Tuscan Chicken Soup with Pesto

Tuscan Chicken Soup

Do you remember the first time you had chicken soup? I don't. It's a memory lost in time... lost somewhere in my mind. Did I even like it, or did I have to learned to love it? My mom made a lot of soups when I was kid, many of them with rounds of kielbasa, zucchini, or other veggies. She'd usually call it "everything but the kitchen sink soup," implying that she had pretty much emptied out the fridge when making the soup (and on purpose, too). On occassion, I'll eat a soup and think "This taste like my mom's soup." I can't put a finger on what flavor it is, or why it tastes the way it tastes, but I love it anyways. I think the flavor just feeds my soul.

This soup is a pretty standard chicken soup, and it may just clean out your fridge with the number of veggies that get thrown in. But it also has one secret. It's secret isn't homemade broth or the fresh rosemary.

Tuscan Chicken Soup
Tuscan Chicken Soup

Nope! This soup's big secret? A big BIG dollop of pesto, scooped right into the middle of the bowl, and then swirled into the broth until the entire bowl of soup is infused with all of that basil goodness. 

Think it sounds crazy? I guess you'll just have to try it to find out! 

Tuscan Chicken Soup

Tuscan Chicken Soup with Pesto

Paleo, Primal, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free    |       |    Print Friendly and PDF

Serves: 4   |    Total Time:


  • 2 carrots
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 summer squash
  • 2 cups butternut squash
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh rosemary (or 1 tablespoon dried)
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • Pesto:
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2 ounces parmesan cheese
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • Salt & pepper


  1. Set the Instant Pot to that “Sauté” setting, and heat the coconut in the bottom of the pot. Dice the onion and celery, and mince the garlic. Add all three to the pot.
  2. While the onion, celery, and garlic sauté, dice the zucchini, carrots, summer squash, and butternut squash.
  3. When the onions are transparent, use a wooden spoon to push them to the sides of the pot, and place the diced chicken thighs in the middle — cook until browned (about cook for about 5 minutes, then stir to brown the other side — 5 more minutes). Add the rest of the veggies to the pot, along with the salt, red pepper, black pepper, thyme, rosemary, and chicken broth.
  4. Lock the lid onto the pot, and turn to the soup setting. Cook for 12 minutes. Release the pressure. Meanwhile, make the pesto: Place the garlic in a food processor and pulse until it is finely minced. Add the nuts and parmesan, pulsing serval times. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse several more times, until pesto is finely minced but not pureed. To serve: use a ladle to scoop soup into bowl. Top each bowl with a dollop of pesto.