Minestrone-Inspired Soup with Quick Chicken Stock

MinestroneMinestrone is Italian vegetable soup, a one-pot meal that provides the perfect opportunity to clean out the fridge. This hearty version is made with homemade chicken stock (and cooked chicken) that’s ready in about 30 minutes, to which you can add any vegetables you have on hand.

This chicken stock isn’t quite as nutrient rich as stock that’s simmered for hours, but it still tastes so much better than canned stock. Plus, you’ll have enough cooked chicken for the soup and another meal.

Minestrone is delicious with only the carrots, cabbage and kale this recipe calls for, but don’t hesitate to throw in other veggie odds and ends from the fridge. Zucchini, broccoli, root vegetables and green beans are all great additions. The more veggies you add, the less likely you are to miss the beans, pasta or rice that usually bulk up a bowl of minestrone.

Serves: 8

Time in the Kitchen: 1 hour 45 minutes



  • 4 tablespoons butter or olive oil (60 g/ml)
  • 1 whole chicken, approximately 3 pounds, cut into pieces (1.5 kg)
  • 2 leeks, thinly sliced
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 8 cups of water (1.9 L)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (7 ml)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns (2 ml)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste (30 ml)
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes (500 ml)
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 1/4 to 1/2 of a green cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 small bunch of kale, leaves thinly sliced (tough stems and middle rib removed)
  • Plus, a few more cups of any other chopped veggies you have on hand


In a deep pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter/oil over medium-high heat.

Place 4 to 6 pieces of chicken in the pot, or as many pieces as you can fit in one layer. Brown the pieces of chicken on both sides. As the chicken browns, remove it from the pot and add new pieces until all the chicken is browned. Set aside.

Browned Chicken

Heat one more tablespoon of butter/oil in the pot then add the leeks and celery. Sauté a few minutes until they begin to soften.

Add chicken, water, salt, bay leaves and peppercorns.

Bring the water to a boil and skim the foam off the top. Reduce the heat so the water is at a simmer.

Partially cover the pot. Simmer for 30 minutes. (Note: if you like, you can remove the chicken breasts sooner than 30 minutes, so they don’t overcook)

Pour the soup through a colander that is setting over a large bowl or pot. The chicken and other solids will be caught in the colander and the broth will be saved in the bowl below.

Chicken Broth

Wash out the original soup pot. Over medium heat, add the remaining tablespoon of butter to the soup pot and the tomato paste. Stir the paste as it browns for one minute, then add the tomatoes. Simmer the tomatoes for 7 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, to thicken.

Pour the reserved broth into the pot with the tomatoes. Bring to a simmer then add the carrots, cabbage and any other firm vegetables you want to add.

Simmer uncovered for at least 10 minutes, or until carrots and other vegetables have reached desired doneness.

While the carrots and cabbage simmer, take the chicken meat of the bones. Slice up as much chicken as you would like to add to the soup. Save the rest for another meal.

Add the kale and chicken to the soup pot. Simmer just a few minutes, to wilt kale and warm chicken.

Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.

Recipe Note: If you’d like to freeze half of the soup, consider freezing the tomato-flavored broth and chicken, without any vegetables. Add fresh vegetables after defrosting and heating up the soup, for better texture and flavor.

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20 thoughts on “Minestrone-Inspired Soup with Quick Chicken Stock”

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    1. I was just thinking the same thing. It’s chilly and frosty out this morning, and this recipe looks like a delicious little way to get some internal heat going!

  1. I love minestrone. Made some last night – with grass-fed ground beef. Being a stubborn old coot, I threw in a bit of white rice and some organic, traditionally soaked garbanzos though.

  2. I love hearty home-made soup on a cold winter day. It feeds the soul in a way you can’t get from Campbell’s….

  3. I believe you’ve missed a step in your instructions. After browning the chicken and setting it aside, at what point do you put the chicken back in the pot?

    1. I noticed this too. Put the chicken back in when you add the water (or, that’s what I’d do, anyway).

  4. Looks delicious (even though I’m a vegetarian, I eat a lot of eggs and drink a lot of protein drinks) I’m going to make this sans the good part. 🙂

  5. Hi, I want to ask about your protein powder/fuel. I notice it uses a lot of ingredients and concentrate…I always thought 100% pure isolate waas the BEST type of source to go with if going with powder.
    I’m looking for someting but have awful digestion and cant’ figure it out. Is concentrates okay? I found a cheaper “new zealand” one , but it has both concentrate and isolate in it…

    1. Try searching “protein powder” in the forum section of the site–Mark probably won’t be able to get back to you here…

  6. This just look delicious. Although it is about 40 Degrees Celsius here at the moment in Australia, we will be indeed trying in winter. Thank you thank you! e & c

  7. In veggie catch-all soups I also like to add dried kombu seaweed cut up in small pieces. Interesting that both the chicken AND tomato paste get browned–yum!

  8. My Mum always had a pan of soup – broth – on the go. It was part of the ‘after war years’ of not wasting anything, so she would always make a stock from the chicken carcass and then would add anything else that came to hand. It’s good practice, not only for PB but for WN (Waste Not!.

  9. Actually got off my ass today and went to the International Market. First on my list is to make the seaweed (Konbu?) soup, then this soup and then the Cassoulet…
    I have to stop the drive-throughs and then wondering why I look like a pig..

  10. Having worked in a family run Italian restaurant I must say that Minestrone soup must contain basil. Basil, salt and pepper were the only seasonings we used. Try adding it.

  11. I made this today and it was delicious. I used some other vegetables too and added a little turmeric and cayenne which worked out great.

    Bonus points: To get the chicken stock, I boiled my chicken legs in beef bone broth. I’m so doing this every time.

  12. I answered my own question…the leeks and celery get too mushy so they can be set aside and tossed out. I went back, cut up more celery and added it to the soup, along with some mushrooms.

  13. Do you know the serving size and what the Protein, Fat, & Carbs are for this recipe?
    thank you!