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Chicken Lemon Rice Soup with Butternut Squash & Kale

Chicken lemon rice soup with butternut squash and kale makes for a delicious meal that is easy to make in one pot and nutritious! 

best chicken lemon rice soup with kale and squash

I don’t know about you, but to me nothing sounds better for lunch or dinner when it’s cold outside than a big bowl of soup. Soups are great because you can pack a lot of nutrition into them, and make them ahead of time to enjoy for the next few days.

This chicken lemon rice soup has all the characteristics of chicken noodle soup that we know and love, but it’s thicker and creamier thanks to the addition of rice. Extra lemon gives each bowl more vitamin C and bright, fresh flavor! 

It’s also packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and whole grains thanks to the U.S.-grown long-grain rice, butternut squash and kale! Rice is the most popular grain globally and the primary dietary staple for more than half the world’s population.

This tiny but mighty U.S.-grown grain is nutrient-rich, supplying energy, complex carbohydrates, protein, fiber, beneficial antioxidants and more than 15 vitamins and minerals.

Rice Nutrition

Brown, wild, black, red and purple rice are 100% whole grain varieties. Research shows that eating whole grains can help reduce heart disease, may reduce the risk of certain cancers and may aid in weight maintenance.

Rice is a nutrient-dense, complex carbohydrate that the body slowly digests to help you stay energized throughout the day. Plus, research shows that eating rice increases levels of the feel-good chemical serotonin, which helps boost mood and keeps appetite in check. I’ll definitely take that mood boost as we head into the colder months with less sunshine!

Is all rice gluten free?

Yes, rice is naturally gluten-free, highly digestible and the least allergenic of all grains. It’s a great option for people with Celiac disease or who choose to follow a gluten free diet.

Ingredients for Chicken Lemon Rice Soup

  • U.S-grown long grain white rice
  • Chicken stock
  • Lemon
  • Butternut squash or sweet potato
  • Kale or spinach 
  • Egg yolks
  • Fresh thyme
  • Salt 
  • pepper
best chicken lemon rice soup with kale and squash

Chicken Lemon Rice Soup with Butternut Squash & Kale

Maggie Michalczyk, RDN
Chicken lemon rice soup with butternut squash and kale makes for a delicious meal that is easy to make in one pot and nutritious! It’s the perfect cozy soup recipe for the winter months!
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Servings 4 -5 servings


  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups U.S.-grown long-grain white rice
  • 1 ½ cup shredded chicken
  • 2 cups lacinato kale washed and stems removed, torn into smaller pieces
  • 1 ½ cup cubed butternut squash
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Juice of 3 lemons
  • 1 tbsp. fresh thyme
  • 2 tsp.salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper + more on top


  • Prepare rice according to package directions in a rice cooker or on the stovetop.
  • While the rice is cooking, peel and cube the butternut squash, cutting into small cubes. Toss with 1 tbsp. Of olive oil and bake at 375 degrees F for 15-20 minutes until fork tender. Set aside.
  • Once the rice has cooked add 1 cup to a blender along with the egg yolks, 1 ½ cup of chicken stock, and lemon juice. Blend until combined.
  • Heat the rest of the chicken stock over medium to high heat. Add the mixture from the blender, the rest of the rice, cooked butternut squash and fresh thyme. Stir together and add the kale pieces. 
  • Let simmer on low for 10-15 minutes as the soup thickens. You can always add more chicken stock to thin it out.
  • Remove from heat and enjoy with extra fresh black pepper and more lemon juice squeezed on top if desired. Store covered in the fridge for 3-4 days. 
Keyword chicken lemon rice soup

The blog post is in partnership with the US Rice Federation. All opinions are my own and I’m proud to partner with brands and organizations that share my mission of making healthy food more accessible to everyone.

More soup recipes & rice recipes you are sure to love: 

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healthy chicken lemon rice soup
Pumpkin Dinner

Fall Harvest Salad with Pumpkin Vinaigrette

Fall produce is everywhere you look at the grocery store, farmers’ market and on Instagram! The cooler temperatures and flavors of the season were the inspiration behind this fall harvest salad with pumpkin vinaigrette that will have you celebrating autumn with every bite!

I did not always know how to roast a pumpkin or cook a squash, so apples were about as seasonal as I got. As time went on (and my love for all things fall grew) I started learning more about the nutritional benefits of seasonal vegetables, which really opened my eyes to all of the possibilities for what you can do with them.

Pair that with my love of pushing the pumpkin envelope and putting it into as many things as possible and the pumpkin vinaigrette for this salad was born! I also shared this vinaigrette idea in my cookbook, The Once Upon a Pumpkin Cookbook that has 50 recipes and 30 hacks for using pumpkin puree in sweet and savory recipes!

pumpkin vinaigrette

This salad combines quinoa, kale, delicata squash, chickpeas, apples, parmesan cheese, and pumpkin seeds in a delicious and easy to make salad inspired by the flavors of the season! I recently contributed to an article in Women’s Health on 6 legit benefits of quinoa, a must read if you haven’t gotten on board this grain train. Technically, quinoa is not a grain at all but rather a seed  packing a protein punch that many other grains and seeds do not. Quinoa is considered a complete protein because it contains all nine essential amino acids, something very unique to non-meat sources of protein.

I love it served out of a pumpkin like this because not only is it functional but it doubles as table decor! To me fall entertaining means using pumpkins in as many ways as possible and this is one of those creative ways I can not get enough of!

pumpkin spice roasted chickpeas
fall harvest salad
pumpkin vinaigrette

Fall Harvest Salad with Pumpkin Vinaigrette

Maggie Michalczyk, RDN
Dive into loving seasonal produce with this salad that combines the flavors of the season! Powered with plant protein from quinoa, you’ll be satisfied and delighted as you reap the nutritional benefits of these fall foods.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Servings 4 servings


Harvest Salad:

  • 1 pie pumpkin hollowed out for the bowl
  • 2 cup kale
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 small delicata squash
  • 1 can garbanzo beans aka chickpeas
  • 1/2 apple diced
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • salt and pepper

Pumpkin Vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. grainy mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Wash the outside of the delicata squash and cut off the two ends.
  • Cut the squash into rings, place into a bowl and toss with 1 tbsp. olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes.
  • Drain and rinse the can of chickpeas. Toss with pumpkin pie spice and once the squash is done roast on a parchment lined baking sheet for 25 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, add 1 tbsp. olive oil to kale and massage. Massaging helps to breakdown the fibers and make it more enjoyable to eat!
  • Once squash is roasted poke out the seeds and cut pieces in half into half moons.
  • Whisk together ingredients for vinaigrette and set aside.
  • In a medium bowl combine, kale, quinoa, chickpeas, apples, parmesan cheese, pumpkin seeds, and squash. Add vinaigrette and toss together.
  • Serve in hollowed out pie pumpkin and enjoy!