be helpful for illness recovery.


2 tbsp. Olive oil

1 1/2 tbsp. Butter

6 carrots, diced

1 large onion

2 stalks celery, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 ham bone

2 (15-oz.) Cans Great Northern beans, drained

2 cups chopped ham

1 1/4 tsp. Black pepper

1 tsp. Dry mustard

1/4 tsp. Ground thyme

1/4 tsp. Nutmeg

2 bay leaves

4 cups chicken broth

4 cups water


Healthy Soups, In a large stockpot, heat butter and olive oil over medium heat.

Add carrots, celery, onion, and ham bone and sauté until vegetables have softened, about 6–8 minutes. Add garlic and sauté another 30 seconds.

Add all remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer at least 30 minutes.

Remove ham bone and bay leaves and serve.

Pro tip: This soup freezes beautifully! Make a large batch and save some in the freezer for when you’re under the weather.

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