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 eatingwell.com 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
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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