I normally eat salad with grilled chicken for lunch everyday during the work week, but I wanted to change it up a bit this week. Partly because it’s a little cooler (and gloomier) out, and I’m in the mood for something warm and comforting. Also partly because prepping my salads every night can become a little bit tedious. Even though I have everything ready to just throw in a bowl, on a particularly busy week at work with conferences and testing like this one, even 5 minutes of prep in the evening is too much.
My rule of thumb when it comes to work week lunches is that I want them to be high in protein and low(ish) in carbs. If I eat a healthy carb like brown rice or sweet potatoes, I save it for my big meal of the day, which is dinner. I know so many diet rules tell you to eat your carbs early in the day, but too many carbs during the work day makes me feel tired and heavy, so I try to lay low.
With the chicken and red lentils, this soup is packed with protein. Not to mention how good lentils are for you. They are filled with so many nutrients, and can be added to soups so easily, you barely even notice they’re there. And Turmeric is such a trendy spice right now that people are actually taking it in supplement form for the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. This soup is really just filled with all things that are good for you and nothing bad… and it tastes really really good 🙂
It will take a little time on the stove, but it really is very simple to put together. Begin by heating the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add the minced garlic, diced onion, and chopped carrots. Stir and allow the vegetables to cook until onions are almost tender, just about 5-6 minutes.
At this point, add the grated ginger, turmeric, and cayenne and stir to coat the onions and carrots.
Lastly, add the chicken broth, coconut milk, lentils, shredded chicken, salt, and pepper. Reduce the heat to low, and allow the soup to simmer uncovered for 40-50 minutes to allow the soup to thicken. Taste halfway through and add additional salt, pepper, or spice to taste. I usually just need to add a little additional salt.
This recipe assumes you have chicken cooked already. I normally just throw my chicken thighs in the crockpot in the morning with a little chicken broth and salt and pepper so it’s easily shreddable by the time I want to make the soup. You could also just put them on a sheet pan and stick them in the oven prior to cooking the soup.
Now you can obviously eat this right away for a delicious and healthy dinner, but if you’re like me and want to use it for meal prepped lunches, allow it to cool before portioning into lunch containers and refrigerating. I garnish with green onion and sesame seeds, but you could add cilantro or coconut flakes or anything really! This is one of those recipes where the flavors taste even better the next day, making it perfect for lunches!
Chicken and Lentil
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 yellow onion, diced
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 inch piece grated ginger
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne (depending on heat preference)
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 15oz cans of coconut milk
1 cup red lentils
4-6 chicken thighs, cooked and shredded (I just do this in the slow cooker prior)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1. Heat oil in large soup pot over medium high heat. Add garlic, onion, and carrots, and cook until onions are almost tender, 5-6 minutes.
2. Add ginger, turmeric, and cayenne and stir to coat onions and carrots.
3. Add chicken broth, coconut milk, lentils, shredded chicken, salt, and pepper. Reduce heat to low, and allow to simmer uncovered for 40-50 minutes to allow the soup to thicken. Taste halfway through and add additional salt, pepper, or spice to taste.
4. Serve immediately or freeze. Garnish with green onion and sesame seeds.