Spring chicken, rice, lentil and spinach soup

Karen Martini
Increase your vegetable intake with this hearty soup.
Increase your vegetable intake with this hearty soup. Photo: Marina Oliphant

Full of wholesome goodness, this soup is as much about vegetables as chicken. You can make it a day or two ahead of time, which allows the flavours to develop.


60ml extra virgin olive oil

1 brown onion, finely diced

4 cloves garlic, finely sliced

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 celery heart, finely sliced

1 fennel, diced

5 dutch carrots, peeled and sliced in rounds

120g rice (short or long grain)

100g small green lentils

4 medium zucchini, diced

1L quality chicken stock, boiling

300ml boiling water

1 vegetable stock cube

200g baby spinach

5 sprigs tarragon, stripped from the stem

1/2 cup frozen peas

1/2 barbecued chicken, flesh removed and shredded

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 lemon, to serve


1. Place a large pot over a medium heat, add oil, onion, garlic and fennel seeds and cook, stirring, for four minutes.

2. Add celery, fennel and carrot, cook for a further 25 minutes, allowing the vegetables to caramelise.

3. Add rice, lentils and zucchini and stir to combine, then add the hot stock, water and stock cube and cook for 20 minutes to allow rice and lentils to thicken the soup.

4. Add spinach, tarragon, peas and shredded chicken meat. Season with salt and pepper and cook for a further 10 minutes, then turn off the heat and allow to sit for a while. Serve with bread and a squeeze of lemon.

Drink Wooded chardonnay.

Tip You can substitute brown rice for an even healthier soup but will need to allow for a little longer cooking time.