Chicken and Spinach Soup with Fresh Pesto

Chicken Soup with Spinach and Fresh Pesto
 I originally posted this recipe 3 years ago and I still think it’s the best soup on the planet.  I wanted to update it along with some new pictures and my own comments because I hear from so many readers about how they love this recipe.  I can call it ‘best soup’ without sounding boastful because it’s not my recipe, although I have tinkered with it a little bit.  This recipe originates with and I have to say that I have yet to find a soup I like better.
I double this recipe almost every time I make it and triple the chicken. I also add some small pasta, whatever I happen to have in the pantry.  In the past, I`ve also tossed in mushrooms, artichoke hearts, and celery.  I’ve increased the amount of carrots and red peppers from the original recipe as well.  If you’re in a rush, you can buy a rotisserie chicken and store bought basil pesto (use a little less because it can overpower the soup).  This is perfect with leftover turkey as well.
This soup has a deep rich flavour that warms the tummy and leaves you with that ‘feel good’ feeling.
Whenever I suggest it`s time to make this soup, everyone agrees – no matter what the season!
Have a great day, everyone.
Chicken and Spinach Soup with Fresh Pesto
Author: Robyn with inspiration from Eating Well
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4-6
  • 2 teaspoons plus 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup carrot sliced
  • 1 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 8 ounces), cut into quarters
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 5 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried marjoram
  • 6 ounces baby spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans or great northern beans, rinsed
  • handful of small pasta
  • 1/2cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2/3 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup plain or herbed multigrain croutons for garnish (optional)
  1. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add carrot (or bell pepper) and chicken; cook, turning the chicken and stirring frequently, until the chicken begins to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Stir in broth and marjoram; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  2. With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken pieces to a clean cutting board to cool. Add spinach, pasta and beans to the pot and bring to a gentle boil. Cook for 5 minutes to blend the flavors.
  3. Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, Parmesan and basil in a food processor (a mini processor works well). Process until a coarse paste forms, adding a little water and scraping down the sides as necessary.
  4. Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces. Stir the chicken and pesto into the pot. Season with pepper. Heat until hot. Garnish with croutons, if desired.
Calories: 204 Fat: 8 Saturated fat: 2 Carbohydrates: 16 Protein: 18


  • Reply
    Linda Primmer
    October 31, 2013 at 8:37 am

    Hi Robyn, your soup looks and sounds delicious. I am craving soup lately. Our kitchen is all dismantled, so there will no cooking for awhile. Not only does it look yummy, it is so healthy. I hope you are all rested up from your trip. Looking forward to chatting and laughing with you. Lots of love, Linda

    • Reply
      November 2, 2013 at 2:53 pm

      Hi Linda,
      One day when your kitchen is complete I think you should share one of your favourite recipes with me. What do you think?
      Looking forward to laughing with you, my friend.


  • Reply
    October 31, 2013 at 9:40 am

    Hello sweet Lady! This soup sounds like my kind of meal – I love chicken and spinach 🙂 I am a big fan of chicken and gnocchi soup and get it every time I visit the Olive Garden restaurant. This is another dish I will have to try – thanks for sharing.

    Big hugs!

  • Reply
    Bam's Kitchen
    November 1, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    I love your photo shots. A great meal that would taste even better the next day. I would love a huge bowl of that right now for my lunch.

  • Reply
    AnnMarie aka Vintage Junkie aka NaNa
    November 2, 2013 at 6:15 am

    I love these kinds of recipes. Your description and pictures… can I NOT try this! Sounds yummy!

    • Reply
      November 2, 2013 at 2:54 pm

      Your comments always make my day, AnnMarie! Thank you so much.

  • Reply
    O meu pensamento viaja
    November 2, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    Dear Robyn, thank you so much for your sweet comment.
    That lovely chiken soup seems to be delicious and I assure you I’ll cook it.
    Have a anice Sunday!
    Here, it rains cats and dogs! Even so I’m happy! It’s weekend. Let’s enjoy it!
    beijos e abraços

    • Reply
      November 2, 2013 at 2:56 pm

      Hi Nina,
      Raining like crazy here too – and very windy! Yes, I am enjoying being indoors today and eating and cooking comfort food. lol
      Take care.

  • Reply
    November 3, 2013 at 7:23 am

    Great idea! Pesto is so good – why not add it to soup!

  • Reply
    November 4, 2013 at 8:15 am

    I agree, biggsis, why not? lol. I love discovering all kinds of new ways to make pesto too. I think tomatoes and almonds would be an awesome combination.
    Thanks so much for visiting. Love your blog!

  • Reply
    Joyce Wheeler
    November 7, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    This looks so good, pinning to my healthy eating board, thanks for sharing on Real Food Fridays. Please stop later this evening and link up again.

  • Reply
    December 10, 2013 at 10:59 am

    Thanks so much for this great recipe. Husband & i both loved it. Will make it again

    • Reply
      December 10, 2013 at 7:24 pm

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Mary! I eat it at least once a month during the cold winter months. Have a great day.

  • Reply
    January 11, 2014 at 10:34 am

    You soup looks and sounds delicious! I pinned it!
    Thank you so much for linking up to Saturday Dishes.
    Blessings and have a wonderful weekend!
    Diane Roark

    • Reply
      January 11, 2014 at 4:34 pm

      Thanks so much, Diane. Enjoy the weekend.

  • Reply
    Jamie H
    January 14, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    I love pesto, so I’m pinning this to try out as soon as I make it to the store for some basil (we already ran out of all the pesto I made and froze from our garden basil this summer). Thanks for linking up at Saturday Dishes!

    • Reply
      January 15, 2014 at 8:06 am

      I’m a big fan too, Jamie. This soup really shines when you use fresh pesto and a high quality parmesan. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Reply
    January 31, 2014 at 10:46 pm

    Robyn, You do such a great job with your pictures. I truly love your blog. Thank you so much for stopping by Saturday Dishes and linking up this chicken soup recipe. It looks great! I pinned it!

    Diane Roark

    • Reply
      February 3, 2014 at 9:10 am

      Awwhh, you’re sweet, Diane, thank you! Always a pleasure to party with you girls.

  • Reply
    February 1, 2014 at 12:50 am

    Thanks for linking up again at Saturday Dishes! Your soup really just makes me hungry every time I see it!
    Pinning again- this time to a new group board! Have a fabulous weekend!

    • Reply
      February 3, 2014 at 9:11 am

      Thanks so much for the kind words and pin!

  • Reply
    Chicken Vegetable Soup with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto - simply fresh dinners
    January 7, 2015 at 5:36 pm

    […] have a Chicken and Spinach Soup with Pesto  (another recipe where I need to re-take the photos, lol) that I make with pesto and I find that it […]

  • Leave a Reply

    CommentLuv badge