Leftover Chicken Soup with Vegetables

Don’t know what to do with leftover chicken and veggies? Turn them into this easy Leftover Chicken Soup with Vegetables!

A hearty chicken vegetable soup is the easiest way to make a whole new meal out of leftovers.

There’s so many different flavors you can add – I’ll show you how to make it 5 different ways!

And it’s also a great way to clean out the fridge.

Plus if you need to make it gluten-free, dairy-free, keto or Whole30, you can do that, too.

leftover vegetable soup with chicken in white bowls and an orange pot next to a blue plate with Parmesan cheese

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Leftover Chicken Soup with Vegetables

When roasting a chicken or buying a rotisserie chicken, it’s common to end up with leftovers.

And if you’re serving that chicken with vegetables, you often end up with leftovers of those, too.

And while I am all about leftovers as they are, sometimes you have to re-purpose them to not get bored.

Using what’s taking up space in your fridge to make a hearty chicken vegetable soup is one of the easiest and tastiest options.

You can also use leftover turkey instead of chicken.

And best of all, there’s so many different variations! Let’s take a look at some, shall we?

 

What you need for leftover chicken soup

The following list obviously depends on what kind of leftovers you have. Consider this a general guideline.

You start with a base:

  1. 1 onion, if not included in the leftover vegetables
  2. 1 celery stick, if not included in the leftover vegetables
  3. 1-2 carrots sticks, if not…you know the drill
  4. 2 garlic cloves, if not yada yada yada…

Once these are sautéed until softened, stir in:

  1. 2 cups of shredded/chopped chicken, skin and bones discarded (and by “discarded,” I mean eat the skin and freeze the bones to make stock later)
  2. 2 cups of chopped leftover vegetables – almost anything works as long as they don’t have any particular flavor/spices beyond salt and pepper: onion, carrot, celery, bell pepper, potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips, tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, asparagus, etc.
  3. 4 cups (1 quart) low-sodium chicken broth (or use your own homemade broth)

Then add garnishes, if any.

That’s your basic list. You could make an easy chicken soup with just those ingredients and you’d be set. It would also be a healthy chicken vegetable soup, full of veggies and protein.

Also, this is just a guideline. Don’t have celery? No problem. Leave it out! No carrots? Don’t worry about it. Use what you have.

 

Equipment (depending on which version of soup you go with):

How to spice up your leftover chicken soup

There are some different ways to dress up a basic leftover chicken and vegetable soup recipe. Here are 5 of my favorite ways.

NOTE #1: This being a Paleo/gluten-free blog, that’s the way my tastes run but if you like you can also add rice, pasta noodles, barley, lentils or other grains/legumes to these soups as well.

NOTE #2: These are not meant to be “authentic” versions of any of these cuisines. These are using traditional ingredients from these cuisines as inspiration to make an easy, quick leftover chicken soup for a weeknight dinner.

NOTE #3: For Whole30, do not add any dairy, grains, legumes or incompatible ingredients. See more here.

 

Italian

  • Base: 
    • same as above
  • Stir in:
    • A Parmesan rind when simmering the veggies (you’re freezing your Parmesan rinds, aren’t you?)
    • 2 Bay leaves, remove before serving
    • 1 tablespoon of dried herbs like Italian seasoning, basil, or parsley
    • 2 big handfuls of leafy greens like spinach or chopped kale
    • 1/4 cup of fresh chopped herbs like basil, tarragon, parsley or oregano right at the end
    • A splash of heavy cream at the end for a creamy chicken soup
  • Garnish:

This is the version you see in the photos in this post.

NOTE #3: If you’ve made my Pesto Roast Chicken with Potatoes and Carrots, this Italian soup is the perfect way to use up the leftovers.

 

Mexican

  • Base:
    • Add 1-2 diced jalapenos (with or without the seeds) with the base veggies
    • Add 1 diced bell pepper (any color) with the base veggies
  • Stir in:
    • 1 can of black beans, drained
    • 1 can of corn, drained
    • 1 tablespoon total of dried herbs and spices likes oregano, cumin or various chili powders
    • 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro right at the end
    • A splash of cream at the end for a creamy chicken soup
  • Garnish:
    • Garnish with queso fresco, cotija or freshly grated Manchego cheese, sliced avocado, sliced fresh or pickled jalapeno, fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime
    • Crumble some crunchy tortilla chips on top (these are almost always gluten-free; if you need to be totally grain-free, Siete has lots of grain-free tortilla chip options)

 

Thai

  • Base:
    • Add 1 tablespoon of peeled and freshly grated ginger with the base veggies
    • Add fresh diced chilies (with the seeds to make it hotter, without the seeds to make it milder) with the base veggies (it can be difficult to find Thai chilies in basic grocery stores but I find Fresno or red jalapenos work well)
  • Stir in:
    • Stir in 1-2 teaspoons of fish sauce
    • Bash 1-2 lemongrass stalks and add with the stock, remove before serving
    • Add a splash of unsweetened coconut milk (preferably from a can, not a carton) for a creamy Thai chicken soup
    • Stir in 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro or Thai basil right at the end
  • Garnish:
    • Garnish with a squeeze of lime juice, diced/slices chilies, fresh cilantro or Thai basil

 

Japanese

  • Base:
    • Sauté the base veggies in 1 tablespoon sesame oil
    • Omit the celery
    • Use 2 large peeled, diced shallots instead of onion
    • Add 1 tablespoon of peeled and freshly grated ginger with the garlic
  • Stir in:
    • Miso, start with 2 tablespoons, taste and add more if necessary
    • Spicy bean sauce/paste (doubanjiang), start with 1 teaspoon, taste and add more if necessary
    • Add zucchini noodles or cooked ramen noodles to broth
  • Garnish:
    • Bean sprouts, sliced nori (seaweed), sliced scallions, a drizzle of chili oil or a few drops of sesame oil

 

Jamaican

  • Base:
    • Use 4-5 scallions instead of onion
    • Add 1 diced Scotch bonnet pepper (with or without seeds, but keep in mind it’s a very hot chili and the seeds make it hotter) with the base veggies
  • Stir in:
    • Approx. 1 pound of peeled, diced yams, sweet potatoes, pumpkin or green plantain (note: let this simmer for 10-15 minutes or until fork tender before adding chicken, leftover vegetables and other stir-ins listed below)
    • 2 big handfuls of fresh callaloo or spinach
    • 12-15 chopped okras
    • A splash of coconut milk (from a can, not a carton) for a creamy Jamaican chicken soup
    • 1-2 large sprigs of fresh thyme and then remove before serving
  • Garnish:
    • Sliced scallions, chopped fresh thyme, a squeeze of lime, sliced/chopped Scotch bonnet pepper

rotisserie chicken soup in white bowls on a wooden table

Chicken Soup Leftovers

OK, so you’ve turned your leftover chicken and vegetables into a delicious soup. But what if you now have leftovers of the soup?

Luckily, soup keeps very well. Keep it covered in the fridge (without garnishes) for up to 5 days.

Or freeze the soup (without garnishes) in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat on the stove over medium heat.

 

Other chicken ideas:

Still looking for more ways to use up fresh or leftover chicken?

Try this Slow-Cooker Italian Chicken Stew.

Or this White Chicken Chili (with slow-cooker, Instant Pot and stovetop instructions).

Or Crunchy Plantain Chip Chicken.

Or either of these sheet pan dinners: apple cinnamon chicken with veggies or chicken, potatoes and peas.

 

chicken vegetable soup in a big pot with a white ladle and also in white bowls
rotisserie chicken soup in white bowls on a wooden table
Print Recipe
5 from 7 votes

Leftover Chicken Soup with Vegetables

It's so easy to turn your rotisserie or leftover roast chicken into a healthy, hearty chicken and vegetable soup. The recipe includes the basic version or see the post for 5 variations!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken soup, chicken vegetable soup, italian chicken soup, jamaican chicken soup, japanese chicken soup, leftover chicken soup, mexican chicken soup, rotisserie chicken soup, thai chicken soup, vegetable soup
Servings: 4 people
Author: Don Baiocchi

Ingredients

Base:

  • 1 tablespoon avocado or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 celery stick, trimmed and diced
  • 1-2 carrots, peeled, trimmed and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more if necessary

Stir in:

  • 2 cups leftover or rotisserie chicken, skin and bones discarded
  • 2 cups leftover cooked/roasted vegetables
  • 4 cups (1 quart) low-sodium chicken broth

Garnish:

  • freshly ground black pepper, if necessary

Additional ingredients:

  • ingredients for any of the 5 variations (see post)

Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  • Add the base vegetables (onion, celery, carrots and garlic for the basic version), plus 1 teaspoon fine sea salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5-8 minutes.
  • Stir in the chicken, leftover vegetables and chicken broth, plus any other ingredients necessary. Bring the broth to a simmer and cook until all ingredients are warmed/cooked through.
  • Serve and garnish with freshly ground black pepper and any other garnishes you like.

Notes

Keep the soup covered in the fridge (without garnishes) for up to 5 days.
Or freeze the soup (without garnishes) in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat on the stove over medium heat.

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