Lemony Chicken and Spinach Orzo Soupgo to recipe
Gluten-free hot cocoa brownies filled with gooey, sweet marshmallows and rich cacao powder that are perfect for the whole family. Instead of using chocolate chips that are loaded with refined sweeteners, I used unsweetened cacao chocolate chips and mixed them with syrup for an equally delicious chocolate chip option.
Talk about a house favorite. My entire family LOVED these….I mean loved, on a very deep level. That makes me happy. But what’s not to love – a rich, gluten free brownie that has gooey and sweet marshmallow melted in the batter so each bite tastes like a warm and comforting hot chocolate – expect slightly better if I’m honest. Yes, please.
Instead of using a premade cocoa mix, I used cacao powder (a favorite of mine for so many reasons) along with pure maple syrup and coconut sugar as sweeteners to replace the forbidden refined sugars (a big no-no OK?).
, I recommend choosing cacao powder that’s both organic and fair-trade certified. Many popular cocoa powders go through “dutch processing,” which stripes the cocoa powder of key nutrients. Fair-trade cacao powder is rich in nutrients and creates a decadent, bold chocolate flavor, which places it above the well-known unsweetened cocoa powder. An easy way to ensure the hard-working farmers who manage the sensitive cacao tree crops year-round are fairly compensated is by purchasing fair-trade certified organic cacao powder. Fair-trade cacao powder is also carefully harvested and processed to limit its exposure to chemicals and pesticides that are a detriment to overall health. Cacao powder is high in antioxidants, more specifically polyphenols. Polyphenols found in cacao powder help lower inflammation, improve blood flow, reduce cholesterol, and aid in blood sugar control. Cacao powder is also rich in both flavanols, which is a plant compound that has positive health benefits, and tryptophan, which is an amino acid that works with the body to produce serotonin. These two properties improve heart health, provide antioxidant protection, and aid in sleep and relaxation. So, go ahead and enjoy a chocolate dessert. Just make sure you use fair-trade organic cacao powder! My Dark Chocolate Mousse with Fresh Raspberries recipe is a great place to start.
- 3 T unsalted grass-fed butter
- 1½ cups carrots - peeled and diced (about 7 medium sized carrots – I used rainbow carrots)
- 1½ cup celery - diced (about 7 celery stalks)
- ½ cup onion - diced (about ½ 1 small onion)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 6 cups chicken broth - see note
- 1½ cups cooked chicken - shredded or chopped (see note)
- 1½ cups cooked gluten-free orzo
- 4 cups fresh spinach
- 3 tablespoons fresh parsley
- In a large stockpot, melt 3T unsalted grass-fed butter over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, onion, salt, and pepper into pot.
- Sauté until vegetables are tender, about 12-15 minutes.
- Add in garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- To the pot, add chicken broth, chicken, orzo, and lemon juice.
- Turn heat to medium-low and let slow-simmer for 15 minutes.
- Lastly, add the spinach and parsley. Let spinach wilt down, about 5 minutes, then serve.
- I made my own homemade chicken broth. However, to save time, I recommend Bonafide chicken broth that has whole-food ingredients and nothing artificial (It’s found in the freezer section of Whole Foods stores and most Publix stores.
- There are a variety of ways to use chicken. I prefer chicken thighs or meat from a boiled, whole chicken (I boiled a whole chicken, used the chicken meat for the soup – froze the rest – and used the bones and cartilage to make my broth). For a quicker method, you can cook chicken thighs on the stovetop or even boil them in water until done.
- I prefer shredded chicken in this soup but chopped or cut up pieces work great as well.