Red lentil and chicken soup

November 6, 2010  •  Category:


Chicken soup warms the soul, so they say. Chicken and red lentils, with a handful of rice and a squeeze of lemon is a complete meal and can be made at leisure, almost as an afterthought.


  • 2 chicken legs
  • 1 1/2 cups of red lentils
  • 2 lemons, olive oil as needed
  • 1 onion, a few cloves of garlic, a tablespoon of thyme or zaatar
  • 1/2 cup of rice
  • 2 carrots, peeled


  1. Heat some olive oil in a pot and brown the chicken legs all over; remove and set aside. Brown the onion and when it is browned, add the garlic cloves and fry them for a minute until golden.
  2. Put the chicken legs back in the pot and squeeze the juice of a half lemon on them; rinse the red lentils briefly under tap water and add to the pot along with the carrots and eight cups of water.
  3. Cover the pot, bring to a simmer and skim any froth on the surface. Simmer the pot for one hour or more, until the chicken is tender and falls off the bone and the red lentils have disintegrated. Add the thyme or zaatar at this point and the rice; simmer for another 30 minutes until the rice is cooked. Serve with a lemon wedge on the side or squeeze the remaining lemons into the soup and serve immediately.


34 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Lentil Breakdown says:

    Never had red lentil soup with chicken and rice. Looks so earthy and herbalicious! Just finished the last of a big pot of red lentil soup that I’ve eaten for a whole week. I might have to wait a few days to try this. : )

  2. samir says:

    hi there….is this your creation?,,,Ive never heard of this dish

    • Joumana says:

      Caffettiera: I browned the chicken legs with the skins on; I just don’t eat them.

      Samir: It is my creation; besides, I was told that nutritionally, it is much easier to absorb lentils if they are taken with rice. A Kurdish lady I knew taught me to throw in rice in the red lentil soup, I figured chicken would add more flavor (and lemon of course).

  3. Katerina says:

    This is a really nutritious meal. I am in a soup mood too lately.

  4. Dajana says:

    Red lentils are my favourite soup ingredient. I have to try this soup, it looks just right for me and extremely delicious

  5. Rosa says:

    A deliciously hearty soup!



  6. TheKitchenWitch says:

    I’ve never had lentil soup with rice in it before–this recipe sounds really comforting and delicious.

  7. Caffettiera says:

    Such a comforting dish, and I agree with you, it looks like the perfect dish to attend to while you are devoting most of your attention to something else.
    Are the chicken tights skin on? Thanks!

  8. Jen_from_NJ says:

    I have been craving a nice bowl of chicken soup. Your version looks perfect! I love the addition of lemon.

  9. Nadege says:

    So easy to make and pretty healthy! Thanks!

  10. Cynthia says:

    I like that your soup includes rice 🙂

    I am going to try this.

  11. Vagabonde says:

    I have some kind of a stomach “bug” I think and soups only appeal to me. Yours looks delicious, but where can I get just 2 chicken legs I wonder – my grocery stores nearby only sell them in huge packages. But I’ll copy the recipe as it sounds so good.

  12. Zara says:

    Hi Joumana! Your soup makes me feel hungry:) lentinls with rice is indeed a very nourishing combo!
    p.s. thank you for your visit and lovely words. You’re always welcome:)

  13. Eve@CheapEthnicEatz says:

    This looks like a great soup. I really should use lentils more in my cooking, they are good. I am just not in the habit. It’s a perfect soup for the fall days coming ahead.

  14. Faith says:

    Never thought to add rice to red lentil soup, what a great idea! I bet it’s delicious. Such a comforting meal.

  15. HPD says:

    I tend to get into a bit of a chicken noodle soup rut in the winter. This looks like a great way to shake things up. Cheers!

  16. Diane says:

    No doubt about the fact that I will try this recipe out. Yum Yum. Diane

  17. oum mouncifrayan says:

    j’adore ce genre de soupes!!! merci joumana

  18. Nadji says:

    Une combinaison que je n’ai encore jamais testée : riz/lentilles.
    Je n’y manquerai pas.
    Bonne semaine et à bientôt.

  19. Oui, Chef says:

    When is someone going to invent “smellavision” for the computer? I REALLY want to get a whiff of this delicious looking soup! – S

  20. tobias cooks! says:

    I just made fresh chicken stock. Would be great to use it for this dish.

  21. Juliana says:

    Joumana, this lentil soup with rice and chicken sure looks very comforting…like the idea that is lighter than the usual lentil soup…SO yummie!

  22. Katie @Cozydelicious says:

    This soup looks fantastic! How did you know I just bought lentils today? This is perfect!

  23. Jamie says:

    Chicken soup does indeed warm the soul and heals all that ails you. And the addition of wonderful red lentils is perfect. A bookmarked recipe. Just fabulous!

  24. Tom @ Tall Clover says:

    With autumn rains in full force in the Pacific Northwest and the delightful simplicity of this recipe, I’d have to say soup is on! Thanks Joumana.

  25. Bren says:

    Huge fan of lentils–any variety! This sounds amazing to have stashed all fall and winter long! nice to *meet* you–nice blog!

  26. Doc says:

    The lasgna and chicken soup look sublime. I applaud the haome made pasta sheets-It’s those things that elevate your dishes. The soup looks absolutely delicious.
    Well done!

  27. SYLVIA says:

    This is a hearty luscious soup that tastes perfect on a cold winter evening. It has a lot of body and richness, and great modern take on a red lentil soup. I like how the chicken is swimming in the soup, this recipe is perfect for working mom, thanks Joumana.

  28. Soma says:

    This is a perfect one pot meal. We love our red lentil soup and often times I add sumac to it. Adding chicken and rice make it wholesome.

  29. fAZO says:

    Chère Joumana,

    J’adooooooore ce que vous faites et votre blog est magnifique mais je ne reçois plus vos posting depuis Red lentil and chicken soup recipe, I mean since Nov, 7. Could you please what is wrong. I thank you very much – warm regards and all the best – fazo

  30. Jane says:

    I made this tonight and it was delish!! Only thing I did different was add some fresh ground pepper and sea salt… Filling, good, and healthy!

  31. Ann says:

    I have been looking for this recipe FOREVER!!!! There was a restaurant that served this soup across the street from where I used to work and I would have it at least twice a week. Then we moved and I couldn’t find a recipe that looked like it was The One – they all had tomatoes. Thank you! It turned out exactly right. The guy who owned the restaurant would never give me the recipe, he said it was his mother’s. 🙂

  32. Perla says:

    I needed something comforting yesterday and when i found this recipe i knew i had to try it . I went to the grocery store first thing in the morning today and now i have a hearty , comforting soup for dinner ! Thank you , it was much needed!

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