I’m such a soup person. There, I said it. I love everything about soup. It’s a convenient meal all in one with meat and vegetables and maybe pasta or grain. No worrying about what side to make with the main, it’s all there in one recipe. Plus it’s good reheated, so I can make a batch that will last for a few days of lunches and/or dinners (and sometimes breakfast). Chicken and wild rice soup is a favorite of mine, but it comes with a price. That’s the fat and calories added with butter and cream. I really changed my diet last year and lost 50 pounds. I intend to maintain that loss, so I’m eating healthier. That’s why this Healthy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup appealed to me. No butter or heavy cream, but (perhaps) all the taste. Let’s find out if it measures up!
This Healthy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup is made without butter or heavy cream, but has all the creamy comforting goodness you crave!
This Healthy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup recipe is a well-rounded meal in one. I had some chicken thighs on hand, so I used that for the meat (about 8 small thighs). I could have lightened it up even more with chicken breasts, but I have my limits. Chicken breast can dry out when it’s cooked too long, and simmering in soup for a long time is an easy way to overcook it.
I actually made this recipe a while ago, right after I made my Thanksgiving posts. That meant I had leftover carrots, celery, milk, and parsley. The thyme and bay leaves are pantry staples for me, and I also had some Bell's poultry seasoning thanks to the Bacon Wrapped Stuffing I made.
And thanks to Thanksgiving, I had just made a batch of Turkey Stock, so I was itching to use it. It’s a Thanksgiving must, and I look forward to making it every year. I had to buy the rest, but it was all easy to find at my regular grocery store.
There were a lot of options for wild rice, and I chose Lundberg Family Farms Organic Wild Rice Blend. I liked the fact that it was a blend of black, brown, and red wild rice.
Since this recipe calls for cooked chicken and I didn’t have any, I didn’t include it in the total time. I did pan fry some chicken thighs while I prepped the vegetables, and they were ready at the same time. I paused to chop the chicken, but it only added a few minutes to my time. Here’s how it went:
- 10 minutes to prep
- 1 hour to cook
- 2 minutes to adjust seasonings
- 1 hour 12 minutes total
That’s right in line with the total of 1 hour 10 minutes listed on the recipe.
Next, the wild rice needs to be rinsed. I do this by placing it into a mesh strainer and running it under cold tap water. It’s a quick way to remove the extra starch that makes rice sticky.
Now it was time to get cooking. My 5.5-quart Dutch oven was perfect for this soup. Things started out with sauteeing the vegetables. The next step was to add the rice and herbs and saute them for a couple of minutes. This toasts the rice and releases the herbs’ essential oils, adding flavor to the dish.
After that, I added some homemade turkey stock, stirred, and let the mixture simmer for 30 minutes. The next few steps were even easier. Just add the chicken and cook for 15 minutes. Then add the spinach, parsley, and milk, simmer for another 5 minutes, and season with salt and pepper.
I’m happy to say that the whole thing went very smoothly, although I did have a minor ?? moment when I read Step 3. It says to stir in the turkey, but this is chicken soup. No worries, though—turkey would work too!