This healthy chicken vegetable soup recipe is just about the most nutritious comfort food you can find! It's a paleo chicken soup perfect for a healthy lunch or dinner when it's cold outside.
Nothing says comfort like a bowl of Classic Chicken Vegetable Soup!
My version of Classic Chicken Vegetable Soup is just that…a classic! No fancy ingredients or cooking techniques. Plus it has all of the flavors that you have known and loved since childhood – carrot, onion, parsley. Can't you just taste it now?!
The fresh herbs and bright lemon really elevate the flavor, so don't skimp there. (For more on how I use fresh herbs in my cooking, make sure to check out my YouTube video here!)
This soup is hearty, pleasing, and perfect to warm your belly on a cold day. Not to mention kid-friendly! I bet your kids would love a thermos full of Classic Chicken Vegetable Soup in their lunch pail.
Leftovers are perfect for freezing as well. Pull out a portion, heat slowly on the stove top (or pop into the microwave), and viola lunch is served. This recipe was originally part of one of our 21-day challenges, but has quickly become a Prep Dish favorite.
There are so many options for this classic so make sure to make it your own! It's great as-is but it's also a great base for adding noodles, squash, or sweet potatoes. It would also be great for making matzo ball soup!
Classic Chicken Vegetable Soup Recipe
- 2 medium yellow onions
- 6 carrots
- 4 celery stalks
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 bunch fresh parsley
- 1.5 # boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 tsp salt divided
- 3/4 tsp black pepper divided
- 2 T olive oil
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 5 c chicken broth*
- 1 lemon
- Chop 2 medium yellow onions, 6 carrots and 4 celery stalks. Mince 3 garlic cloves and fresh parsley to equal 1/4c.
- Season 1.5# chicken thighs with ½tsp kosher salt and ¼tsp ground black pepper.
- Heat 2T olive oil in a large dutch oven or soup pot over high heat.
- Add the chicken thighs and cook, turning occasionally, until golden brown all over. About 15 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside.
- Add the chopped onion, celery, and carrot to the pot. Reduce the heat to medium, and cook for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are softened and just starting to get some color.
- Add the minced garlic, 2 bay leaves, and additional salt and pepper. Stir to combine and cook for 1 minute.
- Add 6c chicken broth and nestle the chicken thighs back into the soup. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer for 15 minutes.
- Turn off the heat, remove the chicken thighs from the soup and shred the meat with 2 forks, then return to the pot.
- Stir in 1/4c minced parsley and juice of 1 lemon. Remove the bay leaves. Let cool, then store in the fridge for later in the week.
What is the nutrition like in this Chicken Vegetable Soup Recipe?
There is a reason people turn to a classic chicken vegetable soup recipe like this one when they're feeling run down! This soup is comfort food in a bowl but, unlike most comfort food, it is also full of nutrients to make your body feel good. Some of the vitamins and nutrients you'll benefit from include:
- Onions: Did you know that the humble onion is actually packed with antioxidants? Such an easy and inexpensive way to make sure you're getting an antioxidant boost every day. Onions also have vitamin C, vitamin B6, folate and potassium.
- Carrots: Both budget and kid-friendly, carrots are full of fiber, vitamin A, vitamin K, potassium and vitamin B6. As a result, they’re great for eye health, lowering cholesterol, and reducing cancer risk.
- Celery: It's probably most famous for being a low calorie food, but celery is so much more than that! It offers vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, beta carotene and plenty of antioxidants. Celery also may reduce inflammation and support the digestive tract. Make sure to eat the leaves too, they're full of vitamins!
- Garlic: Garlic has been used in homeopathic remedies for thousands of years and is thought to reduce the risk of heart disease, high cholesterol and some types of cancer.
- Parsley: Parsley is packed with calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K. This herb is great for your immune system, eye health, bone health, heart health and blood sugar levels – pretty much everything!
- Chicken Thighs: In addition to being packed with protein, chicken is a good source of iron, zinc, selenium and B vitamins.
- Lemon: Just one lemon provides 51% of the daily recommended vitamin C. This is important not only to fight colds, but for long term health as studies show consuming produce with vitamin C helps prevent heart disease and stroke. Consuming lemons can also help protect against anemia and kidney stones.
What is the difference between broth and bone broth?
Using high quality broth can have a major impact on the taste of your homemade soups. There are a lot of different types of broth on the market though and it can be a bit confusing.
Have you seen the bone broth trend and wondered what makes it “bone broth”? Is there a difference between plain broth or stock and bone broth?
While similar, there are some differences that matter nutritionally. Broth is made by simmering meat (bones optional), vegetables and seasoning for a short amount of time.
In contrast, bone broth is made by simmering bones and vegetables (optional) for 12+ hours.
Both methods result in a flavorful base for soups and other recipes, but bone broth is full of collagen and other nutrients including calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus, extracted from the bones during the long cook time. Some sort of acid like apple cider vinegar is usually added to support this extraction of nutrients.
Bone broth is super healthy and super easy to make! I make it almost every week myself – you won't be able to go back to store bought broth after you taste homemade! I save all of the bones from bone-in cuts of meat I cook, but you can also buy bones for making broth from your butcher or from US Wellness Meats (just search for “bones”). If you're not up for making your own, you can also purchase bone broth from Thrive Market. I talk all about the process I use to make bone broth in episode 48 of my podcast, Meal Prep Monday!
Is this a low carb chicken soup?
You may notice this classic chicken vegetable soup recipe does not have the noodles or rice that are common in many chicken soup recipes. This of course helps make this a paleo chicken soup, but does it make it a low carb chicken soup?
I'd say this a lower carb chicken soup, but it does have some carbs from the vegetables and, in particular, the carrots.
Two medium carrots have just under 10 grams of carbs. Celery however is quite low carb, with only 1 gram of net carbs per cup. Onions are also relatively low carb with about 5 grams of net carbs per half cup.
Personally, I follow a largely Paleo diet, but am not low carb. If you are looking for a low carb chicken soup recipe, just reduce the amount of carrots. You can always add another low carb vegetable like green beans, kale or bell peppers if you wish.
How can I encourage my picky kid to eat this soup?
If you're worried your picky child won't accept this chicken soup, you're not alone!
While the ingredients are individually pretty kid-friendly, some kids struggle with foods that are all mixed together like soup.
Try serving the soup deconstructed instead. Separate some carrots, celery and chicken on your child's plate and make sure to serve alongside something they already like so they don't automatically reject the plate.
You don't have to make a totally separate dinner to satisfy your kids! A few minor tweaks can make all the difference.
What can I serve with this healthy chicken soup?
If you're serving this to kids or hungry teenagers, feel free to add in some bread or serve this over rice.
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