Hearty Italian Chicken and Vegetable Soup

This chicken soup is packed with zesty rich flavors and lots of good for you vegetables. By enhancing prepared low-sodium broth with lots of herbs and lemon and fresh chicken you get a soup that tastes like you simmered it all day long.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 45 min
  • Prep: 20 min
  • Cook: 25 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
  • Nutrition Info
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1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 onion, chopped

Pinch crushed red pepper flakes

6 whole sprigs, plus 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley

6 (3-inch) strips lemon zest, cut from 1 lemon

1 small head fennel, thinly sliced (2 cups), fennel tops reserved

1 1/2 pounds bone-in chicken breasts, skin removed

8 cups low-sodium chicken broth

A 2-3 inch piece Parmesan rind, optional

2 carrots, sliced (1 cup)

2 stalks celery, sliced (1 cup)

Kosher salt

2 cups, whole-wheat extra-wide noodle style pasta, 2 3/4 ounces (recommended: Ronzoni Healthy Harvest) **recommend just using 2 3/4 -ounce weight

3 cups baby spinach

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan, plus extra for passing

Lemon juice


  1. 1. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven set over medium heat. Add the onion and crushed red pepper flakes and cook until the onions begin to soften, 5 minutes. Meanwhile, tie the parsley sprigs, lemon zest, and fennel tops together. Add the herb bundle, broth, 2 cups of water, and, if using, the cheese rind. Bring to a very gentle simmer and simmer until the chicken is just cooked through, about 8 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove the meat from the bones in large strips, and set aside.
  2. 2. Meanwhile, add the sliced fennel, carrots, and celery to the broth and season with salt, to taste. Continue to simmer until the vegetables are just tender, 5 minutes. Stir in the noodles and cook until just al dente, about 5 minutes. Stir in the reserved chicken, baby spinach, and Parmesan until the chicken is heated through and the spinach is wilted. Discard the herb bundle and cheese rind. Stir in lemon juice, to taste. Ladle the soup into serving bowls and serve with additional Parmesan for passing.
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