Save on Pinterest

Spiced-Up Healthy Soup

“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 (3-1/2 quarts)


  • 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


  • 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 until chicken is no longer pink, 15 minutes. Remove chicken and set aside.
  • Add the picante sauce, garbanzo beans and cilantro to soup; cover and simmer until barley and lentils are tender, 10 minutes longer.
  • Shred chicken with two forks. Add spinach and chicken to soup. Simmer, uncovered, until spinach is wilted, 5 minutes.
Nutrition 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.

Recommended Video


Click stars to rate
Average Rating:
  • rwippel
    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
    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
    Nov 11, 2013

    So good!

  • Taryn-chan
    Dec 30, 2012

    No comment left

  • jaelspike
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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.