Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Paleo Greek Lemon Chicken Soup

I hope I'm not alone when I admit that I get a lot of e-mail blasts from a lot of different places, most of which I barely even read. At some point in my life, it seemed appropriate to sign up for whatever it is. At this point in my life, I'm too busy to read the subject line of most of these, much less the actual message. A couple years ago, I did four solid months of P90X and got loosely involved in the Beachbody world. One lingering memento of that time, beyond the ripped body that I've gained (trust me, you don't need to see the pictures, just trust me that I'm totally jacked now), is the Beachbody newsletter that I get every so often. Beyond advertising their various programs and Shakeology (which I presume is an on-line degree program in the study of old-school furniture), they have health and fitness articles and usually one recipe per blast.

Now, Lauren and I have been eating Paleo most of 2013 so far, subsisting on recipes I've found in a cookbook or on the internet, or else something so simple to throw together that it doesn't even merit the term "recipe." Now, the Beachbody recipes are what most people would consider to be healthy, but they're rarely Paleo, so I took a pretty healthy recipe and not only made it amazingly healthy (unless your definition of healthy is limited to vegetarian/vegan recipes, in which case this is definitely not healthy) but also made it Paleo. Wait, I feel like I'm repeating myself. Anyway, you're welcome.

The reason why this recipe appealed to me is because it reminded me of a recipe Lauren and I loved that was even less  Paleo than this one: Creamy Lemon Pasta from The Moosewood Collective's Simple Suppers cookbook. We were blown away by the combination of creamy and lemony (Parmesan cheese and pasta didn't hurt, either). Now, pretty much every ingredient in that original recipe is out: no cream, no Parm, no pasta... just lemon. But this Beachbody recipe? Just one ingredient that doesn't fit (pasta), and it's got a great workaround to give a creamy lemony texture. High in protein, lots of the most healthy vegetables. Big win. And without further ado:

Paleo Greek Lemon Chicken Soup

1 c. cauliflower
1 lb raw chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
4 c. chicken broth (hot)
3 large eggs
6-9 T. lemon juice
1 c. chopped fresh spinach
salt and pepper to taste

Cook cauliflower. Cook chicken. Heat broth. You can do this any way you want, but let me suggest a couple options. What I did: put the chicken (I didn't pre-cut it) and the cauliflower in a steamer, turned on the heat and let it go. It's done in 15-20 minutes. What I considered: bring the broth to a boil, cut up the chicken, and cook it in the broth, then scoop the chicken bits out--it's like a whole lot of fondue, sans forks. You might even cook the cauliflower along with it.

If you haven't already, cut up the chicken. Mash the cauliflower or puree it.

Whisk together eggs and 6 T. lemon juice in a medium saucepan. Slowly add broth, whisking constantly, until outside of pan feels warm to the touch. Add chicken, spinach, cauliflower, and any remaining broth. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes. The spinach doesn't need to get all the way to wilted, unless that's how you roll. Season with salt and pepper, add remaining 3 T. lemon juice if desired. Serve immediately.


  1. Eggs, lemon juice, and broth are practically the ingredients for mayonnaise, hence the creaminess. I, too, it turns out, am eating nearly completely paleo, though I didn't know it until a friend started kidding me about it. No grains, real foods just as they come from mother nature (or as close as possible). The only divergence I have is dairy. supposedly no dairy, but I'm not giving up my cheese for anybody.

    Feels pretty good, doesn't it? And I love this recipe!

  2. Good point about mayo--the ingredients of which I am well aware of since I've been making my own mayo on a weekly basis, to avoid added sugar.

    For what it's worth with regards to dairy, in some of the Paleo literature I've seen, dairy is semi-acceptable: basically the recommendation seems to be to ditch dairy but then, if you want, add it back in and see how it makes you feel. The fact of the matter seems to be that the human populace has varying degrees of tolerance for and ability to utilize dairy products--and some dairy products are easier to digest than others.

    That said, we've done all right with giving up cheese (though we still crave pizza sometimes!). Down the line, I could see us making our own cheese and seeing how that works for us.