Fresh Ideas: Root Vegetables & Winter Greens

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Chicken soup is one of my favorite go-to meals in the winter. And if I happen to have a cold (as I did this past week), I’m likely to eat chicken soup and not much else for a couple of days in a row. It’s a great way to make the most of winter produce.

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I have a standard chicken soup that I make, and I love the recipe because it’s so easy to vary. Sometimes I add healthy miso (instead of salt) into a serving of soup, or I make it with fresh ginger and spice it up with a little cayenne pepper. Occasionally, I add chopped white potatoes or sweet potatoes and cook in some noodles at the end (I like 100 percent buckwheat soba or rice noodles). Coconut milk is also a nice addition, especially when the soup is embellished with a little Asian chili sauce right before serving.

If you are not serving all of the soup right away, I suggest taking the meat off the chicken and storing it in the refrigerator to add back into individual servings. You can also reserve some of the chicken for another use, like chicken salad.

Recipe for Chicken Soup with Root Vegetables and Greens


  • 1 whole chicken, approximately 3-4 lbs., preferably organic/free-range
  • 1 tbsp. organic butter
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3 large organic carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 stalks organic celery, cleaned and chopped
  • 1 large rutabaga, peeled and chopped (or use chopped parsnips and/or turnips)
  • 4 cups chopped turnip greens, kale, collard greens, or spinach
  • Coarse sea salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat oil and butter in a large soup pot. Place chicken in the pot and allow to sear for a minute or so on each side. Add a little water if necessary to prevent the chicken from burning.
  2. Add chopped onion and cook for several minutes, moving the chicken around, again adding a little water to prevent burning if necessary.
  3. Add the rest of the vegetables (but not the greens — it’s best to add them at 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 50-60 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.
  4. Take the soup off the heat. Carefully take the chicken out of the soup pot chicken and allow to cool in a separate bowl.
  5. If you are going to serve all of the soup right away, you’ll want to remove the meat from the chicken bones, chop or shred it, and add it back into the soup (make sure you don’t burn yourself as the chicken may still be very hot).
  6. Add the greens about five minutes before serving: the heat of the soup will wilt them down. Season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.


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— Winnie Abramson writes the organic gardening and food blog Healthy Green Kitchen

Photo credit: Winnie Abramson

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