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


  • 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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