This fragrant, Italian-flavored soup takes advantage of quick-cooking ingredients--boneless, skinless chicken breast, bagged baby spinach and canned beans. It features a simple homemade basil pesto swirled in at the end to add a fresh herb flavor. If you are very pressed for time, you can substitute 3 to 4 tablespoons of a store-bought basil pesto. Recipe by Nancy Baggett for EatingWell.

EatingWell Test Kitchen
Source: EatingWell Soups Special Issue April 2016
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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add carrot (or bell pepper) and chicken; cook, turning the chicken and stirring frequently, until the chicken begins to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Stir in broth and marjoram; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes.

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  • With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken pieces to a clean cutting board to cool. Add spinach and beans to the pot and bring to a gentle boil. Cook for 5 minutes to blend the flavors.

  • Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, Parmesan and basil in a food processor (a mini processor works well). Process until a coarse paste forms, adding a little water and scraping down the sides as necessary.

  • Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces. Stir the chicken and pesto into the pot. Season with pepper. Heat until hot. Garnish with croutons, if desired.

Nutrition Facts

227 calories; protein 19.4g 39% DV; carbohydrates 18g 6% DV; exchange other carbs 1; dietary fiber 6g 24% DV; sugars 1.7g; fat 9.1g 14% DV; saturated fat 2g 10% DV; cholesterol 28.5mg 10% DV; vitamin a iu 3865.7IU 77% DV; vitamin c 29.4mg 49% DV; folate 76.7mcg 19% DV; calcium 92.8mg 9% DV; iron 2.1mg 12% DV; magnesium 43.7mg 16% DV; potassium 524.6mg 15% DV; sodium 211.4mg 9% DV; thiamin 0.1mg 6% DV.

Reviews (78)

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79 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 70
  • 4 star values: 6
  • 3 star values: 1
  • 2 star values: 2
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
Great flavorful soup! I used kale instead of spinach (it's what I had) but I'm sure it's good with spinach as well. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
This is a fantastic recipe for pesto lovers! I used 2 cans of beans instead of 1 to make it a little heartier and made 4 servings instead of 5. Other than that it was pretty perfect!!! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/19/2012
Love it. I doubled it. All my friends loved it Read More
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Rating: 5 stars
10/29/2011
This was really good! First recipe I've tried from this site and it was great!I made this with just a couple of changes. I used 2 T ready to use minced basil (comes in a tube). I mixed it with olive oil and parm cheese. I also added about 2 T chopped fresh basil to the soup just before serving. I am watching calories so I didn't use the bread but topped it off my bowl with 1T parm. cheese. Pros: Healthy! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/29/2011
delicious! I have a lot of basil left over in my garden so I definitely know what I'm going to be doing with it...making pesto and freezing it so I can make this soup for the upcoming cold months! The only thing I had to change in this recipe was the marjoram. I didn't have any so I substituted 1/2 tsp. oregano and 1/4 tsp. thyme. Oh and I did add one more can of beans just because I wanted it to be a little thicker. Please give this a try. It is so worth it IMO. Pros: Easy Cons: none Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
I have made this soup several times... we love it! Makes great leftovers for the week too:) Read More
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Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
Delicious soup - my boyfriend and I loved the broth - couldn't get enough of it! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/29/2011
I really liked this. I can't wait to try variations on it. I didn't use any croutons to cut down on unnecessary carbs but me and my carnivorous unhealthy food-loving fiance ate this up. I doubled the recipe because I had to use the chicken I had and took extra soup into the office and everyone loved it. Will definitely make again. What a healthy alternative to your everyday chicken noodle! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
01/06/2014
Even my picky 6 year old love this! This is a healthy easy to prepare soup. I love that it is a way to get green vegetables into my family's meal. This is one of the best meals my 6 year old says he has ever tasted. He had NO desire to even try it and looked for negative comments to try and make a case for NOT eating it. After half a bowl he asked if he could write a response because it is sooooo much better than I thought it would be. Pros: quick healthy tastes great Cons: none Read More