This salsa verde chicken soup with squash is rich, easy-to-make comfort that you will love on a cold night.
Here’s a secret about me: I always keep a jar of salsa verde tucked away in my fridge–not for dipping– but for emergency soup situations. It’s one of my favorite quick and easy ways to make a flavorful soup base with just one simple ingredient. My favorite brand is Mrs. Renfro’s Green Salsa because it’s tangy, hot, and just perfect for a soup base. Mrs Renfro’s green salsa isn’t made with tomatillos but with green jalapeńo peppers instead. You can find a salsa verde with a tomatillo base instead if you prefer! Frontera’s salsa verde is also delicious.
How to make my salsa verde chicken soup with butternut squash
The beauty of this recipe is that it requires so few ingredients but gives you an amazing soup that tastes robust and rich.
What you need
- Ground chicken: Use raw ground chicken or shredded rotisserie chicken. You can also use ground pork, beef, or turkey. If you want to make it vegetarian, use two cans of chickpeas.
- Spices: Keep it simple! I use just chili powder, garlic powder, and a little cayenne. You can add a bit of paprika if you want or pump up the cumin if you like. I opt for simplicity here. You can also use just chili powder and keep it a one-spice deal if you like.
- Scallions: Mince them up and add the white parts at the beginning and the green parts at the end and for garnish.
- Salsa verde and green chilies: You use a whole 16-ounce jar for this recipe. I also threw in a can of diced green chilies.
- Water: You can use chicken broth instead, but I find the salsa verde adds enough saltiness.
- Butternut squash: Buy a whole one and prep it yourself, but I keep it easy and buy it pre-cut. You can also use peeled, cubed sweet potatoes.
- Orzo: I threw in orzo because it cooks up so quickly. You can use rice instead and adjust the cooking time if you like.
How to make it:
- Step 1: Fry up your chicken and season it with the spices.
- Step 2: Add the green chilies and scallion whites.
- Step 3: Throw in the salsa verde and water. Add the butternut squash and bring to a boil.
- Step 4: Simmer until the squash is super tender. Mash up some of the squash for an even richer broth.
- Step 5: Bring to a boil, chuck in the orzo, and cook until tender. Once the orzo is tender, stir in half of the minced scallion greens.
- Step 6: Serve it up! Serving with a big dollop of sour cream is never a bad idea, but it’s so tasty on its own too.
If you use pre-cut squash, I promise you’ll be amazed at how quickly this comes together. If you have to prep your own squash, well, that will take a little longer, but you’ll still love the soup!
Salsa Verde Chicken Soup with Squash
- Soup pot
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- Pinch of cayenne powder, optional
- 5 scallions, trimmed and minced; white and green parts kept separate
- 7- ounce can diced green chilies
- 16- ounce jar salsa verde
- 6 cups water or chicken stock
- 1 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into bite-sized cubes
- 1 cup dry orzo
- Salt and pepper
- Sour cream, optional, for serving
Cook the chicken:
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 8–12 minutes, breaking it up as it cooks until completely cooked through.
- Add the chili powder, garlic powder, cayenne powder, and white parts of the scallions. Cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
Simmer the soup:
- Add the green chilies and salsa verde. Pour in the water and add the butternut squash. Add a big pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes until the squash is tender.
Finish the soup:
- Taste the soup and add more salt and pepper if needed. Use the back of your spoon to mash up some of the squash to make a thicker broth.
- Return to a boil and add the orzo. Cook for 10–12 minutes until the orzo is tender. Stir regularly to prevent the orzo from sticking. See note.
- Turn the heat to low. Add half the minced scallion greens. Simmer for 5 minutes. Taste and season once more. Turn off the heat.
- Ladle the soup into bowls. Garnish with the remaining scallion greens and a dollop of sour cream if you like. Enjoy!