Recipe Connection: Cancer Fighting Vegetable Soup with an Asian Twist

Cancer Fighting Vegetable Soup Recipe with an Asian Twist - my dad kicked chemo's butt and I swear it's partly because of this soup!

My dad kicked chemo’s butt.

There’s no denying it, the man weathered chemotherapy (for bladder cancer) with fewer side effects and more energy than anyone I’ve ever heard of.

He had eight sessions of chemo, a six-hour infusion, then a two-hour infusion a week later, then a week off, repeating four times over twelve weeks.

On his last six-hour infusion, when he should have been down and out because chemo builds up in your system and can be worse and worse each time you go, he and my mom visited our family immediately after the appointment and stayed the weekend.

Rather than taking naps, sitting around watching TV and struggling to work up an appetite for meals, he sanded and put two coats of lacquer on our kids’ wooden picnic table, took our 35-pound 2-year-old for at least three walks in the wagon, and ate every meal with us.

It’s honestly more energy than he used to have during a visit to our house!

I wanted to make sure I served really clean, wholesome meals for them during that time to keep up with the great things my mom had been doing at home: reducing grains, including greens and probiotics in smoothies, keeping the fluid intake wayyyyyy up to protect his kidneys, and generally avoiding as many synthetic chemicals as possible in foods and personal products.

Cancer Fighting Vegetable Soup Recipe with an Asian Twist - my dad kicked chemo's butt and I swear it's partly because of this soup!

I had promised I’d have a soup available the night they arrived in case Dad was hungry for a late-night snack (they’d need to eat dinner on the road on the way over).

I had leftover venison from a roast earlier in the week, plenty of broth, and this list of cancer-fighting foods that I wanted to use as much as possible during the visit. My mom had admitted that although I had recommended including artichokes in their meals a few times a week, she had tried a few new recipes and Dad didn’t like them.

I was determined to show her that finely chopped artichokes could disappear into all sorts of meals and served them three or four times during the weekend, knocking out an entire Costco-sized jar! This soup was only the beginning…

Cancer Fighting Vegetable Soup Recipe with an Asian Twist - my dad kicked chemo's butt and I swear it's partly because of this soup!

I literally ticked through the cancer-fighting foods list and the contents of my fridge and freezer, trying to stick with an Asian-inspired theme but including as many high-nutrient veggies as I could. I used 50 percent of the list, and the soup turned out to be surprisingly tasty considering there aren’t a ton of seasonings involved, just a few simple but powerful foundations: onion, garlic, ginger and soy sauce.

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Served with this cancer-fighting cabbage slaw, a roasted beet salad (or hot roasted beets with butter, salt and pepper), and perhaps some grain-free biscuits, it made an excellent and powerfully nourishing meal. I include a few beet salad options in this old, ugly post, but they’re updated much nicer in The Healthy Lunch Box, published last summer. Smile

Cancer Fighting Vegetable Soup Recipe with an Asian Twist - my dad kicked chemo's butt and I swear it's partly because of this soup!
4.5 from 2 reviews
Easy Cancer Fighting Asian Vegetable Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Note: Ingredients often use affiliate links to Amazon, but obviously you should shop for the best price and try to keep your dollars local when you can.
Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 6-8
  • 2-4 Tbs. fat
  • 2 medium onions, diced or sliced
  • 1 medium to large head of bok choy, separated
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ⅓ large head cabbage (about 2-3 cups shredded)
  • 2 large carrots, sliced or diced
  • fresh ginger root, grated, to taste (1/2 inch or up to 3 inches)
  • 4 c. spinach or any other leafy green, finely chopped if you prefer
  • 5-6 c. beef broth, preferably homemade
  • 1½ tsp. Real Salt
  • ¼-1/2 tsp. pepper
  • artichoke hearts, chopped (use ~9 hearts, which is about 1 15-oz. can, drained)
  • 2 c. cooked and cubed beef or venison
  • ⅓ lb. fresh or frozen broccoli (2 c.), chopped
  • 1 c. cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 5-oz. can water chestnuts, drained and diced or sliced
  • soy sauce and grated Parmesan or Romano to serve
  1. In your favorite fat (tallow, refined coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil are good choices) over medium heat, saute onions for at least 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Press the garlic and set aside.
  2. Wash the bok choy well and dice the woody white parts of the stems. Reserve the leaves. Add to the saute for a few minutes while you slice the cabbage and carrots.
  3. When the onions and bok choy are translucent, add the cabbage, carrots, garlic and fresh ginger to taste. Stir around for a minute or two while chopping up the bok choy greens, then add the bok choy greens and any other greens you are using. Stir and cover for about a minute to wilt. (If you have green-o-phobes in the family, chop up the greens. Otherwise baby spinach leaves can just go in whole.)
  4. Pour in the beef broth and increase the heat to high.
  5. Add the salt, pepper, artichokes and meat. Cover the pot.
  6. Chop the broccoli and cauliflower (fresh or frozen for each works fine) and add to the pot along with the water chestnuts, cut to whatever size you prefer. (They will add a crunch, so if whole slices seem a bit large, cut into fourths or so.)
  7. When the broth comes to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 5-15 minutes until all the vegetables are tender.
  8. Serve hot with soy sauce at the table. (You could add 2-4 Tbs. soy sauce into the soup right away instead, but I preferred to allow people to adjust that flavor to their own tastes.
  9. Add additional salt or put fresh grated Parmesan or Romano on top if it “needs a little something.”
* A can of diced tomatoes adds a lot of flavor, color, and one more superfood for cancer.

*If you really feel that you need a starch in the soup, add one diced potato with the broth or some cooked whole grains like rice or barley, but for an anti-cancer diet, fewer starchy carbs are best.

* Note: If you have folks in your family who would say, “Boy, this sure is a vegetable soup,” because they prefer meaty meals, feel free to increase the meat. Nothing wrong with well-sourced, grassfed or wild meat on a cancer-fighting diet.
Cancer Fighting Vegetable Soup Recipe with an Asian Twist - my dad kicked chemo's butt and I swear it's partly because of this soup!

Do you do soup in the summer?


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Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post to Amazon and Tropical Traditions from which I will earn some commission if you make a purchase, and the probiotics are from my own Miessence store. See my full disclosure statement here.

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15 Bites of Conversation So Far

  1. Maria says

    I think I would leave out the meat as it is carcinogenic and leads to cancer (The China Study). Replace the beef broth with veggie broth and this would be a great cancer fighter!

    [Reply to this comment]

    Maria Reply:

    I will be making this tonight with the modifications listed above :)

    [Reply to this comment]

    Helen @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Can’t wait to hear how it turns out!

    [Reply to this comment]

    Maria Reply:

    The soup turned out delicious! I used veggie broth instead of beef and left out the meat. Tomorrow I will make it again as I have a lot of veggies left over. I will be adding mushrooms tomorrow because I bought some today at the Asian market that looked good. Thanks for the idea Katie! :)

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Yes, it will make a lovely veggie soup. I’ve read a bit of the China study as well as quite a few rebuttals of the whole thing. As with almost anything in nutrition, diet and health, it’s controversial and comes down to what feels right to you. But it’s great when the recipe can be adaptable to whatever people appreciate most about nutrition! :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  2. Kim says

    Recipe sounds healthy and satisfying. Can you just clarify what you mean by “real” salt. I use sea salt in most everything. Thank you.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Hi Kim,
    Real Salt is a brand name of unrefined salt – so some “sea salt” is still really refined. Celtic sea salt, Real Salt, and Himalayan pink salt are some of the only ways to get truly unrefined salt. More info here: Hope that makes sense! :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

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