Stove-Top Comfort Soup Recipe for Cold Season

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During cold and flu season, try this soothing ‘comfort soup’ to comfort the body and soul when germs attack. The flavors are surprisingly reminiscent of what granny used to bring on your ‘home from school’ sick days– but without chicken bits to yuck-the-yum!

This stove-top method doesn’t require any advance planning, and comes together quickly – a crucial factor for under-the-weather cooks.

Hopefully you’ll come through cold and flu season unscathed, but put this recipe in your medicine cabinet just in case!

Stove-Top Comfort Soup Recipe for Cold Season

Recipe by Becky Striepe
1.0 from 1 vote
Course: SoupsCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
Prep time


Cooking time


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A warm, comforting soup that will have you trading in your traditional ‘brothy’ noodle soup for a new cold season favorite.

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  • 5-½ cups unchicken broth (‘Better than Bouillion No-Chicken Base‘ works beautifully, or use 5-½ cups vegetable broth plus 1/4 tsp poultry seasoning)

  • 1-½ cups tomato juice, marinara sauce, or cooked peeled tomatoes (chopped or pureed)

  • 6-8 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • ¾ cup dry orzo pasta (or small-shell pasta)

  • 1 (12oz) bags frozen mixed vegetables

  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

  • 1-½ teaspoons dried parsley

  • ½ teaspoon dried basil

  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano

  • teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1-½ tablespoons olive oil, divided

  • Juice of 1 fresh lemon


  • In a large stew pot, saute veggies in 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat, until mostly thawed (about 5 minutes). Add chopped garlic; saute another 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Add broth, cayenne, basil, oregano, and black pepper to the pot; bring to a boil, then add uncooked orzo pasta. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes (or to within 1-2 minutes of total cooking time per package directions).
  • Stir in tomatoes, parsley, nutritional yeast, and the rest of the olive oil (1/2 tbsp). Continue to simmer 1-5 more minutes, until pasta is done.
  • Stir in lemon juice, taste to adjust seasonings (read: add cayenne!) as needed; serve and enjoy. Point out that you MIGHT share with other hungry people in the house, but since you’re sick you don’t HAVE to share. Make them bring you juice and hot tea while you consider it.
  • Serve these soups with crusty garlic toast, if desired. Mmmmmmm: comfort guaranteed!


  • Depending on the broth you use, a pinch of salt may also be appropriate. Most bouillon-type soup bases don’t need additional salt, in my opinion, but if you’re using homemade or boxed vegetable broth it just varies. Taste-sprinkle-taste as needed, in the last step of either recipe.
  • Canned vegetables or tomatoes can be substituted, but read about BPA when considering canned rather than fresh or frozen produce. If canned veggies are substituted, no change is needed for the slow cooker soup; for the stove-top soup, to use canned veggies just omit sauteeing them– saute the garlic only, for 1-2 minutes, then add the canned vegetables along with the tomatoes, parsley, and olive oil in step 3.
  • In desperate circumstances — say, someone broke into your house while you were zonked on Nyquil and stole all your fresh garlic — you can, in theory, substitute garlic powder. But. Don’t.
  • There is no substitute for fresh lemon juice in these recipes. I am very sorry, but that’s the reality of the situation. Tell your spouse/ partner/ roommate/ mother-in-law/ neighbor/ mail delivery person/ dog/ SOMEONE to go to the store and get you some **** lemons — and they can squeeze the juice for you too, while they’re at it: your SICK, dangit, it’s the least they can do!
  • Find the slow-cooker version of this recipe here.

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Disclaimer: these recipes are submitted for personal study, exploration, and deliciousness only; not intended as a substitute for medical consultation, advice, or treatment; the FDA has not approved therapeutic use of these soups for treating cold or flu; author is not responsible for soup addiction resulting from experimentation with these recipes.

Image credit: Creative Commons photo by olga666flickr.

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