01/15/2015 03:24 EST | Updated 03/17/2015 05:59 EDT

Recipes: Heal yourself with these three immune-boosting soups

When it's cold outside, these immune-boosting soups are sure to warm you up.

"There's a comfort factor having a warm hearty soup at the end of a cold day," says Toronto culinary expert Zannat Reza. "I know I've been eating a lot more soup just because it warms me up. There's a lot of nourishment because the soups are packed with lots of vegetables, protein, fibre.

"Soup can be your meal — it's so hearty and it's filling and there's just so much good stuff in there."

If you're not time-crunched, make your own broth. Or Reza recommends using cartons of prepared broth for their convenience and flavour. But read the labels. Those who are intolerant to gluten will want to steer clear of products containing barley extracts.

Look for reduced-sodium broth, but if the regular version is on sale, reduce your sodium intake by using a half or third of the carton and top up with water to get the amount of liquid called for in the recipe.

You can substitute vegetable broth in the following recipes, created by Reza. Any leftovers can be frozen.

Plant-Power Soup With Kimchee

This antioxidant-packed soup is chock-full of cancer-fighting vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. You're also getting a wallop of vitamins A and C, both needed to boost your immune system. For a delicious dose of good bacteria from fermented food, garnish the soup with kimchee or sauerkraut.

15 ml (1 tbsp) canola oil

1 medium onion, diced

15 ml (1 tbsp) minced garlic

500 ml (2 cups) each broccoli and cauliflower florets

500 ml (2 cups) diced carrots

2 ml (1/2 tsp) curry powder

1 carton (900 ml) no-salt-added chicken broth

2 ml (1/2 tsp) salt (adjust to taste)

250 ml (1 cup) milk

Kimchee, for garnish (15 ml/1 tbsp per serving)

In a large pot, heat canola oil over medium heat. Cook onion for 3 to 4 minutes until it starts to soften.

Add garlic, broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes until broccoli is bright green.

Add curry powder, broth and salt. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes until vegetables are tender.

Blend vegetable mix using countertop blender or handheld immersion blender. Stir in milk.

Ladle into bowls and garnish each with 15 ml (1 tbsp) kimchee.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.


Hearty Chicken Noodle Soup With Turmeric

The South Asian flavours of this soup are sure to warm you on a cold winter day. Turmeric, an anti-inflammatory, can help boost your immune system.

"This soup contains whole grains from the whole-wheat egg noodles, chicken, carrots and lentils so you're getting protein and fibre. It is quite filling," says Reza.

15 ml (1 tbsp) canola oil

6 to 8 chicken thighs, cut into 2.5-cm (1-inch) chunks

1 medium onion, diced

30 ml (2 tbsp) minced garlic

15 ml (1 tbsp) minced ginger

500 ml (2 cups) sliced carrots (quarter carrots lengthwise and slice)

500 ml (2 cups) sliced mushrooms

250 ml (1 cup) sliced celery

5 ml (1 tsp) ground coriander

2 ml (1/2 tsp) turmeric

5 ml (1 tsp) salt (adjust to taste)

1 ml (1/4 tsp) black pepper

1 ml (1/4 tsp) cayenne

2 cartons (each 900 ml) no-salt-added chicken broth

500 ml (2 cups) uncooked whole-wheat egg noodles

1 can (540 ml/19 oz) lentils, drained and rinsed

50 ml (1/4 cup) lemon juice

In a large pot, heat canola oil over medium heat. Brown chicken, about 5 minutes, and remove to a bowl.

Add onion, garlic, ginger, carrots, mushrooms, celery and seasonings to pot. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add broth and bring to a boil. Return chicken to pot. Add egg noodles and lentils. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.


Asian Inflammation Buster

The intoxicating aroma of garlic, ginger and green onion cooking is bound to lure your family to the kitchen. Garlic and ginger are immune boosters.

15 ml (1 tbsp) canola oil

15 ml (1 tbsp) minced garlic

15 ml (1 tbsp) minced ginger

75 ml (1/3 cup) chopped green onions

2 large portobello mushrooms, sliced into 2.5-cm (1-inch) chunks

250 ml (1 cup) sliced carrots

1 red pepper, chopped

30 ml (2 tbsp) soy sauce

15 ml (1 tbsp) hoisin sauce

2 cartons (each 900 ml) no-salt-added chicken broth

1 pkg (454 g) medium-firm tofu, cut into 2.5-cm (1-inch) cubes

2 stalks bok choy, sliced

1 pkg (270 g) shrimp dumplings or 1 pkg (454 g) frozen medium raw shrimp, thawed, peeled and deveined

In a large pot, heat canola oil over medium heat. Cook garlic, ginger, green onions, mushrooms and carrots for 3 to 4 minutes.

Add red pepper, soy sauce and hoisin sauce. Cook for 2 minutes. Add broth and bring to a boil.

Add tofu, bok choy and dumplings and cook for 5 minutes to heath through. (If using shrimp, cook until pink.)

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Source: Registered dietitian Zannat Reza of Food for Happiness,