Spiced-Up Healthy Soup Recipe
Spiced-Up Healthy Soup Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Spiced-Up Healthy Soup Recipe

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“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.
MAKES:14 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 15 min. Cook: 40 min.
MAKES: 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

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


  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).
Originally published as Spiced-Up Healthy Soup in Healthy Cooking October/November 2009, p28

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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."

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