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Salsa Verde Chicken and Rice Soup

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Salsa Verde Chicken and Rice Soup – Warming, comforting chicken and rice soup with a salsa verde twist! This is the perfect meal for cold days or when you’re feeling under the weather. (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

Salsa Verde Chicken & Rice Soup from One Lovely Life

The weather is only just starting to turn where we live, and by turn I mean 80’s, but it feels heavenly. The mornings are cool and crisp, and I fling open the windows to let it all in. It feels heavenly after The Eternal Summer we endure every year.

Perhaps the best part (other than getting to tuck into a sweater or blanket at the end of the day) is that it’s really, finally, truly soup season.

This salsa verde chicken and rice soup is such a glorious way to celebrate. It’s cozy, smells amazing, and is packed with flavor. It’s the perfect thing to soothe a cold or warm you up on a chilly day.

Salsa Verde Chicken & Rice Soup from One Lovely LifeSalsa Verde Chicken & Rice Soup from One Lovely Life


As we scooped up bites of the steaming soup, Michael said this would be the perfect thing to eat if you have a cold. It’s comforting in the way that all chicken soup is, but it’s also got plenty of flavor and if you use medium or spicy salsa, it can also help clear up congestion. I’ve already mentally tucked that away for our first round of winter colds, but for now, I’m enjoying every last bowl!

This is a great way to clean out the fridge a little bit. For instance..

  • We picked up a rotisserie chicken and used half the meat for dinner one night with mashed sweet potatoes and I tossed the other half into this soup.
  • You can also easily use leftover rice if you’ve already got some cooked.
  • I made homemade salsa for this batch, but store-bought salsa verde works really well.
  • Canned beans keep things simple and easy and fill the soup out a bit more. (I got the Sprouts brand ones)
  • This is a great way to use up the last of a bunch of cilantro and the last of the bag of spinach I had in my refrigerator (super greens or kale would also work well).

Despite being sort of a hodgepodge, this soup is LOADED with flavor. Thanks to the combination of seasonings and the addition of salsa verde (green salsa) that’s already very flavorful, this was incredible. It also gets better with time, so I purposely make it in the morning or early afternoon so it has time to get even better.

Salsa Verde Chicken & Rice Soup from One Lovely Life
Salsa Verde Chicken & Rice Soup from One Lovely Life


The soup is full-bodied enough that I don’t think it particularly *needs* an extra dipper, but I’ll happily include one if it means my kids will try the soup! The tortilla strips are an extra step, but one my family really enjoys.

They’re SUPER simple to make! To make crispy tortilla strips, you simply: 

  • Brush corn tortillas with a little olive oil (or mist them with spray olive oil).
  • Sprinkle with coarse salt or our little seasoning blend (in the recipe card)
  • Slice into strips with a knife or pizza cutter
  • Arrange on a baking sheet & bake for just a few minutes to crisp up!

Not feeling like making tortilla strips? Feel free to add some tortilla chips or corn chips on the side instead, or make a batch of cornbread.

Salsa Verde Chicken & Rice Soup from One Lovely LifeSalsa Verde Chicken & Rice Soup from One Lovely Life


ADAPTING FOR YOUR DIETARY NEEDS (PALEO, VEGAN). This could easily be a paleo soup. Simple omit the rice and beans and add a bit more chicken and an extra handful of spinach and top it with diced avocado (so good!). You could also skip the chicken and add extra beans for a vegan version!

MAKE YOUR OWN SALSA! I made my own salsa for the batch I photographed. I drained two 15oz cans tomatillos, added 1/2-1 jalapeño (it was a mild one), 3/4 cup cilantro, half an onion, 2 cloves garlic, and a hefty pinch of salt. Pureed until smooth in a blender. It was amazing and added so much flavor to the soup.

OR USE STORE-BOUGHT SALSA. Storebought works great for this as well, so don’t feel like you have to complicate things unnecessarily if you’re strapped for time. The salsa adds a lot of the flavor for the soup, so do try to use a yummy one! Our favorite is Sprouts’ tomatillo salsa. SO GOOD!

KICK UP THE NUTRIENTS! You can substitute cooked quinoa or brown rice in place of the white rice in this soup without any trouble at all for some added protein and fiber.

Salsa Verde Chicken & Rice Soup from One Lovely LifeSalsa Verde Chicken & Rice Soup from One Lovely Life

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Salsa Verde Chicken & Rice Soup from One Lovely Life

Salsa Verde Chicken and Rice Soup

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 7 reviews

  • Author: One Lovely Life
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 1012 cups 1x


Salsa Verde Chicken and Rice Soup – Soothing chicken and rice soup with a salsa verde twist! This is the perfect meal for cold days or when you’re feeling under the weather. (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)




  • 46 cups chicken broth (or water)
  • 3 cups cooked chicken
  • 2 cups salsa verde (see notes for a homemade version)
  • 2 cups spinach (can also use kale or super greens)
  • 1 (14oz) can great northern beans, drained
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked rice (can sub brown rice or quinoa)
  • 1/41/2 cup cilantro, minced

For optional seasoned tortilla strips:

  • 6 corn tortillas
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • optional: 1 tsp taco seasoning or 1/4 tsp each cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, and chipotle chili powder


  1. Place all ingredients except rice and cilantro in a large soup pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  2. Continue to simmer 10-15 minutes, or until greens are wilted and soup is cooked through. Add cilantro and rice just before serving.

To make tortilla strips:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush one side of the tortillas with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and taco seasoning/spices (if using). Slice into thin strips and place on a baking sheet.
  2. Bake 10-20 minutes, or until crispy. Enjoy!

NOTE: For a simple homemade salsa verde (this makes just as much as you need):

  • 2 (15oz) cans tomatillos, drained
  • 1/4-1 jalapeño (start small, and add more as desired)
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2-1 cup cilantro
  • hefty pinch salt

Directions: Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: Main Dish, Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Originally posted Nov 2016. Completely updated Mar 2020.

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  1. This was the easiest soup. And so yummy. My rice was slightly undercooked and i let it simmer too long so I had to add extra water, but it turned out great anyway. Also I’d say the tortilla strips are not optional – those were such a delicious and fun treat!

  2. Hi Emily, this looks delicious. 🙂 I received a slow cooker for Christmas- do you think this recipe would work in that? (If so, do you have any suggestions for how to modify it?) Thank you so much!

    1. Allison – Great question! Since this is really a “dump-and-go” recipe, it’s basically done as soon as it’s heated through if you’re using cooked chicken and cooked rice. Sitting in a slow cooker would probably not be great for it if you’re using cooked rice and chicken.

      If you’re starting with raw chicken, I’d add all the ingredients (except the spinach and rice) and cook on HIGH 3-4 hours or LOW 5-6 hours. Then, shred your chicken and stir in cooked rice and spinach right before serving.

      If you prefer to cook the rice in the slow cooker, I’d add that to the soup when you have about 30 minutes left of cook time and stir the spinach in right before serving.

      I hope that helps!

    1. I haven’t tested it for the crock pot, but I’d imagine you could add the soup ingredients (other than the rice) and use raw chicken instead of cooked. I’d cook it for 1-3hours on high or 2-4 hours on low, then stir in the cooked rice at the end. I’d love to know how it goes if you give it a try!

  3. I just made this. I knew just reading the recipe that I was going to love it so I doubled the recipe. I’m a chronic pain patient so when I feel like cooking I make a lot and freeze / reheat.

    Since March 2019, when I figured out that a lot of my recent health issues were due to a tomato intolerance I’ve been looking for recipes without them. Thankfully I had already found tomato-free tomatillo / salsa verde brands so I was good to go.

    It’s so cold in DFW today I just had to have soup. Thanks for the recipe. This will be one of my staples. Although I do admit that I cheated and added a little cheese on top.

  4. This was delicious! I love that it’s healthy but has great flavor. I used brown rice I made the night before and some rotisserie chicken I thawed out so dinner came together in like 20 minutes. I used store bought salsa Verde that was surprisingly good, though I would like to try it another time with homemade. Thanks for a great recipe!

  5. This was really good. Thank you for the recipe. We are adding it to our regular rotation and I am hoping to try your salsa recipe next time. I just need to find the tomatillos as my regular store doesn’t carry them.

    1. I’m so glad you loved it! THANK YOU for taking the time to leave a review–it’s SO helpful! Hope you’re able to track down some tomatillos soon–that salsa is delicious 🙂

  6. So flavourful and so easy to make! I added some frozen cauliflower for some extra veggies, and it was amazing! I love that there’s almost no prep-time, just dump it all into a pot and wait!

  7. What a great tasting soup! I used quinoa instead of rice, and just cooked it along with everything else. I added summer squash and carrots I had on hand. Super flavorful and so simple. I will definitely make this again.

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