by Feb 6, 2022

You know that old saying, “Chicken soup is good for the soul.” It must be true because chicken soup has been proven to help heal the body with heat, hydration, and nutrients.  Probably because it contains vitamins A and C, magnesium, phosphorus, gelatin and antioxidants which help build a strong immune system.

Modern research has shown that chicken soup, more than any other hot liquid, helps loosen secretions to thin mucus in the lungs and really does aid the healing process.  Adding pepper and garlic enhances this effect.

When sick, who really cares about the science behind it? Most of us like chicken soup just because it tastes good and makes us feel better psychologically as well as physically. 

So, when a friend contracted that awful omicron Covid virus, I offered to bring soup, and she requested chicken noodle soup.  But then she mentioned that she can’t have gluten, so “…how about that lemony Greek soup with rice?”  Ah, Avgolemono soup—yummy and no gluten. And it still contains all of those vitamins and almost magical properties to help aid in her recovery. 

Now, anyone who knows me, though, knows that I can’t resist a challenge when it comes to cooking.  Over the last year, I have been learning lots more about vegetarian, vegan, and dairy free cooking.  But I really haven’t done much with gluten free cooking and baking.  So, now is the time.

And anyone who knows me (am I repeating myself?), also knows that I tend to NOT make things easy on myself, so I decided to make both types of chicken soup so she could have two gluten free versions. What the heck? We were still getting snow, and temperatures here were still in the teens—kitchen work heats up the house and this ol’ body.

The first version is the classic chicken noodle soup with carrots, onions, celery, and chicken. I do like to add garlic because I love the garlic in most savory dishes.   Since I rarely buy a whole chicken anymore, I just simmered chicken breasts in ready-made chicken stock along with the vegetables.  Yep, I used the ol’ standby in my freezer: boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Just let it all simmer and remove the chicken breasts.  If you don’t have asbestos fingers, let the chicken cool slightly before cutting it into small pieces.  Return the chicken to the soup and let it simmer until just before ready to eat, then add the noodles. Of course, this time I substituted rice noodles. 

Last time I tried rice noodles, I was really disappointed because they were mushy.  I don’t know if manufacturers have made improvements, or if I am just better at reading directions now. The brand I used this time had simple directions: simmer for 2 minutes, turn off the heat, cover the pan and let it sit for 16 minutes.  The noodles were “souperb”— cooked through and not slimy or mushy.

On to the Chicken Lemon Rice Soup: same base of chicken stock, chicken breasts, carrots, onions, celery, garlic and this time I added a bay leaf.  I should mention this, in case you noticed something odd in the photo: I often use granulated onion instead of a real onion if I think my son Karl might be eating the dish.  He has a literal, gut-wrenching reaction when he chomps on onions.  But for soups, I like to put the onion in a “soup sock” (cheesecloth) so I can infuse onion flavor without fear…

Remove the chicken and stir in the rice.  While the rice is cooking, shred or cut up the chicken and return it to the pot when the rice is done. Don’t forget to remove the bay leaf! Whisk eggs with lemon juice, then add a ladle full of the soup mixture to the egg mixture. This is necessary to temper the eggs, so they don’t scramble when returned to the pot.  Pour the tempered eggs into the soup, stirring to combine.  You should have a smooth, velvety texture when it is all combined.  Serve with bread, crackers or toast, and fresh parsley if desired.

If you don’t eat all of the soup, refrigerate it.  It will thicken when chilled; just add some water to thin it the desired consistency when reheating. 

Both soups are satisfying and delicious; I can’t decide which one is my favorite.

Bonus recipe: Scroll down to the bottom to see my littlest grandson Eli’s favorite chicken soup.  Be forewarned: Eli also thinks Foo Foo makes the soup and the best toast in the world—it’s wonderful when he lets me know that I am a great cook!


  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped (or cut in quarters and wrapped in a cheesecloth bag)
  • 2 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 1-2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups chicken stock, preferably reduced sodium
  • 1- 2 chicken breasts
  • 8 oz egg noodles or rice noodles
  • 1 tbsp minced, flat leaf parsley (or 1 teaspoon dried parsley)
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Add first 5 ingredients and bring to a boil; add the chicken breast(s). Reduce heat, cover pot, and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until chicken breast is cooked.  Remove chicken, cut into small pieces; return to pot.  Add the egg noodles or rice noodles as cook as per package directions. Stir in the parsley and pepper. Taste before adding additional salt. 


  • 1-2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, cleaned and chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 8 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1-2 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
  • 1 cup white rice
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 large eggs
  • Fresh parsley (optional)

Combine carrots, celery, onion, garlic, stock, and bay leaf in large pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and add the chicken breast(s). Simmer, covered, for 10-15 minutes or until chicken is cooked.  Remove chicken and add rice to the pot.  Simmer rice for 20 minutes or until cooked through.  Meanwhile cut the chicken and return to pot when rice is done. 

Whisk the eggs and lemon juice together until well-combined. Temper the egg mixture by whisking in 2 ladles-full of the soup from the pot. Once fully combined, stir it into the soup. Remove Avgolemono from the heat and serve immediately.

Garnish with fresh parsley, if desired.


1 carton (32 ounces) chicken stock                                                                                                         

       6-8 ounces egg noodles

Bring stock to a boil, add noodles.  Don’t add any yucky vegetables. Reduce heat and simmer noodles until soft.  Serve to sick little grandchildren with a hug and smile.  

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