Chicken Pesto Soup for the Soul
Hi, my name is Sarah and a few of my favorite hobbies include:
*Happy crying over watching videos of dogs being adopted and loving their new lives
*Long walks on the beach
*Finding ways to get more pesto in my life
This recipe includes two of those hobbies. Eating and being the pesto fan I am. We are also all in need of some cozy vibes, vibrant flavors and nourishing bowls of goodness during these crazy times. Don’t you agree? So my chicken pesto soup is here for just that.
This simple soup is such a game changer, I love it, my boyfriend loves it, ALL my clients love it (and constantly request it.)
AND this pesto soup is all things soup should be: hearty, delicious, healthy and easy! Even if you make the pesto from scratch and cook the chicken breasts from scratch this soup can still be made in under an hour.
The base of the soup is incredibly simple: sear the split chicken breasts to render some of that fatty goodness, then add in chopped onion, celery and carrot and sauté in a little bit of olive oil to soften and slightly caramelize (because soooo much yummy flavor) and then stir in your chicken stock, parsley/thyme bundle and simmer.
Lastly for the final touches, add in chopped kale and pesto for some added nutritious deliciousness. After a couple of minutes the leaves will soften and take on the full flavor of the soup. Since I’ve already established myself as a bit of a pesto freak please adjust your pesto as needed. I don’t ever measure how much pesto I put in. I add a few dollops then taste to see how much more it needs so I advise you do the same 😊
A few notes: If you have a few extra minutes, I highly recommend pulling the food processor out and making a batch of my homemade pesto recipe. It’s classic, it is simple to make, and it is unbelievably good when made with fresh basil but please feel free to use whatever you like here. You can use any sort of pesto for this recipe — kale pesto, arugula pesto, pistachio pesto, etc. But if you want to go classic, basil pesto will never fail. Pre-made will totally work too ( my go to is gotham greens or whole foods makes a great pumpkin seed one too- just be careful to read the ingredients of the store bought ones, a lot of them have unnecessary ingredients) or you can always make another type of pesto if you’ve got a favorite – whatever is easiest! You do you, boo!
If you want to skip a step and make this in a little less time, you have my permission to use leftover rotisserie or shredded chicken. This soup is a great way to use up leftover chicken, but I include instructions for making it from scratch.
Chicken Pesto Soup
Serves 4 - 6
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
2 split chicken breasts, bone in ( about 2 ½ pounds)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
4 cups chicken bone broth
½ bunch parsley
A few sprigs of thyme
2 cups tuscan kale, destemmed and chopped
¼ cup pesto
Salt and pepper
1. Heat a large dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Once heated add the olive oil to the pan, salt your split chicken breasts and lay them skin side down in the pot searing them until they start to brown ( about 3-5 minutes). Once browned, flip breasts and add the chopped onion and sauté for about 3 minutes. Add the celery, carrot and sauté another 2-3 minutes or until the onions are soft and translucent with a little color to them.
2. Tie parsley and thyme together with kitchen twine. Add the chicken stock, parsley/ thyme bundle (or throw right in, but remember to pick stems out of soup once done) and another sprinkle of salt.
3. Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce the temperature until it turns into a simmer. Simmer for at least 30 minutes and check if chicken is cooked. You will know it’s cooked once you can pull apart the meat from the bone easily.
4. Remove chicken from the soup and place in a bowl to cool. Peel off fat to discard and once slightly cooled pull meat from bone and shred, this may stay hot for a while so be careful not to burn yourself. While you are shredding the chicken stir in the chopped kale and pesto.
5. Taste and season with salt and pepper- depending on how salty your stock is you may need a little more. Enjoy!!