Last updated on April 7th, 2023 at 04:10 pm
Winter is a beautiful season, especially with the snow blanketing the mountaintops near my home. And it also means that it is now soup season! Because soups can help warm you up from the inside and fight off some of the cold of winter. So, enjoy this perfect one-pot chicken and lentil soup.
This recipe, like most soups, is perfect for beginners because you mostly just throw all of the ingredients into a pot and let them simmer until they’re done.
A winter lentil soup is a delicious, healthy, and warming meal to enjoy during the colder months of the year. Lentils are known for their ability to keep you full for longer periods of time and to provide you with a significant amount of protein.
This soup has a unique, earthy flavor and is very filling. It is the perfect blend of hearty, healthy, and delicious.
What Are Lentils?
You may be wondering what lentils are.
Lentils are edible legumes. There are many different kinds of lentils. They’re categorized generally by color, though there are different varieties of each color. Lentil colors include red, green, brown, black, and yellow.
As well as including lentils, legumes are the same family that counts peas, beans, and peanuts as members.
When cooked, the various lentil varieties have different textures and therefore different uses. So it is important to pair the lentils with the right recipe.
Frequently associated with vegetarian cooking as a non-meat protein source, they’re high in protein and low in fat. Plus they contain a bunch of other good nutrients.
And as a nice added bonus – lentils are fairly inexpensive to buy.
Though a variety of cooking methods can be used, they’re most commonly boiled until soft. It can take anywhere from 10-50 minutes of boiling depending on the lentil variety. So, make sure to pay attention to the cook times on the packaging.
What Lentils Are Best for Chicken and Lentil Soup?
When you’re making a delicious dish like this, you want to make sure that you have all of the right ingredients. And with so many varieties of lentils, it may be hard to know. Especially if you aren’t as familiar with lentils in general.
What kind of lentils should you buy? You’ll want to purchase red lentils for this recipe.
Red lentils are some of the quickest cooking. Which is helpful when trying to make weeknight meals. They are also lentils with a milder flavor. They have a slightly sweet, earthy flavor.
Red lentils will break down a bit as they cook, they don’t hold their shape as well as some other varieties. But that makes them great for soup in my opinion. This will thicken the soup as it cooks and give the whole thing even more body and flavor.
Rotisserie or Roast Your Own Chicken?
There are three main options for the chicken in this recipe. You can either use a store-bought rotisserie, cook your own, or use some leftover shredded chicken. There is no best method, just whatever works best for you.
I planned and built this recipe around using a rotisserie chicken. Not to say that it is the best method it was just cheap and convenient.
Because a lot of stores (notably Costco) use the rotisserie as a way to entice people in, they’re cheap, tasty, and really easy to use in other recipes. Just remove the skin and pull the chicken into pieces for this recipe. You will use maybe up to half of the rotisserie in this recipe, so you’ll have some chicken to use in a different meal as well.
If you want, you can choose to roast, bake or smoke your own whole chicken. I’d suggest just looking at the spices and flavors of the chicken lentil soup recipe and then trying to complement the flavors when seasoning the chicken.
And, you can also use leftover chicken from a different recipe as long as you can shred or cut it into smaller pieces. If, for example, you happened to make this dutch oven garlic-roasted whole chicken but didn’t eat it all, then just shred it and you’re good to go.
In the end, choose whichever option makes more sense for you.
What Is the Soup Base?
The soup base is the main ingredient of a recipe and the foundation upon which other ingredients can be added. For example, chicken stock is the basis for this soup.
If you want to make sure that the soup tastes good, you need to use high-quality ingredients. That way, your dish will have more flavor. And that starts with the chicken stock that we use for this soup.
I highly recommend making your own homemade chicken stock if possible. It’ll be much more flavorful.
But it is not make or break and the chicken and lentil soup will still taste delicious when using store-bought chicken stock. My go-to when not using homemade is Costco chicken stock.
Before even adding the stock to the pot, we’ll build up more flavor by cooking up the mirepoix in olive oil. A mirepoix is a mix of aromatic veggies that give deeper flavor to soups and stews.
Prepping the Lentils
When cooking from a dry state, many legumes need to be soaked (frequently overnight) in order to then be cooked and get soft enough to eat. Luckily, lentils don’t require any pre-soaking. They’ll just get cooked in the soup with everything else.
However, there still is a little bit of prep that goes into using lentils in our soup. We’ve gotta rinse them first.
This just helps clean them off before cooking and gives you an opportunity to perform a quick inspection for any foreign materials like pebbles, seeds, etc. No need to cook any of that into our chicken and lentil soup.
Just measure out the lentils and toss them into a fine mesh strainer. Run some cold water over them and stir them around. Look for anything that might not belong. Then, once they’ve been thoroughly rinsed they’re good to go.
Cooking the Chicken and Lentil Soup
First, do all of the prep work. Chop, mince, rinse, slice, and shred. Get everything ready to go. This will make it so easy to cook the soup.
Start cooking by heating up the olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven. Then add in the carrots, celery, and onion. Cook it up until the onion starts to become translucent. Before it’s done cooking, add in the garlic and ginger. Stir everything together and let it cook for a few minutes until fragrant.
Add in the spices and tomato paste. Stir it together and cook it for a minute or two to bloom the spices. Then add in the lentils, chicken stock, and bay leaves. Turn up the heat to get it to a low boil and then turn it down to a simmer. Simmer it for 15 to 20 minutes until the lentils are tender.
With about 2 to 4 minutes left of simmering, add in the shredded chicken and dill. Stir it all together.
Then, when the lentils are thoroughly cooked, serve and enjoy!
Optional Additions to Chicken and Lentil Soup
With the soup made and ready to serve, it’s time to think about serving and topping the soup.
The optional additions to chicken and lentil soup are very tasty and can take your soup to the next level. Try adding spinach, fresh basil, green onions, chopped parsley, or croutons on top of your soup. Just have these available for sprinkling on top of the bowls once they’ve been served.
Serve the soup alongside some bread or rolls to round out the meal. Or you can be a little adventurous like me and try adding in some potato chips or Cheez-Its. It gives a nice crunch and the saltiness really complements the soup.
As you can see, there are many ways to improve upon the traditional chicken and lentil soup. So, if you want to make sure that you get the most out of this delicious meal, then be sure to follow these tips.
In conclusion, chicken lentil soup really does have many health benefits. The best part? It’s quick, easy, cheap, healthy, filling, and delicious. Here’s an awesome recipe for a simple yet flavorful version of chicken and lentil soup. It’s the perfect meal on a cold winter day.
How did yours turn out?
I’d love to hear when you try out this chicken and lentil soup! Take a pic of your food and share your success with me by adding it to your Instagram stories or feed, and tagging me @doyouroux, or by using #doyouroux.
Plus, leave a rating to let me know how you liked the recipe. It helps me out a lot to know how things worked out… or didn’t.
One Pot Winter Rotisserie Chicken and Lentil SoupCourse: SoupsDifficulty: Easy
This warming one-pot rotisserie chicken and lentil soup is great for cold winter days, with lentils, broth, and chicken. It’s the perfect blend of hearty, healthy, and delicious.
1 small yellow onion
1 large carrot
1 stalk celery
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
5 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 and 1/2 cups dry red lentils
7 cups chicken stock
2 dried bay leaves
2-3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Parsley, green onion, dill for topping
- Chop the onion and carrot, slice the celery, and mince the ginger and garlic
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat
- Add the onion, carrot, and celery, stirring to coat with olive oil, and cook for about 4 minutes until the onion is almost soft and translucent, then add in the ginger and garlic and cook for another minute
- Stir the paprika, turmeric, thyme, cumin, and tomato paste in the pot and cook while stirring for a few minutes until fragrant
- Add in the red lentils and chicken stock, turn the heat to medium-high until it just starts to boil, and then turn it down to medium-low to let it simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until the lentils are tender
- In the last 2 to 4 minutes of simmering the soup, add in the shredded chicken, chopped dill, salt, and pepper and stir
- Taste the soup and add any salt as needed, serve the soup in bowls and top with parsley, green onion, and dill
- Refer to the cooking time on your package of lentils and adjust the soup simmer time accordingly
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