Red Lentil and Shredded Chicken Soup are for days when I want to eat something healthy, nutritious and hearty!
Pair it with toasted bread or dinner rolls and complete your winter dinner. A wholesome & delicious meal done under 30 minutes.
Red Lentils Nutrition
Red lentils are quick to cook and have a subtle sweet flavor. They are rich in fiber & proteins and contain about a steak’s worth of protein! Hence it’s a good vegan protein substitute. These lentils are also a good source of other nutrients like: folate, iron, phosphorus & zinc.
Similar Recipes: Tomato Soup, Spicy Butternut Squash Soup
What type of chicken to use for this soup?
Well it entirely depends on what you’d like to eat. Since I wanted a low-fat, healthy soup, I used the chicken breast. But if you want, you can replace the breast with chicken thighs. Cook (1 inch pieces of ) chicken thighs along with the vegetables, before adding the stock and lentils.
To make it easier, you could also use the rotisserie chicken that is available in most groceries. You just need to shred the chicken and add it to the soup. Store away the remaining.
For my recipe, I poach seasoned chicken breasts and shred them. I generally poach a large batch of chicken breasts together, shred/ dice them and store it in freezer. This way, I get to use the shredded/ diced chicken for soups, stews, tacos, pastas, noodles, etc.
About the recipe
It was a few years ago, when both of us were down with flu one winter, and I needed to make something quick yet nourishing and delicious for us. I love my Indian heritage when it comes to food and lentils forms an integral part of Indian cuisine.
Red lentil cooks easily without a pressure cooker; which was the one major reason I went with this lentil for my soup base. Added a few basic spices and 1-2 veggies, used chicken broth to give more flavor and in the end added shredded chicken (which was thawed from the freezer). Just before serving, garnished with some scallions and cilantro. It turned out pretty delicious and satisfying!
We ate this with buttered dinner rolls to complete our dinner.
Since then it has become a regular on menu, especially during the cooler months.
Psst…you can make the soup vegan by using vegetable stock instead of chicken broth and skip adding chicken.
Hope you enjoy making and having this recipe, as much as we did!
Red Lentil and Shredded Chicken Soup
- 1 cup Red Lentil Dry. Or ‘Masoor Dal’
- 1 medium sized Onion chopped. Use yellow or red onion
- 1 medium sized carrot chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced. Or use 1 tsp garlic paste
- 3 tbsp Tomato paste
- 1-2 tsp Red chili powder or smoked paprika (adjust according to your taste)
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric
- 1 tsp Cumin powder
- 4 cups Chicken Broth low sodium or no sodium
- 2 cups Shredded Chicken breast
- 1 tsp Black pepper
- Salt to taste
- 4 tbsp Cilantro chopped, for garnish
- 1 bunch Scallions chopped, for garnish. Or 3-4 scallions.
- 3 tbsp olive oil or any cooking oil
- Wash and soak the red lentils for 15 minutes prior to cooking.
- In the meantime, prep your vegetables. Chop onions, carrots, cilantro and scallions. Keep them aside. Mince garlic.
- If you don’t have shredded chicken or rotisserie chicken, follow instructions below to poach and shred chicken breasts.
- In a medium pot, add the lentils with sufficient water and cook on medium high until the lentils are cooked fully. It should break easily once fully cooked. Keep it aside.
- In another large pot, heat olive oil. Now add minced garlic and sauté for a minute, until the raw aroma disappears. Next add the onions and cook until translucent and soft.
- Now add the chopped carrots and cook for another 3-4 minutes before adding all the spices: red chili powder (or paprika), turmeric & cumin. Give it a quick stir.
- Next add the tomato paste and chicken broth to dissolve the paste. Bring this to a boil.
- Add the cooked red lentils and chicken broth. The amount of broth depends on the consistency of soup you’d like. For a thicker soup use about 4 cups and for thinner consistency use around 5-6 cups. Bring it to a boil. Stir occasionally.
- Once boiling, add the shredded chicken and let the soup boil for another 5-7 minutes before removing from heat. Season with salt & pepper.
- Garnish with chopped cilantro and green onions. Enjoy with bread or dinner rolls!
How to poach Chicken breast
- Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper and place them in a large pan/ pot. The breasts should cover the base of the pan. Don’t overlap of over crowd.
- Now add sufficient water to just cover the chicken (breasts should be completely submerged in water).
- On a medium high heat, bring it to a boil. Once boiling, maintain a medium heat and let it boil for another 8-12 minutes or until the chicken breast are well cooked.
- Once cooked, discard the water and let the chicken cool before shredding/ dicing.
- Use as desired.