Spring Chicken & Barley Soup

"A light, barley soup. . .perfect for Spring and Summer. This is a high fiber, low fat and heart healthy soup. Recipe originally from Eating Well Magazine, but switched up a bit after making! Feel free to add some salt free all purpose seasoning or Italian Seasoning in the last 5 minutes of cooking; I used Recipe #334780 with great results. The orange peel is the secret ingredient in this recipe. . .brightens it right up!"
photo by januarybride photo by januarybride
photo by januarybride
Ready In:
1hr 5mins
8 cups




  • Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat; add onion and celery and cook, stirring, until beginning to soften, 2 to 4 minutes.
  • Add garlic to the pan and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add broth, chicken and barley. Bring to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook over low heat until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate with a slotted spoon.
  • Return the broth to a simmer and cook until the barley is tender, 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, shred the chicken or cut into bite-size pieces; discard the bone.
  • When the barley is done, add the chicken, spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes with juice, asparagus, peas, salt and a grinding of pepper; return to a simmer.
  • Cover and cook over low heat until the asparagus is tender, about 5 minutes more.
  • Gather basil and orange zest and finely chop together.
  • Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle each serving with a generous pinch of the basil mixture.

Questions & Replies

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  1. MoreWithLessMom
    This was very good. The garnish is what makes it shine. You could substitute other veggies for this soup, but this has a great spring flavor.
  2. ratherbeswimmin
    Superb soup. Really, I can't rave enough about it. Lovely combination of ingredients; especially liked the asparagus. The basil/orange to finish is quite unique and interesting. I used two skinless chicken thighs, instead of breast. Thanks for posting this; will make again.
  3. mersaydees
    Made as directed and love it. This is a staple soup with its protein and veggies! I think it tastes great even the next day. Thanks, JB! Made for Aussie New Zealand Recipe Swap.
  4. yogiclarebear
    What a beautiful flavor! I'll admit, I'm a bit of a salt fanatic in soups...but I only added what was written to this soup. WOW! Forget the salt...the orange makes this soup. I added a few extra veggies- fresh carrots, which I added in step one. I also used sliced sugar snap peas with the pods instead of frozen peas, and added them with the broth to boil. Since I used quick barley, I added it toward the end. My chicken was already cleaned and diced from breasts, so I just boiled it with the soup. Extra broth to compensate for the extra veggies and chicken...and the zest of a whole orange. SO GOOD!



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