by Ljupka Peev, Naturopath

Cold and flu season is well and truly here, with lots of people unwell at the moment. Recently my friend’s two and a half-year-old son was sick and not eating. I made a big batch of my version of minestrone soup, which he loved! Here he is [or that’s him] drinking it from the bowl.

I’ve since been asked for the recipe and thought I’d share it with everyone.

This is a favourite of my family and friends, particularly when it’s cold outside or if anyone is feeling rundown with a cold or flu. It is loaded with vegetables and I add beans and wholegrains for extra nutrition and to make it more filling. For sick adults, I tend to put more garlic as well as chilli, but you can adjust it to suit your tastes.

This recipe easily serves 6-8 adults, so it’s great for sharing or for ensuring left-overs.



Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: About 1 hour
Serves: 6-8



·      2 Tbs olive oil·      1 large onion, finely chopped·      1 garlic clove, finely chopped

·      ½ large or 1 small fennel bulb, finely chopped

·      1 leek, white part finely chopped

·      1 large carrot, cut into small cubes

·      2 turnips, cut into small cubes

·      1 large zucchini, cut into small cubes

·      ¼ cabbage, shredded

·      1 small head of broccoli, cut into florets (also use the stem, cut into small cubes)

·      2 Cups chopped kale

·      1 can (440g) mixed beans or beans of choice, well rinsed.

·      1 can (400g) chopped tomatoes

·      1 tsp tomato paste

·      2.5 litres chicken stock (or vegetable if preferred)

·      1 cup brown rice

·      ½ cup buckwheat

·      Herbs: Sage, Thyme, French tarragon



1. Heat the olive oil over in a large pot over low-medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, fennel, leek and sage. Cook, stirring once or twice, for about 10 minutes, or until soft and golden.

2. Add the carrot and turnip and cook for 5 minutes.

3. Stir in the tomato paste, tomatoes and beans, and season with pepper. Add the stock and bring slowly to the boil. Cover and leave to simmer for 30 minutes, stirring once of twice.

4. Taste for seasoning and add the thyme, tarragon, zucchini, cabbage, broccoli, kale, brown rice and buckwheat. Simmer with the lid on until the grains are cooked (about 20-30 minutes), stirring occasionally.

5. Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice and grated parmesan.



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Ljupka Peev is a naturopath and herbalist with extensive clinical experience and expertise in fertility, IVF/ART, pregnancy, gynaecological problems, menopause, and men’s health. She is a contributing author for Ruth Trickey’s ‘Women, Hormones and the Menstrual Cycle’ 3rdedition, which is used in Australia and internationally as a naturopathic textbook. She is also lecturer in herbal medicine and mentor to final year naturopathic students.