20-Minute Pesto Chicken Tortellini Soup

There ain’t a body, be a mouse or a man, that ain’t made better by a little soup.

-Kate DiCamillo (The Tale of Despereaux)

Who else remembers reading The Tale of Despereaux when you were little? I was (and still am) a book fiend. My parents and any roommate I have ever had can vouch for this because I always have a tiny library in my house. I still get excited going to Barnes & Noble to find my latest read, and am nerdy enough to read reviews on several books before deciding which one I want to pick.

There is nothing I love more than to curl up on the couch, wrap myself up in my fuzziest blanket and crack open a book…especially in the winter when it is too cold to do much else on the weekends.

And what goes hand in hand with cold weather and a good book? Obviously a warm bowl of soup!

While there is no soup I say no too (seriously I love every variety of soup possible), I love soup that you can throw in a pot, cook and have ready in less than 30 minutes. This 20-Minute Pesto Chicken Tortellini Soup is exactly that! It is light but hearty, loaded with vegetables & the taste is UNREAL delicious!

20-Minute Pesto Chicken Tortellini Soup

Chicken Tortellini Soup Essentials:

Let me start by saying this is hands down the easiest soup to make. If you have leftover chicken (I had a rotisserie) and an assortment of vegetables on hand you can knock this sucker out in less than 30 minutes!

To make it you will need: chicken, 3-cheese tortellini, spinach, chicken broth, carrots, celery, onions, basil pesto, garlic, thyme, salt, pepper and a splash of olive oil.

20-Minute Pesto Chicken Tortellini Soup

The most time you will spend making this dish is right here. Steps 1-3 are essentially dicing, slicing and cooking down your vegetables.

20-Minute Pesto Chicken Tortellini Soup

You want to make sure that your onions and carrots cook down enough that they start to soften, they will finish cooking down while the soup simmers.

20-Minute Pesto Chicken Tortellini Soup

Next is the easy part, add your broth and bring to a boil. As soon as your soup begins to boil you add in your tortellini, pesto and chicken.

20-Minute Pesto Chicken Tortellini Soup

Cover your pot and allow soup to simmer for 7-8 minutes until pasta is al dente.

*Covering the pot allows the steam to get trapped in and speed up the cooking process. This also allows for your flavors to develop in a short period of time.*

20-Minute Pesto Chicken Tortellini Soup

Once your pasta is ready, add in your spinach. I used more spinach than indicated in the recipe but I really love spinach so I went with it. Add as much or little as you want!

20-Minute Pesto Chicken Tortellini Soup

Stir the spinach in so that it can cook down (this is a 30 second process), sprinkle in a little more salt and pepper to taste and voila your Pesto Chicken Tortellini Soup is complete!

20-Minute Pesto Chicken Tortellini Soup

20-Minute Pesto Chicken Tortellini Soup

20-Minute Pesto Chicken Tortellini Soup

20-Minute Pesto Chicken Tortellini Soup

Customize your Chicken Tortellini Soup to make it your own!

I added more spinach than the recipe calls for, because it can…this is what makes recipes so fun to make! You DON’T have to follow my recipe to a tee. I can make the same recipe 5 times and every time I tweak it to suit my needs at the time.

If you are vegetarian, subtract the chicken and substitute chicken broth with vegetable broth. Have leftover turkey after Thanksgiving? Add shredded turkey into the soup for a different flavor profile. Trader Joe’s has a turkey broth in stock right now that I bet is AMAZING!

However you customize it just make sure your 20-Minute Pesto Chicken Tortellini soup is still hearty, simple to make, and gives you all the warm feels during these cold weather months!

ENJOY (with a good book)!



20-Minute Pesto Chicken Tortellini Soup
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
20 mins
Course: Main Course, Soup
Author: laurel
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups chicken, precooked and shredded**
  • 3/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup spinach, packed and de-stemmed
  • 3 tbsp basil pesto
  • 9 oz cheese tortellini
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 medium carrots, sliced thin
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced thin
  • 1 tbsp olive oil/coconut oil
  • 1 tsp thyme, dried
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  1. To prep your dish, dice your onion, slice your carrots and celery and shred your chicken.

  2. Into a large pot add 1 tbsp of oil. Bring to a medium heat and add in your carrots, celery and onion. Sauté for 3-4 minutes until carrots begin to soften and onions turn translucent.

  3. Next add in your garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Stir all the ingredients and cook for 1 minute until garlic is fragrant.

  4. Add your chicken broth into the pot. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. 

  5. When soup begins to boil, bring to a simmer. Add in your pesto, chicken and cheese tortellini. Give it all a good stir and cook for 7-8 minutes covered until tortellini is soft. 

  6. When pasta is ready, add in your generous handful of spinach. Stir to combine (spinach will begin to "wilt" and cook down). 

  7. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Serve & enjoy!

Recipe Notes

**We had a leftover rotisserie chicken so I shredded the pre-cooked chicken for the recipe.

If you wanted to use uncooked chicken it would be the equivalent of 2 small breasts shredded. 

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