Slow cooker chicken and garden vegetable soup is one of our favorite go to mid-week meals. I make this heart-warming vitamin-packed soup once a week. Then I enjoy the left overs for lunch. Slow cooker meals top my list of family dinners right now. They are great to come home to after a busy day of after-school activities. Dinner is ready and waiting. I usually make a salad and these delicious gluten free buttermilk biscuits ahead of time to go with this meal.
Finding meals that everyone will eat that still contain enough protein and vitamins can be a challenge for me right now. My kids are little and the range of vegetables that they’ll eat fairly small. However, I receive no complaints about this slow cooker chicken and vegetable soup. I’ll take that as a win.
This chicken soup features onion, carrots, celery, frozen peas and summer squash. You can add just about any fresh vegetable you like for variation such as green beans or mustard greens. It’s delicious seasoned with thyme and dill. Sometimes I use fresh Italian parsley instead of dill. Changing one or two small things here and there gives it a fresh look and taste every now and then.
Sauteing the carrots, celery and onions first helps develop flavor before popping them in the slow cooker. The vegetables also take longer to cook than the chicken. So, sauteing gives them a head start. Adding the more tender vegetables in at different times during the cooking process ensure that they all cook “el dente.” I don’t like soggy veggies.
I use chicken bone-in breast and one chicken bone-in hind quarter and leg in this soup. Make sure to remove any skin and remaining fat on the chicken. The bones provide additional flavor and health benefits while the chicken cooks and the stock develops. This is a great soup to make on a Sunday. It can be reheated and enjoyed through out the work week.
I often make noodles to go with the soup. I always cook my noodles separately and combine with the soup as needed. This keeps the broth clear and more appetizing. Also noodles have a tendency to soak up all the broth and get soggy. Yuck! Simple spaghetti noodles are great in this soup.
Chicken soup is one of my all-time favorite soups. How about you? It certainly is my kids favorite soup. I’m hoping they grow up with fond memories of mom’s delicious chicken and garden vegetable soup. Then maybe they’ll want to make it on their own someday.
This is the perfect soup no matter what the weather is or time of year. I hope your family enjoys it.
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Slow cooker chicken and garden vegetable soup
Slow cooker chicken and garden vegetable soup makes a healthy and vitamin-rich mid-week meal. It’s always a family favorite and a great way to eat your veggies. Use a 6-quart crock pot.
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup onion (chopped)
- 3 large carrots (sliced)
- 2-3 ribs celery, plus greens (chopped)
- 1 large garlic clove (minced)
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 large Bay leaf
- bone-in chicken breast (skin removed, fat trimmed)
- 1 bone-in chicken hind quarter and leg (skin removed, fat trimmed)
- 5 cups chicken broth
- 1 small yellow summer squash (or zucchini) (peeled and chopped)
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 1 tbsp dill (chopped)
- season with sea salt and pepper to taste
Use a large non-stick skillet. Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 3 minutes. Season with a scant pinch of sea salt and pepper. Add the carrots, celery and garlic. Continue to saute until the onions soften. Add about one cup of chicken broth scraping up any bits on the pan. Transfer this to the slow cooker.
Add the dried thyme and Bay leaf. Nestle the chicken into the slow cooker. Add in remaining chicken broth. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until the chicken is tender. (Or about 3 hours on high).
Remove the cooked chicken to a baking tray. Allow it to cool slightly. Then shred the chicken using two forks. Discard bones and set the chicken aside. Remove Bay leaf from the slow cooker. Add the yellow summer squash to the soup. Cover and continue to cook until it is tender (about 30 minutes).
Stir in the frozen peas and return the shredded cooked chicken back into the soup. Season the soup with sea salt and pepper. The amount of salt will depend on how salty the chicken broth is. (I usually use about 1 – 1.5 tsp of sea salt.) Add the salt in a little at a time if you are unsure. Stir and taste as you go. The heat from the soup will cook the peas quickly.
Veggie variations to try: Cut up green beans, mustard greens. Substitute fresh Italian parsley for fresh dill. If you like noodles with your soup, I recommend cooking the pasta separately. Add in desired amount of cooked pasta right before serving. This helps keep the broth clear and the noodles will stay “el dente” and not soak up all the delicious broth.
Come back to northwestspoon.com and tell me about your experience with this warm and inviting chicken soup.