Hearty Chicken Soup with Barley and Kale

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We always have those foods that we turn to when we are not feeling well, physically or emotionally.

For some, it’s chocolate (yes, I have certainly been guilty of this). Yet, when the days get dark and I am not feeling my best, I always turn to soup.I’m not talking about the canned stuff, which can have a day’s worth of sodium and taste dead to me. I am talking about the nourishing, full bodied kind. The “my grandma made this” kind of soup. Full of love, life and only the best ingredients. You feel like you have had a warm hug after eating this soup. I always make it for anyone I know going through chemo treatments or a serious illness. Some have said it is the only thing that got them through.This soup is truly a meal in a bowl, another thing I treasure. Homemade chicken stock, chicken, whole grain barley, kale, butternut squash and healing ginger make it one of the most well rounded soups out there.What do you eat or do to nourish yourself? Share in the comments below. And in the meantime, make yourself a bowl of this delicious soup.

Hearty Chicken Soup with Barely and Kale

Makes about 3 quarts


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced small
4 carrots, diced small
4 celery stalks, diced small
1 teaspon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups diced butternut squash (you can use frozen to save time but fresh is better)
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth (preferably homemade)
2 cups cooked barley
1 small bunch kale, stem removed and torn into small pieces


1. In a heavy soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high. Add onion, carrots, celery, salt and pepper and sauté for about 5 minutes, until tender. Add the butternut squash and sauté another 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook for another minute.

2. Add diced chicken. Cook, stirring, until chicken is partially cooked, about 2 minutes.

3. Add chicken stock; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes.

3. Add barley and kale and cook until kale is wilted, 5 minutes more. Season to taste with more salt and pepper if needed and serve hot.

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