Chilly weather means everyone’s favorite dish is back in season — soup!
Not that it needs to be chilly outside to eat it, but on a cold day nothing feels better than a warm kitchen and a steaming bowl of soup.
Unfortunately, speaking to the less fun side of the season, chillier weather can also mean more sickness:
- People are indoors and in close quarters, making it easier to spread viruses.
- Many common viruses are more active in colder, drier climates.
- Vitamin D is essential to immune health, and these levels are lowest in the winter.
One of the best ways to stay healthy during the winter months is to keep your gut healthy. Even though it might not seem like gut health has anything to do with the common cold, a healthy gut is indicative of better overall health.
Further, a large part of your immune system is in your gut. If you do your best to keep your gut happy and healthy, you’ll have a better chance of fighting off whatever sickness comes your way.
Gut Healthy Ingredients
Many foods contain prebiotics to support gut health. This recipe contains a notable amount of leeks, which have a high inulin content. Inulin is a type of soluble fiber, and is therefore a prebiotic. It also contains other gut-supporting ingredients:
But most importantly, it’s delicious! Supporting your gut should feel good and taste good. This healthy soup checks all those boxes.
1 T olive oil
10 garlic cloves, sliced
3 large leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise, rinsed well, and sliced into half-moons
2 tsp kosher salt, plus more as needed
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
6 cups broth
1 cup quinoa, soaked, sprouted, or rinsed
1 or 1.25 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 T fresh lemon juice
6 T Pesto
¼ cup grated or shaved Parmesan cheese
¼ cup snipped fresh chives
Lemon wedges (garnish)
- Add oil to a large pot and set to medium-high heat.
- Add garlic and stir constantly, until golden and very fragrant (~2 minutes).
- Add leeks, 1 tsp salt, and pepper. Stir.
- Cook until all ingredients are soft, stirring frequently (~10 minutes).
- Add broth and bring everything to a boil.
- Stir in quinoa and chicken (leave the breasts whole), then reduce to a simmer.
- Cover and cook for about 13 minutes. To see if it’s done, use a meat thermometer. The chicken temperature should be at least 165°.
- Remove the chicken from the pot and put it on a plate. Shred the meat with two forks. When you’re done shredding, put the meat back into the pot.
- Add lemon juice and remaining 1 tsp salt. Stir.
When serving, add 1 T pesto per bowl (makes about 6 bowls). Top with parmesan and chives, and serve with a lemon wedge on the side for a fresh squeeze of citrus.
I love to pair this soup with Mayawell’s Pear Lime with Green Tea prebiotic soda for an extra dose of gut-health and support.
Happy = Healthy
Recent studies show that happiness is linked to immune health. The happier we are, the stronger our immune system. This is because of how closely your brain and immune system (and gut!) are linked.
That’s the best part of this soup. It’s aromatic, delicious, and the perfect way to lift your spirits.