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. Source: EatingWell Soups Special Issue April 2016

EatingWell Test Kitchen
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Ingredients

Directions

  • 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

226 calories; 9.1 g total fat; 29 mg cholesterol; 211 mg sodium. 18 g carbohydrates; 19.4 g protein; Full Nutrition

Reviews (78)

Read More Reviews
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
11/14/2019
Deserves it's 5 stars. It's tasty, easy to make and visually colorful and beautiful. Everyone loved it ! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/26/2019
Hey I love this recipe and was thinking about giving it a shot I’ve also seen this mentioned here a couple times https://bit.ly/2MNd1wB I was wondering if anyone can help me out, I’ve read a couple of reviews about it but can’t make up my mind on it, it looks great though definitely considering it!! Im just starting out and just need some tips, thanks!! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
01/13/2019
This is YUMMMAZING! within a hour or 2 it was completely gone even the soup! The flavors are very savory the soup alone could be its own dish without the chicken. I followed the directions to the letter and didn't change a thing. Read More
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Rating: 5 stars
01/09/2019
I just made this last night and i love it so much. I also used the same ingredients to make a salad box and bring to office today. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
11/11/2018
This was great hubbie enjoyed. The only thing is I will probably put 4 cups of broth. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
02/06/2018
Another wonderful soup! Tastes good even without the pesto. Read More
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Rating: 5 stars
01/14/2018
It was great! I used both the carrots and the peppers. Turned out wonderfully. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
01/06/2018
Amazing soup!! I added 2 cans of beans more carrots more broth to bulk it up. Didn't have pesto so used more dried basil and added dried tarragon. Sprinkled shredded romano on top of the bowl of soup. Added just a touch of salt and pepper to the whole soup. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
05/16/2017
This was a huge hit and simple to make! I doubled the garlic and used store bought pesto from Trader Joes and that worked well. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
04/18/2017
This was very good and quick. The herbs transformed the canned broth into a full-flavored dimensional soup. I used quick cooking farro instead of barley. Farro holds up really well in soups and doesn't expand and soak up as much soup as barley. Instead of making the pesto as directed I dropped in a cube of the Dorot brand frozen basil added grated parmesan--such a quick workaround. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
02/15/2017
Will definitely be making again! Delicious--only added a little bit more chicken (2 medium breasts). Read More
Rating: 4 stars
09/08/2016
Very good. The only changes I made were to increase the amount of carrots / bell pepper and the amount of garlic. Read More
Rating: 3 stars
08/29/2016
This recipe was quick and easy but so bland and boring that it wasn't worth even the small effort it took to make it. It needed more salt for one thing. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
09/28/2015
Flavorful Hearty Soup I love how easy and versatile this soup is! I brown Italian turkey sausage first remove it from the pan and then use the grease to brown an onion with 2 red bell peppers instead of using carrots. I then add the garlic and then the broth but use about 2 cups more than called for to keep it soupy enough with all my additions. I also sub kale for spinach sometimes depending on the sales and the beans are always a welcome ingredient. I also use store bought pesto about 2-3 tbs when basil isn't fresh at the store during the winter. Basically this soup can be made into what you want and it's always great on a cool fall day for lunch or as a hearty dinner with bread on the side on a cold winter evening! Pros: Healthy Full of Veggies Easy Read More
Rating: 5 stars
01/14/2015
Fresh healthy and full of flavor! This soup is awesome! I added both carrots and red pepper for color and more veggies although it only called for adding one or the other. Otherwise made exactly as directed. The fresh basil pesto is key! Drained and rinsed the beans before adding to reduce the sodium. Yum yum yum!! Pros: Easy Read More
Rating: 5 stars
11/18/2014
SO easy and SO good! This soup was awesome. So easy & quick. I made the pesto first to avoid stepping away while everything was on the stove and it worked out perfectly! Pros: Healthy clean fast easy cheap Read More
Rating: 5 stars
02/24/2014
This is such a great soup! I have now made this soup for 3 weeks straight. I stuck to the recipe which is so easy to follow and quick to make. When the first batch was gone I found myself wanting to taste the flavors again so I made it again and again and yes today again! I find soup is a good way to get veggies and helps me stick to my healthy eating habits. I do use buillion and broth which is a great combo and add extra water to fill it out a bit. It freezes great too! Going to have a bowl now. Yum! Pros: Light flavorful filling Read More
Rating: 5 stars
01/29/2014
Quick cooking time Delicious! Just had for dinner. Skipped croutons. Had French bread on the side. Didn't have marjarom used dried basil instead. Used fresh basil for pesto. Pros: Healthy delicious doesn't take hours to cook good looking Cons: Little bit of prep time chopping grating 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
Rating: 5 stars
11/18/2013
Easy and Yummy This is very tasty and easy to make. Even the 11-year old liked it...spinach and all. I cut out the majoram and cooked it longer than suggested. The pesto makes this dish awesome. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
09/17/2013
DELICIOUS! I added extra carrots and I simmered the soup for quite a bit longer than the recipe called for.... to really bring out all of the flavors. Besides that I stuck to the recipe and the soup turned out fantastic! My husband and I both loved it! I sent the recipe to my sister to try! Pros: Quick and easy! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
08/18/2013
Flavourful easy to make I love this recipe because - it uses simple ingredients that can be easily substituted. For example I use Italian seasoning in place of marjoram. - it takes little effort to prepare and thus save time and encourages me to make homemade food rather than process food such as can soup - it is SOOOO tasty Pros: simple ingredients quick preparation Read More
Rating: 4 stars
05/19/2013
Potent Richness Rich potently flavors thus satisfying. The richness struck me in a heavy sort of way but pesto usually strikes me that way so I shouldn't be surprised. Actually I thought that with this being a soup the pesto aspect might be lighter to me - but it wasn't. Anyway I can't eat much pesto at one time but with this soup that doesn't matter. The potent richness is very filling indeed. Hubs knows that I'm working towards meals with less meat more beans and loads of greens; and agrees that's a good idea in spite of his natural inclination to run the other direction! His first bite of this soup? He said that it was good but that he was going to be slow about giving his opinion about this being a 'regular' in our new food line up. In the end he affirmed that this was good enough for him. He's not what I used to think of as a meat and potatoes guy. Rather he's a hamburger and fry kind of guy (oh and pizza and etc.). So this is a big stretch for him. But he was apparently pleased. Not all of the things I try & like fly with him but this did after he gave it some time. Thanks 'eatingwell'! One more good meal for our monthly lineup! Pros: Good nutrition. Can prep chicken pesto & beans ahead and have them in the freezer for a quick meal Cons: Flavors are unusual and strong for my kids though they'll have a chance to learn to love 'em! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
05/17/2013
LOVE THE FLAVOUR Flavoursome quick and easy to eat. Family loved it! Pros: Used my own home made pesto and didnt add carrots or peppers.great recipe - quick and easy. Cons: None Read More
Rating: 2 stars
01/24/2013
Too much marjoram Followed recipe exactly except added both carrots and 1 small red pepper and 1 small yellow pepper. Easy and quick but the marjoram is so overpowering that I had to add more broth and a alrge sprinkle of grated parmesan to each bowl to be able to stand it and it is still too strong. I am the only one in my family eating it. I only had ground marjoram so I must need it for some recipe but I bought dried marjoram as I did not know how to convert measurements. Now I don't know what I will do with all the marjoram as obviously we do not like it. I will make the soup again only using 1/3 of the marjoram (or just a sprinkle) and maybe some thyme instead as the recipe appealed to me and it really was easy even making the pesto. Pros: Easy quick nutritious Cons: overpowering marjoram Read More
Rating: 5 stars
01/06/2013
Delicious! I used store bought pesto and used the carrots and red peppers and also some onions. I didn't have marjoram so I used a little thyme instead and also added a little bit of orzo pasta. Substituted kale for spinach because that was what was in the fridge. This recipe is delicious and healthy..even the hubby loved it while watching football! Read More
Rating: 4 stars
11/23/2012
Tasty I have never been very adventurous in making soup. Pumpkin potato and simple mixed vegetable soup are the norms in our household. When I came across this recipe I just had to try it. I am very impress at how quick and easy it is to make this dish. Simple ingredients tasty dish...a must try! Pros: Quick and easy to make Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/19/2012
Love it. I doubled it. All my friends loved it Read More
Rating: 5 stars
05/20/2012
This was the best soup I've ever had! I followed the recipe exactly except I used red yellow and orange peppers for color and carrots. Gotta make more next time though. No leftovers for lunch tomorrow. Freakin Awesome Soup! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
02/13/2012
Refreshing and Springy I've made a new soup each week this winter. Some have been pretty great but this was my favorite. It was so refreshing and bright. Sadly it was all eaten so there were no left overs. Next time I will double it. So good! Pros: Easy to make great taste fun color. Cons: There just wasn't enough. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
01/11/2012
OUTSTANDING! I've made this recipe several times and shared it with friends and coworkers. Everybody loves it! It is surprisingly hearty and filling. I usually tinker with recipes but not with this one except to use both carrots and peppers (and once yellow squash which also worked well). I give it my highest rating. Pros: Fast easy flavorful hearty Cons: None Read More
Rating: 4 stars
11/24/2011
I used prepared pesto. Added onion/garlic powders and italian seasoning. Additional vegetable added with the red bell would be good as well. This is especially good the day after making. The flavors have had a chance to meld. I added more seasons upon rewarming. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/31/2011
This simply delicious soup was quick and easy to prepare using pesto made from home grown basil. The soup tasted even better two days later. I substituted red kidney beans instead of the white kidney beans. The rainbow colors of all the ingredients made the soup visually appetizing too! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
Fantastic soup recipe! Easy to find ingredients and simple to make...the whole family enjoyed it. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
The fresh pesto definitely made this soup come together. Next time I might substitute escarole instead of spinach for a different flavor. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
My partner and I both thought this soup was good enough to be a repeat recipe. He is a chef and very picky. I substituted red kidney beans added some mushrooms and used both carrots and red pepper. I also used olivieri store bought pesto instead of fresh. I have been craving it ever since I made it:) Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
Easy and great tasting. I used store bought basil and pesto. Will make again. Just a fantastic recipe. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
The soup was delish. I decided to add the carrots and red pepper for some great color. I didn't have any fresh basil but found a squeeze tube of pesto in my frig and it was great. I made it for company and they loved it with fresh crusty bread and a big salad. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
Yummy!!!!!!!!! I have made it three times now........ last time I added 1/2 cup of small whole wheat pasta along with the garlic........ and cooked 2 more minutes......... it is sooooooooo good! and nutritious just added fruit and had a complete meal!.......... Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
Easy to make and tasted delicious! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
I am so glad that I found this recipe!! I needed a quick easy soup that I could throw everything into and this was it. I used frozen chicken breasts which I baked separately so as not to water down the soup and I used store bought pesto which added a lot of flavor. I loved all of the flavors in this soup! I served it over homemade polenta to give it a little more texture because mine came out a little too liquidy for me. I recommend saving a little chicken broth for reheating as a lot of liquid absorbed in the fridge. Overall I would say that this recipe was simple delish and very flavorful. I will definitely make it again!!! -A. Scott San Diego Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
Quick easy healthy and delicious....I used leftover chicken and store bought pesto. Read More
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
10/30/2011
Used Asiago cheese i/o Parmasean. SO awesome. Young and old alike all enjoyed this soup. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
My boyfriend just caught a cold so I decided this would help..it did! He said it's the best soup he's ever had but then he's sick! I added both the carrot & red pepper tripled the garlic and used low sodium stock instead of broth. Served with a "take & bake" multi-grain baguette from the grocery store bakery hot and fresh. Terrific meal! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
it is awesome and i will make it again Read More
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 was fantastic and my first attempt at a soup. (Just recently found the sheer joy of cooking...and eating!) Easy to prepare and the only thing I would change is maybe add a bit more chicken. Used both red pepper and carrots. Delicious and filling. Perfect soup for that in-between meals and work-outs! This will be a regular! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
So Easy & So Yummy! I've made it 3 times so far and I absolutely love it! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
Great soup! Very easy & quick to make! I tripled the garlic and added some leftover pasta I had on hand. I also added some chopped cabbage to provide a little crunch. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
This delicious and easy to prepare soup is now a staple in my kitchen! And the recipe for a small amount of pesto was great to have; however I added a tablespoon of pine nuts to mine. Next time I will double the recipe so there will be some left over. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
We love this soup. We make it 3 - 4 times a month! It's quick to make and delicious! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
This soup was incredible- I added a 9 oz package of whole wheat cheese tortellini during the last 10 minutes or so as well as a tsp or so of red chili flakes and a dash of tabasco which was just perfect. I also diced the chicken while still uncooked and then left it in for the duration of cooking (didn't take it out as directed to make it easier) and it turned out great. Very highly recommended. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
This soup was delicious. I tripled the garlic and used a rotisserie chicken and red pepper. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
I used 2 carrots chopped in a vita-mixer used black eyed peas(it's what I had) did not chop spinach and did not take out chicken (I had cooked chicken and cut into pieces). I added 1 TBLE pesto sauce as well. It was the most delicious flavorful soup! Not to mention how easy and quick to put together. A KEEPER!!! 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
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
10/30/2011
Maybe it is because I'm not a huge spinach fan to begin with but I wasn't impressed with this soup. It was okay and certainly flavorful but not something I would make on a regular basis. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
substituted a couple of things and it still turned out great! I used baby greens scallions and added turkey sausage (the 98% FF kind) and frozen purple hull peas instead of beans. Will definitely make again!!!! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
Very yummy! Great even for a picky family. Used two chicken breasts and use both carrots and red peppers. Instead of fresh pesto I made a package of pesto mix and added it all (just what I had on hand and we loooved the pesto taste!) I also added whole wheat tortellini. Was a perfect dinner for a family of five! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
This Soup is Delish!! My family loved it. I would recommend this to anyone anytime. Very easy to prep and fast especially when you have hungry kids to feed. Thanks eatingwell.com for your fabulous recipes. =) Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
I added sauteed chopped onion and a jar of quartered artichoke hearts (packed in water & drained) to this recipe. I topped each serving with a spoonful of store bought Pesto. Don't omit the pesto! It's the crowning jewel and adds tremendously to the delicious flavor! I am so looking forward to the leftovers! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
Amazing. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
This soup smelled so good after I poured it in the bowl that I burned my tongue trying to hurry up and taste it. It was so easy to make! I used some artichoke hearts out of the can as I saw someone else do that and I used store bought pesto. So as it cooled down and I actually got to taste it it is very good and healthy the flavors come together very nice and gives you that warm and fuzzy feeling. I will definitely make again!! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
DELICIOUS!!!!! After reading the comments I will try artichokes next time...I will DEFINATELY make this dish again it was so hearty and tasty! I opted to make the pesto myself and have to say it was wonderful and extremely simple. Love this soup I give it 5 stars. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
Great soup - I make a whole batch of this on Sunday nights and have soup for the entire work week. I did not chop my spinach and added 9oz instead of 6oz. I put in about 4 tbl of pesto but I think now I'll use more like 3. The storebought pesto can be very overpowering. Love this soup! 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
10/29/2011
This was AMAZING! My (Italian) fiance couldn't believe how flavorful it was and that is always a compliment! I had only frozen chicken breast so I poached that separately before adding it to the broth and also added brown rice since I didn't have croutons on hand. The pesto was really easy-I added a little extra garlic here-and thought it made the soup. I wouldn't skip the pesto! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/29/2011
OMG. This is the first Recipe that I've tried from this Website and I have to say it's absolutely amazing! My family just loved this dish and the flavor and taste was awsome! I will be making this dish more often this winter! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/29/2011
Delightful winter's meal! I originally used turkey breast for this soup which worked just as well as chicken. We also made a batch of pesto in the late summer and froze it into cubes. I just tossed one of the cubes into the soup at the end and it was both delicious and super fast. I would also recommend taking five minutes and making garlicky croutons. Just toss some wheat bread (cut into cubes) with some minced garlic and a little olive oil and toast. It really is a delightful touch! Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/29/2011
ONLY w/the Croutons I tried this soup without the croutons and thought it was fairly bland. But i did made homemade large croutons out of rosemary bread and they made a big difference in the texture and flavor of this soup. The small amount of chicken makes this budget friendly i think it was plenty in ration to the other ingredients too. Store-bought pesto will be more oily so keep that in mind if you substitute it. A play on Italian chicken and dumplings if you will. Pros: homemade croutons fast budget friendly Cons: making croutons Read More
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
Tasty! I did use store-bought basil pesto because that's what I had but it was really good! I'm not too big on soups to begin with but I really liked the beans in this for added protein. The only thing I did different was cut up the chicken into small pieces before cooking. That way it sped up cooking time and it gave some nice browning on more sides of each piece of chicken. Also we didn't have any croutons to use so we just skipped that. I would definitely make again! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/29/2011
Oh So GOOD! This was amazing! I made this for lunch for my 2 year old daughter and myself. Added chopped asparagus red bell pepper and carrot. Wonderful!! My daughter ate it and asked for seconds. Great way to get in the veggies. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/29/2011
Wonderful It was absolutely wonderful. This is the very first recipe I have tried from this site. My household likes more spice so I added about a tablespoon of Crushed Red Pepper. I also added more spinach and chicken than it called for to make it more hearty. The flavor was amazing and I will definitely be making this again. Pros: Healthy Filling Tasty Cons: Mild Read More
Rating: 2 stars
10/29/2011
Noir a winner The soup wasn't a hit at our house. It wasn't bad but it just didn't wow me with flavor as do 99.9% of recipes from Eating Well. Oh well. Pros: Easy to prepare Cons: Bland flavors 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
10/29/2011
Really Loved It I was impressed how much flavor the soup had and how quick it was to make! I added some additional basil leaves in with the spinach and added both carrots and red pepper. Cons: Next time I'll cook chicken separate then add it. No need to fish it out of the broth. Read More