Food / Soups, Stews + Chili

Soothing Chicken and Kale Soup

Soup season is behind us—especially here in the sticky South. But when an insufferable summer flu hits, it doesn’t matter; soup’s on! This chicken and kale soup, in particular.

Since I work from home, I can usually dodge whatever bug is going around. But! I think what I’m experiencing right now is my body telling me that I need to slow the hell down. May has been exhausting—physically, mentally, and socially—and as an introvert, I’m in desperate need of repose and a recharge.

And nothing can cure what’s ailing you quite like a steamy pot of homemade chicken soup. (Though this plant-based Healing Quinoa Vegetable Soup works wonders as well. It’s *packed* with anti-inflammatories!)

Okay so wait. Chicken?

Yep. We’re eating poultry again.

If you’re new here, this space was previously centered around the pescetarian diet, and if that’s what brought you here in the first place, don’t fret. Despite the fact that I’ll be bringing poultry to the table on occasion, my lifestyle still concentrates heavily on seafood and veggies.

With the recent shift, Killing Thyme now focuses on heart-healthy recipes and overall wellbeing. I’m very much done with labels. With wanting to start a family this year, I decided a few months ago that I’d phase poultry back into my diet for an extra punch of protein since fish consumption has to be held to a minimum while pregnant. As a result, I felt guilty and ashamed; I feared that friends would question me while out to dinner. Omg you’re eating chicken? Are you no longer pescetarian? Why? DID YOU STOP CARING ABOUT ANIMALS?

And then I realized that a) my friends aren’t dicks and would never question me about it, and b) living a labelled lifestyle that makes me feel ashamed to make a decision for my own health is bullshit and I want no part in it.

What’s important is that we eat well, stay informed, know where our food comes from, buy sustainably when we can, and support local, happy, and humane farms; we should talk to our butchers and fishmongers, and make wise decisions.

Soothing Chicken and Kale Soup.

I’ve conjured up this soup for my husband every time he’s caught a bug, and it does the trick every time. It’s warming, substantial, flavorful, and oh-so-cozy. I remember making him a batch when I was fully pescetarian, and doing a wee taste test just to make sure it was seasoned just right, and I kind of chuckled to myself thinking… If only I could bring this bad boy to the blog.

Well, here we are.

I’ve thought this quite often over the last two years of pescetarian living—especially with Instant Pot recipes trending so much. I used to think about the endless possibilities that would come with creating and sharing poultry recipes.

Niching myself in the pescetarian world brought me more success than I could’ve ever hoped for, so I’m really hoping this shift takes me even further. As I continue to bring pescetarian and vegetarian-friendly recipes to the blog, I’m hoping to attract a whole other slew of healthy eaters with the inclusion of poultry.

If you make this dish, snap a photo and tag me on the Insta @killing__thyme! I love seeing your creations, and you could be featured in my monthly newsletter <3

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5 from 13 votes

Soothing Chicken and Kale Soup

This soothing soup will cure what's ailing you with tender pulled chicken, nutrient-dense kale, carrots, herbs, garlic, teeny pasta, and a pinch of crushed chilis for an extra kick.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6
Author Dana Sandonato


  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken you can use thighs, breasts, or strips
  • kosher salt and cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups roughly chopped kale when cutting your kale, make sure to cut out and discard the ribs
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning If you don't have this, you can use other dried herbs, like thyme, oregano
  • 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth this equates to TWO 32 oz boxes of broth
  • 1/4 cup farfalline, or any tiny pasta acini di pepe, ditalini, pastina/stelline also work; you can also use quinoa!
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon


  • Heat 2 TBSP of olive oil in a Dutch oven or stockpot over medium-low heat. Season the chicken with a bit of salt and pepper, and once the oil is hot/shimmering, add the chicken to the pot and cook it through, until no longer pink in the center. Time will vary with different cuts of chicken. Chicken strips/tenders should take 8-10 minutes; chicken breasts can vary between 10-15 minutes; chicken thighs, 8-12 minutes. If you have a meat thermometer, ensure your chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165° F.
  • Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the pan and set it on a plate or cutting board lined with paper towels to soak up any excess oil.
  • Add the onion and garlic to the pot. (If you find the bottom of the pot to be dry, feel free to add a bit of oil.) Simmer the onions and garlic over medium-low heat for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally; add the carrots, kale, chili flakes, and Italian seasoning, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the onion and carrots are tender and the kale has turned bright green in color.
  • Add the chicken broth to the pot and increase the heat to medium-high, bringing the soup to a simmer. Let the soup simmer for about five minutes, then add the farfalline. Bring the heat to medium-low and let it simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the pasta has cooked.
  • Remove the soup from the heat and finish it off with a splash of juice from half a lemon. (The acidity really brightens the flavors!) Give the soup a good stir, and serve with fresh bread or saltines.


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  • Denise
    January 5, 2020 at 3:10 pm

    Could you substitute quinoa for the pasta? And if so how would that change the cooking? Thanks. I think I’ve gonna love this recipe.

  • […] Try my Soothing Chicken and Kale Soup! […]

  • Rachel R
    April 27, 2019 at 5:44 pm

    I like this recipe I just made it similar without grains I was a pescovotarian for years then I moved back to the Midwest and went back to meat. I eat grassfed beef too I got tired of just chicken after that. It’s tricky to find out what fish are on the contaminants list too.

  • Anna
    June 13, 2018 at 10:37 am

    5 stars
    I always add spinach to the chicken noodle soup and my family really enjoys it! I love the idea of adding kale and make this even more nutritious. Perfect food for the flu days!

  • Sean@Diversivore
    June 12, 2018 at 11:26 am

    5 stars
    As you embark on your new culinary direction (or perhaps I should say modified direction, as you’ll still be doing a lot of the same wonderful stuff that you did before) I love that you’re diving in with some classic, nourishing comfort food. I have yet to pick up the dreaded summer cold this year (fingers crossed), but MAN OH MAN I’m still traumatized by the absolutely miserable cold/flu/whatever that I suffered from for about 3 months earlier this year. I could have gone for a bowl of this pretty much daily. Love the kale too – I think curly green kale cooks up quite nicely in soups.

  • Leslie-Anne
    June 11, 2018 at 8:33 pm

    5 stars
    Yes! All the yesses! Supporting happy, humane and local farms and farmers is the way to go. Labels are hard – and I totally understand getting stuck in one even if it doesn’t always feel right! I love your writing, I’m glad to have discovered it again.

  • Michele
    June 11, 2018 at 5:47 pm

    5 stars
    Everyone needs to do whats best for themselves! Good for you that you are following that advise! It doesnt matter to me that this is a super healthy antioxidant laden soup… it just tastes great! And thats a winner in my book!

  • D
    June 11, 2018 at 1:33 pm

    5 stars
    Good on you for doing what’s best for your body, if you need the chicken, eat the chicken! I try to be vegetarian in my everyday life but think of it more as a flexitarian because I know I slip up – especially if there is sushi around :) This soup sounds delightful, so nourishing and warming to the soul!

  • Marisa Franca
    June 11, 2018 at 8:30 am

    5 stars
    I certainly won’t judge what you prefer to it. What’s important is that it’s good for you and that you like it. I’m sorry to hear about your cold — I hope it’s better now. We do eat lots of fish — Hubby likes the sport. Now, I think there is a place for soup year round. Sometimes you just need that hot comfort. The soup sounds ideal — if it’s too hot outside I’ll just crank up the AC.

    • Killing Thyme
      June 11, 2018 at 11:06 am

      I’m with you, Marisa. Despite the fact that there’s a defined “soup season”, I enjoy it year round. You just can’t find that kind of comfort in a bowl of gazpacho ;)

  • Sandra
    June 11, 2018 at 1:33 am

    5 stars
    This chicken soup is just what I need to kick a little bug I’ve been battling for a few days. This looks like it will be easy to pack up and reheat at my office for lunchtime too!

  • Jennifer Bigler
    June 10, 2018 at 2:20 pm

    5 stars
    I love the idea of making this with quinoa since we are gluten free. I never thought to make chicken soup with kale, it is a brilliant idea! This looks like the perfect soup to kick any cold in the face, or just to eat because I freaking love chicken soup. Thanks for this recipe. I am saving now for the next time I need that nutrient push.

    • Killing Thyme
      June 11, 2018 at 11:09 am

      I absolutely love quinoa in soup! It offers the same heartiness as noodles, but with health benefits. *Score*. I hope you enjoy this bad boy.

  • Sarah
    June 9, 2018 at 9:08 pm

    5 stars
    I love this- chicken soup kicked up by about a thousand! And I hope you’re over your nasty summer flu. We had a bug a few weeks ago and I had chicken soup, but I wish I’d had this one with kale!! Next time!

    • Killing Thyme
      June 11, 2018 at 11:11 am

      Thanks, Sarah! I thought I’d kicked this bug, but I woke up with a tight chest again today. Though I think it might be from breathing in the second-hand smoke on a beer garden patio Saturday night. Ugh.

  • Carmy
    June 8, 2018 at 5:31 pm

    5 stars
    I’m so excited to hear that you’re starting a family! That’s wonderful news! And you’re correct – there’s no judgement from this reader about you adding chicken back into your diet. I didn’t know fish consumption had to be watched while pregnant so that’s another thing to add to my column of “all the yummy things I can’t eat if pregnant” list I have going on. Hoping this soup kicks that icky feeling right out the door and you feel better soon.

    • Killing Thyme
      June 11, 2018 at 11:14 am

      Thanks, Carmy! It’s super exciting, but since we’re in the *trying* stages, I’m trying not to overthink and stress about it. Haha. (And I’m learning that that’s hardly possible ;) )

      Are you planning on trying too? The list of things you can’t eat when pregnant just seems to get bigger and bigger. I fell in love with kombucha yesterday, then read that it’s pretty much on a “better to not consume while preggo” list. POOP.

      I also can’t eat the barramundi or ahi tuna steaks in my freezer because of mercury I HOPE THEY HOLD UP FOR ME. Lol.

  • Gloria
    June 7, 2018 at 9:23 am

    5 stars
    You are right….chicken soup makes you feel better!! This has been the magic cure since I was a kid (and that was a long time ago LOL). Love all the textures in this soup. Quinoa and kale are both delicious and nutritious. I am saving this for a cold rainy day (even in the summer).

    • Killing Thyme
      June 11, 2018 at 11:21 am

      There is definitely something nostalgic about chicken soup for me too! Homemade soup was a big thing in my family; my grandmother made a pot of it at lunch every day, and my mom made it frequently!

  • susie
    June 5, 2018 at 1:56 pm

    5 stars
    Welcome to the world of chicken!! I can’t wait to see what recipes you create. I agree that May is a crazy month! I am also ready for the summer slow down, unfortunately i don’t think I will see that until July.
    This soup looks amazing! So comforting! We take a trip to Colorado and Minnesota in the summer and both those locations have cold nights in the summer… perfect for chicken soup!

    • Killing Thyme
      June 11, 2018 at 11:22 am

      Thank you! I’m excited to bring poultry back and refresh old chicken recipes on here from years ago.

      This would definitely be perfect for those chilly nights!

      • Kim
        September 25, 2019 at 11:57 am

        5 stars
        Fantastic recipe . I added a little more onion and carrot for personal preference . Used frozen chopped kale as I had it on hand.

  • Anne|Craving Something Healthy
    June 5, 2018 at 1:27 pm

    I make a pot of soup almost every week in the winter and this one will definitely be making an appearance on my stove! PS your photos are beautiful :)

    • Killing Thyme
      June 11, 2018 at 11:23 am

      Thanks, Anne! And I’m the same. Homemade soup is a must throughout the chillier months.


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