Harvest Chicken Quinoa Soup


Harvest Chicken Quinoa Soup is packed with good for you protein and veggies. A warming and hearty fall and winter soup.

Cleaning out the cupboards never tasted so good!

That is to say, last night I got bit by the organizing bug. Tired of seeing mass chaos when opening the cupboards, I filled up a couple boxes with plates, bowls, cups, and mugs that we no longer (if ever) use to take to Goodwill, then threw away expired cookie mixes and cookie butters (sob!) ’til I could clean no more.

Ahhh, that feels SO much better! Anyone else have a mug hoarding problem, btw? What’s sick is that I’m the only one that drinks coffee, and I use travel mugs every morning – not ceramic!

Anywho, I also cleaned out my cookbook cupboard and in addition to loading 15 or so into a box to take to 1/2 Price Books, I found a few gems that were worth saving like this bad boy, Eating For Life.

I used to work for a publishing company and was always getting super random cookbooks like this one for free. While it’s aimed at people with diabetes, or those eating for healthier hearts, the flavorful, easy, and impressive recipes like Harvest Pork Soup inside made me pick it up and take home.

Although I’m not a huge fan of pork in soups (love it in chili though) I really liked the idea of a harvest-themed soup recipe, so I swapped the pork for chicken then added tons of fall veggies and protein-packed quinoa for staying power.

A creamy duo of sweet and regular potatoes mingling with quinoa, earthy herbs, and hearty kale made this soup kind of taste like chicken soup on ‘roids. It is perfect for the cold and blustery week we’re having around here!

Start the Harvest Chicken Quinoa Soup soup by gathering all the ingredients together before you begin cooking.

Heat 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat, then saute 1/2 cup each chopped celery, carrots, and onion (cut big so Ben can pick out!) with salt & pepper until soft, about 10 minutes.

BTW: If you need a good gift idea for the holidays, I highly recommend my Calphalon Enamel Cast Iron Pot. I got this one from a friend years ago and it holds onto heat SO well!

Once the veggies are soft, add 4 cups chopped kale, and 2 minced garlic cloves, then season with more salt & pepper (important to season each layer!) and cook for 2 more minutes.

Next add 7 cups chicken broth and classic chicken soup herbs including 1 bay leaf, 1 teaspoon parsley flakes, and 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme.

Note: buy 8 cups (2-32oz containers) of chicken broth then save the remaining cup to add when reheating leftovers, as the quinoa will absorb a lot of the broth as it cools.

Bring the broth up to a boil, then nestle in 2 large chicken breasts that have been cut in half to poach in the hot broth.

I like cooking chicken this way because, a.) you don’t have to add any additional fat, and b.) the chicken gives the soup even more chickeny flavor.

Once the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes later, remove it to a plate then shred it all up.

Meanwhile, add 1 large chopped sweet potato, 1 large chopped russet potato, and 2/3 cup rinsed and drained quinoa to the boiling broth. Vitamins, minerals, and protein, oh my!

Place a lid on top of pot, turn the heat down to medium, then let the potatoes and quinoa cook for about 10 minutes, then add the shredded chicken back in.

Finally, stir in 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (fresh or pre-grated – whateveh you’ve got.) The cheese adds a depth of flavor and richness that the veggie-full soup needs. Ooo, BY THE WAY, a parmesan cheese rind added into the soup at the potato/quinoa stage would be DIVINE!

Ladle into bowls, and enjoy!

Harvest Chicken Quinoa Soup

Serves 6


Harvest Chicken Quinoa Soup is packed with good for you protein and veggies. A warming and hearty fall and winter soup.


  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot (1 carrot)
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery (1 rib celery)
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • salt & pepper
  • 4 cups torn kale
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 8 cups chicken broth, divided
  • 1 teaspoon parsley flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2" parmesan cheese rind (optional)
  • 2 large chicken breasts (about 1lb), cut in half
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 1/2" cubes (2 cups)
  • 1 large russet potato, peeled and chopped into 1/2" cubes (1-1/2 cups)
  • 2/3 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese


  1. Heat oil in large soup pot over medium heat. Add carrot, celery, and onion, season with salt and pepper, then saute until tender, about 10 minutes. Add kale and garlic, season with more salt and pepper, then saute for 2 more minutes. Add 7 cups chicken broth, parlsey flakes, dried thyme, bay leaf, and parmesan cheese rind (if using), then bring to a boil.
  2. Add chicken breasts to the pot then cook for 10 minutes, or until no longer pink in the center. Remove to a plate then add sweet potato, russet potato, and quinoa to boiling broth. Place a lid on top, lower heat to medium, then cook for 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender and quinoa is cooked. Meanwhile shred chicken.
  3. Add shredded chicken back to the soup, remove bay leaf, then add parmesan cheese and stir to combine. Taste and add more salt & pepper if necessary. Serve topped with additional parmesan cheese, if desired. Use remaining 1 cup chicken broth to add when reheating soup, as quinoa will absorb much of the broth as it cools.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.

It’s borderline ridiculous how healthful you will feel while eating this soup. If there was ever a two bowl minimum serving suggestion, this is it!

I also loved the unexpected subtle sweetness of the sweet potato in an otherwise savory soup. I was tempted to throw in a cup or two of the cubed butternut squash I have in the freezer, but wussed out in the end. I’ll definitely throw it in next time though, which there most definitely will be! Enjoy!

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  1. This looks so perfect for the cool weather that has finally come! I can’t wait to make some soups. Do you think veggie broth would work just as well as chicken? I just happen to have a lot of it on hand right now.

  2. Amy M 10.09.2012

    I just majorly cleaned out my fridge before going on vacation…love the feeling of using stuff up! This soup looks great, perfect for the cold Iowa winter coming up!

  3. Lindsey 10.09.2012

    Yummy! Can’t wait to try!

  4. Love this recipe. Love the starbucks collection. Love the kale. Love your stew pot.

  5. Yum! That looks delicious! Your photos are always so amazing! Great job! I made your butternut squash gnocchi last night and it was a hit! I added in some vegan sausage and the hubby loved it so much he ate it for breakfast at 6:30am!

  6. Darien 10.09.2012

    i, too, hoard mugs. we use them for tea, coffee, soup, and cereal…i’ve learned to accept my hoarding as my “collection” and just be happy with my eclectic stash.

    • Iowa Girl Eats 10.09.2012

      Ooo, good call – I should start using those Starbucks mugs for cereal. They’re the perfect size!

  7. Cher @ Weddicted 10.09.2012

    Haha – my mom has a mug hoarding problem! Her mug cupboard is like triple stacked! And the other day I was thinking that I need more mugs (I have like 20 – pretty sure that’s enough for a two person household where only one person drinks coffee or tea..)

  8. ShannonLC 10.09.2012

    I’ve been noticing that you are using more organic products. Are you trying to graudally become 100% organic? Just wondering since it seems they are becoming mroe and more widely availabe!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 10.09.2012

      I’m trying to as much as I can (except for thick-skinned produce like avocado, melon, onions, etc.) Whole Foods makes it really affordable and easy to eat organic, and it gives me peace of mind!

  9. Oww I love the idea of combining regular and sweet potatoes! This ones for the books

  10. Michelle 10.09.2012

    This truly has my stomach growling and I already have dinner cooking away! I’m putting this recipe on my fridge so I can make it soon, it sounds so good!

  11. Kristina 10.09.2012

    I am also a mug hoarder! I bought a mug tree so I can display my favorites – I do use at least one every day though. This is my favorite:

    On a side note – I spotted Cilantro Jalapeno hummus at Trader Joe’s the other day. Now your Panera Veggie Sandwich can be totally authentic! :)

  12. This sounds so warm and inviting…can’t wait to try it!

  13. Sarah 10.09.2012

    This looks really good! I love the idea of poaching the chicken right in the soup liquid.

  14. madison 10.09.2012

    i know how much of a organization gal you are. surprised you don’t have the nifty shelf organizers??? you can pick them up at container store or even wal-mart. LOVE them. I even have the tiered one for my spices. I can see everything in all of my cabinets with the organizers. (and they maximize space) I just love how organized it looks. :>


    i bet the soup would be even better with chicken bone in! i love chicken but poached chicken breasts are always so dry. do you ever use bone in for more flavor?

  15. Becah 10.09.2012

    I am HORRIBLE about cookbooks, I love to read through them. I’ve cut through my collection and managed not to buy any new ones in a long time-though I do still pick up a magazine from time to time if a recipe looks particularly yummy-and alot of my being able to cold turkey has to do with blogs like yours. I made the kielbasa soup the other day, the hubby and I both loved it. And BTW, of all the blogs I subscribe too you take the nicest food-photos. Some of the other sites often make me say to myself “This recipe would probably sound good if the photos werent so unappetizing”. Thanks for all the work you do!

  16. Tricia H 10.09.2012

    This looks SO good! I wish we had cooler temps here in AZ…in the high 90s today and my kiddos were in the pool. Thanks for your blog, just love all your recipes and posts!!

  17. This looks so yummy! It’s perfect for our cooler days (we are finally experiencing Fall-like weather in CA!). I love your pictures, too! I just came across your blog and my mouth is watering just looking at all of your amazing pictures and recipes!

  18. Looks like the perfect fall soup!

  19. char eats greens 10.10.2012

    I don’t think I’ve used quinoa in soup for a long time, but I think it’s time to start again. Looks so delicious!

  20. Sarah 10.10.2012

    I love the idea of quinoa and potatoes in soup as I never feel satisfied after eating soup. This might be a game changer. For the life of me though, I cannot get the hang of rinsing quinoa. Can you do a step by step of your rinsing process? Or have you and I just missed it?

    I love you blog, it has inspired me to be a more adventurous eater and I love hearing about your cold weather. We don’t get much here in Texas.

  21. this looks so warm and comforting! love the quinoa in there, fun way to switch it up. def putting this on the cold weather to-make list!

  22. We are having chilly and windy weather here (brrr!) and this soup would be perfect! I always save my parmesan cheese rinds in the freezer, and I’ve got one ready and waiting for this soup!

  23. Lauren 10.10.2012

    MMmm lovin that comfort food! How’s your garden with the colder temps? Is everything done for the season or are you still harvesting the goods?

    • Iowa Girl Eats 10.11.2012

      My cherry tomatoes are still growing like crazy, and I haven’t watered in weeks! That said, they’ll probably only last another week or so. I also have some brussels sprouts that need to be picked pretty soon!

  24. Yum! I felt so warm and cozy just looking at those pictures. Chicken soup is definitely for the soul! I may need to make some homemade chicken soup one of these cold winter months.

  25. Kristen 10.10.2012

    I love your soup pot. its adorbs! This looks like a great dish for cool weather!!

  26. This looks tasty and I placed your enamel pot on my wish list!

    Erin – ekcantcook.blogspot.com

  27. This is my kind of soup. Chicken, kale, sweet potatoes and quinoa……all some of my absolute favorite ingredients to cook with!

  28. Brittany 10.10.2012

    I saw this first thing this morning and ran to Whole Foods to get the supplies. I make a ton of different varieties of chicken soup and this will now be my go-to recipe. The sweet potato is the PERFECT addition! I also added the parmesan rind with the potatoes and it turned out to be the perfect lunch!

  29. Peyton Ticknor 10.10.2012

    I have not yet figured out how to rinse and drain quinoa?????? Help please

  30. Rachael 10.10.2012

    Awesome recipe! I made it this evening without chicken and with vegetable broth because I’m a vegetarian. I added a little extra quinoa. The kale was surprisingly delicious.

  31. Courtney 10.11.2012

    I made this last night and what a delicious bowl of soup I enjoyed! With the temperature hovering just above freezing and all the clouds blocking out the sun this was the perfect, I’ll say it again, Perfect! comfort dinner! Can’t wait to reheat for dinner tonight as I try to restrain myself from making a very early dinner so I can chow down. Thanks for the great soup recipe! :)

  32. This sounds SO good! I make mostly vegetarian recipes because raw meat REALLY freaks me out. However, for my boyfriend’s sake I try to cook at least a little bit of chicken. Poaching chicken is the best method because (a) it’s impossible to mess up and (b) I hardly have to touch it :D

    This soup sounds great- fall comfort food FTW!

  33. Jonette 10.12.2012

    This was wonderful … so easy and all I needed to run to the grocery for was carrots/celery (I know those should be staples, but I tend to leave them out as I’m not a celery fan!) We crumbled a few Food Should Taste Good Tortilla chips on top … extra yum! Gonna see if I can’t whip up the Fresh Apple Cake after a conference call this morning!

  34. Moni 10.12.2012

    This was outstanding, especially since almost everything here is a pantry staple. I even had a couple of parm rinds in the freezer.

    The only change I made was to cook the quinoa in it’s own pot. That way it keeps its little bitey texture and doesn’t get greedy and soak up all the liquid. That and I wanted quinoa leftover for breakfast :)

    Thanks for a great recipe

  35. […] Lasagna (missed last week), Veggies Tuesday- Leftover Enchilada Lasagna, Veggies Wednesday- Harvest Chicken Quinoa Soup, Salad Thursday- Old Fashioned Meatloaf, Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes (freezer), Peas Friday- BBQ […]

  36. Lauren 10.15.2012

    LOVE this! Under the weather, and just finished making it…I think it’s going to do the trick! Thanks again for an awesome recipe!

  37. Chelsea M. 10.18.2012

    Eating this right now. SO delicious!

  38. […] this week I tried Iowa Girl Eat‘s Harvest Chicken Quinoa Soup. This was a huge hit! I ate it four days in a row and am still looking forward to having it for […]

  39. […] Monday- Sour Cream Rice Bake, Lima Beans (recipe coming soon…this dinner is awesome) Tuesday- Harvest Chicken Quinoa Soup Wednesday- Out to Eat Thursday- Spicy Shredded Beef Tacos, Mexican Rice Friday- Out to Eat […]

  40. Molly 10.23.2012

    I made this soup over the weekend and my boyfriend said it’s the best chicken soup he’s ever tasted! High praise, coming from him.

    I added an extra clove of garlic and a little mustard powder. Delicious!

  41. I’ve been sick all week and nothing sounds better than this soup! Making it tonight :)

  42. […] Harvest Chicken Quinoa Soup (from Iowa Girl Eats) […]

  43. Rachel85 11.03.2012

    I’ve been avidly reading your blog since I stumbled upon it a couple of months ago. Your recipes are awesome! I just made this soup — with slight variations — and loooooooove it. Thank you!

  44. Stephanie 11.08.2012

    Made this soup last night. VERY good. The only thing I will do differently next time will be to add the Kale in when I add the potatoes and quinoa. I like it a bit less cooked, personally. Certainly a keeper and will certainly make again

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  46. […] Lunch Leftover Chili and Harvest Quinoa Chicken Soup […]

  47. […] Harvest Chicken Quinoa Soup and an apple. This soup is amazing and this lunch was super filling. It was the perfect meal for […]

  48. Jason Bradley 11.18.2012

    My wife and I are making this tonight. We’re hoping it will be able to hold us over for a few meals till Thanksgiving.

  49. Sadye 12.17.2012

    This is tied with skillet chicken Parmesan for my favorite Iowa Girl Eats recipe — SOOO good. Loved how cooking the chicken in the broth flavored everything else to the max, and I’m sold on swapping out sweet potatoes for regular ones in recipes far more often. Excellent work!

  50. […] also planning to make a big ol’ pot of Quinoa Chicken Soup tonight. I basically used this recipe from Iowa Girl Eats, except with only regular potatoes and sweet potatoes because no matter what I do, I can’t […]

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