10 vegan alternatives to chicken soup


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Photo: Hot For Food

Confession: I am a soup fanatic. So much so that I can’t quite understand why it’s always the cheapest thing on the menu, offered alongside some other item, like a salad or sandwich, as if to sweeten the deal. In my opinion, soup is enough. Soup, you are enough!  

IMO, these ingenious liquid-y meals are especially swoon-worthy when you’re sick. Soup is a tried-and-true remedy which, if nothing else, make you feel as though you feel better—and the best ones actually provide health-boosting vitamins, minerals, fluids, electrolytes, protein, and more.

Given my obsession, I find nixing traditional sick-day soups, like chicken noodle, chicken pho, and (chicken) matzo ball, to be nearly impossible, even though I’m trying to limit the animal products in my diet. But here’s the great thing: soup doesn’t need the chicken for which it is oftentimes famous. Below, find proof in the form of ten crave-worthy, immunity-boosting powerhouse concoctions (read: vegan soups) you can cook in bulk and freeze in case of a health emergency this fall and winter.

Keep reading for 10 sick-day-perfect vegan soup recipes.

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Photo: Gabriel Cabrera

1. Miso soup

Your gut is the largest part of your immune system, so it makes sense to feed it probiotic, fermented foods when you’re sick to help it do battle with your body’s bugs. Miso is made from fermented soybeans (and sometimes, chickpeas, too), and this soup recipe also includes immunity-boosting green veggies, ginger, wakame (a seaweed), fennel, and more. Add turmeric for an anti-inflammatory boost and subtract the cod to keep it vegan. If you’re too sick to fuss, try this 15-minute miso soup recipe instead.

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Photo: Olives For Dinner

2. Chickpea noodle soup

If you’d like something a little heartier—more reminiscent of the Campbell’s remedy mom used to serve you, perhaps—this noodle soup likewise boasts immunity-boosting miso and veggies while also including comforting pasta shapes.

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Photo: Hot For Food

3. Vegan chicken noodle soup

Another option for a comforting noodle soup is this one, which includes meatless chicken strips. It’s quick, easy, and still has the protein that will give your body a boost.

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Photo: Hell Yeah It’s Vegan!

4. Matzo ball soup

This chicken-free version of matzo ball soup uses veggie stock instead of chicken stock and includes a matzo ball recipe which unusually manages to work without non-vegan ingredients. Plus, nutritional yeast is added for a protein boost (in case your mom asks you how you’re getting that nutrient in without the chicken, eye roll, eye roll).

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Photo: Keepin’ It Kind

5. Leeky roasted mushroom and potato soup

If you’re at the feeling-sick stage in which you’re ready to go beyond broth but not quite ready to take down any fancy ingredients, this simple potato soup might be just what you need. Here, leeks add a vitamin-rich, anti-inflammatory touch while nutritional yeast is tossed in for a little protein boost.

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Photo: Keepin’ It Kind

6. Minestrone with seitan meatballs

This soup is no joke to make, so it’s definitely one you might want to prepare in advance of cold and flu season’s darkest days and freeze. It’s a filling, nutrient-dense mix which contains a hodgepodge of all the best veggies—carrots, celery, broccoli, kale, and more—beans, pasta, and protein-rich seitan meatballs.

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Photo: Angela Liddon

7. 10-spice vegetable soup

Sometimes when you’re sick, all the body really craves is a simple bowl of soft veggies. This recipe offers just that, with some soaked cashews mixed in to lend a bit of creaminess to the texture.

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Photo: The Korean Vegan

8. Soon tofu stew

This Korean dish includes gut-health-promoting (and therefore immunity-boosting) miso and kimchi. It also boasts Serrano chilis as an ingredient, and they’re chock full of vitamin C as well as capsaicin, which helps to cool the (fevered) body down.

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Photo: Isa Chandra

9. Sauerkraut mushroom soup

If you’re not so big on miso but could still use the good-bacteria boost of fermented foods, this Ukrainian soup may do the trick. It pairs sauerkraut with lots of vitamin-and-mineral-rich veggies. You can omit the dry white wine called for in the recipe, but it does include anti-inflammatory resveratrol. Plus, at least one study showed it has protective benefits against the common cold.

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10. Methi malai paneer

While not a soup per se, this liquid-y Indian dish includes an ingredient called fenugreek, which researchers say could help to stave off the common cold. Plus, the recipe’s ginger, garlic, turmeric, and cinnamon can’t hurt when it comes to wellness efforts, either.

Wanna know the one thing better than a bowl of soup when you’re sick? A ginger bath. (Mind. Blown.) You could also just avoid getting sick in the first place—here’s how 9 doctors do it.

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