Skip to main content

Savory Winter Soups – In Sickness and in Health

winter soup recipes

According to BBC news magazine, “As far back as the 12th Century, physicians were recommending chicken soup – known as ‘Jewish penicillin’ – to combat a cold. Modern science has since found their instincts were largely right and it can be soothing and anti-inflammatory for those with colds.”

It’s clear that soup is so good for you because of the nutritional benefits. Research has shown that the protein in chicken and antioxidants in vegetables can help the body make virus-killing antibodies. Also, a healthy soup provides an easy way to digest the nutrients we need, especially when we’re sick. Soup is the perfect “comfort food” not just because it’s so easily digested but also, according to some food scientists, soup’s close appearance to baby food is a big (subconscious) reason we eat it when ill.

Doesn’t soup always “hit the spot”? Always so satisfying, and the leftovers are even better the next day! Here is a selection of savory winter soups that are packed with umami richness.

Crock Pot Ham and Bean Soup

Ahhh, the classic ham and white bean soup – so hearty, comforting, and super easy in a slow-cooker! The crockpot does all the work for you.

Course Soup
Cuisine American
Servings 6 1-cup servings


  • 1 cup dry white beans
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/4 cups onion chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups carrot slices
  • 1/2 cup celery slices
  • 1 1/4 lbs. lean ham steak diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon MSG (umami seasoning) Ac’cent® and Ajinomoto® are popular brands.


  1. Combine the first 4 ingredients in a crock-pot and cook on HIGH for 3 hours.
  2. Add carrot and celery slices to the pot and continue to cook on HIGH another 2 hours.
  3. Add diced ham, salt and MSG; cook another 2 hours. Serve hot.

Recipe Notes

Photo credit: Flickr user, Sabrina S

Recipe courtesy of

Crockpot Chicken Noodle Soup

Course Appetizer, Soup
Cuisine American
Servings 6


  • 2 lbs chicken pieces skin removed
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon MSG (umami seasoning)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 leek or medium onion chopped
  • 1 carrot chopped
  • 2 stalks celery chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon marjoram or basil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 ounces dry noodles


  1. Place all ingredients except noodles in the crockpot.
  2. Cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours.
  3. Remove chicken and bay leaf from pot; remove meat from bones, dice, and return to broth; add the noodles. Throw away the bay leaf.
  4. Cook another hour or until noodles are done (about 1/2 hour on high).

Recipe Notes


Beef and Chinese Cabbage Soup

Course Soup
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 4 people


  • 1/4 pound lean sukiyaki beef or thinly sliced beef
  • 1 pound Chinese cabbage Nappa
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon MSG
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sherry wine


  1. Boil water. Cut cabbage into shreds and add to boiling water. Add salt and MSG. Boil for 10 minutes.
  2. Mix beef with light soy sauce, cornstarch, sesame oil and sherry. Add meat mixture and boil for 2 more minutes. Serve hot.

Recipe Notes

Courtesy of

photo credit: by Guilhem Vellut (, via Wikimedia Commons

Vegetarian Bean Soup

Course Soup
Cuisine American
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 4


  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 yellow onions diced
  • 2 ribs celery chopped
  • 2 carrots chopped
  • 1 medium turnip diced
  • 1 pound dried white beans
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground sage
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon MSG
  • 6 cups water


  1. Soak beans overnight in water. Make sure to fill your container several inches higher than the beans as they will soak up a lot of liquid.
  2. In a large soup pot or dutch oven, heat coconut oil over medium heat.
  3. Add onions, celery, carrots and turnip and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion starts to become translucent, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add beans, spices and water. Cook covered over medium heat until the soup begins to bubble then turn heat to low. Simmer for 1 hour or until beans are tender.

Recipe Notes

If you prefer a thin soup, serve as is. If you prefer a thicker soup, remove half the soup and blend in a blender or blend using an immersion blender until desired consistency is achieved.

Courtesy of Pinkie's Oinkments

photo credit:

Wonton Soup

A simple, light Chinese dumpling classic!

Course Soup
Cuisine Asian
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 1 batch


  • 1 14 ounce package wonton wrappers
  • 1 package chicken backs 5 piece
  • 1/4 pound ground pork
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons garlic salt
  • 1 tablespoon MSG (umami seasoning)
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 egg white for sealing the wonton wrappers


  1. Heat oil; cook garlic until light brown. Add onion and ground pork; cook for 15 minutes and set aside.
  2. Spread the wonton wrapper and put 1/4 teaspoon cooked pork in the middle and fold in half and seal it with egg white. Repeat until you use the wrapper.
  3. Boil the chicken in 4 quarts water for 1 hour.
  4. Remove the bones and drop the wonton into the broth.
  5. Add garlic salt, pepper and monosodium glutamate. Add more salt to taste. Cook wontons for 30 minutes.

Recipe Notes

Courtesy of

photo credit: Flickr user Madchuckles

About MSGdishTeam

The MSGdish Team's goal is to provide timely and important information about glutamate, monosodium glutamate (MSG) and the many culinary creations inspired by “umami" while connecting these topics to facts about food, taste, and health. The MSGdish Team is comprised of TGA staff professionals who are recognized as experts in science-based nutrition communications. Read more on the About page.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.