Have you ever told your family that you’re making Chicken Soup, and they respond with a sad-faced sigh? I don’t know why husbands and kids think soup is boring – that’s crazy!
When it’s cold outside, nothing says “warm and soothing” like an ultimate comfort food like Chicken Vegetable Soup, and this is a recipe that got rave reviews from my picky eaters.
How to Make Chicken Vegetable Soup Exciting
Chicken soup has a reputation for being bland. After all, it’s what you’re supposed to eat when your stomach is upset, right?
With a few creative ingredients and some unexpected toppings, chicken vegetable soup is transformed from “just OK” to a meal you can put into heavy rotation.
Pssst! This soup is super nutritious!!
- Full of muscle- and tissue-building protein from the chicken (or legumes if you make it vegan)
- Vitamins, minerals, and fiber from all the vegetables.
- Healthy fat from avocado and olive oil.
Ready to make some soup?
1. The Basic Ingredients
Most any chicken soup is has the obvious – chicken and broth/stock. If you have cooked chicken, it will make this recipe even easier. Lucky me, I had a rotisserie chicken, so I used that. Use whatever stock or broth you want – maybe not fish stock.
Let’s talk about vegetables, such as onion, carrots, and garlic. A lot of chicken soups also have celery, but not mine because my family will revolt if I put celery into soup.
For the vegetable mix in this soup, I go heavy on the carrots (6 in the recipe, but I had 7 left in fridge, so 7), use the giantest onion I can find, a few spoonfuls of minced garlic, and add something other than celery. My favorite add-in vegetables are zucchini, broccoli, and mushrooms. I had a very small, sad grocery store zucchini for this batch.
Go-to herbs for this recipe are bay leaves and a lot of thyme. Don’t be afraid of a whole tablespoon of dried thyme, or 1/4 cup fresh. Do you trust me? Then use all the thyme, all the time.
2. Everything Large Dice
In culinary knife cuts terminology, “large dice” means approximately 3/4-inch, square. Chop all your vegetables (and chicken) into this size. Don’t get a ruler out – just eyeball it. Simple, one-size-fits-all chopping will make it pretty, and, more importantly, all the veggies will get cooked through in about the same amount of time.
The chicken got the large-dice treatment as well, but I don’t have a picture of that.
3. Make Your Soup – It’s Easy
Check out the recipe below for the detailed instructions. Here’s a synopsis:
- Saute the veggies and seasonings for a bit.
- Then, add the broth and simmer until the vegetables are soft, because no one wants a raw onion or crunchy carrot in her soup.
- Add your pre-cooked, large-dice chicken, simmer for a bit, and you’re done.
4. The Fun Part – Toppings
The soup is really good by itself, but the toppings are where you can let your inner foodie loose.
Our current favorite topping combination: grated Parmesan cheese, cilantro, and Frank’s Red Hot sauce. It’s eclectic and very delicious.
If these sound a little too spicy, I highly recommend avocado and tortilla strips as “gateway” toppings.
This comforting and nourishing soup is packed with protein and nutrient-dense vegetables.
It is extremely versatile – you can add any vegetables, grains, beans, or toppings that you like to make it your own.
1 tablespoon olive oil, coconut oil, ghee, or other fat
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
6 carrots, diced
2 cups of other vegetables (mushrooms, butternut squash, broccoli – it’s up to you)
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 quart chicken broth
1 lb cooked and chopped or shredded chicken
Salt and pepper to taste
4 tablespoons fresh minced parsley (or 1 Tablespoon dried) – optional
1 avocado, chopped – optional topping
- In a large pot, heat the fat over medium-high heat and add the onion. Sprinkle with a few pinches of salt.
- Cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes until onions are starting to become translucent. Then, add the garlic, thyme, bay leaves, carrots, and other vegetables you want.
- Cook another 5 – 10 minutes and then add the chicken broth.
- Bring to a boil, turn the heat down, and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add the chicken and parsley and allow to simmer 5 minutes more. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
- Serve the soup, topped with chopped avocado, sriracha, etc.
- If you don’t have cooked chicken, use raw chicken. Dice 1.5 lb of raw boneless chicken breasts or thighs and add them to the pot with the garlic, thyme, etc. in step 2.
- You can make this vegan by:
- Use vegetable broth and increase the broth to 1.25 – 1.5 quarts (5-6 cups) and add 1 cup of dry quinoa, lentils, or other grain with the broth in step 3.
- Add 1 – 2 cans of your favorite beans (rinsed and drained) in Step 5 – in place of the cooked chicken.
- Don’t like or have carrots? Try subbing sweet potato or butternut squash.
- My favorite vegetable additions: mushrooms, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, peas
- Topping suggestions:
- Sriracha sauce
- Sour Cream
- Shredded cheese
- Tortilla strips
- Homemade croutons
- Crumbled bacon
Nutrition information is based on recipe, as printed, with 1/4 avocado as a topping.
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: Soup
- Serving Size: 1.5 – 2 cups
- Calories: 276
- Sugar: 5 g
- Sodium: 900 mg
- Fat: 18 g
- Saturated Fat: 4 g
- Trans Fat: 0
- Carbohydrates: 14 g
- Fiber: 5 g
- Protein: 22 g
- Cholesterol: 69 mg
Keywords: Gluten-free, high-protein
To recap, here’s how to make a delicious and exciting Chicken Vegetable Soup in about 45 minutes:
- Have the basic ingredients: onion, carrots, other vegetable, garlic, herbs, chicken (preferably cooked), and broth.
- Chop your veggies and chicken into large dice. Uniformity makes things simple and evenly-cooked.
- Follow a few instructions, in order. See recipe.
- Have fun (or go nuts) with toppings.
- Blue cheese and granny smith apples? That sounds awesome!
- Crushed Doritos and sour cream? No judgment here.
Looking for More Soup-ness?
Here are a few of my favorites. All super easy, two of them are vegan, all gluten-free.
A note about “gluten-free.” Any homemade soup without certain grains or wheat flour will be gluten-free naturally. Gluten (and dairy, for that matter) can always be added in the toppings!!
Killer Slow Cooker Chili (GF, DF)
Spicy Peanut Stew (V, GF, DF)
30-Minute Creamy Broccoli Soup (V, GF, DF)