Immune-Booster Thai Soup

Sometimes you simply need some help. Well-chosen superfoods can kick-start your immune system into high gear, especially during late fall when it seems like everyone around you is coming down with a cold.
 
High antioxidant nutrients are all enveloped in a hot, healthful and soothing broth in this easy Thai soup. Vitamin D-rich mushrooms, immune-building garlic and onions, antiviral coconut oil, vitamin A-packed kale, metabolism-boosting cayenne pepper, and red bell pepper that boasts one of the highest levels of vitamin C are topped off with cold-busting staples: fresh ginger, lemon and honey. They all make a powerful team to tackle cold-weather months.
 
INGREDIENTS
 
1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
1-2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
Rind of 1/2 lemon, grated 
Juice of 1 lemon 
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated or chopped fine
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
2 cups shitake mushrooms, sliced
1 red bell pepper, cut into slices
3 cups kale, chopped into bit-sized pieces without stems
Pinch(es) cayenne pepper to taste
1 zucchini, made into noodles (if you have a spiralizer device) or grated
10 cups water
 
Heat coconut oil in a pan over medium heat. Add onions and sauté for 5 minutes or until translucent. Add mushrooms and bell pepper and sauté for 10 minutes. Add in garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute more. Bring water to a boil in a pot and add all ingredients from pan (including any leftover coconut oil). Add grated lemon zest, lemon juice, sesame oil, cayenne, honey, tamari/soy to pot. Let it simmer, covered, for 1 hour or more. Add kale and zucchini noodles in the last 10 minutes of simmering, to wilt it. Serve immediately or store in the freezer. NOTE: If you like creamy soups, you can also combine all ingredients with a hand-blender before adding in the kale and zucchini and add another tablespoon coconut oil, if desired.

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