Updated: Apr 3
Mushrooms, ginger, turmeric, and garlic - all are anti-inflammatory and helpful in boosting the immune system function. Wouldn't it be great to combine them all in one yummy, comforting, and nourishing dish? Enter Magical Mushroom Vegetable Soup.
Mushrooms have been used as medicines for thousands of years particularly in Asian countries. They are best consumed cooked to destroy any toxins. They have immune-enhancing and anti-cancer effects and regular consumption of mushrooms has been shown to lower cholesterol. In one study consumption of mushrooms was shown to boost the amount of IgA (immunoglobulin A which are type A antibodies that defend us against invading toxins, viruses, and bacteria) by 50% after just one week of mushroom consumption! Yet even with this rise in antibodies, mushrooms have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects! Now you know why I call this soup "magical mushroom"!
Ginger is both anti-viral and anti-inflammatory. It has been used to treat a number of conditions from colds and flu to arthritis and nausea. It may also lower blood pressure and blood sugar. New research shows that ginger may also be able to fuel apoptosis (the death of cancer cells).
Turmeric contains an active ingredient called curcumin which is also anti-inflammatory and has disinfecting properties. It aids digestion and some studies have shown it to relieve pain as well as ibuprofen but without the harmful effects that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can cause. It aids digestion and reduces blood sugar levels and may also have an effect in slowing or preventing many forms of cancer. Consuming turmeric with pepper will boost the absorption of the curcumin by 2000%!
Garlic contains sulfur compounds which help to detoxify the body, boost the immune system, lower blood pressure and improve circulation. It too has anti-cancer, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal effects. It has been used to reduce colds, coughs, and bronchitis.
Now as if that wasn't enough, this soup is also chock full of cruciferous vegetables, beans, and greens so it packs a knock-out punch of immunity fighting goodness. What more could you ask a soup to do?
Magical Mushroom and Ginger Soup
1 1-oz package dried shiitake mushrooms
4 cups vegetable broth
5 cups vegetables of choice (I used broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 of a 16-oz package of frozen spinach
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
3 large cloves garlic, minced
2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 inch piece fresh turmeric, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
Soak shiitake mushrooms in 1 1/2 cups very hot water (just off the boil) for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, bring broth, vegetables and thyme to a boil in a large pot. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Add spinach, garbanzos and soaked mushrooms with their soaking liquid and continue to simmer 5 more minutes. Add garlic, ginger, turmeric, and pepper and simmer 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and serve. Serves 4 generously.
To save time use a 16 ounce bag of frozen vegetables in place of the 5 cups vegetables of choice.
If you don't have spinach, any green will work well - try chopped fresh swiss chard, kale, or collard greens. The same is true for the beans - use any kind you like.
You can use fresh mushrooms but one advantage of the dry mushrooms is that they don't spoil as fresh mushrooms often do rather quickly and they have a bit more concentrated flavor. Other varieties of mushrooms are also good - try chanterelle or porcini.
To peel ginger and turmeric it is easiest to slice off all the knobs and cut larger chunks into straight pieces so you don't have any crevices. Then use a spoon or paring knife to just scrape off the skin.
If no fresh turmeric, use 1 teaspoon dried.