Thursday, January 6, 2011

Chicken and Spinach Soup with Fresh Pesto

From Delish and Eating Well, here is a recipe for a protein and veggie packed Italian chicken soup.

Chicken and Spinach Soup with Fresh Pesto


This fragrant, Italian-flavored soup takes advantage of quick-cooking ingredients — boneless, skinless chicken breast, bagged baby spinach, and canned beans. It features a simple homemade basil pesto swirled in at the end to add a fresh herb flavor. If you are very pressed for time, you can substitute 3 to 4 tablespoons of a store-bought basil pesto.

Serves: 5 Edit
Yields: 5 servings, about 1 1/2 cups each
Total Time: 30 min
Prep Time: 30 min


2 teaspoon(s) extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon(s) extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup(s) carrot or diced red bell pepper
1 large (about 8 ounces) large boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into quarters
1 clove(s) (large) garlic, minced
5 cup(s) reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoon(s) dried marjoram
6 ounce(s) baby spinach, coarsely chopped
1 can(s) (15-ounce) cannellini beans or great northern beans, rinsed
1/4 cup(s) grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup(s) lightly packed fresh basil leaves
Freshly ground pepper to taste
3/4 cup(s) 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 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.

Nutritional Information

(per serving)

Calories 204
Total Fat 8g
Saturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 29mg
Sodium 691mg
Total Carbohydrate 16g
Dietary Fiber 6g
Sugars --
Protein 18g
Calcium --