Spiced-Up Healthy Soup Recipe
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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 (0 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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rwippel User ID: 4262008 100447
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."

raethekd User ID: 5742282 156059
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..."

astrubhar User ID: 3020188 170779
Reviewed Nov. 11, 2013

"So good!"

jaelspike User ID: 4785474 157629
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!"

howdu User ID: 1170706 78577
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."

SDawsonH User ID: 4778352 170778
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."

YummyTum User ID: 5858630 98469
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!"

Spinoff User ID: 2783761 156057
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!"

taywhitney User ID: 5639452 154513
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."

ckesselring User ID: 2539889 169851
Reviewed Oct. 12, 2010

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

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