Whether you’re actually sick or just craving something warm and comforting, this healthy chicken noodle soup recipe will be your respite.
When it comes to healthy comfort food, chicken noodle soup is at the top of everyone’s list. And the reason is not entirely subjective: There’s some science to back up the benefits of this edible home remedy.
The Health Benefits of Chicken Noodle Soup
It’s not just your imagination. Research has found that chicken soup does have some real medicinal benefits, such as symptom relief for upper-respiratory illnesses. Plus, steam from a hot bowl of chicken noodle soup may also help open up nasal passages.
The various ingredients in traditional homemade chicken noodle soup also offer various health-promoting properties on their own. For example, carrots contain beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant, and cooking actually helps boost its absorption in the body. Onions (like shallots, leeks, and garlic) are a good source of prebiotic fiber, which helps support a healthy gut microbiome by providing fuel for beneficial probiotic bacteria—key for an efficient immune system function. Onions also contain a variety of health-promoting antioxidants, and studies have also shown they may have antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, which could, in theory, help ward off infection.
The lean protein in chicken can help you feel satisfied longer and less prone to hangry emotions. It also provides the amino acid tryptophan, which the body uses to produce the mood-regulating neurotransmitter serotonin.
Healthy chicken noodle soup is also a great way to hydrate thanks to all that broth and because you’ll be getting a variety of important minerals such as sodium and potassium, to keep your electrolytes in balance. Just be mindful that some vegetable and chicken broth can be super high in sodium so start with a low sodium broth and add salt to taste.
Luckily, any recipe for healthy chicken noodle soup can easily be customizable, so you can adjust it based on your needs or desired flavors. Bonus: Broth-based soups also freeze really well, so you can enjoy its warming effects any time you have the craving.
Healthy Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 stalks celery, chopped into 1/4-inch slices
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into 1/4 -inch thick slices
- 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water
- 2 cups cooked chicken, removed from bones and cut up*
- 1 cup whole grain or gluten-free pasta (like chickpea-based)
- In a large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium heat.
- Add onion, garlic, celery, and carrots. Cook until softened.
- Add chicken broth, chicken, and pasta.
- Bring to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer
- Continue cooking over medium-low heat for 20 minutes, then serve.
Healthy chicken noodle soup variations: Need a shortcut? Use pre-chopped or frozen mirepoix (onion, celery, and carrot). For a lower-carb version, use zucchini noodles or cauliflower rice, or feel free to skip noodles entirely. You can also customize with your favorite anti-inflammatory herbs and spices—try turmeric and ginger or oregano, rosemary, and parsley.
*If you’re preparing your healthy chicken noodle soup using raw chicken, start with 3-4 pounds of chicken pieces, cut up, and boil in 8 cups of water or broth with the onions and celery and simmer for 40 minutes. Remove the chicken, take the meat off the bones, and then return the meat to the pot before adding the carrots and pasta and continuing to cook.
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