This is the best easy, healthy chicken soup! It is made with immune boosting ingredients like garlic, kale, and turmeric, and all comes together quickly in one pot! Just what you need for a cool fall, or cold winter day.
Make sure to get this chicken and kale soup on your list of things to make as we approach cold and flu season. Or get it made now and freeze some for when you need it – you’ll be glad you did!
There is just something so satisfying about pulling out homemade chicken soup from the freezer on a chilly fall or cold winter day! I try to keep some of this soup frozen in individual serving sizes throughout the winter so when healthy chicken soup is needed, it’s ready!
How to Make This Healthy
- CHOP YOUR VEGGIES: Start this healthy chicken soup by chopping up the carrots, onion, celery, and garlic (ya know, the soup staples!).
- COOK VEGGIES AND SPICES: Add chopped veggies to a large stock pot or dutch oven. Cook veggies over medium heat until they begin to soften and onions are translucent (about 10-15 minutes). After the veggies are cooked, add in the spices and cook for an additional 2 minutes, stirring frequently (this helps to bring out the flavor of the spices).
- ADD CHICKEN AND BROTH TO VEGGIES: Place the chicken breasts on cooked veggies and add bay leaves and broth. Turn to high heat and bring broth to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and let chicken cook. The chicken cooks in the broth, so no need to cook the chicken separately. This is such a time saver… and it’s one less dish to clean!
- SHRED COOKED CHICKEN: Once the chicken has cooked, remove the chicken from the soup and shred with two forks. Add shredded chicken back into soup. You could also use a stand mixer or hand held mixer to shred the chicken (yep, you can shred chicken this way)!
- ADD THE KALE AND LET SIMMER: Add kale to soup and allow to wilt. The kale will wilt in the warm soup within minutes. Keep at a low simmer until ready to eat.
Difference Between Broth and Stock
One of these days I’ll get around to making my own broth, but in the meantime, store bought it is. I'm partial to broth, but you could also use stock. You can choose from bone broth, regular broth, or stock. Options galore, but what's the difference?
- Stock is made from using more of the bones and is typically unseasoned (if made from scratch). It may be slightly richer in texture compared to broth due to the collagen from the bones.
- Broth is made from more of the meat (can contain bones too) and is seasoned with fresh herbs.
- Bone broth is made from the bones (could contain some meat), and like stock, is typically unseasoned (if homemade). It has a much longer cook time compared to stock and broth and has a thicker consistency due to the collagen from the bones and the longer cook time.
- They all typically contain a mix of vegetables known as mirepoix (a mixture of onions, carrots, and celery). And they all can pretty much be used interchangeably in most recipes.
Tips for Keeping Your Soup Ingredients Clean
These are specific things I look for when buying the ingredients for this soup. If you don’t purchase items with my recommendations below, know the recipe will still turn out great.
BROTH: When looking for store bought varieties, ensure you are looking at the ingredient list! There are some very clean options out there and some not so clean. Some may contain sugar or added flavors, so look for one that contains a short list of ingredients like chicken, vegetables, and spices. And with most things, I buy organic to be sure it’s free of antibiotics, hormones (beef), and chemicals; don’t want that stuff gettin’ in my chicken kale soup! Some of my go to’s are Pacific Foods, Kettle and Fire (not certified organic, but all organic ingredients are used), and Bonafide Provisions.
CHICKEN: I always buy organic chicken, and here’s why. First and foremost, it guarantees the chickens were not given antibiotics and that they were fed organic feed (you don’t need to worry about hormones in chicken – it’s against USDA regulations to give poultry hormones). In addition, I like to look for certifications like “Certified Humane” that ensures quality treatment and natural living conditions (organic has some standards when it comes to living conditions, but not much). HERE is a handy chart if you’re curios to learn more.
VEGGIES: I highly recommend buying organic for the kale and celery. Both of these are on the Environmental Working Groups dirty dozen list (meaning they contain the highest amounts of pesticides).
SPICES: Surprise, surprise, I like organic. Why? The FDA does not require spice manufacturers to label spices with added ingredients, like sugar, salt, colors, or preservatives… so you never know exactly what you are getting with conventional spices… yikes! Certified organic spices have more standards. They don’t have anything added, so what you see is what you get. With organic, you can also be sure no chemicals were used in the growing process of the spices.
Substitutions and Add-ins
One of my favorite things about soup is that there are so many ways to customize it to your liking, and this chicken kale soup is no exception.
VEGETARIAN: Use vegetable broth instead and add in some white beans and/or cooked noodles in place of the chicken (add these in when you add in the kale).
VEGGIES: Go head and throw in any veggies of your choice – I kept it pretty standard with this recipe, but broccoli, potatoes, mushrooms, or green beans would be yummy, too!
CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP: Craving some noodles in your soup? Add in some cooked noodles of your choice when you add in the kale.
LEMON: Yummm... some fresh lemon juice would be great, also! Try adding some fresh lemon to your bowl, or the entire pot!
How Long Does This Last?
This soup will stay good in the fridge for 4-5 days and can be frozen for up to 3 months. If you don’t already have some, grab some Stasher bags for freezing…they work great and are good for the environment!
More Warm and Comforting Foods I Think You'll Like
If you make this healthy chicken and kale soup, please let me know what you think! Leave a comment below and/or share a photo on Instagram and mention @CleanPlateMama!
The Best Immune-Boosting Chicken and Kale Soup
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 4 celery stalks, chopped
- 5 large carrots, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1-2 tsp. turmeric (see notes)
- 1 tbsp. oregano
- 1 tsp. thyme
- 1 tsp. salt (more to taste)
- ½ tsp. ground pepper (more to taste)
- 1-1 ½ lbs. chicken breasts (see notes)
- 2 bay leaves
- 8 cups chicken bone broth (stock or regular broth works too)
- 4 cups curly kale or lacinto kale, stems removed (I prefer curly kale for this soup)
- Heat a large stock pot (or dutch oven) over medium high heat. Add onion, celery, carrots, garlic, and olive oil. Cook veggies until they begin to soften and onions are translucent (about 10-15 minutes).
- Add the turmeric, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper, and cook for an additional minute or two, stirring frequently.
- Add uncooked chicken breasts and bay leaves on top of veggies. Pour broth over veggies and chicken, ensuring chicken is fully covered by the broth.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium low and keep at a simmer (uncovered). Simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until chicken is cooked and easily shreds with a fork.
- Remove cooked chicken from pot and place on a cutting board. Using two forks, shred chicken.
- Add shredded chicken back to pot. Add kale and continue to cook until kale is wilted (about two minutes). Keep at a low simmer until ready to eat.