A highly nutritious chicken vegetable legume soup with an impressive amount of health benefitsJump to Recipe
Delicate chicken tenders is the perfect choice for the chicken vegetables lentils soup. A healthy and hearty soup makes for a filling and comforting slurp during the fall and winter months. However, it is a year round delicacy. The rich and tasty soup includes an abundance of nutrition from the chicken, carrots, bell peppers, lentils and spinach to name a few. We all probably grew up listening to grandma, saying chicken soup cures all sickness. Indeed, there are great reasons for that. Chicken, besides being a great substitute for red meat, sports lean protein and a host of other nutrition. and health benefits. Additionally the vegetables and legumes adds fiber amongst other vitamins and minerals.
Why use chicken tenders instead of chicken breasts?
Chicken tenders, aka tenderloins, contains smaller muscle compared to the chicken breasts that has larger muscle. While either choice works, the tenders have slightly more fat. Nonetheless, it is a very heathy choice. What’s more, the tenderloins packs more flavor when compared to the chicken breasts. Additionally, the actual chicken breasts may become a bit chewy and rubbery in texture if over cooked. Overcooking happens quickly.
Moreover, when making this chicken vegetables lentils soup, the tenders are first lightly browned. This stage allows the tenderloins to deepen in flavor and not just become a boiled chicken. Additionally, it leaves a flavorful fond (brown bits) which takes the soup to another level of rich flavor. It’s worth buying the tenderloins, but if affordability is a concern, the breasts or even skinless thighs works. Depending on the brand of chicken, prices for tenderloins range from over $5.00 to $8.00 per pound. Chicken breasts, depending on brand, price ranges from $4.00 to over $5.00 per pound. However, buying either tenderloins or breasts in bulk is cost efficient.
What type of vegetable combination and legumes works best?
When choosing vegetables for this rich version of chicken vegetables lentil soup, a combination of carrots and any color bell peppers works perfectly. But, parsnips and potatoes are great choices. Other choices includes sweet potatoes and turnips. However, these vegetables add a tad bit more sweetness. So if that’s the flavor you want, just go for it. Also, wilting leafy greens like spinach during the final couple of minutes rounds out the abundance of nutrition. This recipe uses baby organic spinach, however, baby kale works just as well.
From a legume standpoint, the choice of red lentils gives the broth a rich and hearty texture. The red lentils melts into the broth with a slight graininesses. You can, however, use regular brown lentils which will leave a rougher texture to the soup. Additionally, yellow split peas, chickpeas, cannellini or red beans work. Any of these will give the soup more hearty body.
What spices and herbs works best in this chicken vegetables lentils soup?
Importantly, a variety of herbs and spices work. But, the kicker in this richly flavored broth is the red curry powder. A little bit goes a long way. While regular curry powder works, the red happens to have a milder flavor. Therefore it does not over power the overall delicate taste. PS. I like to add a whole habanero pepper which adds flavor as well. Just take extra precaution to stir the pot gently because if the pepper burst in the soup, the heat will be ridiculous. To balance the hint of curry taste, cumin and smoked paprika are added. These spices complemented each other and the overall flavor is ridiculously good.
For this version of the chicken vegetables lentil soup, other spices that works include sweet paprika and coriander. Additionally, fresh herbs like thyme, sage and cilantro are great. But, fresh rosemary, oregano and marjoram are brilliant too. Notably, fresh herbs give the soup added freshness and better taste. However, dried herbs can work. Just use a quarter of what the recipe states in the fresh choice. I must confess I don’t own a lot of dried herbs. Whatever tweaks you make, it’s truly a highly nutritious and healthy soup that can be enjoyed throughout the year. I hope you try this version of chicken soup and love it as much as we do. Happy Cooking!
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Chicken Vegetables with lentils Soup
A perfectly healthy comfort soup filled with chicken tenders, red lentils and vegetables. It has autumn and winter written all over its.
FOR THE CHICKEN TENDERS AND SEASONING MIX:
FOR THE LENTIL BASED STOCK – VEGETABLES AND AROMATICS:
- 2 – 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion yellow or white. peeled and diced
- 2 medium carrots peeled and dced
- 2 scallions white and green separated and chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 4 fresh sage leaves chopped
- 5 cloves garlic peeled and chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon red curry powder
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 vine ripened tomatoes seeded and chopped
- 2 bell peppers yellow and orange or red. seeded and diced
- 1 cup red lentils
- 1 cup fresh cilantro remove and discard rough stems. Roughly chopped
- 5 cups chicken stock can use up to 6 cups
- 1 OPRIONAL: Habanero or scotch bonnet pepper
- 5 – 6 ounces baby organic spinach or kale
- OPTIONAL: TOASTED CUMIN SEEDS OIL Recipe in notes below
SEASON THE CHICKEN TENDERS:
Add the chicken tenders to a medium bowl. Season with the chicken tenders seasonings. Mix to coat the chicken with the spice mix. Set aside for 15 to 30 minutes
PREPARE THE VEGETABLES STOCK BASE:
Heat 2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, over medium heat.
Lightly brown the chicken tenders, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Remove and set aside.
Saute the onions, carrots and white parts of the scallions until fragrant. About 2 to 3 minutes.
Add in the thyme leaves, sage, garlic, cumin seeds and red curry powder with a pinch of salt. Mix and cook 30 to 60 seconds until fragrant.
Add in the tomatoes and bell peppers with a pinch of salt. Mix to coat with the aromatics.
Add in the red lentils. Season with salt to taste. Mix.
Pour in the chicken stock. Stir. Taste for seasoning and adjust salt if needed. Pop n the whole hot pepper, if using.
Note: Be sure to not break the hot pepper. If it breaks the soup with be way too hot.
Cover the pot. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to medium low and simmer 15 minutes.
In the meantime, cutup the chicken tenders into bite size pieces.
Add them to the stock along with any juices released.
Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes to marry the flavors.
Carefully remove the hot pepper.The pepper can be cut up and served separately to add to the soup as it's eaten.
Add in fresh spinach. Season with a pinch of salt. Turn off the stove. Tuck the spinach into the stock. Cover and rest for 2 to 3 minutes.
May garnish with fresh cilantro, green parts of scallions and drizzle with toasted cumin seeds oil. Enjoy.
Toasted Seeds Cumin Oil:
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil.
1 teaspoon cumin seeds.
Add the oil and cum to a mini pot or a 1 cup ladle.
Heat over medium heat until the cumin seeds become lightly toasted and fragrant.