A hearty and healthy winter warmer
This delicious and healthy meal will be an easy family favorite in an instant. The simple yet satisfying combination of chicken, rice, and vegetables, doused in rich broth is the perfect winter comfort food.
Full of flavor, energy, and nutrients, this soup is an ideal weekday lunch that will keep you filled up until dinner time. Make a big batch on a Sunday, and you’ll have lunches ready for the whole week.
An entire meal in one soup
With chicken, rice, vegetables, and little olive oil, this soup ticks off all the main food groups in one hearty bowl:
- Chicken is one of the best sources of lean protein, which provides the building blocks for healthy muscles and bones. The vitamin D content helps support calcium absorption, further contributing to strong, healthy bones. Chicken also contains many B vitamins, which are important for healthy skin, eyes, and digestion as well as boosting the immune system and helping to reduce cholesterol.
- Brown rice is a healthy complex carbohydrate, which is essential for energy. Brown rice contains more fiber and nutrients than white rice, due to the fact that it retains its husk. This gluten-free whole grain also contains high amounts of several vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients which contribute to heart and digestive health, a strong immune system, and weight management.
- Carrots and zucchini are a great way to get extra fiber and even more plant-based nutrients. In particular, carrots contain vitamin A which promotes eye health, beta carotene which is associated with a reduced risk of some cancers, and vitamin C which gives our immune systems a boost. Zucchini is low-calorie way to add bulk to your soup, as well as topping up the vitamin A and vitamin C content. Zucchini also provides a generous dose of potassium, which is thought to help lower blood pressure and has been associated with a lower risk of heart disease and stroke.
We all know we should eat more vegetables, and soup is the perfect way to squeeze in a few extra portions.
Endless options for a weekday staple
It can be difficult to eat healthily when the temperature drops – we crave comfort food that’s filling and warm. This soup is a nourishing and wholesome meal that you can recreate with whatever is in the cupboard. Just use this formula:
- Choose a starchy carbohydrate – this could be a root vegetable, rice, cous cous, quinoa, or even wholewheat pasta.
- Choose a lean protein – any leftover cooked meat will work, such as chicken, beef, or sautéed tofu.
- Add as many different vegetables as you like – onions, leeks, and carrots are classic choices, but bell peppers, zucchini, and spring onions are excellent alternatives.
- Add stock and seasoning – this is where the depth of flavor comes from, so be generous with the stock and choose seasonings that balance and complement the main soup ingredients.
There really are plenty of varieties, so experiment with different seasonal ingredients and seasonings.
Hearty Chicken, Carrot and Rice Coup (makes around 6 portions)
1 cup cooked brown rice
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
1 zucchini, roughly chopped
1 leftover cooked chicken breast, roughly chopped
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
Seasoning to taste
- Heat the oil in a pan and cook the onions until soft.
- Add the carrots and cook for a few minutes.
- Add the zucchini, rice, and chicken breast, and stir through.
- Add the stock and stir again. Bring to the boil then put a lid on the pan and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
- Season to taste and serve immediately.
- This soup can be kept in the fridge for around 5 days, or frozen for up to a month. Separate it into portions so you can grab and go when needed.
- If you prefer a less ‘rustic’ style, use a hand blender to liquidize the soup.
- You can vary the vegetables in the soup, and swap the rice for potato. You can also add different seasonings if you prefer, such herbes aux provence, chopped cilantro, or sliced ginger with chili flakes.
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