Chicken soup is my not-so secret weapon to fighting the fatigue that comes with the change of seasons and the return to school. In this version, we're swapping pasta noodles for toothsome zucchini noodles (or zoodles), for a lighter, fresher take on the original. With a little help from the grocery store and a spin of the spiralizer, you'll have a bowl of chicken zoodle soup that's infinitely better than what you find in a can.
If you are anything like me, you've exhausted you repertoire of zucchini recipes before summer's end, but tender summer squash is the gift gardens keep giving. Enter: the zucchini noodle. You may have spent the summer sautéing them with juicy tomatoes or tossing them with a light vinaigrettes, but the way to take this dinnertime staple into fall is to stir them into soup.
Take a hand from the grocery store and pick up a carton of broth, add some fresh flavor with garlic and bay, and poach the chicken in the simmering liquid. For the zoodles and carrot noodles, choose zucchini and carrots that are consistent in size and shape. Carrots that are short and stubby are simpler to spiralize than long, slender ones.
Prepping the Veggies
Since many spiralizers have multiple blade sizes, use the larger blade for the zucchini so your zoodles have a nice bite. Choose the smaller size for the carrot so the vegetables cook at the same rate. Finish by snipping the spirals into bite-sized pieces.
Once you ladle a generous portion of chicken zoodle soup into your bowl, squeeze some lemon and sprinkle parsley and black pepper over top — the finishing touches to any iteration of chicken soup. Take this fresh, one-pot soup for a spin when you need a fast weeknight supper, or pack it in a Mason jar for a filling lunch.
The Best Chicken Zoodle Soup
Serves 4; makes about 2 quarts
boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound total)
cloves garlic, smashed
1 1/2 quarts
(6 cups) low-sodium chicken broth
medium zucchini, spiralized into thick spirals, then cut into 2-inch pieces
medium carrot, peeled and spiralized into thin spirals, then cut into 2-inch pieces
medium onion, thinly sliced
Optional toppings: freshly ground black pepper, lemon wedges, fresh thyme or parsley leaves
Place the chicken breasts in a single layer on the bottom of a 3- to 4-quart Dutch oven or saucepan. Add the garlic, bay leaf, and salt. Pour in the chicken broth and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, use a spoon or small fine-mesh strainer to skim off any white foam that appears. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 165°F, 8 to 12 minutes.
Transfer the chicken to a clean cutting board. Discard the garlic cloves and bay leaf. Once cool enough to handle, shred the chicken with 2 forks or cut into bite-sized pieces.
Place the saucepan with the broth back over medium-high heat and bring back to a simmer. Add the zucchini, carrot, and onion, and simmer until tender, about 3 minutes. Return the chicken to the saucepan and stir to combine. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with black pepper, lemon wedges, and fresh herbs as desired.
Make ahead: You can poach the chicken and prepare the zucchini and carrot noodles up to 2 days in advance — just store them in separate containers in the refrigerator.
Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Spiralizer blade: Many spiralizers come with at least two blade sizes. Use the thinner one for the carrots so they cook in the same amount of time as the zucchini noodles. If you've only got a single, thicker blade, simmer the carrot noodles 1 to 2 minutes before adding the zucchini noodles and onion.