It’s early March, spring is SO close, yet we’re still getting those 30 degree winter days that remind us to be patient. Today we’ve got a delicious comforting bowl of chicken lentil soup for those not-yet-spring days that’s perfect with your favorite crackers crushed on top.
COME ON DON’T ACT LIKE YOU DON’T LOVE THE SALTINES.
Listen up, because this is the kind of soup you can make with minimal ingredients, yet it boasts so much flavor. When I initially made this soup (4 years ago!) I hadn’t grocery shopped in a week and needed to use up whatever was lurking in my fridge…
Carrots! Leftover chicken! Chicken broth! Fresh ginger! Cilantro! Chopped onion!
As I peeked in the pantry, I knew that this soup might be even more delicious than what I hoped for. I found:
Light coconut milk! Garlic! Lentils! Turmeric, cumin, cayenne!
The soup simmered away for about 45 minutes and thickened to golden perfection. It’s beautiful, incredibly flavorful, protein and fiber packed, comforting and full of healthy goodness.
Ingredients in this chicken lentil soup
As I mentioned, this easy, creamy chicken lentil soup uses simple ingredients and plenty of pantry staples. The turmeric, garlic, cumin and fresh ginger add a delightfully fresh flavor to the dish. The coconut milk brings just the right amount of richness. What else? This soup is incredibly FILLING! Here’s what you’ll need to make it:
- Produce: you’ll need a white onion, carrots, garlic and fresh ginger for the soup. Don’t forget a little olive oil for cooking the veggies down.
- Herbs & spices: this soup gets its golden color and cozy flavor from turmeric, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt & pepper.
- For the broth: the delicious creaminess comes from a can of light coconut milk and some low sodium chicken broth.
- Protein: this coconut chicken lentil soup packs almost 30g of protein per serving thanks to brown lentils and cooked shredded chicken breast!
The best ways to cook & shred chicken
Customize your soup
Yes, this chicken lentil soup is easy to customize based on what you have on hand! Here’s what I can recommend:
- Make it vegan/vegetarian: simply swap the chicken for a can of chickpeas and be sure to use a vegetarian broth.
- Add veggies: feel free to stir in some spinach or kale for extra greens.
- Turn up the heat: if you love spice like I do, add a little more cayenne pepper into the soup and feel free to top your bowl with your fav hot sauce!
The key to cooking with lentils
Lentils are an all natural food, so the package may have some dust and dirt in it. Nothing to worry about! Because of the “extras” that come with a bag of lentils, you’ll want to rinse them off and sort out anything that’s not a lentil before cooking with them.
After you’ve rinsed and sorted your lentils you can add them right to the recipe — they’ll cook directly in the broth!
How to make the coziest chicken lentil soup
- Cook the veggies. Start by cooking down the garlic, onion and carrots for a few minutes.
- Add the spices. Stir in the ginger, turmeric, cumin and cayenne pepper, and let the spices cook with the veggies for about 30 seconds.
- Combine the soup. Add in the rest of the soup ingredients: broth, coconut milk, lentils, chicken, salt & pepper. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer it uncovered until the lentils are cooked and the soup is nice and thick.
- Taste & serve. Once the soup is done cooking, taste and add any additional spices as needed, then serve with a little cilantro on top!
Storing & freezing tips
- To store: store this chicken lentil soup recipe in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 4-5 days. Feel free to reheat it in the microwave or on the stovetop!
- To freeze: let the soup completely cool and then transfer it to a freezer-safe container (or multiple containers for meal prep purposes). Freeze for up to 2 months. To reheat, first let the soup thaw in the refrigerator, then heat the soup in the microwave or on the stovetop.
More healthy soup recipes to try
Get all of my wonderful soup recipes here!
I hope you love this golden coconut chicken lentil soup! If you make it be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. Enjoy, xo!
Golden Coconut Chicken Lentil Soup
Wonderful chicken lentil soup made with creamy coconut milk and filled with delicious flavors from turmeric, ginger, garlic, and cumin. This creamy golden coconut chicken lentil soup is packed with protein for the perfect hearty lunch or dinner!
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small white onion, roughly chopped
- 2 large carrots, sliced
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 3/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 (15 oz) can light coconut milk
- 1 cup brown lentils, rinsed well
- 2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast* (about 3/4 pound)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- For garnish: fresh chopped cilantro
Add olive oil to a large pot and place over medium high heat. Once oil is hot, add in garlic, onion and carrots; saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then stir in ginger, turmeric, cumin and cayenne pepper.
Allow spices to cook with the carrots and onions for 30 seconds then add in chicken broth, coconut milk, lentils, shredded chicken, salt and black pepper.
Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 30-45 minutes until lentils are cooked and soup thickens. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
Pour into bowls, or individual containers for meal prep. Soup is wonderful when garnished with cilantro. Serves 4.
*If you don’t have pre-cooked shredded chicken breast, simply bake 3/4 pound chicken breast on a greased baking sheet at 375 degrees F for 25 minutes, then shred with two forks and add to soup.
To make vegan: Use 1 can of chickpeas instead of chicken and also be sure to use vegetarian broth.
Servings: 4 servings
Serving size: 1 serving
Saturated fat: 6g
Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen Photography by: Yoga of Cooking
This post was originally published on October 30th, 2018, and republished on March 3rd, 2022.