Large pot of vegetable soup with three bowls of vegetable soup. Spoons and napkins and fresh herbs on the side.

Cancer-Fighting Soup

By Rachel Tiemeyer
December 28, 2019

Cancer-Fighting Soup (aka Immune-Boosting Soup) is chock full of vegetables, lentils, and black beans that science has shown helps fight inflammation in the body. Whether you’re wanting to help someone with a diagnosis or just eat as healthy as possible yourself, this comforting soup fits the bill.

Large pot of vegetable soup with three bowls of vegetable soup. Spoons and napkins and fresh herbs on the side.

Darcie’s Cancer Story

Cancer. No one expects to hear that diagnosis from their doctor, even though one in three Americans will get cancer at some point. You especially don’t expect it when you’re a 38-year-old seemingly healthy mom of four children.

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 9.59.20 AM

My long-time and dear friend Darcie received that diagnosis in Fall 2014, after finding a lump in her breast. It was a shock to all of her friends, family and church family to say the least.

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 9.58.22 AM

Her friends and family quickly gathered like a small army around her and her family. You see Darcie is widely known as one of the most generous, thoughtful, bleeding-heart people around our area. Many lives have been touched by her and her family in some way. Everyone loves Darcie.

A small group of her closest friends gathered a few days after her diagnosis to pray and plan for her. I was awed as I saw each friend in our group using her own particular gifting to serve and encourage her. It’s humbling to watch Christ’s church at work as the hands and feet of Jesus during a time of crisis like this.

One friend brought Darcie a “Battle Bag” full of encouraging Bible verses to read any time of day or night. Others were already working on coordinating house cleaning, meals for the family, rides for the kids, starting a fundraiser site. One friend in the medical field sat through the initial consult appointment with her and her husband to be another listening ear. My decorator friend announced she would embark on a quick bedroom make-over, so Darcie can feel at peace in her space while undergoing treatment. The list goes on.

(Below: Living it up 80’s style with Darcie (on right), me (center) and our friend (Kelley). Can you handle all that blue eye shadow and crimping?)

Darcie and friends

And what do you think was my first inclination when I heard the news about my friend? To cook!

My mission in the days to follow her diagnosis: How can I make my friend the most nutritious, delicious, cancer-fighting soup possible? How can I equip her with the foods and nutrition information she’ll need to give her body the best fighting chance?

My role–surprise-surprise–was quickly dubbed by my team of friends as “Darcie’s nutrition helper”…which let me just say I feel completely inadequate for! Because of my under qualified status, I’ve been desperately researching and talking to friends who actually are nutrition experts. I’ve been learning all about the BEST foods for fighting breast cancer and inflammation in the body.

The Best Foods for Fighting Breast Cancer

Large pan of chopped vegetables on a wooden cutting board.

Through my research and her doctor’s guidance, she decided to focus on a plant-rich diet full of a variety of vegetables, lentils, beans, fruit, nuts, eggs, and Omega 3-rich fish to provide fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats to aid healing and boost immunity.

We learned that foods like mushrooms, broccoli and cauliflower, lentils, black beans, and spinach are some of the best for fighting breast cancer. And, that’s exactly the kinds of foods I included in this big batch of Cancer-Fighting Soup for my friend.

Close up shot of vegetable soup in a ladel

IMPORTANT! Please keep in mind that I am not a dietician or licensed medical practitioner, so please ask your doctor if the ingredients included in this soup are ok for you if you’ve been diagnosed with cancer and/or are receiving treatment. I’ve heard that some foods like grapefruit and even garlic can interfere with certain medications.

How to Prepare Cancer-Fighting Soup

I’ve made three huge pots of Cancer-Fighting Soup now for Darcie and for our family. Let me tell you, it’s absolutely PACKED with flavor thanks to all the seasoning and veggies just as much as it’s PACKED with nutrition. Here’s a 1 minute video showing how easily it comes together…

The key to the complex flavor is to saute the aromatics (onions, celery, carrots, and garlic) to kick-start their flavor and then to season every step of the way.

Large pot of vegetable soup with three bowls of vegetable soup. Spoons and napkins and fresh herbs on the side.

Another tip is to chop all of the vegetables about the same size so they cook evenly and are bite-sized. It’s actually a pet peeve of mine when vegetable soup contains pieces that are too big to enjoy in one bite. It’s worth taking the time to chop them perfectly. 🙂 My recipe will guide you to the perfect soup, so don’t worry!

How to Make Ahead and Freeze Cancer-Fighting Soup

This soup is perfect for making ahead and taking to a friend. If you want, just change the name to “Immune-Boosting Soup” if your friend has a cold. 🙂 It has now been tested from fresh, reheated from the fridge as leftovers, and reheated after being frozen. It delicious and works great in all these situations!

Vegetable soup in a freezer container with label on top

If you want to deliver it to a friend as a fresh meal or freezer meal, you can deliver it in one of these freezer containers, including a freezer container with lid (see above image) or mason jars (see below image). I love using mason jars, since the soup can be divided into single servings. Just be sure to leave at least 1 inch of headspace at the top if freezing.

Vegetable soup in mason jars.

My hope is that you can make this recipe for yourself and/or take it to anyone else who is battling cancer or an illness. This Cancer-Fighting Soup fights inflammation in the body and provides warmth and comfort when healing.

Bowl of vegetable soup in a white bowl with a spoon

You may even want to add a word of encouragement to the container you deliver it in, too. I quickly scribbled out a few favorite encouraging Bible verses in sharpie on the freezer containers of the soup for Darcie.

Or you may want to include a set of our printable Truth for Trials verse cards.

Truths for Trials image for store

To make your meal a little more fancy-schmancy than mine with these Printable Freezer Meal labels to go on top.

Printable freezer meal labels

I hope this recipe is a blessing to you or someone else. Please leave a comment for me, and I’d love to pray for you or a loved one who is battling cancer.

P.S. Thanks to Darcie for letting me share some of her story. She said to me, “Share on, sister. Hoping it makes a difference, inspiring someone to change one small thing about their lifestyle.”

P.P.S. In case you’re wondering, here is the story of Darcie’s Head-Shaving Party and more about how she’s doing. It’s so encouraging!


P.P.P.S. This post was originally shared February 2015. It has since been updated and reposted. At the time of updating this post on 11/8/20, Darcie is now over 5 years cancer-free (“no evidence of disease”) and doing great!

Bowl of vegetable soup in a white bowl with a spoon

Cancer Fighting Soup

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 1216 servings (about 2 cups per serving) 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American


This hearty soup brings a healthy and tasty dose of vegetables to the table to boost the immune system. Make ahead and freeze for later using our freezing instructions.


  • 12 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 23 celery stalks, sliced
  • 2 cups carrots, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/41/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (use less if you don’t like heat)
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 12 cups (or three 32-ounce cartons) of chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes (look for BPA-free cans)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup lentils (any kind will work; rinse first)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, diced
  • 1 cup cauliflower, chopped finely
  • 1 cup broccoli, chopped finely
  • 23 cups spinach, chopped
  • 12 cups frozen green peas


Make It Now:

  1. Heat 1-2 tablespoons olive oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Saute the onions, carrots, and celery for about 4-5 minutes, until tender. Add in the garlic and stir for 1 more minute. Season with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes (to your preferred heat level), and Italian seasoning.
  3. Stir in the chicken or vegetable broth, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, black beans, lentils, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer (slight bubbling), stirring occasionally. Season again lightly with salt and pepper. Let simmer for about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Stir in the zucchini, mushrooms, cauliflower, and broccoli and simmer another 5-10 minutes.
  5. Stir in the spinach and frozen peas and turn off the heat (or turn to low), so they don’t overcook. Remove bay leaves. Taste and adjust seasonings. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  6. If you like, serve with freshly shredded Parmesan cheese and/or whole grain crackers or crusty bread.

Freeze For Later: Follow steps 1-5. Let the soup cool completely. Suggestion: divide soup into some shallow pans to put in the refrigerator to cool it more quickly. Divide soup into gallon-sized freezer bags or containers, squeeze out excess air, seal, and freeze.

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw using one of these safe thawing methods. Then reheat gently over low heat on the stove or in a crock pot. Another option is to put the frozen soup block over low to medium-low heat on the stove top or in a crock pot. Add about 1-2 cups of water or broth over the top. Gently warm over low to medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Follow step 6 for serving.


It’s a good idea to chop your veggies all about the same size, so they cook evenly and they are bite-sized.


  • Serving Size: 1.5-2 cups
Large pot of vegetable soup with three bowls of vegetable soup. Spoons and napkins and fresh herbs on the side.

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89 replies
  1. Benita says:

    I am not sure if i have cancer, going for testing, I will start on your soup from now.
    Thank you so very much.
    Blessings. Benita

    • Rachel Tiemeyer says:

      I can’t imagine what a stressful time this must be for you, Benita. I sure hope this soup brings some comfort along your journey, whatever the path. Wishing you many blessings. Praying for you right now.

    • Rachel Tiemeyer says:

      You’re so welcome. I’m sad to hear that you and your wife are having to go through this. You are such a kind husband to care for her in this way. May this soup bring healing and comfort.

  2. Jo says:

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. I will definitely be making this. I’m 39 yrs old, a mother of 4 wonderful teenagers, a busy nurse in a hospital and I have stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. I thank God everyday for giving me strength to care for others even when I don’t feel good myself. 🙏

  3. Rosie says:

    I made this beautiful soup for my mum who is currently on chemo for uterine cancer.
    She really loves it as it is so flavoursome! Thank you for sharing the recipe.

    • Rachel Tiemeyer says:

      Hi Victoria. Good question. You’ll need to cut this huge recipe in half to fit in there. Just saute the onions, carrots, and celery until softened. Stir in the garlic at the end for about a minute. Add in seasoning, broth, and all other veggies (except the spinach and peas). Cook at high pressure for 7 minutes with a quick release. Remove the bay leaf. Stir in the spinach and peas at the end (they will warm through quickly). Hope that helps!

  4. Sharon says:

    Im going to ask a friend to make me this soup. I’m currently fighting stage 4 cancer in all my organs. I’m having trouble with keeping food down n this soup sounds great. I love the little labels as it’s so important to remind ourselves that God is always with us. Then you for sharing.
    Sharon Reardon

    • Rachel Tiemeyer says:

      Hi Sharon. I’m so sorry to hear that you’re battling cancer and having difficulty keeping food down. I know that must be so discouraging to you. The Lord is near. He will fight our battles. I love Jesus’ promise to Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9 that “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” I’ll pray right now for you, that you will feel the Lord’s presence, that he will keep you strong in your fight as you feel weak, and he will bring healing. I look forward to the day when there is no more sadness, no more sickness, no more brokenness, and no more cancer because of what Jesus has done. Hugs and prayers to you!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for this healing recipe. Please pray for my mom, Rita, who was diagnosed with stage 4 rectal cancer. We are asking Jesus and God for remission.

  6. Erin says:

    So delicious! You get so many veges (almost the whole rainbow) and it is very flavorful-also freezes beautifully!!

  7. Veronica says:

    This soup has been a tremendous blessing to me. I made and shared it with my sister and she loves it as well. I am a Breast Cancer Survivor 4 years this month.

    I shared the recipe with my girlfriend which is also a cancer Survivor.

    We are Christian’s and we thank the Lord for this soup.

  8. Amy says:

    I made this today (found it on Pinterest) and I am in love! I love all ingredients in this soup, so I couldn’t wait to eat it and it didn’t disappoint! Thank you and happy to hear Darien is doing well! God Bless!

  9. Donna says:

    Rachel, thank you so much for this recipe. I’m the first to admit that I’m not a very good cook. But I’m always trying to improve. I need to eat healthier so I appreciate your blog and recipes.
    I read about your friend’s battle with cancer as well as the comments. My heart broke as I read each one. I was so inspired by your kind replies. Everyone should be so lucky to know someone like you. Bless you.


  10. ROSE says:

    Thank you so much for this. My mum was 1st diagnosed for stage 1 breast cancer last 5 years and unfortunately recently we found out her cancer had came back and this time on her bone 😢 But we are working hard again to support her and help her fight this again. Miracle can happen right if we pray to the Lord above.

    This soup will give her more strength during her chemotherapy.
    Thank you again….

    • Rachel Tiemeyer says:

      Oh, I’m so sorry to hear about your mum. That’s incredibly hard, Rose. I hope this soup is a blessing to her. I am praying right now for the Lord to be near to her and your family and for his healing hand to be at work. I’m so thankful we have a future promise of eternity with Jesus where there will be no more sickness, no more suffering, no more sadness, and NO MORE CANCER! May you all experience His deep love and mercy right now.

    • Love F says:

      Hello! My sister was just diagnosed with Lymphoma. We know with God she will beat this! Thank you for this soup recipe! Cant wait to try it with her. To God be the glory! I pray for all of younin the comment section as well. 🙏

      • Rachel Tiemeyer says:

        I’m so sorry to hear of your sister’s diagnosis. I’ll take a moment right now to pray for her healing and for God to shower her with his love during this time. I hope the soup is a comfort to her.

  11. NH says:

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. I’m making this fir my dad who has been recently diagnosed with cancer. I think it is my way of encouraging him through food. Just like what he would do for me when I was when I was young.

  12. Sabrina J says:

    Hi there! I’ve just been diagnosed with Stage 4 Appendiceal Adenocarcinoma (cancer of the appendix), so I’m collecting recipes that 1.) support my eating as healthy as possible now, in preparation for the fight ahead; and, 2.) super healthy, easily digestible meals that I can make now and freeze for use after I’ve begun treatment. This looks to be a winner in both departments! Thank you for sharing!! 🙂

    • Rachel Tiemeyer says:

      Hi Sabrina. I’m so sorry to hear about your diagnosis. I hope this recipe helps on your healing journey. I just spent time praying for you this morning. Wishing you many blessings. – Rachel

  13. Bernice says:

    Please pray for my mom Suzanne Black. She is battling stage for pancreatic cancer and has declined rapidly in the past month. She’s a Christian it has a strong faith however she’s very discouraged right now. Please pray for miraculous healing

  14. E says:

    The whole family lives this soup, thank you. I have also made it for a Warrior friend and she lives it too! Just wondering, re the nutritional info, how much a ‘serving’ – 1 cup? Thanks.

  15. Sharon says:

    I was looking up recipes for pancreatitis and liver cancer and found this one. I haven’t made it yet but I can’t imagine it not tasting great and being a perfect soup for my Husbsnd. Thank you for sharing both and God Bless Darcie & all of her support friends

  16. Margaret says:

    Hi looks so good. I’d like to make but only have a Dutch oven. It probably too much for that pan. Can it be halved?i have someone fighting cancer and would like to make

  17. Margaret says:

    I only have a such oven and I’m thinking it won’t all fit I have husband with liver cancer and wanted a good healthy recipe

  18. June Gibson says:

    Hi Rachel,
    leaving a comment as you suggested and would ask if this cancer saving soup is effective for sclc?
    Also I would really appreciate your positive prayers for my husband who has been told only months after 3 chemo lines of treatment.. His name is Peter

    • Rachel Tiemeyer says:

      Hi June. I’m not sure what sclc is or if the soup would be effective. But, I would be honored to pray for your husband, Peter. May God be near to you and pour out blessings on your family during this difficult time.

  19. Alicia says:

    This soup is great. I was skeptical that it would taste good even though I love vegetables, but I have 3 young children, not a lot of time, and wanted a healthy lunch option packed with vegetables that I could have pre-prepped. I followed recipe exactly, and it is actually really good!!! It’s really a very enjoyable soup to eat and I feel good after eating it. Pair it with a half sandwich and you’re good to go. I like to think of it as a salad in soup form.

  20. Valerie says:

    I am now going on two years cancer free I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer and am trying to eat healthy so thank you for this recipe.

  21. Mary says:

    Hi my name is mary my brother was diagnosed with cancer I dont know how to cook for him if u can please send some recipes I would appreciate it
    Like he say he cant eat eggs
    I dont understand is it the white or yellow part that he cant eat
    I thought the protien in the white part of the egg was good

    • Rachel Tiemeyer says:

      Hi Mary, I’m so sorry about your brother’s diagnosis. I would definitely ask his doctor about how to cook for him (and what foods to avoid), since I’m not an expert. You’re a good sister to help care for him.

  22. Terry N says:

    I have not tried this recipe yet but I am excited to find it. My husband has leukemia and has been on the chemo pills for 11 months. He goes back to the doctor February 2020. We are praying he will be in full remission. Please pray for his health and our finances. It has really been rough but at the same time The Lord has been good to us. Thank you.

    • Rachel Tiemeyer says:

      Thank you for sharing your story and prayer request, Terry. I will pray right now for your husband’s health, your finances, and that you will continue to lean on the Lord and experience his new mercies each day. I wish many blessings to your family in this race He has given you.

  23. Karen says:

    This looks really good. I had early stage DCIS breast cancer this summer, and my husband was just diagnosed with full on prostate cancer. (I know, right?) I am looking for foods that will help to fight his cancer before, during and after his radiation treatment. This looks so yummy. Thanks so much for posting.

  24. Christina says:

    I have Stage 1 Breast Cancer and am currently in treatment. THANK YOU for sharing this. This is the first thing I’ve eaten that doesn’t taste like metal. God Bless!!

    • Rachel says:

      Christina, I’m so sorry to hear about your diagnosis. Makes me glad to hear you enjoyed this soup. Many blessings on your journey. May He help you fight the good fight. My friend, Darcie, is several years away from her initial diagnosis now and doing great!

  25. Conrad says:

    Tried this soup and was very delicious. the only thing I did been a single guy and didn’t feel like standing over a stove.Iflowed the respie but I cheated I used a instant pot and through everything to gether and to me it tasted just fine.Sorry to hear about cancer I am not cancer patient but tried the soup.i had to use a 8quart and a six because didn’t have enough room.

    • Rachel Tiemeyer says:

      Hi Conrad. I’m sorry that I just now saw your comment. I’m glad you liked the soup. Great idea to use the Instant Pot. I do the same a lot of times. It’s a LOT of soup. Hope you were able to freeze some of it for later.

  26. Doris says:

    I am a cancer survivor by the grace of GOD. Thanks to you and Darcie for sharing her beautiful story. Family, friends, healing foods, and Faith. My naturalist friend has reminded me of of God’s great pharmacy of natural food he created for us from the beginning. Im currently going through a lil trial. May have to do chemo, but God is still great. Going to make the soup. Thanks for the recipe and loving spirit. Be blessed.

  27. Cindy says:

    This soup is so good! I made it tonight and let my hubby have some, but I’m glad it made a lot because the rest is all mine! I have Stage 1A Grade 1 ovarian cancer (total hysterectomy 3 weeks ago) but haven’t seen the oncologist yet. I’m jump-starting a mostly plant-based diet and hoping I won’t need chemo.

  28. Barbara Graham says:

    Made the Cancer Fighting Soup for my daughter who has breast cancer. Turned out delicious!! Thanks you.

    • Rachel says:

      I’m not an expert on all cancers by any means. I just did research on the best cancer-fighting foods for breast cancer. Definitely talk to your doctor about what foods to avoid. We learned the some (like grapefruit) can interfere with certain medications or might taste really bad due to chemo.

  29. Pat says:

    My precious other half was diagnosed with a rare cancer. It is a large mass in his back that is thankfully, not attached to any organs. It is low level at this point. Doc said there won’t be any chemo or radiation, but we are waiting for the surgery date to remove it. Meantime, I am working on finding recipes to help him stay strong and to get healthy again. Love this soup recipe except it calls for Cauliflower and Broccoli. EEEUUUUU Two veggies neither of us can swallow 🙂 I wanted to add white beans in place of them, but I have also read the beans are moderately acidic which feeds cancer. We need to keep the body higher in alkaline. Alkaline kills cancer cells. I am going to make this soup for us. Thank you for the recipe and thank you to your followers and their posts. I find them very helpful.

    • Rachel says:

      Hi Pat. Oh, I am so sorry to hear of trial for your loved one and you. I’m glad you found our recipe. This soup is very forgiving, so just swap whatever veggies you like in for the broccoli and cauliflower (although the cruciferous veggies are some of the best cancer-fighting ones out there). Would you consider trying cabbage (another cruciferous) in it’s place? It becomes so mellow in soup. Hugs to you!

  30. Julie says:

    Thanks for your post. I was very interested to read it as I am making meals for my mother who was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was given a list of ingredients that she can’t have due to harmful interactions with her chemo and garlic is first on the list. It may be good to note that this may not be good for all cancer patients. Just wanted to pass that along!

    • Rachel says:

      Oh good to know! I know my friend couldn’t have grapefruit b/c it interacted with her medication. That’s a great reminder to always check with the cancer patient about any foods he/she cannot have. I think different medications can have different interactions.

  31. Katherine Sanders says:

    Thank you for your blog. It has been very helpful! For 14 years now I have researched diet and its relation to disease. I would highly recommend researching and learning about The Gerson Therapy. This is a highly effective healing diet. Chemo and radiation are such poisons to our bodies, but God has given us the perfect foods for our bodies, even that heal us from very serious sickness and disease. There are a number of very informative lectures given by Charlotte Gerson concerning cancer and the healing of the body on YouTube. Thank you again for your encouraging us moms through your blog!

  32. Tonya says:

    Hi, I too have just had the diagnosis that every woman dreads less than four weeks ago, and just finished surgery two days ago. Thanks for the recipe, just going to make it now. What a blessing you have been to your friend, and what wonderful support she has. We have just moved and I’m all alone, but I can still be encouraged through posts like these.

  33. D Lammy says:

    Hey Rachel,

    Since you are the Nutrition Helper, I thought I would pass some information I found on to you. I don’t know if you follow Lil’ Blue Boo at all, but she had three rounds of chemo for a very different type of cancer than Darcie, BUT she (read: her mom) was incredibly focused on detoxing following her chemo treatments to help her get back to feeling well asap. Anyway, here is one of her pages where she has some of her detox suggestions: Somewhere in her website, and I haven’t been able to find it, is some of the juicing suggestions that she/her mom came up with as well. love you, Devin

  34. Tara says:

    Love the recipes you’ve amassed on pinterest. I added a couple to my meal planning queue. I noticed the 7 layer taco dip and I wanted to share something we’ve discovered at our house. 7 layer dip and a package of tortillas is like an instant 7 layer burrito meal. When we’re traveling or camping I’ll often make a 7 layer dip and leave a package of whole grain or sprouted tortillas in the sun in the morning. Then we can make instant burritos later on without any fuss or prep. 🙂

    I also wanted to recommend another nutritional guide to fighting cancer. It’s more detailed and customized for each person’s genetic makeup. Gives lists of foods that would be most beneficial, foods that are fine in moderation and foods to completely avoid when fighting cancer. And you can get it of $.01 on Amazon these days. It’s been very helpful to me.

    Blessings to Darcy and your entire network of friends and support. It’s so wonderful to see how the body of Christ comes together in situations like these. How good and pleasant it is…

    • Rachel says:

      I love your 7 Layer Taco Dip burrito idea. I often eat this for lunch or even dinner. But, I like the idea of skipping out on the chips in lieu of a whole grain tortilla instead. And, thanks for the book rec!