Diet Recipe: Italian Style Chicken Soup

A delicious chunky diet chicken soup that’s low-fat and keeps you full. – 173 calories / Syn Free / 4 Smart Points.
This soup was my staple diet lunch for months which has really helped with my weight loss. It’s really tasty, incredibly low calories, low-fat, and chunky enough to keep me going all afternoon until dinner without getting hungry. It doesn’t take long to make, and can easily scale up or down. I make a big batch of this every other week and freeze portions for lunch each day.

The recipe is based on Zuppa alla Pavese, which is from the Pavia region of Italy. That recipe makes a very thick soup by adding bread and features an egg cracked over each bowl. I have removed the bread as it’s adds calories. Cooked egg doesn’t keep and reheat well so that’s been removed. What’s left is a really flavoursome chicken soup that’ll keep you going and losing weight.

Preparation time
10 min
Cooking time
25 min
Total time
35 min


This recipe uses some UK names. Hover over the translation icon or use the Translations for Cooking Terms, Ingredients and Measures page for US equivalents.

Buy fresh
3 Chicken breasts
3 Medium carrots
1 Medium courgette US: Zucchini
3 Celery sticks
6 Green onions US: Scallions
50 g Spring greens US: Collard greens
From the pantry
1 Garlic clove
1.5 L Chicken stock
Low cal. spray
Black pepper

Diet friendly

On Slimming World this recipe is completely Syn Free and it’s only 4 Smart Points per serving on Weight Watchers. At 173 calories this is a great lunch that’ll keep you full but leave plenty of room to enjoy other foods without breaking the bank! Full nutritional facts below.

Diet Recipe: Italian Style Chicken Soup Nutrition: 173 calories, Syn Free, 4 Smart Points
Nutrition in the Italian-Style Chicken Soup diet recipe: 173 calories, 0 Syns, 4 Smart Points per serving

Method – brief

  • Cook the chicken breast until done.
  • Meanwhile, finely chop the garlic, celery and onion, then soften over a medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes.
  • Chop the carrots and courgette into bite-sized chunks and add together with the chicken stock. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Shred the cooked chicken and spring greens, then add and simmer for a further 5 minutes.
  • Serve immediately or store in the fridge for several days, or in the freezer for several months.

Method – detail

Preparing the ingredients

  • Finely chop the garlic, celery and onion. You can store these together as you’ll be using them at the same time.
  • Chop the carrots and courgette into bite-sized chunks. Keeping them larger will give the final soup more crunch and filling power.
  • Shred the spring greens.


  • Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (356F).
  • Wrap the chicken breasts in parchment paper US: Waxed paper and cook in the oven until done, approx. 20 minutes. If you have a food thermometer, it should register 75°C (165F).
  • This type of cooking is called “en papillote”, meaning “in foil”. It stops too much moisture from evaporating during cooking, keeping the chicken moist and tender when fully cooked.

Tip: I used to use aluminium US: Aluminum foil for this, but recent research seems to indicate that using foil in cooking will cause the food to take on unhealthy amounts of aluminium. I can’t be sure whether this is true, but parchment paper US: Waxed paper has the same effect and is considered a safe substitute.

  • Meanwhile, spray a large pot with the cooking spray and set over a medium-low heat.
  • Add the onions, garlic and celery and cook until softened, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Make up the 1.5 litres US: Liters of stock. This can be home made stock from chicken carcasses, or store bought stock either in cubes, pots or ready-made.
  • Add the stock, carrots and courgette US: Zucchini to the pot and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  • When the chicken is done cooking, shred it using two forks. Alternatively you can dice it, slice it, however you prefer.
  • Add the chicken and spring greens US: Collard greens to the pot and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  • Season with pepper to taste and serve immediately or portion out and store. This will keep in the fridge for up to about a week or in the freezer for several months.


Most store bought stock contains a huge amount of salt. The stock pots that I use contain roughly a gram of salt each, and I need 3 to make enough stock for this recipe! Check the flavour of your soup when finished and only add salt if needed.
Using homemade stock can – in my experience – be a bit bland. I found adding a few ‘additives’ helps bring out the flavours. In my last batch I added a good glug of soy sauce, two teaspoons of Marmite yeast extract, and salt and pepper. This completely transformed the flavour from bland to amazing. When using store bought stock I find I don’t need any of these except maybe a bit of ground black pepper.

5 Comments Add yours

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      1. Agatha says:

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    2. Kassi says:

      I was seisluroy at DefCon 5 until I saw this post.

  2. Kerriann says:

    Suiprrsing to think of something like that

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