A Whole30 approved, Paleo soup to boost your immune system all winter long…
I hope you are all having a very happy, healthy start to the New Year! Santa brought me the stomach flu for Christmas. I know, major bummer! It hit me Christmas Day and I was hanging on the couch for most of the following week. The only thing I was able to eat for a while was gluten-free bread and applesauce, but when my appetite started to increase I knew I had to get some nourishing brothy soup in me. Enter this Sweet Potato Kale Chicken Soup.
It’s packed with immune boosting ingredients like garlic, lemon, mushrooms, and ginger, along with the benefits of slow-cooked chicken bones. This soup helped me get back to normal so I could ring in the New Year on a health note—yay!
You may have heard about bone broth recently. It’s become quite trendy, thanks to its amazing health benefits and delicious variety of flavors. To make it, you just cook some bones—chicken, beef, whatever—for many hours to extract the collagen and minerals into seasoned water, making a delicious broth. That is the base of the Sweet Potato Kale Chicken Soup, then I added veggies, an extra squeeze of citrus, and a drizzle of toasted sesame oil for extra depth of flavor. So good. I think this tasty bowl of soup played a huge part in getting me back to normal!
Now, let me tell you a little about why I chose these ingredients. One reason is definitely for flavor, I mean you just CANNOT go wrong with ginger, garlic, and lemon together. But also, we have got some major health benefits working together in unison here.
Lemon juice is a natural antibacterial, plus it has alkalizing effects in the body, which might sound counterintuitive since citrus is often considered an acidic food. Confusing, I know, but basically, these alkalizing qualities help reduce inflammation and help your body work its best to kick out whatever ails ya.
Garlic is also antibacterial, it contains compounds that boost the white blood cells responsible for fighting off viruses that can cause a cold or flu. Eating garlic often might help you prevent illness or recover more quickly if you do catch a bug, plus it tastes freaking GREAT—pungent, savory, a little “kicky”.
Ginger. It’s like a warm hug wrapped around your taste buds. In China and India, ginger has been used medicinally for over 4,700 years! Obviously, something good is going on here. Its antibacterial properties have been studied in comparison to antibiotics, with ginger coming out on top time and time again. Ginger’s warm disposition is also part of its magic—this warming effect is thought to open up the body’s lymphatic channels, so you can easier eliminate toxins and recover from exposure to nasty infections.
The last ingredient I’m going to highlight here is the shiitake mushrooms. This fun little fungus supports cell function and improves gut immunity, while also reducing inflammation. PLUS they help to fight DNA oxidations (which creates aging and disease) and also have been found to fight cancer cells. Shiitakes for the win! Oh, and they have a really delicious, mildly earthy flavor.
How can you make this totally amazing, immune-boosting, Sweet Potato Kale Chicken Soup, you ask?
Start by gettin’ out your crockpot, adding some chicken drumsticks with the skin removed and bone-in, skin-off, chicken thighs, top them with your chopped onion, minced garlic, and ginger, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then pour the juice of 3 lemons all over. Toss it all together, put on the lid, and let that go on HIGH for 2 hours, or LOW for 4 hours. Doing this before adding water helps to get some richer flavor for the broth.
After a few hours, add 10 cups of filtered water and 3 bay leaves, then keep it cooking on HIGH for another 3-4 hours.
Now that you have your broth good and seasoned, use a slotted spoon to remove the chicken so you can discard the bones. This is also a good time to use two forks and shred your chicken, then toss it back in the pot.
It’s really nice to keep those bones in there up until this point so that you can cook out the collagen for healthy skin and immune system, minerals like magnesium and calcium, and amino acids—like glutamine, which is essential for gut health.
Add your diced sweet potatoes and sliced shiitake mushrooms now as well. Turn the crockpot down to LOW and let it simmer for another 2 -3 hours. If you need to let it go longer, that should be fine too! Just keep in mind every crockpot is a little different heat wise.
Prior to serving, remove the bay leaves and add the chopped kale about 15 minutes beforehand. This soup is best when served with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a light drizzle of toasted sesame oil over top, along with some chopped scallions. That’s it! Now you can eat a super nourishing soup all week long, to support your immune system and feel great during the cold winter months.
Sweet Potato Kale Chicken Soup
Yield 8-10 Servings
This super immune-boosting Sweet Potato Kale Chicken Soup is Whole30 approved and Paleo. It's full of nutritious spices and veggies, like ginger, garlic, and lemon, so you can feel your best all winter long!
- 1 lb chicken thighs, bone-in, skin removed
- 1 lb chicken drumsticks, skin removed
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 7 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
- 2 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- juice of 3 lemons, plus more for garnish
- 10 cups filtered water
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 medium sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and diced (about 4 cups)
- 2 heaping cups shiitake mushrooms, wiped, destemmed, and sliced
- 3 large leaves curly green kale, chopped
- 4-6 scallions, sliced for garnish
- 4-6 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, for garnish
- fresh cracked pepper, for garnish
- Layer chicken thighs and drumsticks in the bottom of crockpot. Add chopped onion, garlic, ginger, sea salt, black pepper, and the juice of 3 lemons. Mix together, cover, and set to HIGH for 2 hours.*
- After 2 hours, add 10 cups filtered water and bay leaves. Cover and leave on HIGH for 3 hours or longer.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove chicken and discard bones. Also, remove bay leaves. Use two forks to shred chicken and add back to the crockpot, along with the sweet potatoes and mushrooms. Turn to LOW and cook for at least 2 more hours.
- 15 minutes prior to serving, add chopped kale and stir everything together. Garnish bowls of soup with fresh squeezed lemon, toasted sesame oil, scallions, and fresh cracked pepper.*
*If you are going to busy and don't want to check on this after the first couple hours, you can turn on LOW instead, you just may have to cook for 4-5 hours longer. You can definitely be flexible with the times for each part of this recipe, just make sure the chicken is cooked before adding the water!
*If you're making this for a crowd and don't want to worry about garnishing each bowl, add extra lemon juice, toasted sesame oil, and scallions over the whole pot before serving.
Courses Dinner, Lunch