Chicken, Endive, and Root Vegetable Soup with Endive Parsley Pesto

Winnie Abramson, ND

By Winnie Abramson, ND

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Discover Endive. I have received two complimentary shipments of California endive over the last few months, and I am being compensated for my efforts to promote California endive; all opinions are 100% mine.

chicken soup with endive pesto

Since becoming an “OnDiva” a few months back, I’ve explored many new ways to eat endive. It’s become a daily staple in my diet in some form or another, all but replacing lettuce in my salads this winter. I’ve also juiced with it, added it to fruit smoothies, braised it, and sautéed it…you name it and I’ve probably eaten endive that way :)

Here, I’ve put endive to use in a healthy and hearty organic chicken and root vegetable soup.

Endive makes two appearances in this recipe. It is added to the soup toward the end of cooking so any bitter flavor is mellowed, and it’s the principal component of the pesto.

pesto with endive

endive parsley pesto

While I think the soup is perfect as a family meal (it’s a great way to get kids to try endive, in fact), the pesto is pretty strongly flavored and might not appeal to young ones, especially if they don’t like parsley (my son is not a fan). You can always serve the soup without the pesto for the kids, or go with a more traditional basil based pesto, if you prefer.

I hand chopped the pesto because I love the resulting texture and because it’s a good way to control the amount of oil in it, but if you prefer a smoother pesto, you are welcome to make it in the food processor: just add more oil so it will blend to the consistency you desire. Feel free to scale up the pesto ingredients (except for the garlic, maybe), and chop everything a bit more coarsely, for a delicious salad to serve along with the soup instead of on top.

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organic chicken soup

chicken soup with endive pesto
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Recipe for Chicken, Endive, and Root Vegetable Soup with Endive Parsley Pesto

Prep Time15 mins
Servings: 6 -8 servings


For the soup:

  • *1 whole chicken approximately 3-4 pounds, preferably organic/free-range, giblets removed, rinsed and patted dry
  • *1 tablespoon organic butter plus 1 tablespoon olive oil or use 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • *1 large organic onion peeled and chopped
  • *2 large organic carrots peeled (optional) and chopped
  • *2 stalks organic celery cleaned and chopped
  • *2 medium organic parsnips peeled (optional) and chopped
  • *2 small-medium organic turnips peeled (optional) and chopped
  • *noodles- what kind you use and how many you add is really up to you- 8-16 oz. of regular or gluten-free pasta of any shape works well; I used Dreamfields brand spaghetti I put most of the noodles in my kids' bowls, honestly
  • *2 heads of California endive white or red, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • *coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the endive and parsley pesto:

  • *1 head of California endive I used red
  • *1 handful of organic parsley
  • *1 pleasantly plump clove of garlic or use 2 smaller cloves
  • *2-3 tablespoons of raw or toasted pine nuts
  • *1-2 tablespoons of best quality olive oil
  • *pinch of sea salt


To make the soup:

  • Heat olive oil and butter in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Pace chicken in the pot and, using tongs to move the chicken around, allow to sear for a minute or so on each side. Add a little water if necessary to prevent the chicken from burning/sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  • 2. Move the chicken to the side of the pot and add the chopped onion. Cook for several minutes,, again adding a little water to the pot to prevent the contents from burning or sticking to the pot.
  • 3. Add the rest of the vegetables (but not the endive: you'll add that toward the end), then add enough water to cover the chicken (about 10 cups). Bring to a boil, skim any foam that rises to the top, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 40-50 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through (be careful when you slice into the chicken to test will be very hot).
  • 4. Carefully remove the chicken and allow it to cool in a separate bowl. Add the chopped endive and the noodles to the soup pot and cook over medium-high heat for another 10 minutes, until the noodles are "al dente".
  • 5. If you are going to serve all of the soup right away, you’ll want to remove the cooled meat from the chicken bones, chop or shred it, and add it back into the soup (again, please make sure to handle the hot chicken carefully). If not serving all of the soup now (or if serving some of it chicken-free), you can store the chicken separately and make use of it however you like: I often use some to make chicken salad.
  • 6. Remove soup from heat and add sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

To make the pesto:

  • 1. Using a sharp knife, chop the endive and pesto together by hand until they're finely chopped and reduced quite a bit in volume.
  • 2. Incorporate the other ingredients and chop them pretty fine, too. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the olive oil and the salt. Taste and add more oil, if desired. Use as a garnish for the soup.

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