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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Hey! I seldom share on facebook, but this is such a wonderful recipe - has to be passed on :-) Thank you!


@gluttonforlife-- I totally know what you mean! I always tell my husband that it smells like sheep (really lanolin-y). It's a weird experience eating it. I tend to stick to black pepper. Heidi, have you tried it with black?

HS: I haven't - I kind of thing white pepper is key though. If you give it a go with black (perhaps lots of whole peppercorns?) - report back!


Would a good Vietnamese Pho soup--without the meat and with more veggies--be a similar type of soup? Is there a good recipe for Pho handy? This soup sounds gorgeous.

Jan Fanning

This recipe just came through my email and it was exactly what I didn't know I had been wanting for lunch today! I can't wait to try some seasonal versions of this soup. Thank you!

liz b.

I always love your photos! So simple and beautiful - I wish my kitchen was so pretty when making food! Great recipe, I'm going to make that this weekend.


this looks delicious. i make something very similar this time of year but add a length of dried astragalus root, a few shiitake mushrooms and a pinch of turmeric powder to the simmering broth to promote lymph drainage and enhance immune function. the astragalus doesn't impact the flavor and can be discarded before eating. it packs quite an immune boosting punch.


Could a Beauty Radish work with this recipe?

Gail Carlson

Mmm this sounds so good!! Such a fun flavour!

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

Just made a pot of this after a day of blowing my nose. Didn't have all veg ingreds and used miso and soba with avocado on top. Delish!


I posed a soup 3 days ago called Immune Boosting Soup with similar ingredients! Mushrooms, green onion, ginger, carrots but I added some lemon, bok choy and turmeric so it's really golden! I love that sliced watermelon radish on yours. SO pretty! I would love a big mug of this!

Averie @ Averie Cooks

Hi all - a number of you are asking about the tofu. A local company makes a pepper-flecked tofu I like - the one that looks like blue cheese in the photo :)....It's what I had on hand, so I used it in the soup, but any good quality tofu will work well here. xo -h


I am curious about the watermelon radishes. Can you please give me some more information? I have never seen them in any grocery stores.

HS: There's a chance you're overlooking them Kelsey - as they look like an ordinary white radish until you slice into them. Check your local farmers market as well - watermelon radish.

Kelsey Smith

What a beautiful soup! I love all of the colours. It looks so pretty. I would never have thought of using that much pepper, does it have a strong kick?

Jennifer @ Delicious Everyday


Denise | Chez Danisse

Perhaps the tofu is the sprouted tofu I have seen available in stores.


Looks great! Curious about your tofu. It looks a little like blue cheese...Tell me more (please).


What kind of tofu is that in photo, with the speckles and streaky spots? I'm guessing it's the tofu, or???


This is simply a clean and pure way to experience such lovely vegetables. I can see way your soup would boost your immunity; all that ginger, clove and garlic have to keep the nasty illness away. I love these style of chunky broths; they make you feel clean and I have one at least everyday. Perfect for the people with health resolutions.


What kind of tofu are you using in the photos? It looks almost like slabs of blue cheese to me.


Lovely recipe! What kind of tofu is pictured here, specifically? Thanks!


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