Chicken Noodle Soup With Fennel, Zucchini, And Kale

This chicken noodle soup is comfort food in its purest form. Perfect for a cozy night in, or a soothing treat when you’re under the weather. Read on or jump straight to the recipe HERE.

Chicken Noodle Soup with Fennel, Zucchini, and Kale

My birthday was last week, and instead of going out for a fancy meal at one of my favorite restaurants all I could think about was making a giant pot of chicken noodle soup and relaxing on the couch. I know, that sounds crazy… but it wasn’t until the soup was steaming in front of me that I realized just how much it was exactly what I needed.

Normally I spend a lot of time tweaking a recipe and taking photos, but not this time This time I set the pot down, took two pictures, and then dove in. And it was glorious. There is something utterly spirit-lifting and soul satisfying about a bowl of chicken noodle soup. You don’t have to be sick with a cold to feel it’s benefits.

A few hours later, the power went out. For four days. A massive wind storm knocked out power across the entire state, and this soup sustained us on those cold nights, huddled around the gas stove for warmth, slurping noodles by candlelight. It wasn’t exactly the most glamorous birthday ever, but it was saved by this simple one-pot meal.

Chicken Noodle Soup with Fennel, Zucchini, and Kale

I hadn’t planned on sharing this recipe, but after posting a photo on Instagram and getting many requests, well… I couldn’t leave y’all hanging! So here it is — my birthday rendition of chicken noodle soup. I wasn’t as careful as I normally am to measure every little thing, so think of this recipe as a guideline that can be adjusted as little or as much as you like.

You can leave out the fennel or zucchini if you aren’t a fan, or swap them for other veggies you prefer. Follow your stomach and you’ll be rewarded with a delicious pot of soup fit for sustaining you through four days without power. Or just a cozy night on the couch. (Let’s hope for the latter!)

Chicken Noodle with Fennel, Zucchini, and Kale
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Think of this recipe as a guideline for making an amazing batch of chicken noodle soup from scratch. I added fennel, zucchini, and kale, but you can mix these up however you like, with whatever is in season or in your fridge.
Serves: 8-10 servings
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2-3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • ½ of a large bulb of fennel (or a whole one if it's small), chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 10 cups low sodium chicken stock (preferably homemade), or water, or a combination, plus more as needed
  • 2½ lbs. chicken breasts (bone in or not, either is fine -- skin removed)
  • 1 lb. egg noodles
  • 4 cups kale, stems removed, washed and roughly chopped
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 3-4 TBSP chopped fennel fronds (if your fennel didn't come with the fronds attached, don't worry about it)
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Add the olive oil to a large stock pot, and place over medium-high heat. Add the onions, celery, carrots, fennel, and a large pinch of salt, and saute for 5-7 minutes, or until the onions have started to turn translucent.
  2. Add the garlic and thyme, and saute for another 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the chicken stock, chicken breasts, and another big pinch of salt. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat and cover, keeping the pot at a barely-there simmer. Let cook for about 15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
  4. Remove the chicken to a cutting board, and allow to cool for five minutes before chopping with a knife, or shredding with a couple of forks. Before returning the chicken to the pot, stir in 1 lb. egg noodles. Add additional water or chicken broth, if needed, to cover the noodles.
  5. Return the chicken to the pot, along with the kale, zucchini, fennel fronds, and parsley. Stir until the kale has wilted, then taste and season well with salt and pepper. By this time, the noodles should be done. If not, cook for another minute or two. Serve immediately.
If possible, I recommend using homemade chicken stock. All you need are chicken bones, scraps of vegetables, and water, simmered for a long time over low heat. Strain, and you've got a stock far more flavorful and healthy than anything you'll find in a carton. If you use store bought stock or broth, be careful of the amount of salt it contains. If your stock is particularly salty, use small pinches of salt in place of the large ones called for in the recipe, and add more seasoning only as needed at the end.

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