Bieler's Broth: a Healing, Restorative Soup Recipe | Pamela Salzman & Recipes Skip to content

Bieler’s Broth: a Healing, Restorative Soup Recipe

Bieler's broth | pamela salzman

It’s good to be home. I had the loveliest holiday break, but it’s good to be home. Even though I knew I was coming back to two weeks worth of mail to sift through, groceries to buy, meals to plan, piles of laundry to wash, it’s all good.

As I’ve mentioned several times, I am not much on detox diets or cleanses after the holidays even though they are all the rage. I notice a lot of people overdo it even more between Thanksgiving and New Years knowing they will “cleanse” it all off starting January 1. Eh. If you just try eliminating sugar and flour for a few weeks, your health will improve drastically. You don’t need to give up real food and sip juice for a week. But that’s just my opinion.

Bieler's broth | pamela salzman

However I do want to share an amazing, healing and very digestible soup recipe called Bieler’s Broth. This soup is nothing new. In fact, it has been around for decades, invented by a doctor named Bieler. The soup is vegan and all vegetable-based. It is not a culinary soup in the sense that it is so delicious that you would want to serve it to your friends at your next dinner party, but more of a medicinal soup.  It tastes absolutely fine though, just a little bland.

According to Sally Fallon in her book Nourishing Traditions, Dr. Bieler felt that this combination of vegetables was ideal for restoring acid-alkaline and sodium-potassium balance to organs and glands, especially the sodium-loving adrenal glands which suffer under stress.  The broth is also supportive for liver function — recall that the liver is our detoxifying organ.  Bieler’s broth is highly recommended for those under stress or suffering from stress-related conditions.  Know anyone stressed out?  Yep, I thought so.

Bieler's broth | pamela salzman

When I have had a lot of travel combined with a chaotic schedule and less than desirable eating, I’ll make a big batch of Bieler’s broth every few days and drink a mugful either as a snack during the day or with my breakfast or dinner. I don’t function well without protein and fats, so I can’t use this as a meal replacement.

I always notice a big improvement in my overall wellbeing after supplementing daily for 2 weeks with Bieler’s broth. I made a batch yesterday which should last 3 days and I’ll make another batch on Thursday to get me through the weekend.

Bieler's broth | pamela salzman

I know that the vegetables in Bieler’s broth are not in season in the winter. I am normally opposed to that, but in this case it’s just temporary. Be sure to buy only organic vegetables since this is supposed to be a healing soup and pesticides will just add more toxins to the body. Also, zucchini is now a common GMO crop, so buying organic ensures you will be buying non-GMO.

Bieler's broth | pamela salzman

Here’s hoping 2016 is off to a healthy start for you. If you’ve gotten off on the wrong foot, it’s never to late to start fresh. Do check out the dinner planner I started posting on Sundays!  It will change your life to plan out your meals.  Promise!

5.0 from 17 reviews
Bieler's Broth: a Healing, Restorative Soup Recipe
Author: 
Serves: 2 quarts
 
Ingredients
  • 4 medium zucchini, ends discarded and zucchini sliced into rounds
  • 1 pound string beans, ends trimmed
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1-2 bunches parsley (flat-leaf or curly), tough stems removed (you can freeze the stems for stock making)
  • 4 cups water
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil. Skim any foam on the surface, lower the heat and simmer, covered until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
  2. Puree soup in the pot with a handheld blender or in a blender in batches.
  3. Eat warm.
Notes
I usually make this twice in a week and that will make enough for me to have a bowl every day.

 

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Comments

89 Comments

  1. This soup was FABULOUS and my husband and I love it! I got the recipe about 30 years ago from a nutritionist who I saw to help with my health after I contracted Hepatitis A! So happy to have found it on your website now that I’m having some health issues. Thank you so much for posting. I’m going to look at your other recipes and find Bieler’s book!

    • I’m delighted to hear that, Julie!

  2. what is the serving size ? I thought maybe 8 ounces?

    • 8 ounces is about right, but it could be more or less.

  3. My Dad was told he wouldn’t live past 30. He is now 84 and has outlived all of the doctors that told him that. He has been doing “Bieler’s Broth” throughout his life. He says it is the best thing he has found. I’m about to try it since I have similar body chemistry to his with allergies, inflammation, etc. However, I’m a vegetarian.

    • That’s so great to hear!

  4. I also love this soup! I use 1 tablespoon of coconut oil to cook the veggies in until soft then add 1 cup water boil then blend. It’s really delicious with ground ginger added!! I like it spicy.

    • Ginger is such a healing food! 🙂

      • I am adding the ginger, may I also add a garlic clove?

      • I am adding the ginger, may I also add a garlic clove? Apple cider vinegar? Also the recipe calls for stocks of celery, should run also use the greens? Thank you so much

        • Sorry for the typos!

        • You’re welcome to add other things to the soup, but the way it’s written is the way it was designed to be consumed by Dr. Beiler. Celery leaves would be amazing here if you have them.

  5. Thanks for th recipe. Have made it before but couldn’t remember details. I brought this to a Thanksgiving potluck one year with cayenne powder to sprinkle on top. It some seasonal color. It was quite popular. I love it Glad to see the recipe again.

    • That’s a nice idea to add a little kick to the broth. 🙂

      • Thanks, Pamela. I’ve seen several versions, but this is the original recipe. I’ve been making it for decades. Now I just cook the veggies and serve them for dinner with meat or fish. Squeeze fresh lemon on the veggies.

        Have to tell you, I’m the oldest and healthiest person I know.

        • Good for you, Barbara!! 🙂

        • I do the same… steam veggies and serve . Am oldest and healthiest of my friends and when in my 40’ thinnest of my Chicago meat eating family and group. I lived on this combination veggie for years. After 10 ye absence returning to it at age 77.

  6. Hello. After many years of suffering and finally figuring out that I have Celiac’s disease, Bieler’s Broth was recommended to me and I would say saved my life. I still suffer from fatigue, low energy along with other issues. In the beginning I ate Bieler’s Broth for just about 90 days. I make a batch from time to time. I am wondering do you recommend eating nothing else at all but Bieler’s Broth? I don’t know if I am strong enough to go without protein? What kind of regimen would you suggest? I do feel so much better every time I make a batch. I want to make sure I am getting all the benefits from it and if I could benefit more, how? Thank you.

    • HI Debby, I cannot recommend eating only Bieler’s Broth. I’m sure you could use it in a supervised fast, but you would need to have a practitioner make that decision after evaluating your condition.

  7. I love cilantro. Can I add 1/2 bunch to my soup?

    • I don’t see why not. It’s a wonderful, cleansing herb!

  8. The last time I made this broth was in the late 70’s in Santa Barbara, where Dr. Bieler saw patients at that time. I never consulted him but a friend of mine did and she said that one of the ingredients was chard, since it is very alkaline. I can’t remember when he died, but in the end, this broth was the only thing he ate. I must have read his book!

    • Oh interesting! I’ve never seen chard listed, but it sounds like you have a very good source in your friend. 🙂

  9. Hi Pamela, I’m surprised to find Bieler’s broth on the web anywhere. Dr. Bieler healed our father in the mid-1960s when my sister and I were ten and eleven years old. I’m soon to make some for myself, and I was really curious if I could find any mention of it on the Web. One thing I can tell you: Dr. Bieler had our father make the broth in a pressure cooker. We always pressure cooked it for ten minutes. Bieler told us to do it this way in order to really break down the vegetables and make them absolutely mushy, that the nutrients be easily absorbed. Our father’s digestion was shot, after a several year stint in Washington D.C. for the company he worked for. Beiler said that the broth is rich in natural sodium and thereby would help heal Dad’s liver, and then digestion would gradually improve. And it did. After about three to four years of strict devotion to Dr. Bieler’s regimen, which included much more than the broth, our father was well again.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and the story of the positive impact this had on your father’s health! I have never seen this information about using a pressure cooker. So interesting!

      • After reading more of your website, it’s funny. I grew up in Manhattan Beach, during the late 1950s, 1960s, and early 1970s. I could truthfully say that those were our “Bieler years.”

        • Now that is too funny!

    • Pamela, I just discovered your lovely website while looking for more info on Dr. Bieler’s broth. I love the first hand story of your dad’s use of it, Greg, and Dr. Bieler’s suggestion to use a pressure cooker. Do you recall if it was ten minutes after reaching full pressure, vs a total of ten minutes? If you can share more about the protocols your dad followed under his care, it’d be fascinating. Susun Weed, as i recall, wrote that it’s best to cook leafy greens like kale for 45 minutes in order to break them down enough to absorb the nutrients. Any thoughts on that Pamela?

      • Well, that would be especially helpful for anyone with weak digestion or thyroid issues.

  10. Thank you for this recipe, we’re working on a stomach re-set and I have high hopes for it. We enjoy your recipes and eat with you at least once a week. I ended up using 1&1/2 bunches of parsley so had 1/2 bunch left over. I used it to make a parsley lemon agua fresca. I’m wondering if you’ve tried this drink and would love to get your spin on one. It’s a common Mexican drink, “agua de perejil”.

    • This is a very easy to digest and health supportive soup. I have made many agua frescas but never one with parsley! Sounds interesting. Is it sweet?

  11. Thanks for the recipe. We just made this and are enjoying it greatly. We weren’t sure though what to make of the term “stalk” for celery. It seems that one interpretation is the entire head vs. a single rib. We used two heads and it was fine but now wonder if we should have only used two ribs.

    • Hi Lisa — a stalk is a rib. A “bunch” of celery would be the whole head.

  12. Thank you for this post.
    Would you also use frozen string beans?

    • I don’t see why not!

  13. I (age 87) helped ‘ol Doc bieler birth all three of my kids, who are about 50 years old now. . I just re-found his book “Food is your best Medicine” and bought copies (Used) for my kids. Ir’s wonderful to find you are promoting his Zucchini broth and keeping this pioneer’s ideas alive

    • Seriously??? That’s amazing!!! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Lamont Langworthy, what was Bieler’s view on unprocessed wet sun dried grey celtic sea salt?

  14. Hi Pamela!

    Thank you for this post! Amazing! There are variations on different websites of this broth. Some have celery and some don’t. Why is that? Which recipe is the real one? How do we know? Thank you so much for all of your time and energy toward this.

    Cheers!
    Evette

    • It’s interesting, because I thought this was the real one, and then a reader commented that Dr. Bieler was her personal doctor and he always suggested blending ghee with the soup to absorb nutrients. And I had never read that anywhere. Celery is very alkalizing and I think gives nice flavor to the soup, so I wouldn’t hesitate to use it.

      • We used unsalted grass fed butter in the early 80’s

        • Interesting!

  15. Dr Bieler also told us to add a tablespoon or two to the broth(I add it to the blender when I am blending it) because the fat helps our bodies better assimilate another key nutrient in the green beans. He was our family doc when I was a kid.

    • Dr. Bieler was your family doctor??? That is amazing! Lucky you! What type of fat did you add to the broth??

      • I add Ghee.im sure coconut would be interesting.

        • I bet the ghee would also add some flavor. I was always under the impression that no fat should be added to make the broth more digestible.

      • Dr Bieler was my family’s doctor when I was growing up. His Bieler’s broth recipe called for equal parts green beans, celery, and zucchini. Cook in liquid until just soft the blend with a handful of fresh parsley and a pat or tablespoon of butter. He did not add anything else except a suggested sprinkle of paprika on top of each bowl of broth. On the internet you will see various additions like onion, garlic, potatoes, and many others but Bieler’s recipe only contained what I listed above. He preferred the butter to be unsalted.

    • Dr Bieler was our family doctor also. We lived on Camino Capistrano, Capistrano Beach, California, and he was our neighbor also.I was a sick kid and he changed my life. Been having this soup (that’s what we called it) since I was 14 years old.

  16. How many days will this keep in the refrigerator?

    • 4 days

      • Can the soup be frozen?

        • Sure!

  17. Hi
    Do you use the water in the blender?
    Thanks
    Janine

    • You transfer everything in the pot, including the water, to the blender.

      • thanks thought so 🙂

  18. Hi Pamela!!,

    My son has developed some gastrointestinal issues and we’ve been looking for ways to help ‘reset’ his gut. I’ll be making this soup tonight – so glad I remembered to search for it!

    • It’s such a wonderful soup. Hope your son finds relief soon!

  19. Hi Pamela! First I have to say I adore your site and now make many of your recipes for my family…. so thank you!
    I would love to make this soup… wondering if it’s ok to freeze? I’m expecting baby #2 in two weeks and I’m planning on making a few things to have in our freezer ready to go. Would freezing this soup take away from the healing benefits?
    Thanks!

    • Congratulations and may you have an easy delivery! Yes, no problem to freeze this soup. Great idea!

      • Wonderful!! Making this week. Thank you so much Pamela! Yes, we are so ready to meet our new addition!

  20. Hi Pamela, wondering if you can subsitiute organic bone broth in place of the water for protein? Would this in any way inhibit the purpose of the soup?

    • I think that would work well as bone broth is healing and very digestible!

      • If you suffer from Histamine Intolerance, bone broth as well as all fermented foods (what is normally consumed for leaky gut ) are definite NO-No’s! I just found this out

        • I knew that about fermented foods, but I didn’t know that bone broth trigged a histamine response. Thanks for sharing.

  21. one cup is a lot of butter, why butter how does it add health to this soup.

    • No butter in this soup. I’m a little confused by your question…???

  22. Hi , some of the Bieler Broth recipes on the internet say you can season / add salt. Can you please clarify if this is ok or does it cancel out the nutritional benefits? I would like to try making this today as a restorative broth as I am currently experiencing poor health.
    Thank you

    • You can add a pinch of high quality sea salt.

  23. Buying organic doesn’t ensure it will be non-gmo just fyi. They are separate things. I feel there is a lot of fear and ignorance surrounding GMO

    • Except for a very few loopholes and possible cross-contamination, buying organic is supposed to imply a non-gmo food. I do agree that there is a lot of fear about GMO’s and there is so much controversial information out there. Everyone needs to educate themselves and make decisions that make sense to him or her. I have researched GMO’s for years and I am not one bit comfortable with consuming them or feeding them to my family or using them in my cooking classes. However, I do not promote an environment of fear around the subject on my blog, and in my classes I do say that I am not comfortable with them, but that everyone should make his or her own decision about them.

      • I think the same, thats what i do too

  24. Pamela,
    I just made this today and it’s delicious! Didn’t change the recipe and it actually feels restorative as I drink it. Just what I needed. Thank you!

    • Oh good! Happy to hear that. Be well.

  25. Hi! Happy New Year! I have everything but celery in the house. Do you think it would work to substitute carrots?

    • Hi! Happy new year to you, too! Just omit the celery and don’t sub anything. 🙂

  26. I have everything but celery in the house. Do you think I could substitute carrots?

  27. Oh my gosh, I love this soup! I used to eat it years ago (pre-kids) and totally forgot about it. Thanks for the reminder and the recipe!

    • Really?? So cool! 🙂

  28. so would it affect the intent of this soup to add leeks or onions, garlic, or salt for flavour? I love all of these vegetables but can see that it might need a little something for a flavour boost
    Thank you-enjoy reading your blog

    • Hi Karin, thanks for your comment! You are definitely correct that the soup would taste better with any of those things, but this is not a culinary soup. The point of this soup is not really about being flavorful. It’s about restoring health to the adrenals and liver. That said, the soup doesn’t taste bad. It’s actually quite pleasant, but a little bland as you guessed. What is interesting though is that Dr. Bieler actually very specifically wrote never to add garlic or onions to this. I guess my point is that if you are using this soup to heal, leave it is written. If you want to serve it to guests, sauté some onion in olive oil before adding the green vegetables and add sea salt to taste. 🙂

      • Whoops I totally added garlic and aesofetida to my first batch!

        I’ll skip them next time 🙂

        • I don’t know what Dr Bieler would think of that, but I’m sure there were still many health benefits in the broth.

  29. Could I use frozen string beans for this recipe? It is very difficult for me to find fresh organic ones in the winter.

    • I don’t see why not!

  30. Just what the body ordered! Looking forward to being “restored”. Thank you again for helping and inspiring us to take care of ourselves.

    • You’ll love it!

      • Both my mother and I were healed of health conditions in the mid 60”s by Dr. Bieler who was such a kind man. I don’t recall everything I ate but I remember bieler broth which is very healing, also organic beef, we steamed everything then blended it. It’s also excellent to snack on celery ribs. I am going to get his book again since I have misplaced it with too many moves! I made bieler broth when my daughter was a teenager and she enjoyed it. Going beck to old tried and true traditions 🙂 Thanks for posting the original recipe, Pamela.

        • That’s amazing! Thank you for sharing, Pat.


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I come from a large Italian-American family with 28 first cousins (on one side of the family!) where sit-down holiday dinners for 85 people are the norm (how, you might ask – organization! But more on that later …).

Some of my fondest memories are of simple family gatherings, both large and small, with long tables of bowls and platters piled high, the laughter of my cousins echoing and the comfort of tradition warming my soul.

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