This Soothing Lemon Chicken Soup with Kale will fill your belly, warm you up, and cure whatever’s ailing you.

Soup bowl with the word "Nourish" written around it, filled with chicken soup next to a dish towel and pot of soup.

The Internet Might Not Need Another Chicken Soup Recipe, But…

This Soothing Lemon Chicken Soup with Kale is a staple in this house—during cold season, or anytime someone gets the slightest itch in their throat. It’s packed with all the good stuff: veggies, shredded chicken, little itty bitty noodles, and a refreshing spritz of lemon juice to liven things up. When I first came up with this recipe a few years ago, lemon wasn’t part of the equation. But fresh lemon juice has easily become a key ingredient in my homemade soups, and now, I can’t imagine this recipe without it. It’s a must, and that’s why it’s in the name.

A Flavor Upgrade With Approachable Ingredients.

I like to use chicken tenderloins in this recipe because they cook a lot quicker than a breast or thighs. Cooking them in the pot prior to making the soup and leaving all of those flavorful bits in the pan is one of the little extras that adds so much flavor of this soup. As for the noodles, I don’t overdo it, but I gotta have them. So I opt for tiny noodles like farfalline. You could also use orzo, acini de pepe, or pastina. Here’s the full list of ingredients to jot down onto your shopping list:

  • Avocado oil or olive oil
  • Chicken tenderloins
  • Chicken broth/stock or bouillon paste (I always opt for Better Than Bouillon)
  • Yellow onion
  • Garlic
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Kale
  • Italian seasoning
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Farfalline, or a small pasta like it
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • Lemons

Uncooked chicken tenderloins on a plate surrounded by kale, celery, carrots, spices, broth, and dry pasta.

 

Here’s How to Make This Soothing Lemon Chicken Soup With Kale.

Chicken, kale, and that little bit of pasta, together, are what really make this soup a well-rounded meal. (Complete with a hunk of fresh bread, of course.) But the fresh lemon juice? That’s what makes all the difference in the flavor. I suggest you taste test the soup before you add it, and then again afterward, just so you can taste the beautiful difference it makes! Here’s the low down:

  1. Cook your chicken tenders in a stock pot or Dutch oven. Once they’re cooked, remove them and set them aside.
  2. In that same pot, add a splash of the broth and deglaze the bottom of the pan. Any bits left behind from cooking the chicken will add to the flavor of the soup.
  3. Transfer the garlic, onion, celery, carrots, and kale to the pan. Add a sprinkle of sea salt, a few cracks of black pepper, the Italian seasoning, and crushed red pepper, and stir to coat. Let the veggies simmer until they’re tender and the kale has wilted down. This should take about 5-7 minutes.
  4. Add the broth to the pot, stir, and bring to a low simmer over medium heat. Once the soup reaches a low simmer, add the pasta and give the soup another good stir. Let everything simmer on low until the pasta is cooked through. Time will depend on the type of pasta, but this shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes.
  5. In the meantime, shred the chicken tenders with two forks—or roughly chop them into cubes.
  6. Once the pasta is cooked, dump the shredded chicken into the soup and stir to mix.
  7. Add the lemon juice and zest, stir, and give it a taste. Season with a smidgen more salt and pepper if needed.
  8. Serve immediately, with a hunk of fresh buttered bread, preferably ;)

Pot with cooked chicken tenders, and pot with chopped veggies and kale with a wooden spoon.

Broth being added to pot of cooked veggies, and a cutting board full of shredded chicken.

Soup bowl with the word "Nourish" written around it, filled with chicken soup next to a dish towel and pot of soup.

Equipment You’ll Need:

Recipe Tips + Tricks.

  1. If you don’t have chicken tenderloins, you could use boneless and skinless chicken thighs or breasts. Cooking time will vary, but everything else stays the same.
  2. You can swap in baby spinach to replace the kale if you prefer.
  3. Quinoa makes a fantastic grain substitute for the pasta. You can add the same amount at the same time in the directions—just give the quinoa a good rinse prior to adding it to the soup.
  4. If you already have leftover chicken or turkey that’s already been cooked from a different meal, you could definitely add that to this soup instead. I love cooking this soup in the pot that chicken has been cooked in because the pan bits add so much flavor, but in a pinch, if you’re looking to use up leftovers, go for it. Simple skip the steps of cooking the chicken and go straight to simmering the veggies, then add your leftover chicken or turkey at the end.
  5. Crushed red peppers are optional, but I highly recommend them if you’re not sensitive to heat—especially if you have a cold. It’ll really knock everything loose ;)

Close up of pot of chicken soup.

Here Are Some More Soups That’ll Warm You Up:

 

Have You Made This Recipe?

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Soup bowl with the word "Nourish" written around it, filled with chicken soup next to a dish towel and pot of soup.

Get the Recipe:

Soothing Lemon Chicken Soup with Kale

This Soothing Lemon Chicken Soup with Kale will fill your belly, warm you up, and cure whatever's ailing you.
5 from 6 votes

Ingredients

  • 1-2 TBSP Avocado oil or olive oil
  • 1 lb chicken tenderloins
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, smashed and thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1 rib of celery, thinly sliced
  • 3 heaping cups of chopped kale, ribs removed
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 TBSP Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 8 cups chicken stock or broth
  • 1/4 cup farfalline, Any variety of tiny pasta will work
  • 1 large lemon, or two smaller lemons, zested and juiced

Instructions 

  • Heat oil in a stock pot over medium heat. Season the chicken tenders with a bit of sea salt and cracked pepper, and place them into the hot oil. Cook them for about 8-10 minutes, or until they reach an internal temperature of 165º F, flipping them over halfway through.
  • When the chicken tenders are fully cooked, remove them from the pot and set them aside on a plate or cutting board. You can place a paper towel beneath them to absorb excess oil if you'd like.
  • In that same pot you cooked the chicken, add a splash of the broth and bring to a low simmer. Deglaze the bottom of the pan—any bits left behind from the chicken will add flavor.
  • Add the garlic, onion, celery, carrots, and kale to the pot. Season with a bit of sea salt, a few cracks of black pepper, the Italian seasoning, and crushed red pepper; stir to coat.
  • Simmer the veggies until they're tender and the kale has wilted down—about 5-7 minutes.
  • Add the broth to the pot, stir, and bring everything to a low simmer over medium heat. When the soup reaches a low simmer, add the pasta and stir; simmer on low until the pasta is cooked through. (Time will vary depending on the type of pasta you use, but this shouldn't take longer than 10 minutes).
  • While the pasta cooks in the soup, shred the chicken tenders with two fork or chop them into cubes. When the pasta is cooked, add the shredded chicken into the soup and stir.
  • Finally, add the lemon juice and zest, stir, and give it a taste. Season with a smidgen more salt and pepper if needed.
  • Serve immediately, preferably with a hunk of fresh buttered bread ;)