Nicole Bando | Dietitian & Lactation Consultant

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Healthy and Balanced Family Recipes

‘My recipes are colourful, pretty, balanced and designed to inspire happy & sustainable eating habits’


chicken soup with barley & green, leafy veg

Another day, another soup to warm you through to the soul and boost those immune-fighting nutrients for this long, cold winter. This covers most food groups in one excellent bowl. Many micronutrients = happy body. It includes some great plant-based protein from the chickpeas and continues along the theme of my love affair with legumes. Really. Here is my healthy twist on a traditional favourite.


1 whole chicken (I removed as much skin as possible), cleaned
2 carrots
2 onions
2 garlic cloves
1.5L water
Dried bay leaves x 3
salt, lots of black pepper
half bunch kale, leaves removed or 2 handfuls spinach
1 small bunch broccoli, cut into small florets, stalks sliced
1/2 cup barley
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
lemon zest, dill to serve


1. Cover chicken in large pot with cold water, add roughly chopped carrot, onion, garlic and celery, seasoning and bay leaves.
2. Cover with lid and bring to the boil. Lower heat and simmer for about an hour, until chicken cooked through.
3. Remove chicken, garlic cloves and bay leaves from pot, add rinsed barley and continue cooking stock until barley soft, roughly 30 mins. Whilst this is cooking, remove chicken bones and reserve meat.
4. When barley cooked through, add broccoli, kale (or other leafy green) and chickpeas. The heat from the soup will cook those veg.
5. Add some of the chicken back to the pot, stir through lemon zest and dill and serve.

– Reserve some chicken for sandwiches or to add leftover chicken to brown rice with frozen mixed veg, canned corn and low salt soy sauce for quick fried rice.
– Freeze leftover chicken for other sandwiches and meals
– You can prepare this recipe up to step 3, strain the broth and put the veg and barley aside. If the broth is refrigerated overnight, any fat that comes to the surface can be skimmed off the next day. Simply add the barley and cooked veg back in, reheat the soup and go from step 4 the next day. Of course, you don’t have to wait a whole 24 hrs if you would prefer to serve immediately.
– The kids may enjoy this with some cheesy soldiers on the side.
I hope you and your family enjoy this as much as we did,