Low-Carb Chicken Vegetable Soup

Chicken Vegetable Soup. Photo © Steve Cohen/Getty Images
Total Time 40 min
Prep 20 min, Cook 20 min
Yield 4 servings

This is the basic chicken vegetable soup recipe I use. I often add lots more vegetables -- whatever I have in the refrigerator, though I always like to include something orange (usually carrots) and usually some chopped leafy greens. It's extremely flexible as far as herbs and spices, too. I like it with a little spicy undertone (thus the salsa). You can add more salsa and some cilantro to make into a sort of Mexican tortilla soup (minus the tortillas to make it low-carb).

A note about stocks and broths: This soup (or any meat-based soup) is best made with homemade or purchased chicken stock (also called bone broth), although you can certainly use packaged broth or a base such as Better than Bouillon (I use some of the base with the stock). Chicken stock is made with the bones of the chicken, and often some vegetables, which are then strained out after simmering. Many people, including many in the paleo and Weston Price communities, feel that there is nourishment in stocks made from the bones that cannot be found in broths which are made merely from boiling meat. I have not found a scientific investigation of the differences between stocks and simple broths, but stocks made from bones have been thought to have healing properties for centuries, and they do have gelatin and marrow that broths lack.

Also note that many packaged broths have sugar in them, as do the bases.

When I have a couple of chicken carcasses (or the Thanksgiving turkey), I will put then in a pot with vegetable scraps, usually including onion skins because of the nice golden color they give the stock. After barely simmering for several hours, I cool and strain it. I am also lucky enough to have a health food store near me that makes stock from organic chickens.


  • 1 small or 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced, grated, or pressed
  • 1-quart chicken stock
  • Optional vegetables to add include almost any non-starchy vegetable. My favorites include green beans, celeriac, chard or other greens, red Bell peppers, jalapenos, zucchini, cauliflower, and cabbage.
  • 1 cup chopped cooked chicken meat
  • 1/3 cup salsa
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh leafy herbs or 1 Tablespoon dried herbs. Favorites include parsley, celery leaves, tarragon, cilantro, and oregano. A little thyme is nice too.
  • Better than Bouillon or another soup base (can use bullion cubes, but they aren't nearly as good)


1. Saute onion, celery, and carrot in the bottom of your soup pot. When they begin to soften, add the garlic and stir for a minute, until you begin to smell the garlic.

2. Add the chicken stock or broth, and whatever other vegetables you'd like (if you're cooking greens with other vegetables, add the greens near the end or they will overcook. Exceptions are the hardier greens such as kale or collard greens which can be added with the rest).

Bring to a low boil and cook until vegetable are mostly done. (If you add a lot of vegetables, you may have to add more water, broth, or stock.)

3. Taste, and add Better than Bouillon or other soup base until the salt and "chickeny" flavors are to your liking.

Add the salsa, the black pepper and the herbs. Cook for another minute. Serve.

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