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.
- 2 teaspoon(s) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup(s) carrot or diced red bell pepper
- 1 large (about 8 ounces) large boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into quarters
- 1 clove(s) (large) garlic, minced
- 5 cup(s) reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1 1/2 teaspoon(s) dried marjoram
- 6 ounce(s) baby spinach, coarsely chopped
- 1 can(s) (15-ounce) cannellini beans or great northern beans, rinsed
- 1/4 cup(s) grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup(s) lightly packed fresh basil leaves
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- 3/4 cup(s) plain or herbed multigrain croutons for garnish (optional)
- 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.