Dig into a steaming bowl of healthy comfort food with this recipe for Curried Chicken Lentil Soup. Packed with protein from lentils and chicken, this flavorful soup is also loaded with leafy greens. Top it off with crunchy peanuts, cilantro and fresh lime. 

Why This Recipe Works

In order to create a flavor-packed soup in 35 minutes we rely on a seriously flavorful mirepoix made of onion, garlic, ginger and serrano. And instead of chopping everything by hand, we throw the produce into a mini food processor and give it a quick mince. This quick trick means you’re ready to cook in no time. 

To cut down on cook time without sacrificing flavor or satisfaction, we’re also relying on a few convenient and quick-cooking ingredients. First up is cooked shredded chicken. Using cooked chicken is a great way to pack a soup with protein quickly. We recommend just grabbing a rotisserie chicken from the store.

We’re also using red lentils which add great body to the soup and cook in just 15 minutes. And finally, instead of hearty greens like kale or chard, we’re using tender leafy greens which add color and nutrients without the added cook time of hearty greens. 

The Soup-er Simple Series

This Curried Chicken Lentil Soup is part of our SOUP-er Simple Series! This means it has a short ingredient list, quick cook time, and loads of flavor. The goal is to give you more than enough recipes to get you through cold weeknights when all you want is something savory and steaming ready in 30 minutes

In order to be apart of the SOUP-er Simple Series, each recipe needs to hit these three criteria: 

  • 10 ingredients or less
  • Ready in under 45 minutes 
  • Taste like it took hours 
curry lentil soup with chicken in a shallow white bowl topped with cilantro and peanuts

Ingredient Notes

Cooking Fat

You can truly use anything fat for cooking the veggies for this lentil chicken soup. We like the flavor of ghee, but feel free to use butter, olive oil or coconut oil

Serrano

Serranos are smaller and thinner than jalapeños with significantly more heat. If you’re wary about heat, remove the ribs and seeds before mincing. You can also opt for a jalapeño instead. 

Curry Powder

We decided to use curry powder instead of curry paste because we are using a mixture of minced onion, garlic, ginger and serrano as the base of the curry lentil soup. By using curry powder, you get a bit more spice and warmth instead of more ginger and garlic like you would from curry paste. We use quite a bit in this recipe—two tablespoons—so be sure to use a quality curry powder. We like this one!

Red Lentils

Also labeled as Masoor Dal, split red lentils are quick-cooking and tender, which make for a full-bodied soup. You can find them at most grocery stores, or order them online.

Tender Leafy Greens

To keep this soup healthy yet quick cooking, we are relying on tender leafy greens instead of hearty greens, like chard or kale, that need a longer cook time to soften. We love the flavor of baby kale, but baby spinach or arugula are also great options. 

Tips

  • Relying on a rotisserie chicken is one of our favorite weeknight hacks. They’re convenient, delicious and a great way to get protein in a meal without the cook time. For this soup, look for classic-seasoned or rotisserie-seasoned. 
  • We like the creaminess that full-fat canned coconut milk adds to this soup. If you want to use light coconut milk, you can, just know it won’t be as creamy. Avoid refrigerated coconut milk. 
curry lentil soup with chicken in a shallow white bowl topped with cilantro and peanuts

What to Serve with Curry Soup

FAQs

Can I use curry paste instead of powder?

We prefer curry powder in this recipe, but in a pinch you can use curry powder. If you have the option, use red curry paste. 

Can I use brown or green lentils?

We do not recommend using brown or green lentils as they require a much longer cook time and have a completely different texture. Red lentils, or Masoor Dal, are actually split red lentils. The fact that they are split means they cook and soften much faster than whole lentils. Plus, they create a thick, full-bodied soup.

How long does this soup last?

This Curried Chicken Lentil Soup will last up to 1 week stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months. Reheat the soup over medium-low until simmering. 

Quick Curried Chicken Lentil Soup

Print Recipe
No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Yield 7 cups (4 servings)
Category Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Indian-Inspired

Description

Dig into a steaming bowl of healthy comfort food with this recipe for Curried Chicken Lentil Soup. Packed with protein from lentils and chicken, this flavorful soup is also loaded with leafy greens. Top it off with crunchy peanuts, cilantro and fresh lime.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons ghee, olive oil, or coconut oil
  • 1 small white or yellow onion, quartered
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 1 (2-inch) knob fresh ginger
  • 2 serranos, divided
  • Morton kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
  • 1 (13.5-ounce) can coconut milk
  • 12 ounces chopped cooked chicken* (3 cups)
  • 5 ounces dark leafy green such as baby kale, spinach or arugula, roughly chopped (8 cups)
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • Cilantro
  • Dry-roasted and salted peanuts

Instructions

  • Combine onion, garlic, ginger, and 1 seeded serrano to a food processor. Pulse until everything is minced.
  • Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high. Add onion mixture and ½ teaspoon salt; cook until vegetables start to brown, about 8 minutes. Stir in curry powder and cook 1 minute.
  • Add broth and lentils, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until lentils are tender, about 15 minutes.
  • Stir in coconut milk and chicken until heated through. Stir in greens, cook until wilted, then stir in 2 tablespoons lime juice. Serve soup with lime zest, serranos, scallions, and peanuts.

Notes

Chicken: two small boneless skinless chicken breasts will yield about 12 ounces shredded cooked chicken. You can also use shredded rotisserie chicken (my favorite weeknight dinner hack).
This recipe is adapted from a soup recipe by Cuisine at Home Magazine.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/4 recipeCalories: 480kcalCarbohydrates: 18gProtein: 33gFat: 32gSaturated Fat: 25gCholesterol: 82mgSodium: 738mgFiber: 5gSugar: 5g
Keywords chicken lentil soup, lentil chicken soup
Did you make this recipe?Leave a comment below and tag @ZestfulKitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #zestfulkitchen!
curry lentil soup with chicken in a shallow white bowl topped with cilantro and peanuts

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

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