An Immunity Soup to Light up Your Insides

A soup built on a monster white pepper broth. White pepper with jolts of ginger, and stabs of garlic - clear and strong topped with tofu, mushrooms, watermelon radish, and lots of green onions.

An Immunity Soup to Light up Your Insides

This soup is built on a monster white pepper broth. White pepper with jolts of ginger, and stabs of garlic. I like it just shy of scalding, racing down my throat, sweeping through my sinuses in one boisterous, fragrant swoop. This is a soup I make often, particularly when I need a boost. And, while I float other ingredients in the broth, mostly to make a meal of things, that part of the equation is usually an after thought. For me, this soup is all about the clear strong broth, the invigorating way it makes me feel, and the way it lights up my insides. This is a soup for the coldest days, the runniest noses, and the shortest days of winter. You should make it too.
An Immunity Soup to Light up Your Insides

An Immunity Soup to Light up Your InsidesImmunity SoupAn Immunity Soup to Light up Your Insides

A couple words of wisdom here. Serve hot. As hot as you can stand without betraying your tongue. It's an experience that's just not the same when the soup is served lukewarm. On occasion, I'll whisk in a bit of brown or red miso for a fuller-bodied, creamier broth experience - also the beneficial miso nutrients. But, try it straight and clear first. -h

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Immunity Soup

4.78 from 18 votes

Treat the broth seasonally - if it's summer, toss some corn in. Late spring? Go for sliced asparagus. Also, for a more substantial meal, serve over brown rice or soba noodles. All tasty. Also, a mandolin makes quick work of all the slicing here, but watch those fingers! I like enoki or nameko mushrooms, black trumpets are good, and regular brown mushrooms do the job as well.

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 3 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
  • 8 medium garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons grated ginger, peeled
  • 3/4 teaspoon finely ground white pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups mushrooms, trimmed
  • 8 ounces firm tofu, sliced into thin slabs
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
  • to serve: lots of chopped green onions, sliced watermelon radish, and/or pea shoots
  1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat, and stir in the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, and ginger. Gently sauté just until soft, you don't want any browning. Add a small splash of water if the pan drys out in the process. 

  2. Stir in the white pepper and 10 cups of water. Dial up the heat to bring the broth to a simmer, and hold there for about 15 minutes. Add the mushrooms, tofu, and salt, and gently simmer for another 5 minutes. Stir well, taste, and adjust with more salt or water if needed. Ladle the soup into shallow soup bowls and top with lots of green onions, pea shoots, and a few watermelon radish slices. Add a finishing drizzle of olive oil, and enjoy!


Serves 4-6.

Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
25 mins
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Recipe Rating


Where do you get the watermelon radish’s? For the immunity soup.

Bobbie Maronpot DMD

    You can often find them at farmers markets, or at some grocery stores. Whole Foods here often has them. Or, if you have a garden - plant some. :)

    Heidi Swanson

I loved this! Interestingly enough came across it in the coronavirus craziness, trying to boost my weak immune system. This was great! I added some lemon juice, and some turmeric (the root, just chopped up a couple pieces to add to the soup while it boiled). Also added scallions into the actual soup base itself, and added some Thai chiles (I added too many and it was very spicy, I recommend a different pepper or much less ). I couldn’t find watermelon radishes so regular had to do, and I couldn’t find pea sprouts so micro greens had to do. Not very filling but good!


Looking forward to trying these!

Lynne Lashlee

Hey Thanks for this lovely recipe! I think I am gonna recommend this to a friend who has been a little under the weather. This might do the trick. What do you think about adding some noodles and chicken to it? Happy New Year to you and your family :D

Corrie Duffy

As a vegan I love this recipe. I will need to try to without the tofu though. I should still taste wonderful.

Aqiyl Aniys

Made this for lunch on a snowy Wisconsin day. Used black pepper and ground ginger, omitted tofu, and added done egg noodles. Delicious!


Thank you for to delightful recipie. I've just returned home to HK, from a trip to chilly and windy Europe, feeling a cold brewing from the cold weather and 12 hours on flight with coughing passengers, ad this did the trick in allowing me to feel human again. I added rice noodles, kale and some poached chicken. Absolutely delightful.


This recipe is perfectly delicious just the way it is Heidi(served over brown rice) . While I reheated leftovers, I spurted cumin, curry leaves in sunflower oil and added to it and the taste was different, albeit very yummy.


Going to be making this tasty looking soup tonight. As someone who limits his soy intake, especially non-fermented, best to just leave out the tofu or is their a suggested substitute?

HS: Hi Drew - you can certainly leave it out and swap in something that better fits your preferences!


looks amazing. love anything ginger this time of year. can't wait to try. beautiful images.


I really like how you create a spicy broth, but then minimally cook the rest of the veggies.

Adena Harford

I wish I would have read this article before my entire family came down with a nasty cold. The ginger and pepper would have been perfect. The watermelon radish really makes quite the visual effect in the dish and photos.Thanks again!


I made this soup for dinner tonight and I also used black pepper. Except for that substitution I made it as written and it was delightful. Certainly will keep this recipe close at hand. Thanks for sharing.


The local tofu looks incredible. Do you know if they ship their tofu?

HS: Hi Kellie - My guess is no :/


This soup was fantastic. I made it with freshly cracked black pepper. Didn't have white on hand. It was wonderful. I'll be making it again. Thanks !

HS: Thanks for reporting back Kelly - I was curious about the black pepper swap - happy to hear it was a success. I think more people keep black pepper on hand, so it's nice they might be able to pull this together without a special run to the store for white pepper.

Kelly Turnbull

This looks like a really great recipe considering the weather outside! I will definitely give it a try this weekend as the temperature goes down as I write. At the beginning after looking at the pics I thought there is a blue cheese in there! To find out after reading the post it is tofu:) Do you reckon it would be crazy wild to use the blue cheese instead? Have you ever tried it?

Ewelina Bubanja

I used this as the inspiration for a chicken soup I threw into the slow cooker this morning - ginger, garlic, onion, celery, radish, a couple of chicken carcasses from the farmer's market and someone's suggestion of astragalus root - can't wait to get home and eat it! Going to throw in some kale and radish slices later, super excited!


I love this soup! I sounds like a drink of summer. I have copied your recipe and made 2 notes to use 1 teaspoon of turmeric and to use Maitake Mushrooms. Maitake Mushrooms are high in nutrients including Vitamins B-2, C, D, niacin, magnesium, potassium, fiber, and amino acids, naturally stimulates the immune system and lowers blood pressure, plus other benefits. Turmeric is anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antibacterial properties and a natural a in killer.

Kelly R

LOVE the soup! I've been giving it to sick friends.


What a beautiful soup. This looks like just the thing to quell the nasty cold that's been going around; that broth sounds wonderfully intense. Thank you for sharing!


So I made this last night...substituting meat removed from roasted organic chicken wings in place of tofu + added parsley as a topping in place of pea shoots...and it was fantastic. From the first tickle of the nose and throat to the last invigorating bite, we all {kids included} loved it! Thanks again!!


This soup is marvelous. I'm having a mug of it (leftover from last night) right now, and am certain it has and is curing all that ails every member of my family (from sniffles to homework aversion to sibling squabbling). Thank you!

HS: :)


Ooo looks yummy, I have full of cold at the moment and the fresh garlic smell and aroma I can imagine that the soup gives off would make me feel lots better. Defo have to try this recipe even if it's just for the smell lol. Thanks a bunch!


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