Pesto Chicken Kale Potato Soup
Pesto Chicken Kale Potato Soup, a simple from-scratch homemade chicken and potato soup with kale and pesto sauce. Ready in under an hour and perfect for meal prep or freezing to eat all season long!
Love pesto? Love chicken soup? Combine them! This simple chicken and potato soup recipe adds sturdy kale and a dollop of herb pesto for a flavorful take on traditional chicken soup for the soul.
👉 Want the recipe for this simple chicken, potato, and kale soup that's ready in under an hour? Let's do it!
- Chicken: We used boneless skinless breasts, but any bone-in cut of chicken will do for this recipe if needed
- Potatoes: Small, waxy potatoes like red potatoes or new potatoes are best for this recipe
- Kale: Sturdy kale adds a nice texture and green color; a thick green like chard will also be tasty
- Pesto sauce: Try a tasty homemade basil pesto, or get creative with other pestos (like arugula pesto or broccoli stem pesto)
- Onions, carrots, celery: A sautéed mirepoix of onions, carrots, and celery adds flavor and depth to this soup
- Chicken or vegetable broth: Either chicken or vegetable broth for the liquid base (try making your own broth!)
- Bay leaves, lemon, salt, pepper: Our chosen seasonings, but get creative with herbs and spices to make it your own
- Recommended tools: large soup pot or Dutch oven, fork, knife, cutting board
🥣 How to make (step-by-step photos)
1️⃣ Step One: Cook chicken and vegetables
Once the oil is heated, add chopped onions, carrots, and celery and cook until they begin to soften, which takes about 3-5 minutes.
Once the vegetables have softened, push them aside in the pot and add chicken breasts, salt, and pepper. Sear chicken breast about 2 minutes each side until browned.
2️⃣ Step Two: Simmer soup
When chicken is seared on both sides, add broth and bay leaves and increase heat to bring broth to a boil.
Then reduce heat to medium and simmer covered for 20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked throughout.
3️⃣ Step Three: Remove chicken and add potatoes
Once chicken is cooked, remove from broth with tongs and let cool on a cutting board.
Add potatoes to broth and increase heat to bring soup to a rolling boil to cook potatoes until soft, about 10 minutes.
4️⃣ Step Four: Shred chicken and add final ingredients
When chicken is cooled, use a fork to shred it into thin pieces and then add the shredded chicken back to the pot.
Cook a few more minutes, or until potatoes are soft when speared with fork. Then add kale and lemon juice and cook until soft, about 2 minutes more.
5️⃣ Step Five: Add pesto sauce and serve
Spoon soup into bowl and top with 1 tablespoon pesto. Then serve and enjoy!
🧊 How to store
- Refrigerator storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.
- Freezer storage: Store leftover soup in an airtight container or freezer-friendly bag for up to 1 month. Place in refrigerator for 24 hours to thaw, then reheat in the microwave or on the stove.
♻️ Sustainable kitchen tips
We’re all about running an eco kitchen here at Fork in the Road! Here are some tips to go green:
- Invest in a soup pot: get yourself a large soup pot or dutch oven, it will be a workhorse in your kitchen all winter long
- Make your own broth: make your own broth with food scraps to extend the life of food, save money, and reduce packaging
- Make once, freeze for later: make a big batch of chicken soup and freeze for later busy weeknights or work lunches
- Choose responsibly-raised chicken: there's not denying it, the poultry industry is problematic. If you do choose to eat meat, do your part and choose USDA organic and Animal Welfare Approved chicken
- Choose an interesting pesto sauce: skip traditional basil pesto and try pesto with carrot tops, radish leaves pesto, or pesto with chickpeas instead of nuts.
👉 More cozy soup recipes
Want more soups recipes? We've got you covered:
Pesto Chicken Kale Potato Soup
- 2 teaspoons oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 4 medium carrots, sliced thin
- 4 stalks celery, sliced thin
- 1 pound chicken breasts or thighs
- 1 pinch of salt and pepper
- 8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 single bay leaves
- 6 large waxy potatoes, sliced into 1 inch cubes
- 1 bunch kale, peeled and shredded
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice, from about 1 lemon
- 6 tablespoons pesto, 1 tablespoon per serving
- Cook vegetables and chicken: Heat oil over medium heat in a large soup pot, then add chopped onion, carrots, and celery and cook until they begin to soften, 3-5 minutes. Once softened, push vegetables aside and add chicken breasts, salt, and pepper. Sear chicken breast about 2 minutes each side.
- Simmer soup: When chicken is seared, add broth and bay leaves and increase heat to bring broth to a boil. Then reduce heat to medium and simmer covered for 20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked throughout.
- Remove chicken and add potatoes: Once chicken is cooked, remove from broth with tongs and let cool on a cutting board. Add potatoes to broth and increase heat to bring soup to a rolling boil to cook potatoes until soft, about 10 minutes.
- Shred chicken and finish soup: When chicken is cooled, use a fork to shred and then add back to the pot. Cook a few more minutes, or until potatoes are soft when speared with fork. Then add kale and lemon juice and cook until soft, about 2 minutes more.
- Add pesto and serve: Spoon soup into bowl and top with 1 tablespoon pesto.
- Tools needed: cutting board, knife set, dutch oven or large soup pot
- Prep ahead: to prep ahead, the vegetables can be cut ahead of time to make preparation easier. However soups are the perfect make-ahead dishes because the longer they sit, the more powerful the flavors
- Leftovers and storage: let the soup cool to near room temperature and then store in the pot or in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to four days. This soup is a great dish to freeze and thaw later to eat throughout the winter; can be frozen for one month or more
- Nutrition notes: nutrition information calculated for 1 serving (about two cups) with 1 tablespoon pesto. It is high in protein, potassium, and vitamin A and features ingredients that are readily available in the colder months of fall and winter.
UPDATE: This recipe was originally published in January 2019 and was updated for clarity in November 2022.