This is now officially my mom’s favorite soup recipe. She and my dad love lentils so I was glad to find a recipe they both liked (read: adored). They like to add in small cubes of chicken for added protein, and our favorite chicken is boneless, skinless chicken thighs – still lean but dark and juicy.

Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown


  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil

  • 1 cup finely chopped onion

  • ½ cup finely chopped carrot

  • ½ cup finely chopped celery

  • 2 tsp. kosher salt

  • 1 pound lentils, picked and rinsed

  • 1 cup peeled and chopped tomatoes

  • 2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth

  • ½ tsp freshly ground coriander

  • ½ tsp freshly ground toasted cumin

  • ½ tsp freshly ground grains of paradise

  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs (optional)


  1. Place the olive oil into a large 6-quart Dutch oven and set over medium heat.

  2. Once hot, add the onion, carrot, celery and salt and sweat until the onions are translucent, approximately 6 to 7 minutes.

  3. Add the lentils, tomatoes, broth, coriander, cumin and grains of paradise and stir to combine.

  4. Increase the heat to high and bring just to a boil.

  5. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook at a low simmer until the lentils are tender, approximately 35 to 40 minutes.

  6. Using a stick blender, puree to your preferred consistency. Serve immediately.

  7. If adding chicken to the recipe, heat some oil in skillet set to medium-high heat and salt and pepper both sides of the thighs. Cook several minutes on each side until browned and cooked through. Remove from heat, allow to cool, and either pull apart into small bite-size pieces with your fingers or cut with scissors. Add chicken at the end, after pureeing.

    Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2006