We're of the opinion that the holidays and overindulging go hand in hand. But by December 26, our food coma–induced stupor has typically lifted and we find ourselves searching for lighter fare. Detoxifying soups always fit the bill: They're nourishing, flavorful, easy to prepare, and (most importantly!) light.
For that reason, we scanned some of our favorite food blogs in search of the best nourishing soup recipes fit for the day after Christmas. After much consideration, we landed on The Modern Proper's leftover turkey soup, Half Baked Harvest's mean green detox vegetable soup, The First Mess's coconut green soup with celery, kale, and ginger, Foodie Crush's ginger carrot soup, and Martha Stewart's turmeric-ginger chicken soup.
Packed with cleansing, anti-inflammatory ingredients like turmeric, ginger, celery, and more, the following five soups are just as detoxifying as they are delicious. Whip these up in your kitchen today, and browse our editor-approved soup essentials as you cook.
Leftover Turkey Soup
Why it works: Not only will this super-practical recipe utilize all of your leftover turkey, but it's also packed with detoxifying ingredients like ginger, garlic, and bok choy (an excellent source of fiber, beta-carotene, and vitamins C, K, and A). In the words of recipe creator Holly Erickson, this recipe is "rich, flavor packed, and will keep things interesting at the dinner table until every last bit of turkey is gone."
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1 small shallot, finely diced
3–4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp. ginger, grated
8 cups turkey or chicken stock
3 cups leftover turkey, shredded
2 baby bok choy, quartered or cut into eighths lengthwise
4-6 oz. mushrooms (we used oyster and white)
1 lime, juiced
1 tbsp fish sauce
Salt to taste
10–14 oz. rice noodles (we used pad Thai noodles)
Red pepper flakes
In a large soup pot, heat the sesame oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and grated ginger, and sauté for 2 minutes longer.
Once the ginger is fragrant and the shallots are softening, add the stock.
Bring to a boil; then add the turkey, bok choy, and mushrooms.
Season with the juice of one lime and the fish sauce. Check for saltiness. Depending on how salty your stock was, you may want to add more salt to taste.
Add the rice noodles to the soup. Once the rice noodles soften, you're ready to garnish and serve.
Garnish with cilantro, green onion, red pepper flakes, and sesame seeds.
Mean Green Detox Vegetable Soup
Why it works: This soup is about as healthy as you can get. It's packed with nutrient-dense vegetables like kale, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, and leeks, plus protein-rich lentils and detoxifying spices like garlic, ginger, and cayenne, which will help you "fight off winter colds and rev your metabolism," writes recipe creator Tieghan Gerard.
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 leek halved + sliced
4 carrots chopped
4 cloves garlic minced or grated
1-inch piece of ginger grated
Kosher salt and pepper
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 qt. low-sodium vegetable broth
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 cup green lentils
4 cups roughly torn kale
2 cups broccoli florets
1/4 head purple cabbage shredded
Zest + juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup fresh parsley plus cilantro
Parmesan (or vegan Parmesan) for serving
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the leeks and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger, and cook another 30 seconds to 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the cayenne, broth, soy sauce, and vinegar. Add 2 cups water, and bring the soup to a boil over high heat. Stir in the lentils, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add the kale, broccoli, and cabbage, and continue cooking until the lentils and broccoli are tender, about 10–15 minutes longer.
Just before serving, stir in the lemon juice, parsley, and cilantro. Taste, and season with more salt if needed. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with vegan Parmesan.
Coconut Green Soup with Celery, Kale + Ginger
Why it works: You can't really go wrong with coconut oil, celery, kale, and ginger. The First Mess is a notoriously health-conscious, plant-based food blog, meaning you're getting all of the nutrients and none of the processed ingredients when you make one of her recipes. This soup is exhibit A. Though it looks creamy and indulgent, this soup consists of pureed fruits and vegetables, plus invigorating spices like cumin, coriander, and fresh ginger.
1 tsp. whole cumin seeds
1 tsp. whole coriander
1 tsp. coconut oil
1 large or 2 small-medium shallots, diced
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 bunch of celery, chopped
1 medium apple, peeled + chopped
3 inches fresh ginger root, peeled and chopped
6 cups vegetable stock
sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
4 cups chopped and packed greens (I used kale and a bit of chard)
1 14-oz. can full-fat coconut milk
Juice of 1 lime
Cooked brown rice
Cooked lentils or chickpeas
Sliced ripe avocado
Extra coconut milk
Olive oil or chili-infused olive oil
Chopped basil or chives
Heat a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Add the cumin and coriander seeds to the pot, and toast in the dry pot until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove the spices from the pot, and grind them into a powder. Set aside.
Drop the coconut oil into the pot, and let it melt/heat up for 30 seconds. Add the shallots to the pot, and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the zucchini, celery, and apple to the pot, and stir. Add the ginger, ground cumin, and coriander to the pot, and stir to distribute the spices among the vegetables.
Add the vegetable stock to the pot, and stir. Season with salt and pepper. Bring the vegetables and broth to a boil, and then simmer, stirring here and there, until the zucchini is very tender, about 10 minutes.
Add the chopped greens and coconut milk to the pot, and stir to mix. Keep simmering and stirring until the greens have wilted and are bright green. Remove the vegetables and stock from the heat.
Purée the soup with a stick blender or in batches using a blender. Return the puréed soup to the pot, and bring it to a boil. Stir the fresh lime juice into the soup, and adjust any other seasoning. Serve coconut green soup hot with any garnishes you like.
Ginger Carrot Soup
Why it works: In the words of recipe creator Heidi, this soup will help you "achieve your health goals, no matter what they are." It's made with Greek yogurt instead of cream, plus beta carotene-rich carrots, and antioxidant-rich, anti-inflammatory ginger, which can also curb nausea.
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups yellow onion diced
3 tbsp. ginger peeled and grated
3 cloves garlic minced
2 pounds carrots peeled and sliced
2 qt. chicken stock
1 qt. water
2 bay leaves
2–3 fresh thyme sprigs
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. white pepper
2 cups vanilla
Flavored Greek yogurt
3 tbsp. butter
Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the onion, ginger, and garlic, and cook for 5 minutes, or until the onions soften, stirring often.
Add the carrots, chicken stock, water, bay leaves, thyme sprigs, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; then reduce to simmer, and cook until the carrots are tender, about 35–40 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs, and blend the mixture with an immersion blender, or transfer to a blender and blend until smooth.
Blend in the vanilla yogurt and butter, and season with more salt and white pepper to taste. Serve with a dollop of yogurt and fresh thyme if desired.
Turmeric-Ginger Chicken Soup
Why it works: We've already established the fact that turmeric is one of the most anti-inflammatory foods out there, and this soup is brimming with it. Martha Stewart and her recipe team call this dish "restorative" and "immunity boosting," making it absolutely perfect for post-holiday detoxification.
1 thinly sliced garlic clove
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. grated ginger
1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
6 cups chicken stock
3 oz. angel-hair pasta, broken in half
1 cup shredded cooked chicken
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Microgreens and thinly sliced scallions, for serving
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, sauté garlic, turmeric, and ginger in oil until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add stock; bring to a simmer.
Add pasta; cook 1 minute less than per package instructions. Add chicken; heat through, 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice. Serve with microgreens and scallions.
For more healthy recipes, subscribe to our newsletter.