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Bacon Butternut Soup with Chickpeas and Kale + Easy Homemade Chicken Stock

Updated: Feb 2, 2022

It's been so cold in Nashville recently, and all I've wanted to eat is SOUP. I love a good hearty soup this time of year, and my Bacon Butternut Soup with Chickpeas and Kale is one of my go-to's! Savory and flavorful with a hint of sweetness from roasted butternut squash, cinnamon, and nutmeg, this soup's got everything you want in a one-pot meal - it's comforting and loaded with nutrient dense veggies, protein, energizing carbohydrates, aromatic spices and herbs, and BACON. I'm kind of kidding about the bacon thing... but it definitely adds a wonderful salty, savory goodness to this nourishing soup.

Your Meal and Snack Routine May Impact Disease Risk

When it comes to comfort food, it's easy to go heavy on saturated and/or trans fats, refined carbohydrates, and added sugar. Although there's nothing wrong with enjoying traditional, comforting dishes on occasion, these foods are often calorie dense and nutrient poor. Regular consumption of these kinds of foods can lead to excess weight gain and/or may increase your risk of some diseases, namely heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.

Incorporating nutrient rich foods like whole grains, starches, vegetables, fruits, lean meats, healthy fats, and dairy into your weekly meal and snack routine can reduce your risk of some diseases and promote weight management. See here for more information and resources on incorporating nutritious foods into your diet.

Comfort Food, But Make it Nourishing

Speaking of nutritious foods, my seasonal Bacon Butternut Soup with Chickpeas and Kale is so comforting on chilly evenings and rich in nutrition. With nutrient dense ingredients like butternut squash, canned chickpeas, and kale, this cozy winter meal provides a healthy dose of vitamins A and K, plant based protein, and fiber, all of which play important roles in the body.

Vitamin A supports immune health as well as skin and eye health, vitamin K is necessary for proper blood clotting, protein to help your body repair and produce cells, and fiber which promotes fullness, heart health, and bowel health.

Before You Make This Recipe...

I've made this Bacon Butternut Soup with Chickpeas and Kale several times since the start of the colder months, and every time I make a batch I can't get over how good it is! The first time I made this soup, I used raw cubed butternut squash. It was good, but I knew it could be better. Fast forward - I roasted the squash with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pepper before adding it to the soup. Holy cow! After using roasted butternut squash, I knew I could never go back. The whole soup had more flavor, both sweet and savory.

I've also made this soup with both chicken broth and my Easy Homemade Chicken Stock. Broth works fine and tastes good, but using stock gives this soup an added depth of flavor and nutrient boost.

Easy Homemade Chicken Stock

To make my Easy Homemade Chicken Stock add the following ingredients to a pot, bring to a boil, then cover and simmer on low heat for 4-6 hours. Strain and use the stock right away or store in your fridge for up to 3 days.

  • Carcass from a cooked chicken

  • 2 garlic cloves

  • 1/2 white onion, roughly chopped

  • 2 celery ribs, roughly chopped

  • 2 medium carrots, scrubbed and roughly chopped

  • Any vegetables scraps (carrot peels, onion peels, potato peels, celery leaves, etc.)

  • 1/2 tsp. salt

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1/4 tsp. black peppercorns

  • 3 springs of fresh thyme

  • 4 cups of water or enough to cover the vegetables and bones

Here's my final word advice... roast the squash and use chicken stock rather than broth, then garnish each bowl with a little parmesan cheese and serve with toasted sourdough. SO GOOD. It just might be my favorite cold-weather meal.

Use this Easy Homemade Chicken Stock in rice, pasta, couscous, stews, and soups for extra flavor!

What’s in This Recipe?

  • Bacon – adds flavor

  • Onioncontains the antioxidant quercetin

  • Celery – non-starchy vegetable that contains dietary fiber, potassium and vitamin C

  • Olive oilcontains heart healthy monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs)

  • Butternut squash starchy vegetable that contains vitamins A, C, and B6; potassium, magnesium, manganese, energizing carbohydrates, and fiber

  • Seasonings – salt, pepper, bay leaf, Italian herb blend, garlic powder, turmeric, nutmeg, cinnamon, cayenne, and fresh sage

  • Chicken broth or stock adds flavor and some amino acids (building blocks of proteins)

  • Chickpeas – contains plant-based protein, fiber, iron, folate, and resistant starch

  • Kale contains fiber, vitamins A, K, and B6, potassium, calcium, copper, and manganese

Notes: This soup is naturally gluten free and dairy free. If you're running short on time, you can skip roasting the butternut squash and add raw butternut squash cubes to the soup in step 4.

Bacon Butternut Soup with Chickpeas and Kale

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes

Total time: 55 minutes

Servings: 4 servings


  • 4 heaping cups of butternut squash, cubed (about 1 medium butternut squash)

  • 2 tsp. olive oil

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 4 slices uncooked bacon, chopped

  • 1/3 cup onion, chopped

  • 1/3 cup celery, chopped

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1/4 tsp. salt

  • 1/4 tsp. Italian herb blend

  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder

  • 1/8 tsp. turmeric

  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg

  • 1/8 tsp. cinnamon

  • Dash of cayenne (optional)

  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth or 2 cups of homemade chicken stock plus 2 cups of water

  • 1 14-16 oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

  • 1 tbsp. sage, roughly chopped (optional)

  • 2-3 heaping cups of fresh or frozen kale, roughly chopped

Garnish Suggestions:

  • Grated parmesan

  • Crunchy bacon crumbles

  • Plain Greek yogurt

  • Croutons or toasted sourdough


  1. Preheat the oven to 400oF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Add the cubed butternut squash to the lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss until coated, then roast for 20 minutes.

  3. While the butternut squash cooks, preheat a large pot to medium-high heat. Add the bacon, onion, and celery to the pot. Cook for 5-6 minutes until the bacon is lightly browned and fragrant and the veggies have softened slightly.

  4. Next, add in the bay leaf, spices, broth/stock, and roasted butternut squash. Increase the heat to high-heat. Once the soup begins to boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.

  5. After 30 minutes, remove the lid then add the chickpeas and sage. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the kale.

  6. Remove soup from the heat, divide into 4 bowls, and garnish as desired.


Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. When you make this recipe, tag me at @hope.for.balance and use the hashtag #hopeforbalance for a chance to be featured in my Facebook or IG stories. I LOVE seeing your creations!

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