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This red lentil soup recipe is inspired by my Lebanese crushed lentil soup, but it’s bursting with a vibrant orange color and has a different spice mix. I also like to include chicken in this recipe to make it more hearty, so you can enjoy this soup like a full meal!
This Red Lentil Chicken Soup fuses the earthy, nutty sweetness of red lentils with the hearty goodness of shredded chicken, creating a wholesome blend that is sure to fill you up and warm your soul. Enriched with fragrant spices and livened up with fresh cilantro, every spoonful offers a taste sensation that is both satisfying and nourishing.
Why You’ll Love This Lentil Chicken Soup
- Hearty and Satisfying: This soup is a meal in itself, loaded with protein-rich lentils and chicken. It’s hearty and filling, perfect for those colder days or whenever you’re in need of a comforting dish.
- Flavorful Spices: The blend of smoked paprika, cumin, and turmeric not only gives the red lentil soup a beautiful color but also infuses it with a warm, savory depth of flavor.
- Easy to Make: This soup comes together quickly with minimal prep work. It’s a one-pot recipe that requires simple ingredients and is perfect for weeknight dinners.
- Nutrient-Rich: Lentil and chicken soup offers a good balance of protein from the chicken and lentils, fiber from the lentils and carrots, and numerous vitamins and minerals.
- Versatile: Feel free to add more veggies or swap the chicken for tofu for a vegetarian version. This soup is easy to tweak according to your personal preferences or dietary needs.
- Great for Leftovers: This Red Lentil Chicken Soup is even better the next day as the flavors meld together, making it perfect for meal prep or leftovers.
Ingredients To Make chicken and lentil soup
- Red lentils: Lentils are a great source of protein and iron, and are low in calories and fat. This is the base of the recipe. While you can substitute with other lentils, the texture won’t be the same.
- Oil: I used olive oil, but you can use another one like vegetables, canola or avocado if you prefer.
- Vegetables: Onion, garlic, carrots. Feel free to add other aromatics like celery or even fennel!
- Tomato Paste: for a rich tomato flavor, but canned diced tomatoes work well too!
- Spices: Smoked paprika, cumin, turmeric, salt and pepper – so much flavor!
- Chicken broth: You can use your favorite store-bought brand or use homemade broth. I like to use chicken, but vegetable broth will work well too.
- Shredded chicken: I like to use a mix of thigh and breast meat, but you can use either or. I make the chicken broth by cooking the chicken this way.
How to make chicken lentil soup
- Soften the onions. Add the garlic, tomato paste and spices and stir until it’s nice and fragrant.
- Add the carrots and lentils and you can give everything a quick toss, but it’s not necessary.
- Add the chicken broth
- Bring the mixture a boil and simmer with the lid on.
- Add in the shredded chicken once the vegetables soften and the red lentils plump.
- The mixture may look liquidy but will continue to thicken as it sits. Adjust the liquid here if needed, and serve.
Tips for making the best chicken lentil soup
- Don’t swap red lentils for green lentils. The texture of red lentils breaks down much faster and more easily than that of green lentils. So it creates a thick consistency that you won’t be able to match with green lentils.
- Fry the spices with the onions. The spice combination in this soup is everything and truly so aromatic. To release their best flavor though, make sure to toast them with the oil and onions.
- Keep it vegan and skip the chicken. I often make this soup without the chicken and it’s still incredibly hearty, filling and delicious. You can add ¼ cup more lentils or add up to 2 cups of chopped vegetables like zucchini, mushrooms or cabbage
- Allow the soup to rest for best consistency. It may seem too liquidy at first, but the lentils will continue to absorb the liquid as it sets so keep in mind that it will get thicker over time.
POPULAR SUBSTITUTIONS & ADDITIONS
- Veggie Add-ins: Consider adding celery, bell peppers, or zucchini for added nutrition and texture.
- Spice Variations: For an added kick, you might want to add a pinch of red chili flakes. For a more herbaceous note, consider incorporating rosemary or thyme.
- Meat Alternatives: If you’re out of chicken, turkey can be a great substitute. For a vegetarian twist, tofu or chickpeas can be used instead of shredded chicken.
- Lentil Variations: While red lentils are quick-cooking and become soft, green or brown lentils can be used for a firmer texture.
HOW TO STORE & REHEAT CHICKEN LENTIL SOUP
Storing: After allowing the soup to cool down to room temperature, transfer it into airtight containers.
Reheating: To reheat, pour the desired amount into a pot and warm over medium heat, stirring occasionally until hot.
HOW LONG WILL CHICKEN LENTIL SOUP LAST IN THE FRIDGE?
Properly stored in an airtight container, the chicken lentil soup should remain fresh for up to 3 to 4 days.
CAN I FREEZE CHICKEN LENTIL SOUP?
Absolutely! Once the soup has fully cooled, transfer it to freezer-safe containers or bags, leaving some space at the top for expansion. Label and date the containers. This soup can be frozen for up to 2 to 3 months. When ready to serve, thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat on the stovetop.
Frequently asked questions
For ease and convenience, you can buy pre-shredded chicken or use a rotisserie chicken. You can also bake a couple of chicken breasts in the oven, shred them with two forks, and stir that in. I make mine chicken by making chicken broth using chicken breasts.
I like to use red lentils in this chicken soup because they have a quicker cook time. Green lentils will take longer to soften, so increase the cooking time by around 20 minutes. Green lentils hold their shape more when cooked, so the texture will be slightly different. It will still taste delicious though!
Yes! This lentil soup will keep well in the fridge for up to 4 days and frozen for up to 3 months. Frozen soup should be thawed in the fridge overnight, then you can reheat it gently on the stovetop to serve.
This hearty red lentil chicken soup is sure to warm you up from the inside out! Quick and easy to make in one pot, it’s a hearty and filling meal the whole family will love!
More healthy soup recipes:
- Meat Free Tortilla Soup
- Vegetarian Minestrone Soup
- Chicken and Rice Soup
- Mushroom Soup with Wild Rice
- Simple Tomato Soup
- Potato Leek Soup
If you’ve tried this healthy-ish feel good Red Lentil Chicken Soup recipe or any other recipe on FeelGoodFoodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!
Red Lentil Chicken Soup
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic clove minced
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup dry red lentils
- 2 large carrots sliced
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups shredded chicken
- Cilantro for serving
- In a large pot over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onions; cook until lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, one more minute.
- Stir in the tomato paste, smoked paprika, cumin, turmeric, salt and pepper and cook until the spices are fragrant, and everything is well coated in the paste, about 2 minutes.
- Add the lentils, carrots and chicken broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Simmer until the lentils and carrots are soft, about 20 minutes.
- Stir in the shredded chicken and serve with fresh cilantro, if desired.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.