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.
- 2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- ½ cup carrot or diced red bell pepper
- 1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 8 ounces), cut into quarters
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 5 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried marjoram
- 6 ounces baby spinach, coarsely chopped
- 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans or great northern beans, rinsed
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ⅓ cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- ¾ cup plain or herbed multigrain croutons for garnish (optional)
- Step 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.
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.
Serving Size: about 1 1/2 cups Per Serving: 227 calories; protein 19.4g; carbohydrates 18g; dietary fiber 6g; sugars 1.7g; fat 9.1g; saturated fat 2g; cholesterol 28.5mg; vitamin a iu 3865.7IU; vitamin c 29.4mg; folate 76.7mcg; calcium 92.8mg; iron 2.1mg; magnesium 43.7mg; potassium 524.6mg; sodium 211.4mg; thiamin 0.1mg. Exchanges:
1 starch, 1 vegetable, 2 lean meat, 1 fat