This chicken soup with spring veggies and a delightful hint of lemon is a light and healthy meal, simply prepared in under forty minutes and brimming with lots of bright flavors!
Chicken Soup with Spring Veggies, Sunlight in a Bowl
In that in-between time when the cold weather begins to move out and make way for warmer days, I appreciate those meals that make me feel a little brighter.
I'm in the mood for fresh flavors, a bit of zing, so that's when I turn to this chicken soup with spring veggies, kissed with lemon and so simple to make.
This chicken soup is so comforting, enlivening the palate with a hint of brightness and the flavor of the fresh produce that is on hand and plentiful now. It's truly a sunlight in a bowl! 😉
How to Make Chicken Soup with Spring Veggies
I like to use pre-cooked chicken in this recipe (rotisserie is perfect) and pretty spring vegetables such as the carrots, leeks, and baby zucchini, and the cook time of this soup is only about 15-20 minutes. I love that!
The fragrant finishing flourishes of basil and lemon are added in at the end for brightness and added fresh flavor, and then the soup is ladled over amino-rich quinoa to give it a bit of an extra nutritious "bump".
Here's my chicken soup recipe at a glance:
- To begin, I sweat my leeks with my carrots, then add in some garlic and a sprinkle of Herbes de Provence.
- Next, I pour in my warm chicken broth (or stock), and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- I finish the soup by adding in the English peas, diced zucchini, the cooked and cubed or shredded chicken, plus a squeeze of lemon and some zest; and to serve, I ladle the soup over some cooked quinoa, and add a sprinkle of fresh basil and an extra squeeze of lemon to my bowl!
(The full recipe is below)
Chicken Soup with Spring Veggies
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 4
Nutrition Info: 417 calories (with 1/2 cup quinoa)
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 leek, quartered, and white part sliced
• 2 carrots, peeled and diced small (if you can find multi-colored carrots, those are beautiful)
• 2 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
• Black pepper
• 1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
• 4 cups warm chicken stock/broth
• 1 cup fresh English peas (or frozen peas)
• 1 cup baby zucchini, small dice
• 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or cubed
• 2 teaspoons lemon zest
• 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
• 2 cups cooked quinoa
• 1/4 cup chopped, fresh basil leaves
• 4 lemon wedges, garnish
-Place a medium-large soup pot over medium heat, and add in the butter and olive oil; once melted, add in the sliced leek and diced carrots, and sweat for about 3-5 minutes, or until slightly tender and the leeks are becoming translucent.
-Add in the garlic, and once that becomes aromatic, add in a pinch or two of salt and pepper, and the herbs de Provence; stir to combine.
-Next, add in the warm chicken stock or broth, and bring to a gentle simmer; cover partially with a lid, and cook for about 15-20 minutes, or until carrots are tender.
-Turn the heat off; add in the English peas (or frozen peas), the diced baby zucchini, the shredded or cubed chicken, and the lemon zest and juice; stir to combine, and allow the peas/zucchini to become crisp-tender and bright green in the hot stock, about 3-4 minutes; check to see if additional salt or pepper is needed.
-To serve, add about 1/2 cup of the cooked quinoa to a bowl, and ladle some of the soup with the veggies and chicken over top; sprinkle over some of the fresh basil, and squeeze in some additional lemon juice from the lemon wedge garnish, if desired.
Tips & Tidbits for Chicken Soup with Spring Veggies:
- Pre-cooked chicken for convenience: You could easily roast a couple of bone-in breasts at 400° for about 45 minutes and then shred those to add to the soup, or sear off a pound of chicken tenderloins; but I like to use rotisserie chicken for this recipe. It makes things a bit easier, and saves a lot of time!
- Colorful veggies: You could certainly substitute an onion, but I prefer to use leeks in this recipe because they are slightly milder in flavor. I also love multicolored carrots whenever I can find them, and I use vibrant green English peas and finely diced zucchini, which cook in the residual heat of the finished soup. Other veggies to add or substitute are diced tomatoes, or even corn if you like.
- Zippy lemon: The addition of lemon in this tasty chicken soup is kind of a must—it truly makes it extra delicious. It doesn't make the soup sour, only gives a hint of brightness and freshness that works well with the savory veggies.
- Fragrant basil, or other herbs: The delicate, fresh flavor of basil is perfect for this rather delicate soup, and is a good partner to the lemon; but feel free to sub parsley, or even dill, if you prefer.
Cook's Note: This recipe was originally published in 2014, and has been updated with even more love!