Rescue Noodle Soup.jpg

Rescue Noodle Soup with Leftover Chicken

Rescue Noodle Soup with Leftover Chicken

There’s nothing quite like a warming bowl of homemade soup to make you feel a thousand times better. 

This delicious recipe from Melissa Hemsley is based on store cupboard and freezer ingredients like frozen peas, onion, garlic and carrots, though you could swap in anything that needs using up.

Melissa says: "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. If I’ve had a Sunday roast chicken, I make this on a Monday to get a great boost of vegetables in."

Melissa's Top Tip - 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.

This recipe is from Eat Green by Melissa Hemsley (Ebury Press, £22) Photography by Philippa Langley

melissa's noodle soup served in a bowl


  • 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)


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.

Keen to learn more planet-friendly, zero waste ways of cooking? Sign up for our email newsletter for top tips on sustainable living, and be the first to hear about our campaigns for nature-friendly food and farming.