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Chicken & Spinach Soup with Fresh Pesto

Chicken & Spinach Soup with Fresh Pesto

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.


5 servings, about 1 1/2 cups each

Prep Time

30 minutes

Total Time

30 minutes


  • 2teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil plus 1 tablespoon, divided
  • 1/2cup carrot or diced red bell pepper
  • 1large boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 8 ounces), cut into quarters
  • 1large clove garlic, minced
  • 5cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2teaspoons dried marjoram
  • 6ounces baby spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 115-ounce can cannellini beans or great northern beans, rinsed
  • 1/4cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 3/4cup plain or herbed multigrain croutons for garnish (optional)


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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

Per serving (recipe makes 5 servings, about 1 1/2 cups each)

Calories 226kcal
Carbohydrate Total 18g
Total Sugars 2g
Added Sugars 0g
Fiber 6g
Total Fat 9g
Saturated Fat 2g
Mono Saturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 29mg
Sodium 211mg
Protein 19g
Potassium 525mg
Calcium 93mg
Folate 77mcg
Omega-6 1g
Vitamin E 2mg
Zinc 1mg
Vitamin B3 8mg

© Meredith Operations Corporation. All rights reserved. Used with permission.