A delicious and easy chicken pesto soup, with cherry tomatoes, broccolini, celery, white beans and shredded chicken, all in a pesto-flavoured broth.
A feel good soup with an extra dose of flavour. Poaching the chicken in the broth, means you can start with a frozen chicken breast. Fresh cherry tomatoes, celery and broccolini adds a nice complement of vegetables. Finally, stirring pesto into the soup brings such great flavour to the broth.
Ingredients and Substitutions
Chicken – I generally use chicken breast, but chicken thighs will work (though they tend to be fattier). I also typically use boneless chicken, but if you only have bone-in, it’s fine. I would remove the skin before poaching. When removed from the broth, just remove the chicken meat from the bones and shred.
You can use fresh or frozen chicken, as it will poach in the broth. Frozen chicken will take a little longer to cook through. If you happen to have leftover cooked chicken, you can simply add the shredded, cooked chicken to the pot and skip the poaching step!
Marjoram – this is an herb that is not quite as popular as some. If you don’t have any, you can add a bit more oregano leaves or a pinch of dried basil and/or thyme.
Broccolini – broccolini is pretty in this soup, but broccoli will work just as well. Alternatives would be spinach or other greens, but add then at the end of cooking.
Cherry Tomatoes – fresh cherry tomatoes hold up better in this soup, but canned and drained cherry tomatoes will also work. You could also dice up a whole tomato, instead.
White Kidney Beans – also known as cannellini beans. Be sure to rinse the beans well before adding to the soup. You could also use red kidney beans or navy beans here.
Basil Pesto – a classic homemade or jarred basil pesto is all you need here.
- Soften the onion in a bit of olive oil. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds more.
- Add the chicken broth.
- Add the oregano and marjoram, together with a bit of salt and pepper.
- Add the chicken to the simmering broth.
- Poach the chicken until fully cooked to 165F when tested with an instant read thermometer.
- Remove chicken to a plate.
- Add the cherry tomatoes and broccolini to the pot.
- Shred the chicken and return to the pot.
- Add the white beans to the pot.
- Stir in the pesto. Taste and add additional salt and pepper, as needed.
Making Ahead and Storing
Store left-overs in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. It keeps really well and can just be re-heated as needed.
Get the Recipe: Chicken Pesto Soup
- 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup onion, diced
- 1 close garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram, or dried basil leaves
- 4 cups chicken broth, low sodium recommended
- 4-6 oz. boneless chicken breast, about one average
- 1 cup cup celery, thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 cups broccolini, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 14-15 oz. can white kidney beans (cannellini), rinsed
- 2 Tablespoons prepared basil pesto
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- Freshly ground pepper
- Grated Parmesan, for serving
- Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, about 30-45 seconds more. Add the broth, oregano and marjoram to the pot and bring to a simmer. Add the chicken to the broth. Simmer the chicken in the broth until the chicken is cooked through and registers 165F when tested with an instant read thermometer, about 10 minutes. *Don't boil too vigorously. You may need to reduce the heat under the pot slightly. Remove the chicken to a plate. When cool enough to handle, use two forks to shred the chicken. *If you have some foam or bits of fat in the broth in the pot, you can spoon off and discard before adding the vegetables, if you like.
- Meanwhile, add the celery, broccolini and tomatoes to the pot. return to a simmer. Cook until the vegetables are tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the shredded chicken and white beans. Heat a few minutes, then taste the soup. Add additional salt and pepper, as needed.. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in pesto. Serve with a bit of grated Parmesan, if you like. *If your soup is a bit too thick, simply thin with a bit more broth or water.
Adapted from an Eating Well recipe
We just had this for dinner along with a salad and some focaccia. We loved it!
Sounds like a perfect dinner! So glad you enjoyed it. Thanks :)
This delightful and easy soup was a snap to make. The only change I made was substituting kale for the broccolini. I will be making this again soon! YUM!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Lynne :) Thanks so much!