Just like Mom's homemade chicken noodle soup only with fewer calories and zucchini noodles! This easy comfort food recipe is big on cozy flavors and low on calories. It's easy to make, freezes great and is perfect to have on hand in the cold weather season.
As far as comfort foods go, chicken soup is the ultimate comfort food. This low carb, low calorie version doesn't disappoint. It has all the classic delicious flavors along with fresh herbs and lemon to keep you cozy in the cold winter months.
Like our low calorie vegetable soup this version of chicken noodle soup recipe is perfect for meal plan prep, taking in a thermos to work for a perfect lunch and great for a low calorie diet.
What makes this skinny?
- Instead of traditional egg noodles we've swapped in 'zoodles'. These are noodles cut from zucchini squash using a spiralizer or other tool. Spiralized zucchini give all the satisfying texture of pasta noodles but have the calories of vegetables (hardly any).
- Using lean meat (skinless chicken breasts) versus dark meat which has more calories
- Lots of vegetables (adds volume, flavor, nutrition with lower calories)
Recipe Ingredient Notes
Yellow onion. Use one medium yellow onion chopped.
Carrots. Two medium size carrots peeled and chopped or sliced (your choice).
Celery. Three medium celery stalks chopped or sliced (your choice).
Rosemary. A sprig of fresh rosemary boosts the aromatic flavor of this chicken zoodle soup recipe. Remove the leaves from the stem and chop dice them.
Chicken broth. Use low sodium chicken broth or chicken stock. Homemade chicken stock can also be used.
Boneless skinless chicken breasts. You'll use 1 pound. See Variations below for other options.
Zucchini. Use medium size zucchini to make zucchini noodles. We recommend using a spiralizer (see below). The zucchini does not need to be peeled before making zoodles.
How to make Zoodles
I recommend using a spiralizer. They are inexpensive and a great gadget to have on had to turn fruits and vegetables into different shapes for pasta substitutes or for salads. They come with multiple cutting blades to create different size noodles, ribbons and more.
For this recipe a ⅛-inch or 3MM noodle blade should be used.
There are multiple brands of sprializers. I have a crank version I've had for a number of years most similar to this model recommended on Amazon.com (with 24,000 5 star reviews).
How to make Chicken Zoodle Soup
STEP 1. Sauté
Heat olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery, and carrots (photo 1). Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until tender. Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
Stir in minced fresh garlic and rosemary. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute (photo 2).
STEP 2. Make the chicken soup
Pour in chicken broth and bring to a boil (photo 3). Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and add bay leaves and chicken breasts (photo 4). Cover and cook for 15 minutes.
When chicken is cooked, remove it from the pot (photo 5), chop or shred it (see Expert Tips for a great shortcut).
Add the zucchini noodles and shredded chicken back to the pot (photos 6-7); reduce heat to a simmer and cook until zucchini is tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in lemon juice; season with salt and pepper to taste (photo 8).
Serve the hot soup immediately, garnished with rosemary, lemon slices, and fresh parsley.
Shred the chicken with a stand mixer. This is a life changer for shredding cooked meat. When the chicken is cooked remove and place in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
Mix on low speed just until shredded (if it mixes too long it will create very tiny shredded pieces). It just takes a minute and no mess!
Prep ahead! You can spiralize the zucchini noodles up to 2 days ahead. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Cut the zoodles. If you've used a long zucchini the zucchini noodles will be very long. For easier serving and eating cut them into smaller lengths (cut in half or thirds).
Using bone-in chicken breasts. Typically bone-in poultry has more flavor because of the bone. You can use bone in breasts but be careful of any smaller bones becoming loose in the soup and be sure to remove them. To keep calories low we recommend removing the skin before adding the chicken.
Substitute pre-made zoodles. You can buy them fresh in many stores (produce or grab-and-go ingredients area) or frozen. To save some time you can substitute these. Use 4 ½ cups.
Like it spicy? I always add a sliced jalapeno pepper to my chicken soup recipes. Especially during cold season I feel like just a little bit of heat that gets a low grade sweat going helps purge the system (this could just be in my mind lol).
Substitute cooked chicken. You can use rotisserie chicken or leftover chicken instead of cooking chicken in the soup. If doing so add the cooked chopped chicken when the zucchini noodles are added. NOTE: the soup will have more chicken flavor if cooking the chicken in the soup versus using already cooked chicken.
Shredded cabbage instead of zoodles. You can substitute shredded cabbage instead of zucchini noodles for a different spin on the recipe.
Use leftover holiday turkey. This is a great leftovers recipe. Substitute leftover Thanksgiving turkey instead of chicken!
Add some new flavors! Try one or more of these: Ground turmeric, fresh minced ginger, orzo or rice, thyme instead of rosemary, thin rice noodles (like used in these spring rolls), chickpeas, lentils, etc. Lots of ways to change it up!
Timesaver tip. Use a bag of frozen mirepoix (onions, celery, carrots) instead of fresh vegetables.
How to make it vegetarian or vegan. Omit the chicken and use vegetable broth.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Just add them to the soup. The cooking time will be longer. Monitor for when the chicken is cooked before removing to chop or shred.
How to Store
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
How to Freeze
Allow the soup to fully cool. Add to an airtight freezer container leaving ½-inch on top for expansion. Freeze for up to 3 months. I love using this freezer block maker to freeze the soup in bags. It's a mold that forms in the bag and after it's frozen you have easily stackable bags of soup!
Thaw in the refrigerator and reheat.
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