Lemon Chicken Soup with Barley and Summer Vegetables

Lemon Chicken Soup with Barley and Summer Vegetables

Use up that end-of-summer produce in this bright yet savory lemon chicken soup with pearl barley. Get the recipe now!

While soup in August may not sound like a perfect match, trust me when I say this soup is perfect for warm or cold weather. 

Bowl of lemon chicken soup with barley, carrots, and summer squash

Based off of one of my all-time favorite Healthy Toast recipes, this soup has a light, bright flavor thanks to fresh lemon juice and chopped end-of-summer vegetables. 

Plus, with kids going back to school and many of us noticing work starting to ramp up, there’s nothing easier than letting soup simmer away on the stove while you take a few moments to relax at night. 

What You’ll Need

Ingredients for lemon chicken soup
  • Cooked chicken
  • Extra-virgin olive oil 
  • Garlic 
  • Dried thyme
  • Black pepper 
  • Carrots
  • Zucchini and yellow squash
  • Chicken and vegetable stocks 
  • Lemon 
  • Pearl barley

Can I use another grain? 

Absolutely! Brown rice, farro, and quinoa are all good options. Just make sure to adjust the cooking time based on the grain you’re using. 

While 50 minutes is still good for long-grain brown rice, reduce cooking time to 10-12 minutes for farro and 15 minutes for quinoa. 

Best way to cook chicken for soups 

I have two preferred ways to cook chicken that’s meant for a soup: 

  1. Buy a rotisserie chicken. Yes, it’s technically cheating. But rotisserie chickens are an easy and flavorful option. Plus, you likely won’t use all the chicken so you’ll have leftovers to add to salads and sandwiches during the week. 
  1. Poach chicken breasts. This is usually the option I end up going with as buying 1 lb of chicken breasts is usually cheaper than buying a rotisserie chicken. Simply place chicken in a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, then cover and remove from the heat. Allow to sit for 12-15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. For extra flavor you can poach chicken in broth or add aromatics, such as rosemary or garlic. 

Can I use just one type of stock? 

Yes, feel free to use all chicken stock instead of half chicken and half veggie. I personally like the different flavors using both types adds to the soup, but it’s by no means necessary. 

Ladle in large pot of lemon chicken soup with carrots, barley, zucchini, and yellow squash

Make a double batch and freeze leftovers

Soups are perfect for making a double batch and freeze individual servings for later. As the fall can be such a busy time, it’s helpful to have a container or two of soup that you can just thaw the night before and bring to work the next day for lunch. 

If you make this soup, let me know how it turns out by leaving a comment below or tag @TheHealthyToast_RD on Instagram! And be sure to pin this recipe for later! 

Bowl of lemon chicken soup with barley, carrots, and summer squash

Lemon Chicken Soup with Barley and Summer Vegetables

Use up that end-of-summer produce in this bright yet savory lemon chicken soup with pearl barley. Ingredients
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Healthy chicken soup, Lemon chicken soup, Vegetable chicken soup
Servings: 2
Calories: 214kcal
Author: Kelli McGrane MS, RD

Ingredients

  • 1 lb chicken cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces or shredded
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 2 carrots peeled and sliced
  • 1 medium zucchini sliced and cut into fourths
  • 2 small yellow squash sliced and cut into fourths
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • ½ cup uncooked pearled barley
  • 3 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 4 cups vegetable stock or regular chicken stock
  • Juice and zest from 1 large lemon
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  • Place 1 tablespoon of olive oil in large soup pot over medium-high heat. Once hot, add garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds.
  • Next, add sliced carrots, black pepper, dried thyme, and lemon zest, cook for 1 minute.
  • Add barley, broths and lemon juice then bring to a boil.
  • Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and add cooked chicken. Cover and simmer for 50 minutes, or until barley is tender.

Notes

Nutrition for 1/6 of recipe: 214 calories, 3 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 20 grams carbs, 4 grams fiber, 4 grams sugar, 29 grams protein
Lemon chicken soup pin image
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About
About Kelli McGrane Headshot

I’m Kelli MS, RD, and my mission is to prove that eating healthier doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive. Follow along to learn more about food and cooking, with an emphasis on breakfast and sweet treats!

About Kelli McGrane Headshot

Welcome to The Healthy Toast!

Hi, I’m Kelli McGrane MS, RD! My mission is to show you that eating healthier doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive. I believe getting to know your food is the first step to a healthy relationship with it. Follow along in my journey to learn all I can about ingredients and cooking with an emphasis on breakfast and sweet treats!

Please contact me at kelli@thehealthytoast.com to request a copy of my resume or media kit, or to inquire about rates and services.

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