Recipe time: Wil’s Sinusitis Can Suck It Vegetable Soup

I managed to go eighteen whole months without getting sick, but sometime in the last week or so, something worked its way into my sinuses, and it's been kicking my ass for the last 48 hours.

For most of the last week, I've been waking up in the morning with an intensely sore throat and painful, burning sinuses. I've been coughing and sneezing like crazy, so I figured it was just allergies (If it pollinates, I'm allergic to it. Yay), and dealt with it accordingly.

Clever girl, sinusitis. You had me fooled… but you gave yourself away yesterday with the heavy chest, body aches, and the general fatigue, and now I can fight back! Muwahahaha!!!1 *cough* *cough* *cough* *Krusty The Clown Groan*

Last night, I was so miserable, I just wanted some nice, warm comfort food. Even though I don't eat meat, I gave serious consideration to chicken noodle soup, but I ended up making a hearty vegetable soup instead. Anne loved it, and some friends asked for the recipe, so here it is. I got everything at Trader Joe's:

Wil's Sinusitis Can Suck It Vegetable Soup

  • 3 cups tomato juice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes, or 4 chopped fresh tomatoes (save as much of the juice as you can)
  • 4 or 5 carrots
  • 3 or 4 medium potatoes (I used the red, gold, and purple medley) 
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 medium yellow squash
  • 4 or 5 stalks of celery (I used celery hearts)
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 4 large cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Bragg's Liquid Aminos (Soy or Tamari sauce also works)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme

I prefer to use organic vegetables, or at least vegetables that haven't been grown using any pesticides, but as Rick Ross said, do watcha like.

Wash all the vegetables. Slice the zucchini and squash. Slice the potatoes, then quarter the slices. Chop the onion, celery, and carrots. Peel and mince the garlic.

Heat a bit of olive oil in a stock pot or large (~4qt) sauce pan. Sauteé the carrots, onions and garlic until the onions are translucent and the carrots are bright orange, about 2 or 3 minutes. Be careful that you don't let the heat get too high and burn the oil. Add the potatoes and stir. About a minute later, pour in the tomato juice and water, and turn the heat to maximum. Add all the veggies and spices. Stir like a boss. If the veggies aren't covered, you can add a little more tomato juice.

Bring it all to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for about 30 minutes, then let cool, uncovered, for about 10 minutes (unless you're into burning the hell out of your mouth. I don't judge.)

Serve with some crusty bread (I got a nice artisan boule of sourdough, but I bet it would be great with some spent-grain bread).

Note: You can add other veggies if you want, just make sure you increase the liquid to account for the extra stuff. I considered kidney and garbanzo beans, and I bet you could toss some cauliflower or broccoli florets in there, too, if that was your thing.

81 thoughts on “Recipe time: Wil’s Sinusitis Can Suck It Vegetable Soup”

  1. As a fellow sinusitis sufferer, I suggest one addition — a hot pepper of some kind or even just a dash or two of the hot sauce of your choice. Sometimes the spice plus the hot soup can help unclog things, which is why I often find myself craving Korean food when I am in sinus hell.

  2. This sounds like a tasty recipe. And easy to do. Since my boyfriend is a chef I don’t do much cooking AKA I can’t cook, ha! Simple soups I can manage. thanks for the recipe, hope you feel better soon.
    <3 Lindsay (@thecraftafarian)

  3. That sinus cold went around Grand Rapids, MI too (at least as far as I could tell we all got it. Or at least the cool programmers and geeks got it). Unfortunately, it also coincided with a big family wedding for us. Out of desperation we tried nearly every suggestion given to us. The one that worked best? A Neti Pot. Weird. Bizarre. An almost-photographed-for-the-humor-of-it sort of remedy. But it worked. Like magic.
    Go to Walgreens. Buy the little blue Neti Pot. Laugh. Do it. Feel instantly better.

  4. Sounds good, I would probably use my home made chicken stock as a base anyways, because it is fab and nutritious (and I am an omnivore) and I totally second the suggestion of hotness through use of some kind of pepper product. I also add ginger to my “soup for sickie person” creations, partially for the ginger heat, but also because ginger packs a lot of healing punch on its own. But just as is, soup sounds delish & hope you feel better soon!

  5. I agree about the hot sauce. I have ducked at least 2 colds that have come into my household and I trumpet the powers of hot sauce and habenero chilis! I suppose that hot sauce might cause a short-term mimic of your body’s choice to induce fever to burn out infection, makes sense to me anyway!

  6. I put Sriracha in mine. Just enough to give it some nice heat without being brutal. Even better, it’s best when added to the bowl when serving as cooking it takes away a lot of the sauce’s heat, and you can add as much as you want and just keep going from there until it’s a violent red soup of damnation.
    Feel better soon. And, if not, I call dibs on your stuff if you don’t pull through.

  7. If you want a really good clear-out, try something in the habanero or fatalii family. We just made a fatalii based hot sauce (w/mango, carrot and ginger) last week and just one small taste of it cleared my sinuses right out.
    I second the suggestion below about a neti pot as well and add to it a recommendation for this stuff called Alkalol. It’s been around for like 100 years and is a combo of various plant oils and natural antiseptic ingredients. You mix it 50/50 with warm water and use it in a neti pot to flush the muscus from your sinuses. It can burn like a SOB if your sinuses are super irritated, but it really does a nice job getting everything out of there. Like you, I’m allergic to just about all pollens, so a nice ENT doc suggested this stuff to me about 20 years ago.

  8. Whenever I have a recipe that calls for tomato soup or juice (or even sauce), I use V8 instead. Especially in pasta sauce and sloppy joes; adding tomato paste to thicken. Adds 7 more veggies and you can’t taste the difference. Feel better soon!

  9. Been sick at home with a major cold since Tuesday. My hubby fixed a wonderful chicken soup for me and though it didn’t mak me healthy again, it sure gave me some of my energy back. Now I am mostly exhausted from all the medicine so this week is about staying in bed sleeping, watching old Flintstones DVD’s and playing with the IPad.
    Hope u feel better, Wil.

  10. Oh, thank you! You have such perfect timing. I’m currently dying of a sinus, aches, chills, fever, coughing thing. I’m sure this will help. This and wasabi, lots of wasabi.

  11. Get well soon. I definitely second the Sriracha recommendation. No mere germ can withstand the fury of the mighty Red Rooster. As an aside, Mighty Red Rooster would make an awesome comic book superhero . . . but I digress.
    I’ve found saunas really helpful in getting the lungs clear, as well as soaking some heat deep into the core. If I can find one in Kansas, I’m fairly sure you can find one where you live. :-)
    Bragg’s is good stuff, too. I was a little dubious when I looked at the label (the picture screamed “Crazy Bonnet Lady is Crazy”) but when I actually tried it, Everything Went Better Than Expected.

  12. That sounds delicious! With the constantly changing weather here in St. Louis, it’s definitely time for some comfort food. I bet this will make enough to last me awhile, which is awesome since I have Fibromyalgia and some nasty RA and don’t often feel like cooking. Thanks for the recipe, Wil! Get better soon!

  13. I’m pretty much in the same boat. I am a cronic sinusitis sufferer too, and I woke up stuffier than usual this morning, and with a bit of a sore throat. I already have a soup for tonight (Mmm, spicy corn chowder…) but I think I need to make a big batch of Sinusitis Can Suck It for the weekend.
    I second Lastwordy’s advice to add a bit of hot sauce or something to the soup. Just enough to show your sinuses that they aren’t the boss of you.

  14. We always do a tomato juice-based vegetable (beef) soup in my family. A lot of “what’s in the fridge?” goes into it, veg-wise. And we always used tomato juice that’s been canned at home. Somehow, it’s just better that way. :)
    Thirding the Neti pot rec. Seriously, it’s amazing.
    Get well, Wil!

  15. I feel your pain. The weather changes in pressure have me wanting to hack my head off with a big knife. My box of organic produce from a CSA arrives tomorrow, so I’m totally making this.
    Get well soon!

  16. I have RA too, and I was thinking as I read the recipe that it would be great flare food! Unless tomato is one of your triggers, of course 😉

  17. A lot of people here on the east coast are dealing with the sinus thing too. With temps in the 40’s at night, warm, fresh vegetable soup will surely hit the spot! Thanks Wil for the recipe. I hope you feel better soon.

  18. The flu is going around Seattle already. I got it the day after my birthday, it kept me from your recent appearance. Sorry you caught the Seattle plague but you’re not alone! :(

  19. I got so excited that I both clipped this to Evernote AND saved it on Instapaper. At this point, a foolish man would say, “Bring it, Sinusitis!!” but I have met that wily foe far too many times to give it an opening like that….

  20. I’m thrilled for the recipe! I also just discovered something that made me smile today when I went to pick my beloved dog up from [insert awesome local doggy daycare name here]. Your dog and my dog have apparently shared the singular honor of being Pooch of the Month at the aforementioned place during 2011. What a cutie Seamus is!

  21. This sounds really good! With the fall like weather (as least at night) in No-Cal, I’ve been craving soup too. I am a carnivore though, so some homemade beef-vegi stew might hit the spot…

  22. Wil! Awesome recipe cant wait to try!
    Also as a non meat eater and a fond lover of soups and things, I HIGHLY recommend BETTER THAN BOUILLON brand bouillons. They make a vegetarian chicken stock called “NO CHICKEN BASE” thats AMAZING ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!!!!!!!!! You can probably find it at any grocery store AAAAAAND AMAZON! Who knew?!
    Also and completely unrelated, as a fan of, I would love to send you a pillow of your FACE. Where can I send it to?
    THANKS!!! And loved your reading at Ernie Cline’s reading in Seattle!!!!!!!!

  23. While Jihee’s enthusiasm has me picturing a Billy Mays infomercial for bouillon, I gotta back that up. 😉 “Better Than Bouillon” is the good stuff. It can be hard to find at some grocery stores but here in the Midwest I get it at Meijer. Usually, though, I just the leftover bits from chopping vegetables and use them to make one huge stockpot of veggie broth from time to time and freeze it in 1-cup containers. Sometimes ya just need bouillon though!

  24. I don’t think that tomato is one of my triggers. Hmm, I’ll have to see how I do after I eat this. Which I am making now…at 3am because insomnia is a bitch. It smells amazing!

  25. I’m hoping I was able to “Stir like a boss.” It’s 3am here in St. Louis and I have insomnia. Listenting to some RFB and making soup seems to be the right way to spend the time.

  26. Mmmm…… souuuup. Sounds delish.
    For those who are yet too sick too cook, and are not estrogen-sensitive, you can always put a chunk of fresh ginger root into chicken broth soups. Or just a cup of hot tea. : )
    And, do some research on L-Lysine. It might be helpful to ward off The Crud.
    Many Feel Betters to all
    k in PGH.

  27. I finally convinced my wife that hot Mexican food is a good treatment for colds/sinusitis. Conveniently, living in Southern New Mexico, this is available. Every time I get a cold, which was moderately often before I was diagnosed with not having an immune system, I head down the mountain for some heat. She finally tried it not too long ago when she had a cold and was quite pleased with the nasally-purging effects.
    Myself, I’d go with adobo sauce and a small amount of chipotle.

  28. Just made the rosemary spent grain bread you linked to a while back, and I will definitely be making this soup for dinner tonight. Thanks for sharing, and feel better!

  29. Great recipe, the only thing I would add (as a Holistic Chef I’m obliged to) is never to cook with olive oil. I’m not sure who started the rumor that this is a good idea, but OO just dies above 120 degrees. If you need to use vegetable oil use grapeseed (not TJs, it’s too refined) but the best options for cooking are saturated fats – coconut oil, ghee, butter and lard. They don’t break down easily and you end up eating good fats instead of rancid oil. Plus, it tastes insanely good!

  30. I love Phở when I’m sick, but it has to have extra cock sauce! Hum… Sriracha sauce! Next time I’m feeling off I’ll have to try this instead.
    Calamity Bird, lol. Jihee is always very enthusiastic.

  31. Yay! A recipe that is awesome and vegetarian!
    My step mommy makes the best potato soup in the world. Its fairly similar to this except with about 8 times the potatoes (we like starches) and she makes her own broth. She saves the ends of vegetables when cooking and freeze them until she has a full bag. Then she takes them and boils them down in water until its made a really super yummy broth.
    Needless to say, I have an amazing step mommy who is an astounding cook.

  32. Isn't [insert awesome local doggy daycare name here] the best place, ever?! I love taking him there, and they did a *fantastic* job helping him learn how to be a social, friendly dog who is relaxed and comfortable around any other dogs he meets. He's so good at adjusting to other dogs, actually, that they use him as a tester dog when he's there and someone wants to bring a new dog to daycare.
    That face he's making in his pooch of the month picture is his "Look how good I can be while I wait for you to give me that treat you're holding" look. As you can imagine, I see it all the time.
    Congratulations on having a pooch of the month. I know it's silly, but when we found out Seamus was pooch of the month, it was like we had gotten one of those "My kid is on the honor roll" things.

  33. I had no idea about that. I always use olive oil because I like the flavor. I'll look into other options for the future.

  34. As a meat-eater and soup-lover, I second this. Both Better Than Bouillon and No Chicken Base make for excellent flavorful soups, and I use both for cooking purposes on a semi-regular basis.

  35. I will have to give this a try as I just came down with a case of sinusitis/head cold o’ doom myself *grumble, grumble*. I also have a severely compromised immune system…and wow 18 months is amazing. My record isn’t anywhere near that. :)
    I think it had been 4-6 months for me which is pretty good in my case…but I had to go and add some dairy back to my diet and as usual, it swiftly kicked me in the rear (unlike Will Sasso, I was not raised on the dairy). :(
    Damn you, Trader Joes Half n’ Half with your soft and silky goodness…and damn you Lucerne Mild Cheddar for tempting me with your chewy and flavorful texture! Then again…after changing my diet I’ve dropped 60 lbs this year and am back to my old college fighting weight…so f**k you sugar, wheat, donuts and all the rest of you bad foods that have been banned from my apartment. And dairy, you are permanently on the ROYAL SHIT LIST – this time for GOOD!!!
    But I will add a hearty thank you to Fisherman’s Friends. You guys are lifesavers. :)

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