Chicken tinola with spinach is a Filipino comfort dish perfect for cold weather or any day of the week! Packed with nutrient-rich ingredients like ginger, spinach, and even zucchini, this soup will add some pep to your step in no time!
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Whether you’re feeling under the weather (or not!), chicken tinola with spinach is a nourishing soup great as an appetizer or main dish!
Once you learn how to make this chicken tinola recipe, you can add your favorite vegetables or customize this soup to your liking!
Not only will you have the most amazing ginger-garlic broth, but you’ll definitely get your protein-intake with the seasoned chicken.
This post will go over everything you need to know to create this chicken tinola with spinach.
Recipe difficulty: Nothing difficult to prep and nothing difficult to cook for all beginners! Yay!
This Filipino chicken tinola recipe has a rich broth that is soothing to the throat and packed with invigorating minced ginger and spinach. Spoon over rice or sip the broth on its own! Either way, these chicken tinola ingredients are easy to prepare and throw into a pot!
Sam’s Pro Tips for this Chicken Tinola with Spinach
What You Need for the Best Flavor
- Fresh ginger works the best for the ultimate flavor! This tip is very similar to what was discussed in our 8-Ingredient Classic Filipino Arroz Caldo Recipe. Peeling and mincing ginger can be a bit tiresome, but trust me, the flavor it gives this dish is worth it! Don’t be tempted to use the pre-peeled ginger cubes as you won’t get the best flavor. As an added benefit, using fresh ginger is a natural immune-boosting herb that helps if you don’t feel well!
- Adjust the flavor of this soup with chicken broth or water. Two cups chicken broth and two cups water are part of this tinola ingredients and procedure. Now you can adjust the broth to be purely water or just chicken broth but keep to the 4-cup liquid ratio. In other words, if you want to make this healthier and just use water, you can. The chicken broth, however, will add a nice flavor especially since we’re using diced chicken breast. I have seen other recipes, which uses chicken drumsticks or thighs and will cook with the other ingredients. We like using chicken breast as its ready to eat!
- Don’t bother measuring the spinach, just take a hefty handful! For reference, I have listed 5-7 cups spinach in this chicken tinola recipe. A good trick I use is to grab a handful of spinach, which roughly equivalates to the size of one cup. It doesn’t really matter if it’s slightly over or under, spinach totally shrinks as it’s cooked so I like to add more than less! Therefore, instead of stuffing your spinach in a measuring cup, just take a large handful to throw in the pot.
Key Ingredients – Chicken Tinola with Spinach
Below are some key and optional ingredients for this recipe:
- Chicken: We use diced chicken breast in this recipe as it’s ready to eat! As discussed in the Tips section above, you can use chicken thighs or drumsticks to cook with the other ingredients which will give great flavor to the broth. However, the cooking time may need to be adjusted as chicken breast cooks a lot faster. (Fun fact, sometimes this soup is referred to as “tinolang manok,” or chicken in a ginger-flavored broth.)
Vegetables, Zucchini, and Spice
- Ginger: You will need four tablespoons of minced ginger in this recipe, and of course, fresh ginger works best to develop the broth!
- Spinach: More spinach the better! Grab 5-7 handfuls to throw in the pot the last two minutes of cooking. You’ll be amazed how much this leafy vegetable shrinks when cooked! We used 7 cups for the best chicken tinola recipe.
- Zucchini: Dice three zucchinis to toss in the soup! Zucchinis are rich in nutrients and high in antioxidants, which is totally a plus in this soup. (Also, zucchinis are easy to peel and dice swiftly making it perfect to add to this quick tinola recipe!)
- Garlic: 4 cloves of garlic are minced to add to the incredible broth flavor. The garlic is sauteed with the onion and ginger, then combined with the chicken.
- Onion: 1 whole onion and not an onion more!
- Habanero (optional): For some added spice, throw diced habanero in the pot to jazz things up! Additionally, if you have a higher tolerance for spicy food, try this with two habaneros! (We think one is already the perfect amount!)
- Chicken broth: Since we are using chicken breast, I like using chicken broth to add even more flavor to the soup. I also only use 2 cups of chicken broth and 2 cups of water so that it’s not too salty. Feel free to use more depending on your preference.
- Water: Water is added to create the soup base. Remember, zucchinis release water when cooked! Therefore, the water in combination with everything else will be totally flavored!
- Fish sauce: Treat the fish sauce as the seasoning to the chicken and the soup. You can add as much as you like, but usually a little already gives a big flavor boost!
- Salt and pepper: Nothing fancy! The basics are all you need to further season this dish.
More Variations to this Chicken Tinola with Spinach
There are a few ways you can variate this chicken tinola with spinach. Here’s how:
- Alternate the vegetables! Alright so my version of chicken tinola with spinach is extremely simple, and easy to do on a weeknight. However, traditional recipes usually call for green papaya, diced chayote, or malunggay leaves. (These all can be found in the Asian market!) With that said, all these are great vegetables and will definitely enrich the flavor of your soup. Although, it will add to your prep time!
- What can I pair with this dish? This soup can be spooned over rice or eaten by itself! For added protein, try our Stovetop Honey Soy Chicken Wings with Ginger on the side that will compliment this dish well! Or if you’re interested in another nutrient-rich dish, our 8-Ingredient Classic Filipino Arroz Caldo Recipe is loaded with ginger and shredded chicken for a hearty rice porridge during cold weather. (We love our ginger!)
- 25-Minute Simple Chicken Adobo Recipe | Filipino Chicken Recipe
- 8-Ingredient Classic Filipino Arroz Caldo Recipe | Rice Porridge
- Filipino Beef Giniling to Warm the Soul | Meat Stew
- Chicken and String Beans Recipe | Ginisang Sitaw
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Chicken Tinola healthy?
Chicken tinola is a healthy soup rich in protein due to the chicken and other nutrients from the spinach, ginger, and zucchini.
What is Tinola in English?
Tinola is a ginger-flavored broth or soup in English. Most commonly tinola is seen as “tinolang manok,” or chicken in a ginger-flavored broth.
How long does chicken tinola last?
Chicken tinola with spinach can last 3-4 days in the refrigerator and should be consumed within this time frame for optimal flavor.