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

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.

This post was originally shared February 2015. It has since been updated and reposted.

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 make 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!

darciestrawberry

P.P.P.S. At the time of updating this post on 12/28/19, Darcie is now over 4 years cancer-free (“no evidence of disease”) and doing great!

Print
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

Description

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.


Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

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.


Notes

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

Nutrition

  • 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.

Tags: , , , ,

Subscribe

Join our weekly newsletter and receive ourTop 10 Easy Freezer Meals eBook for free.

Top 10 Easy Freezer Meals eBook

Leave a Comment

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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

54 replies
  1. 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

    Reply
  2. 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.

    Reply
  3. 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

    Reply
  4. 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

    Reply
  5. 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

    Reply
  6. 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

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  7. 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.

    Reply
  8. 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.

    Reply
  9. 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

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  10. 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  11. 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.

    Reply
  12. 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!!

    Reply
    • 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!

      Reply
  13. 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  14. 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.

    Reply
  15. 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.

    Reply
  16. Barbara Graham says:

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

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  17. 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.

    Reply
    • 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!

      Reply
  18. 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!

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  19. 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!

    Reply
  20. 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.

    Reply
  21. 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: http://www.lilblueboo.com/2012/03/my-lil-list-healthy-living-and-detox.html. 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

    Reply
  22. 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. http://www.amazon.com/Cancer-Fight-Blood-Health-Library/dp/0425200078

    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…

    Reply
    • 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!

      Reply