Featured Recipes Soups and Stews — 20 January 2018

Celebrate National Soup Month with this Heart-Healthy Soup Recipe  

Guest Post By: Alyse Schulz, Nutrition & Dietetics Student at Dominican University

One of my favorite childhood memories is watching my mom prepare a heaping pot of delicious homemade chicken noodle soup every winter. She never followed a recipe, instead preferring to cook by memory and taste. Finally, in my 20s, she taught me how to make her soup, and together, we wrote it down. I don’t need the recipe anymore as I’ve continued her tradition and prepared chicken noodle soup every year at the first sign of winter.

My father was diagnosed with diabetes and high blood pressure in the last few years, and he’s worked hard to adjust his diet – watching the amount of carbs, salt, and fat he eats each day and adopting a heart-healthy diet, like the DASH diet. This year, I wanted to create a low-sodium chicken soup recipe full of nutrient-rich veggies and whole-grain barley, with the same flavors as my mom’s favorite recipe. This recipe for savory low-sodium chicken and vegetable barley soup is packed with lean protein, fiber-rich grains, and a variety of veggies, but without the high salt content of traditional homemade soups.

Low-Sodium Chicken & Vegetable Barley Soup

8 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes Cooking Time: 40 minutes   Ingredients:

  • 4-32 ounce packages of low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 medium-sized carrots, chopped
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped
  • 5 small red potatoes, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 ½ pounds of shredded cooked chicken breast
  • 2 small baby bok choy, chopped (optional)
  • 2 ½ teaspoons basil
  • 2 ¼ teaspoon parsley
  • 1 ½ teaspoon marjoram
  • 2 teaspoons cilantro
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 ½ cups uncooked barley


  1. Add broth to Dutch oven and begin to heat over medium-high heat.
  2. Add chopped vegetables to broth and continue to heat.
  3. Add shredded cooked chicken breast to broth and vegetables. I like to use leftover chicken breast or rotisserie chicken breast (with skin removed), and shred using a fork.
  4. Add seasonings (basil, parsley, marjoram, cilantro, black pepper, and bay leaves) and stir the mixture.
  5. Add barley to the mixture and mix with spoon. Allow broth to come to a boil.
  6. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Serve hot & enjoy!

Nutrient Information per (2-cup serving): 460 calories, 43g protein, 61g carbohydrates, 7g fat, 2g saturated fat, 280mg sodium, 70mg cholesterol, 10g fiber, 5g sugars

When preparing this recipe, you should opt for low-sodium or sodium-free broth to lower the overall sodium content. The longer the soup simmers, the more the flavors from the seasonings will develop, giving your soup a rich taste without the need for added salt. Serve this recipe with a side of fiber-rich fresh herb sprouted focaccia. For more low-sodium, DASH diet-inspired recipes, such as this delicious turkey tortilla soup, download the free app, Eat Healthy Homemade Meals, from the Apple Store and Google Play.  

Photo credit: Alyse Schultz

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About Author


Jodie Shield, M.Ed., R.D., L.D.N. Jodie Shield has been a consultant and spokesperson in the field of nutrition for over two decades. A former national media spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association (1989-1995), she has worked extensively with the Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center and taught nutrition and medical dietetics at the University of Illinois. Currently she is a complemental faculty member of the College of Health Sciences in the Department of Clinical Nutrition at Rush University in Chicago.

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