Soups are a great addition to your lunch or brunch lineup. They're perfect for dinner too! While traditional brunch fare like breakfast casseroles, quiches, pancakes and waffles are always popular, don't forget the power of soup or stew when it comes to feeding your brunch guests (or yourself) something comforting and delicious.
Along those lines, today we have a delicious and unique spicy chicken soup that is both healthy and easy to make. Why stop at entertaining though? It's so good, you may want to make a batch for yourself and your family to enjoy all week!
Reasons to Love This Recipe
- It's healthy. At just over 305 kcal and 39 g of protein per serving, this is a hearty soup that doesn't pack in the calories and provides the protein you need for long-lasting energy and strong muscles.
- It's easy. Don't let the ingredient list fool you, this is a super easy and tasty soup!
- It's high protein. As mentioned above, this soup does not skimp on protein.
- It's a crowd favorite. If you're looking for a hearty soup to serve for brunch, lunch, or dinner this is a great unique option!
- It's make ahead friendly. This recipe is perfect for meal prep. Make it this weekend, freeze it, and have a healthy meal ready to go.
- Sliced dates (⅓ cup). Adds natural sweetness. I used pitted medjool dates and sliced them.
- Goji berries (½ cup). These are also known as wolfberries. They have a mild flavor that is similar to cranberries. I found them in the bulk section of my grocery store. If you cannot find goji berries, dried cranberries will work as a substitute. This Healthline article has more information about goji berries.
- Boiling water (1 cup). Used to soften the goji berries and dates.
- Shiitake mushrooms drained (4 oz. can).
- Olive oil (1 tablespoon).
- 2 medium yellow onions. Coarsely chopped.
- 2½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Chopped into 1-inch pieces
- Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (1-2 tablespoons). Chopped into 1-inch pieces. To tone down the spiciness of the soup, remove some of the seeds and use only 1 tablespoon. For more spiciness, increase to ¼ cup.
- 1 2-inch piece fresh ginger. Peeled and finely chopped. See tip below to prepare the ginger.
- Minced garlic (2 teaspoons). I like to keep a jar of minced garlic in my fridge. You can usually purchase it in the produce section of your grocery store. If using whole garlic, you will need 4 cloves, and you can slice it instead.
- Chicken broth (6 cups).
- Low sodium soy sauce (¼ cup).
- 2-3 stalks chopped green onion for garnish. Cut at an angle for an interesting presentation.
Tip to Prepare the Ginger
Simmer the soup, with the lid slightly ajar, for 25 to 30 minutes more, until the flavors have merged together.
Serve and garnish with the chopped green onion.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes you can.
To adapt this recipe for the slow cooker, omit step 1 and add the olive oil to a skillet over medium heat when it shimmers add onions and saute for about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant for 1 minute longer. Remove from heat and add onions and garlic to the bottom of a large slow cooker. Optional step that will add more flavor: increase the heat to medium-high, add the chicken, and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and add chicken to the slow cooker. Finally, add goji berries, dates, shiitake mushrooms, peppers, fresh ginger, broth, and soy sauce to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 4-6 hours. Top with green onion for garnish.
To adapt this recipe for the instant pot, hydrate the goji berries and dates as instructed in step 1 of the recipe. Then, if desired, brown the chicken as noted above. Remove from heat and place chicken in the instant pot. You can omit this step and add the chicken directly to the instant pot. However, completing this step will give your soup more flavor. Then saute onions and garlic as noted in the slow cooker method above. Add onions and garlic to the instant pot on top of the chicken. Then drain the water from the goji berries and dates, and add them along with the shiitake mushrooms, chicken, peppers, fresh ginger and soy sauce to the instant pot. Finally add enough broth to fill the inner pot about ½ to ⅔ full. For cooking time, follow your instant pot manufacturer's directions for cooking chicken (poultry). When finished cooking, remove the soup to a large serving pot and add any leftover broth to finish your soup.
Immediately refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container. It will keep in your fridge for 3-4 days. In addition, this soup freezes very well. Portion leftovers in airtight, freezer and microwave safe containers. It will keep in your freezer for at least 4-6 months. Reheat in the microwave on high, beginning with 3-4 minutes. Then check and stir. Continue heating on high a minute at a time until the soup is heated to your liking.
This soup contains chipotle peppers, which provides its heat. If you want to increase the spiciness, be sure that the seeds are included and adjust the amount of peppers up to ¼ cup. I don't recommend going any higher than that unless you really love the heat of peppers. If you want to adjust the spiciness down, remove some of the seeds and decrease the amount to 1 tablespoon, or you can omit the peppers altogether.
Yes you can. For the broth, you can substitute Better than Bouillon, No Chicken Base or a vegetable broth. For the chicken, you can substitute tofu, Tofurky Chick'n (you can usually get this at a health food store or you can ask your local grocery store to order it for you if they don't carry it already), or seitan.
More Healthy Soup Recipes
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Spicy Chicken Soup
- ⅓ cup sliced dates
- ½ cup goji berries
- 1 cup boiling water
- 4 oz. can shiitake mushrooms drained
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 medium yellow onions coarsely chopped
- 2½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 1-2 tablespoons chipotle peppers in adobo sauce chop peppers into 1-inch pieces
- 1 2-inch piece fresh ginger peeled and finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 6 cups chicken broth
- ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
- 2-3 stalks chopped green onion for garnish
- In a medium bowl, combine the dates and goji berries. Pour boiling water over the top, cover with aluminum foil, and set aside to soak for 20 minutes.
- Add olive oil to a large Dutch oven, and heat over medium heat. When it shimmers, add the onions and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Season with salt.
- Increase the heat to medium-high, add the chicken, and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add the chiles, ginger, and garlic, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 5 minutes more.
- Pour in the broth and soy sauce, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently.
- Drain the goji berries and red dates and add them, along with the shiitake mushrooms, to the broth.Simmer the soup, with the lid slightly ajar, for 25 to 30 minutes more, until the flavors have merged together.Serve and garnish with the chopped green onion.
📚 References and Further Reading
- Recipe slightly adapted from "Well+Good Cookbook: 100 Healthy Recipes + Expert Advice for Better Living."
- "How to Convert Any Soup Recipe for the Instant Pot" by Kitchen Stewardship.