This chicken soup gets extra flavor from Italian sausage and herby basil pesto. To make it, brown the sausage and chicken breasts in a pot, add the vegetables and some chicken broth, and stir in the beans and pesto. Add a splash of lemon juice at the end to balance the flavors, and it’s ready to serve. You can always make your own basil pesto and chicken stock and cook some dried beans yourself, but this version is an easy shortcut for a healthy weeknight dinner.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 ounces uncooked sweet or hot Italian sausage, casings removed
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 medium), cut into 3/4-inch pieces
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
- 2 medium zucchini (about 12 ounces), medium dice
- 1 medium yellow onion, medium dice
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
- 4 cups (1 quart) low-sodium chicken broth or stock
- 2 cups water
- 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/3 cup basil pesto, plus more as needed
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until it’s browned and cooked through, about 4 minutes.
- Add the chicken and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes more. Using a slotted spoon, remove the sausage and chicken to a medium bowl and set aside.
- Add the zucchini, onion, remaining teaspoon of salt, red pepper flakes, and measured pepper to the pot and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, scraping up any browned bits that have accumulated on the bottom of the pot, until the onion has softened, about 7 minutes.
- Return the sausage, chicken, and any accumulated juices to the pot. Add the broth and water, stir to combine, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the beans and measured pesto. Cook until the beans are just heated through, about 1 minute. Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed. Serve immediately, with the extra pesto on the side.