Chicken-Vegetable Soup with Parm and Lemon: Light and Fast

There are days when it’s time to eat light, but well. This is one of those days. Maybe you, like me, have a wedding coming up and a dress you’d like to get into.

Or a beach trip  the first of June? A reunion, perhaps. Maybe you’re simply increasing health. (Go, you!)  If any of those is so, this is your soup.  It’s filling, fresh, interesting, not overly-cooked, and quick to make. Easy? Of course. While it’s mostly chicken and vegetables (change them up if you’d like), there are two tiny potatoes and a few pieces of corn for thickening and interest. If you’d like more carbs, as well as additional fiber and protein, add a drained can of cannellini or white northern beans. If you want less, skip the potatoes and corn.  I chopped everything by hand as I had an hour and wanted big obvious pieces that still had some bite left in them.  If you’re pushed for time, you can throw most of the vegetables in the food processor, whirr them up, and be eating all the sooner.  Need Sunday supper?  You’ll also have weekday lunches with this whole meal soup.

Truth in blogging: I have the start of a nasty cold and needed chicken soup! And I’ve begun the TODAY SHOW’S Drop 10 (by summer) program and needed to begin branching out into my own cooking to even make it through the second day of the diet. I’ll let you know how I do! Try this:


6 -8 servings

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 diced boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 each:  sliced medium carrots and celery stalks
  • 1 fennel bulb, cored and diced–can sub an extra stalk of celery
  • 1 cup chopped cabbage of any sort
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill weed or 1 tablespoon dried dill weed*
  • Handful chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup white wine, optional
  • 2 cups water
  • 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • Small piece of parmesan rind–an inch or two is plenty*
  • 2 seeded lemon slices
  • 1 15-ounce can chopped tomatoes
  • A few drops of hot sauce or to taste
  • 2 tiny new potatoes, unpeeled, diced
  • 1/2 cup sliced fresh green beans
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 1/4 cup frozen or fresh corn
  • Handful sliced fresh spinach

In an 8 or 10-quart soup pot, heat oil over medium flame for 30 seconds and add chicken. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, 2 or 3 minutes until chicken has nearly lost all pinkness.  Stir in onions, carrots, celery, fennel, cabbage, add another 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and cook until vegetables are beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.  Stir in garlic, dill, and parsley and cook another minute or two.  Pour in wine and let cook down for several minutes. Add water, broth, Parmesan rind, lemon slices, tomatoes, and hot sauce as desired.  Bring to a boil; add potatoes and green beans. Turn heat down to simmer and let soup cook until all of the vegetables are nearly tender. Add zucchini, corn, and spinach and cook just a few more minutes until zucchini is nearly, but not quite, tender.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Remove wedges of lemon if you like.  Serve hot.

Storage:  Cool completely and store tightly covered in the fridge 3-4 days or in the freezer for 4-6 months.

*Cook’s Note:  Sub thyme or basil for dill if you’d like. No Parmesan rind in your freezer?  Just sprinkle with a tiny bit of grated Parmesan when serving.

{printable recipe}

Cook an easy, fast soup for health,


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