No-Recipe Healing Soup
Serves: 4-6
The ingredients in this recipe are divided into two sections - broth constants and optional add-ins. The constants are ingredients that are mandatory for making a flavorful broth. The optional add-ins are just that - optional. You can make just the broth and sip it on its own when feeling under the weather or in need of some comfort, or add one or more of the add-ins that you are craving/have on hand for a more substantial soup. This recipe is highly customizable, so feel free to get creative, following the basic broth framework. If you feel like including all the optional add-ins in the soup, all of them work well together except for the soba and spaghetti squash noodles - I recommend using one or the other as the noodle element.
broth constants
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric or 2" piece fresh turmeric - peeled, grated/minced
  • 1" piece ginger - peeled, grated/minced
  • 5 whole garlic cloves
  • 1 jalapeƱo or small chili pepper - minced (leave seeds in if you prefer a spicier soup)
  • 10-12 cups filtered water
  • freshly ground black pepper - to taste
  • 1-2 tablespoons tamari or to taste
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 heaping tablespoons white/sweet/mild miso or to taste
optional add-ins
  • 1 large sweet potato or 3-4 medium carrots, or any other root vegetable of choice - cubed
  • 8 oz shiitake or crimini mushrooms - sliced
  • 2 lemongrass stalks - bruised with the back of a chef's knife, sliced into 3 pieces per each stalk
  • handful kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 piece kombu
  • about 4 oz soba
  • 1-2 clusters baby bok choy - separated into leaves or 1 small bunch any other greens - torn
  • spaghetti squash 'noodles' (from 1 roasted spaghetti squash)
  • 1-1½ cups cooked beans or lentils
  • handful cilantro leaves - for garnish
  1. Add all the broth ingredients, except black pepper, tamari, lemon juice, and miso to the pot. Also add any of the following optional add-ins that you are using: sweet potato/carrots, mushrooms, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and kombu. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, covered. If using sweet potato/carrots, check them for doneness by pricking a few pieces with a knife or fork, which should go in easily if the vegetables are cooked through. If not done, simmer for another 5 minutes and check again. Turn off the heat and add pepper to taste. If you have time, it's great to let the broth sit and infuse for anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight (refrigerate if overnight), but this step is completely optional.
  2. Discard lemongrass stalks, kaffir lime leaves and kombu, if using. If making broth only, or if you've already added all the add-ins you have, you can stop here and add tamari, lemon juice and miso according to directions in step #5. If continuing with other add-ins, bring the soup back to a boil over medium high heat. If using soba, add it to the boiling broth and cook, uncovered, about 2-3 minutes less than the required time on the package until al dente (the soba will continue sitting in the hot broth and might get a little too soft if you cook it for the whole required time).
  3. Turn off the heat and add any of the following optional add-ins that you are using: baby bok choy/greens, spaghetti squash 'noodles', beans/lentils. Cover the pot and let the soup sit for about 2-5 minutes, until the greens are wilted and spaghetti squash noodles, beans/lentils are warmed through.
  4. Mix in lemon juice and tamari. Combine about 1 ladleful of the hot broth with the miso in a small bowl and mix until the miso is incorporated. Mix the miso broth into the soup. Taste for salt and adjust by adding more tamari if needed. Distribute between bowls, garnish with cilantro, if using, and serve.
1. I call for 10-12 cups water here. Begin by adding 10 cups, if the pot seems too crowded, add 2 more cups. If you are making the broth only, you can add less water if you prefer, about 8 cups.
2. If you can get your hands on organic ginger and/or turmeric, don't peel them, as the skin holds lots of nutrients. Non-organic ginger and turmeric should be peeled.
Recipe by Golubka Kitchen at