Red Lentil, Fennel and Chicken Slow Cooker Soup

Not only delicious, but with a silent I-told-you-so built in.

chicken, red lentil, slow cooker, soup
Serving Size: 12

Red Lentil, Fennel and Chicken Slow Cooker Soup / Sarah Crowder / Katie Workman /

This is the Story of The Day I Became a Tailgating Football Mom.  Or something like that.

So, I live in New York City.  If you’ve never been, it looks much as it does on tv.  Lots of people, tall buildings,  subways, commerce, noise.  I love it, and smile acceptingly when people invariably comment, “Oh, I love to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there.”  That’s cool . More overpriced gyros for the rest of us.

And both my kids play football.  One of the first things any non-New Yorker will say upon hearing that is “WHERE? Where do they play?  That’s so weird.”

These are reasonable questions.  The answer is that they play some games at competing schools’ fields, when those schools are in the surrounding boroughs or suburbs.  And their practices and “home games” take place on Randall’s Island, a strange little island across the East River that has a large number of sports fields dispersed amongst a few structures such as a Golf Center, a Sewage Treatment Plant, and a Mental Hospital.

Only when I put things like this down on paper do I realize how odd it sounds.  And how I am actively confirming non-New Yorkers perceptions that we live a very singular existence here in our fair city.

Anyway, the first time I made this soup I ended up bringing it to Jack’s football game, right in the slow cooker.   Gary (who is now a 23-year veteran New Yorker) thought this was just plain odd (even though he grew up in Worcester, Massachusetts, where I gather things like this happen all the time.)   We left without the soup, but thenI said “the heck with that” (I did not say heck), and I I went back up to get the big old pot of hot soup.

On the car ride there Gary kept asking where I would put the soup, and how I would serve it, as though I was planning to bring crème brûlée and a blowtorch to the field.  The boys had already left for the game; had they been home they would absolutely have lent their voices to the “this-is-so-weird” protest.

We arrived at Randall’s Island, and luckily got the really, really good field, the one upwind of the Sewage Plant, and with actual bleachers.  Someone had actually brought a table for people to drop off snacks on (thus solving the problem of where I would put it), and I dropped off a ladle and some plastic bowls and spoons next to it (thus solving the problem of how I would serve it).

Red Lentil, Fennel and Chicken Slow Cooker Soup / Sarah Crowder / Katie Workman /

It was the final game, the Super Bowl, of their league, against their arch rival school, and tensions were high. I will spare you the blow by blow, and jump right to the part where my kids’ school won, completing their first second undefeated season in the history of the high school.  (It’s like I just discovered the italics key for the first time, and I am born again as a writer).

Oh, and the soup?  Gone.  And adorable 16-year old girls came up to me all night, and said, “Did you make the soup – it was so good!” which I may or may not need to tell you makes a middle aged woman feel terrific.

God, that was a long story.  Anyway, this soup is pretty good, thick, fragrant with cumin and coriander, kind of dal-like in personality.   I would definitely add the fresh parsley at the end, though the football game is purely optional.


Other Great Soup Recipes:

Red Lentil, Fennel and Chicken Slow Cooker Soup / Sarah Crowder / Katie Workman /

Red Lentil, Fennel and Chicken Slow Cooker Soup

Not only delicious, but with a silent I-told-you-so built in.
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 People
Calories: 199kcal
Author: Katie Workman



  • 2 onions chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 large fennel bulb cored and chopped (about 1½ cups)
  • 2 large carrots peeled and chopped (about 1 cup)
  • ½ pound dried red lentils
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts diced small
  • 5 cups less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • ½ cup roughly chopped fresh parsley plus more to serve if desired


  • In a large (5-quart or more) slow cooker combine the onion, garlic, fennel, carrots, lentils, cumin, coriander, chicken, broth and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook on high for 4 hours. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed. Stir in the parsley and serve. Sprinkle servings with additional parsley if desired.


Calories: 199kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 583mg | Potassium: 842mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 2107IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 65mg | Iron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @katieworkman100 or tag #dinnersolved!
This fragrant Red Lentil, Fennel and Chicken Slow Cooker Soup has tailgating or sidelines or post-game meal written all over it.

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25 thoughts on “Red Lentil, Fennel and Chicken Slow Cooker Soup”

  1. Beatrice says:

    Kattie! Lol the Super bowl, this sure looks yummy, i will try it out after vacation.

    1. Katie Workman says:

      it will be even better when the weather gets colder!

  2. Diego Lopes says:

    Slow cooker soups are amazing! They’re so creamy and tasty, can’t wait to try this recipe!

    1. Katie Workman says:

      Can’t wait to hear what you think!

  3. Trisha L. says:

    Is there a good substitute for the fennel bulb? My rural area markets don’t carry fennel.

    1. Katie Workman says:

      You can just use celery, about 4 stalks! If you want do add a pinch of crushed anise seed for that slight licorice-y flavor go ahead!

  4. Judy Kromer says:

    Love the football story!
    Your soup sounds amazing. I love Fall and winter because I can have soup for dinner at least once a week. Or more. There’s usually leftovers.
    I’m on a soft foods regime right now so I think this will be perfect. I’m getting the ingredients today!
    Thank you for your monthly newsletter of recipes. The hardest part about dinner is figuring out what to fix.

    1. Katie Workman says:

      it’s true — not having a plan is usually the thing that makes dinner not happen!

  5. Kaarin says:

    This looks delicious!! If you want to put it on in the morning and have it ready when you get home, could you just do it for longer on low? Or will it get too mushy? Thanks!

    1. Katie Workman says:

      I would say yes — it’s fairly mushy soup to begin with, which just works here (in my opinion) so I don’t think it will change all that much if you make those adjustment.

  6. J says:

    This recipe looks absolutely delicious, may add in a few of my own seasonings.
    By the way, make the printable recipes one page, if possible. thanks.

    1. Katie Workman says:

      thank you! will look into making that happen….

  7. Jozi says:

    I love this recipe, I will try it here in Africa for my hubby this summer

    1. Katie Workman says:

      I love that the recipe will be made in Africa!

  8. Linda says:

    Just made this soup – it is delicious. I added more cumin and a little paprika. A delicious recipe on a cold Michigan day!

    1. Katie Workman says:

      so glad!!

  9. Mary says:

    I love this concept – first time I made it, I subbed the turkey for cooked leftovers from Thanksgiving, then used a freshly home-made turkey broth. Also subbed cilantro for the parsley, which was AMAZING. Thanks!

    1. Katie Workman says:

      So glad to hear! What a great modification – it’s a very flexible recipe. Love the cilantro addition.

  10. Clara says:

    This recipe looks so yummy!! Preparing fot the family soon!!!
    Thanks themom100

  11. Chris says:

    Hey Katie! This soup looks amazing! Three of my favorite things- red lentils, fennel and coriander. I gave my slow cooker to my sister but this soup makes me want to get it back. (I have a key to her house…)

    1. Katie Workman says:

      just borrow it! (indefinitely….)

  12. So glad to hear! What a great modification – it’s a very flexible recipe. Love the cilantro addition.

  13. Yabamusic says:

    What a great modification – it’s a very flexible recipe. Love the cilantro addition.

  14. Bonnie Hetzel says:

    I don’t have a slow cooker. What if I just stick it on stove top, set the timer for an hour and add water if needed?

    1. you can do that! stir often, and keep it at a very low simmer.

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