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Chicken Soup with White Beans + Kale

Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 90 minutes
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Why we love it:

If you’re up for it, use a whole chicken here to get both the broth and shredded chicken for this dish (and a partner dish - Crispy Shell Tacos with Shredded Chicken). This is the ultimate Sunday afternoon meal prep. If not though, check substitutions for a quicker version.


  • 1 Chicken, Whole (about 3.5 pounds)
  • 8 cups Water (give or take… see instructions)
  • 1 Yellow Onion
  • 3 Carrots
  • 2 ribs Celery
  • 4 cloves Garlic
  • 4 Roma Tomatos
  • 1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • 12 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 bunch Green Kale (or other dark leafy green)
  • 1 Baguette
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder (optional)
  • 1 15-ounce can White Beans
  • 12 Lemon (zest and juice)
  • 14 teaspoon Nutmeg (freshly grated)

Cooking Instructions


    In a large pot, place the whole chicken. (Make sure there’s nothing inside the cavity). Cover with at least 1 inch of water. Turn on the heat to high and bring to a boil. Once boiling, you can turn it down to maintain a few bubbles here and there, a steady simmer. Cook for about 75 minutes.

    *If you have an instant pot, this is a great time to pull it out. Add the chicken and water to it, also add ½ an onion, clove of garlic, 1 carrot and 1 rib of celery. If you have any herbs (like parsley, oregano or thyme) you can add some of them, too. Turn on high pressure for about 45 minutes.

  • 2. SOUP

    Meanwhile, dice the carrot, onion and celery and mince the garlic. Dice the tomatoes. Any scraps - ends of carrots, tops or bottoms of celery, top of tomatoes and skins of the onion can go in the pot with the boiling chicken.

    Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat and melt the butter. Add the diced veggies and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add the salt and pepper.

  • 3. KALE

    Wash the kale and chop into 1” squares. I usually leave the stems attached and slice through them, then cut perpendicular to the center to form squares. Set aside in a bowl for now.


    If your bread is really fresh and soft, perhaps you just slice it and serve it as is. If not, slice into rounds, drizzle with olive oil and garlic powder and a pinch of salt. Bake at 400 until golden brown, about 7 minutes.

  • 5. STOCK PART 2

    When the chicken has cooked, set up a large pot or bowl in the sink and place a colander in it. Very carefully, drain the stock through the colander catching the broth and the chicken. Lift it out slowly to allow for drainage.

    Use tongs to carefully place the whole chicken on a work surface, take care that hot liquid may be hiding inside!

    Pour the stock into the soup pot (you may decide to use it all or reserve a few cups for another purpose - it’s up to you). Return soup to a simmer, then add the kale.

  • 6. BEANS

    Open the beans and add them to the soup. I usually add the liquid too, but be cautious if you don’t have low-sodium beans. You can drain the beans if you prefer.


    Taste the soup and perhaps you’ll need another pinch of salt and pepper. Add the zest and juice of ½ of the lemon and the nutmeg.


    Carefully pull the chicken breast from one side of the chicken and shred it. Shred one leg and thigh. Add this to the soup.

  • 9. SERVING

    Serve soup in large bowls with bread on the edges for dunking.

    Reserve the rest of the chicken for the tacos this week, or another purpose. It freezes well, or makes chicken salad, BBQ chicken sliders or enchiladas.

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  • PALEO:
    sub beans for cauliflower florets
    if you don’t want to make stock, use 8 cups of store bought stock and 1 cooked chicken breast. Either a rotisserie chicken that you dice or shred, or dice a raw chicken breast and sauté it in the pan with the onions. Then add the store bought stock and bring to a simmer. The soup only takes about 20 minutes this way!
  • KALE:
    chard, escarole, spinach, frozen spinach
    garbanzo beans, kidney beans, or omit beans if allergic
    this would be great with zucchini, peas, corn, green beans, potatoes, yams
    my kids love broth but not the whole soup, I ladle them a clear bowl of broth, serve a few bites of shredded chicken on the side and some of the cooked carrots and kale - all separately. And of course some of the garlic bread. You could also add pasta or noodles to the cooking soup which they’ll enjoy
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