Chicken Vegetable Soup

Chicken Vegetable Soup. Photo © Steve Cohen/Getty Images
Total Time 40 min
Prep 20 min, Cook 20 min
Yield 4 servings (136 calories each)

This is a basic chicken vegetable soup recipe. You can add lots more vegetables—whatever you have in the refrigerator—though it's always nice to include something orange (like carrots) as well as a few chopped ​leafy greens. This chicken vegetable soup recipe is extremely flexible as far as herbs and spices go, too—it is delicious with a little spicy undertone (thus the salsa). You can add more salsa and some cilantro to make it into a sort of Mexican tortilla soup (minus the tortillas, however).


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small or 1/2 large
  • onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks
  • celery, chopped
  • 1 large
  • carrot, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced, grated, or pressed
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • Optional vegetables:
  • green beans,
  • celeriac,
  • chard or other greens,
  • red bell peppers,
  • jalapenos,
  • zucchini,
  • cauliflower, and
  • cabbage
  • 1 cup chopped cooked chicken meat
  • Soup base such as Better than Bouillon (you can use bouillon cubes, but they aren't nearly as good), optional
  • 1/3 cup salsa
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh leafy herbs, or 1 tablespoon dried herbs, such as parsley, celery leaves, tarragon, cilantro, thyme, and oregano


  1. In a soup pot, heat the oil and saute onion, celery, and carrot. When they begin to soften, add the garlic and stir for 1 minute, until it becomes aromatic.
  2. Add the chicken stock and whatever other vegetables you'd like. (If you're cooking greens along 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 along with the vegetables.) 
  1. Bring to a low boil and cook until vegetables are mostly done. (If you add a lot of vegetables, you may have to add more water, broth, or stock.)
  2. Lower the heat, add the chicken, and let the soup simmer until the meat is warm.
  3. Taste, and, if desired, add a little bit of soup base at a time until the salt and "chickeny" flavors are to your liking.
  4. Add the salsa, black pepper, and herbs. Cook for another minute. Serve.

Ingredient Substitutions and Cooking Tips

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 (which this recipe suggests using in conjunction 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.

There isn't a lot of scientific investigation on 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 you have a couple of chicken carcasses (or the Thanksgiving turkey) on hand, put them in a pot with vegetable scraps, including onion skins because of the nice golden color they give the stock. After barely simmering for several hours, cool and strain it. 

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