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Spiced-Up Healthy Soup Recipe

Spiced-Up Healthy Soup Recipe

“This has been a hit with family and friends. It’s spicy, low-fat and filled with good-for-you ingredients.” Diane Tayman — Dixon, Illinois
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 15 min. Cook: 40 min. YIELD:14 servings


  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup medium pearl barley
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (4 ounces each)
  • 1 cup dried lentils, rinsed
  • 1 jar (16 ounces) picante sauce
  • 1 can (15 ounces) garbanzo beans or chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 8 cups chopped fresh spinach


  • 1. In a Dutch oven, saute onion and barley in oil until onion is tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Add the broth, chicken and lentils; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Remove chicken and set aside.
  • 2. Add the picante sauce, garbanzo beans and cilantro to soup; cover and simmer 10 minutes longer or until barley and lentils are tender.
  • 3. Shred chicken with two forks. Add spinach and chicken to soup. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until spinach is wilted. Yield: 14 servings (3-1/2 quarts).

Nutritional Facts

1 cup: 156 calories, 3g fat (trace saturated fat), 9mg cholesterol, 601mg sodium, 21g carbohydrate (4g sugars, 7g fiber), 11g protein Diabetic Exchanges:1 starch, 1 lean meat, 1 vegetable, 1/2 fat

Reviews for Spiced-Up Healthy Soup

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Reviewed Jul. 15, 2014

"This is a good, hearty soup. It's very easy to make and has a nice kick to it. I used Pace's hot picante for my soup and served it with a dollop of Greek yogurt."

Reviewed Dec. 9, 2013

"I was a little on the fence with making this soup, but was pleasantly surprised! I used medium picante sauce, but next time will use hot since we like things really spicy. I also used a mix of jalepeno and garlic grapeseed oils for a little added flavor and to make it a little healthier yet! Now to wait and see if my husband will eat it..."

Reviewed Nov. 11, 2013

"So good!"

Reviewed Feb. 22, 2012

"I liked all the interesting ingredients. I used leftover chicken and used medium salsa instead of picante (and that was spicy enough for us!). And served with cheddar as suggested by previous reviewer. Family didn't say wow, so we'll probably not make it again!"

Reviewed Feb. 5, 2012

"This was very tasty, with a nice zip from the salsa (I used chunky medium hot). I omitted the chicken. The soup was very hearty without it. Next day leftovers were even better. We added a tablespoon of Cheddar cheese to each bowl--melted goodness. I think it would also be good to add oregano, basil, and Italian flavored tomatoes instead of the salsa to make Italian soup."

Reviewed Jun. 26, 2011

"I made this recipe just as written, except I did omit the chicken, because I wanted to save a little money and cook meatless. The soup was hearty and tasty. I loved all the beans and the flavor from the salsa picante was perfect! I will mark this one as a favorite."

Reviewed Mar. 5, 2011

"This is some of the best tasting soup that I have ever had! Everytime I have made it I forgotten to add the spinach but I bet it would be awesome! Perfect to eat and perfectly healthy!"

Reviewed Feb. 11, 2011

"This is some of the best soup I've ever eaten. I substituted deli salsa for the picante, but I plan to make it often!"

Reviewed Nov. 29, 2010

"I added one zucchini, one yelow squash, and black beans, and I skipped the cilantro (personal choice..not a fan), and everything else I followed. This soup was JUST heaven. Seriously the best soup I have ever eaten. YUMMMMMMMY!

I'm going to try it with beef broth and a pot roast too instead of chicken to mix things up a bit."

Reviewed Oct. 12, 2010

"Absolutely love it! A definite keeper. My daughter rates is a "homereun"."

Reviewed Oct. 10, 2010

"This soup is wonderful! 7 grams of fiber, wow, and as a main meal, one eats more than 1 cup per serve, so that only increases fiber content per serve. Will make again for sure!"

Reviewed Dec. 3, 2009

"Yummy!! Brought it to church potluck and several asked for the recipe!"

Reviewed Nov. 9, 2009

"Would you have the time to include the recipe in full?  Even though I AM a subscriber, TOH will not grant me access to recipes.  Thanks!


Reviewed Nov. 9, 2009

"Very good. I would also add more garbanzo beans and barley."

Reviewed Oct. 8, 2009


Reviewed Sep. 19, 2009

"Really easy, and was much tastier than I expected. I couldn't find picante sauce, so I substituted taco sauce. Also, I'll probably double the barley next time.

Try it topped with broken up tortilla chips...yum!"

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