This Ajiaco Chicken Soup Is the Perfect Light Lunch

It’s called ajiaco and it’s packed with bold Latin flavors.

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Here’s an easy way to spice up (literally!) classic chicken noodle soup. This warm, slightly spicy soup is one of the most beloved Colombian recipes. Called ajiaco, it’s a chicken and potato soup made with Latin American ingredients like corn, cilantro, avocado, jalapeno, and lime.

For this healthy ajiaco recipe, Colombe Jacobsen makes a broth from scratch. This is lets you control the salt content and adjust the flavors to your liking. Plus, it can be cheap: Get in the habit of saving vegetable scraps (like onion skins, potato peels, and carrot tops), which are perfect for making broth and reducing food waste. You can even store these items in the freezer until you’re ready to make the broth.

In addition to the typical ingredients used for broth—carrots, garlic, celery, and so on—Colombe also adds cilantro stems and jalapenos to give this soup its Latin flair. If you’re not a fan of the heat, use just one (or none) of the jalapenos for a more mild soup.

A few other ingredients make this Colombian Chicken Soup distinct from the chicken noodle version most Americans are familiar with. A few capers add a salty zing to the soup, and a squeeze of lime provides an undeniably Latin flavor. The ajiaco soup is garnished with more sliced jalapeno, avocado slices, cilantro leaves, a dollop of plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt. (This tastes like sour cream, but with way less saturated fat.)

Colombe turns up the nutrition in this ajiaco recipe by adding quinoa. This grain—or seed, technically—is a powerhouse carb that’s more filling than common grains like rice. That’s because it’s high in fiber and protein.

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 and 1/4 pounds shiitake mushrooms, sliced thinly (6 cups packed)
  • dash of sea salt
  • 1 (10 oz) package baby spinach
  • 6 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced red onions
  • 3/4 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 4 and 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1. Place the whole chicken, cilantro stems, carrots, onion, garlic, peppercorns, parsley, jalapenos, celery stalks, and bay leaves in a large stockpot and cover with about 4 quarts of water or until submerged. Bring to a boil and simmer about 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the chicken is cooked. Strain the broth, reserve the carrots and remove the meat from the chicken. Set aside. 2. Place the broth, with the potatoes and corn, in a large, heavy bottomed pot and cook. Add the chicken and reserved carrots. Season with pepper. 3. Place a serving in a large bowl. Add a big spoonful of quinoa. Garnish with a dollop of Greek yogurt, sliced jalapenos, cilantro, capers, sliced avocado and a squeeze of fresh lime. Repeat for the remaining servings.

Nutrition Information

Recipe Serves: 6
Nutrition Information Based on a Single Serving
Calories 46623%
Fat 11gr16%
Cholesterol 46mg15%
Sodium 468mg20%
Carbohydrates 65gr50%
Fiber 11gr44%
Sugar 8gr16%
Protein 30gr58%

*Percent Daily Value are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Dietary Needs

Lower Sugar
Lower Sugar