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Mel’s Rescue Noodle Soup with Leftover Chicken

Melissa Hemsley


Serves: 4

Prep time: 5 mins

Cook time: 25 mins


1 tbsp ghee or butter

1 large leek or onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1.2 litres vegetable stock or bone broth

1 big handful of a mix of fresh herbs, like parsley and dill, leaves and stems chopped

1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves or 1 tsp dried

1 bay leaf, dried or fresh

2 celery sticks, diced

2 carrots, thinly sliced

2 handfuls of 2cm chunks of root veg like sweet potato, squash, pumpkin, potato or (in the summer) courgette

400g noodles or spaghetti, any type

1 tsp olive oil

300g mix of cabbage, rainbow chard and/or chard, stems finely chopped and leaves shredded

300g leftover shredded chicken

Juice of ¼ lemon or 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

2 big handfuls of frozen peas or sweetcorn

Sea salt and black pepper

(See Flexi Swap tip for optional extras)

Veg Portions / Serving: 2


Kitchen Ninja

Extracted from Eat Green by Melissa Hemsley. Photography by Philippa Langley.

There’s nothing quite like a warming bowl of homemade soup to make you feel a thousand times better. If I’ve had a Sunday roast chicken, I make this on a Monday to get a great boost of vegetables in. It’s based on store cupboard and freezer ingredients like frozen peas, onion, garlic and carrots, though you could swap in anything that needs using up. You can up the amount of vegetables or noodles here, so adjust to your liking. Post-Christmas and other celebrations, this is a fantastic way to use up leftover turkey or any other leftover meats.


In a large wide saucepan, heat the ghee or butter and fry the leek or onion over a medium heat for 8 minutes while you prep everything else. Add the garlic and fry for another minute.

Add the stock or broth, chopped parsley or dill stems, thyme, bay leaf, celery, carrot, root veg and some salt and pepper, pop the lid on and cook for 15 minutes until the carrot is almost tender.

Meanwhile, cook the noodles in a separate pan until almost tender (check the label for suggested timings), then drain and rinse under cold water to stop them cooking further. Toss with the olive oil to stop them clumping and set aside.

Back to your soup pan: add the chopped cabbage and chard stems, shredded chicken, lemon juice or vinegar and cook for a few more minutes.

Add the chard leaves, frozen peas or sweetcorn and cooked noodles for a final 2 minutes so that the chard wilts, the peas cook and the noodles heat through. Season to taste and serve up straight away, topped with the fresh herb leaves.


Waste Not: You don’t have to use noodles here, you can add any pasta shapes you like so just use whatever odds and ends of pasta packets you have. You could even add the pasta straight into the soup to cook and save on using a second pan.

Flexi Swap: For a vegetarian version, swap the chicken for 500g roughly chopped mushrooms and a pinch of dried seaweed or seaweed salt. Sometimes I add even more garlic and a thumb of grated ginger plus 1 tsp ground turmeric for an extra boost. Try adding a tablespoon of miso or tamari just before serving or swap the herbs for coriander and mint.

Kids in the kitchen:

Older children can help with chopping veg and adding ingredients to the pan (some younger kids will love doing this, too, if they are able to with your help). Get younger ones chopping herbs with scissors with your help, and toss the noodles with oil.

Melissa Hemsley

Chef and best selling author, lover of leftovers and seasonal vegetables and regular volunteer with food waste charities, kids community cooking and ambassador of Fairtrade farmers.

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