Spring Chicken Barley Soup

Spring is almost sitting beside us, which means – MORE PRODUCE! Look no further in welcoming the occasion than this recipe for spring chicken barley soup.

This dish offers a good texture and savory flavor complete with great nutrition. Barley is full of fiber that lowers cholesterol naturally and helps us fight against heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and poor gut health.

The chicken offers a lean protein packed with the wide variety of vegetables that work to keep us full for longer, without over consuming calories. The orange zest and basil garnish offer a pleasant aromatic element, as well.

Feel free to remix this recipe. There’s always room for extra chicken or vegetables you may have on hand.

Photo credit: A Healthier Michigan

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  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • ½ cup finely chopped celery
  • ½ cup carrot
  • 2 cloves garlic, divided
  • 6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 large bone-in chicken breast, (10-12 ounces), skin removed, trimmed
  • 1/3 cup pearl barley
  • 1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup trimmed and diagonally sliced asparagus, (¼” thick)
  • 1 cup fresh or thawed frozen peas
  • ½ tsp. coarse salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup lightly packed torn fresh basil leaves
  • 1 strip orange zest, ( ½ by 2″)

Spring Chicken Barley Soup

1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat; add onion, celery and carrots, Cook, stirring, until beginning to soften, 2 to 4 minutes. Grate or finely chop 1 clove garlic; add to the pan and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add broth, chicken and barley. Bring to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook over low heat until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate with a slotted spoon. Return the broth to a simmer and cook until the barley is tender, 20 to 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, shred the chicken or cut into bite-size pieces; discard the bone.
3. When the barley is done, add the chicken, tomatoes and juice, asparagus, peas, salt and a grinding of pepper; return to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat until the asparagus is tender, about 5 minutes more.
4. Coarsely chop the remaining garlic clove. Gather basil, orange zest and the garlic and finely chop together. Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle each serving with a generous pinch of the basil mixture.

Nutrition Information per Serving:
Nutrition Facts
10 Servings Total
1 serving = 2 cups
Amount Per Serving
Calories 113.8
Total Fat 2.6 g
Saturated Fat 0.6 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.4 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.5 g
Cholesterol 16.3 mg
Sodium 204.5 mg
Potassium 240.4 mg
Total Carbohydrate 12.1 g
Dietary Fiber 2.9 g
Sugars 3.3 g
Protein 9.9 g
Vitamin A 29.5 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 4.2 %
Vitamin C 20.2 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 1.8 %
Calcium 2.7 %
Copper 6.2 %
Folate 7.9 %
Iron 4.6 %
Magnesium 3.7 %
Manganese 11.4 %
Niacin 4.1 %
Pantothenic Acid 1.1 %
Phosphorus 4.2 %
Riboflavin 2.9 %
Selenium 4.6 %
Thiamin 5.4 %
Zinc 2.5 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

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Read 3 Comments

  1. I have read this recipe multiple and although it sounds yummy I can’t find any juice in the ingredients column (although there is a strip of orange zest, so I’m wondering if the juice might be “orange” as well.) Please tell me what juice and how much. Thanks!

    1. Hi Judith,
      The “juice” refers to the juice in the tomatoes. Just don’t drain the tomatoes when you make this recipe and you should be all set! Let us know how it turns out.
      – Julie

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