Chunky Chicken Noodle Soup

Virginia Willis

Lighten Up, Y’all: Classic Southern Recipes Made Healthy and Wholesome

Shhh. Don’t tell. This soup is really vegetable soup with just enough chicken and noodles in it to warrant the name. And I’ve got another secret: it starts with a rotisserie chicken. Because, guess what? If you start with a store-bought rotisserie chicken and work in a little zip, you can have homemade soup on the table in just about 30 minutes. You’ll have a bit of chicken left over for sandwiches and salads, too.

Cooking is not only about making good food; it’s also about working smart and not wasting. Make sure to save the bones from the chicken. If you save the bones from the chicken, cel­ery ends, carrot peelings, mushroom trimmings, and onion skins, you are well on your way to making stock. It’s a freebie. And, if you don’t feel like doing it now, just pop it all in a freezer bag and do it later.

Reprinted with permission from Lighten Up, Y’all, by Virginia Willis, copyright © 2015, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Photographs copyright © 2015 by Angie Mosier. For more information, visit


2 teaspoons pure olive oil 
1 carrot, chopped 
1 celery stalk, chopped 
1 sweet onion, chopped 
1 garlic clove, very finely chopped 
8 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms 
Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
12 cups homemade chicken stock or reduced-fat low-sodium chicken broth 
Bouquet garni (see note, below) 
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 2 cups) 
3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken (about 12 ounces), from one (4- to 5-pound) rotisserie chicken
6 ounces green beans, stem ends trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1 1/3 cups) 
2 ounces (1 cup) uncooked egg noodles 


Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the carrots, celery, and onions and cook until the onions are soft and translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 45 to 60 seconds. Add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms start to wilt and brown, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and stir to combine. Add the bouquet garni and sweet potato. Bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to simmer and cook until the sweet potato is just tender, 15 to 17 minutes. 

Add the chicken, green beans, and egg noodles. Stir to combine and poke with your spoon to make sure the beans and noodles are submerged. Simmer until the noodles and green beans are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. Ladle into warmed bowls and serve immediately.

Note: bouquet garni is a French term to describe a sachet of herbs and seasonings. To make one, simply tie 3 sprigs flat-leaf parsley; 3 sprigs thyme; 1 bay leaf, preferably fresh; and 10 whole black peppercorns together in a cheesecloth.



6 servings (approximately 9 cups)